8 p.m., Nov. 18, Daniel Street, 21 Daniel St., Milford. $12. (203) 877-4446, danielstreetclub.com.
It's one thing for a trio of indie rock veterans to capitalize on their mid-tier name recognition, assemble a quirky side project and come up with a boldly original recording of their collaboration. It's quite another to invent their own genre. Against all odds, multi-instrumentalists Nick Thorburn (Islands) and Ryan Kattner (Man Man) and drummer Joe Plummer (Modest Mouse) have done all of the above and more with Out of Love, their collective debut as Mister Heavenly, a project that draws on their mutual love of '50s vocal pop and doo wop, '60s soul and '70s glam/art rock.
"Ryan and I toured a lot together with Man Man and Modest Mouse over the course of a couple years," says Plummer. "In that time we started talking about playing together. When Man Man had a break, Ryan got with Nick and they individually and together worked on songs and ideas based on this doo wop rhythm and spirit. Ryan sent me tracks over the internet and asked me to play drums on them, so I did and sent them back and they liked it."
Plummer finally made the trek to Brooklyn to play live with Thorburn and Kattner as a real band, a potential problem since the group was composed of two pairs of friends that formed a trio; Plummer and Thorburn had never actually met.
"We just thought, 'It'll be fun, we'll play for a week, if nothing happens, who cares?' " says Plummer. "The seeds of these songs are based in hooks, so you can easily sit down with someone and play hooks together. Then we'd move one hook to a position in the song that could be called a chorus and go through the process. It was easy to move the pieces around. We didn't really talk about it, we just let it rip."
Like the bands that typified the eras that Mister Heavenly references, the trio not only composed a theme song titled after the name of their group, they named a tune after the style they invented: "Doom Wop."
"We were all chiming in; we're infamous for our e-mail threads where you ask one of us a question and 50 pages later there's an answer but there's all kind of smartass-isms through it," says Plummer with a laugh. "We were e-mailing and Ryan had brought (doom wop) up and we started throwing it around and making fun of it and ourselves."
Mister Heavenly clearly bears the marks of the individual members' parent bands - the diverse sprawl of Islands, the unpredictable sonic mood swings of Man Man and the propulsive indie rock bombast of Modest Mouse - but the doo wop component is the unusual thread that unifies the group's disparate influences and channels it into a totally unique whole.
"I think it ends up sounding a little like Roxy Music or Television, when those bands referenced the '50s," says Plummer.