The band, which was founded by Birmingham native Rob Collier, is in the middle of its final tour, and will be making a stop at Brother’s tonight as part of its journey.
“We’re trying to go out with a bang,” said Collier of the four-piece group, whose roots actually lie in Pittsburgh.
Collier moved to Pittsburgh in 2009, but began working on the music two years earlier in Maryland, where he was working on his doctorate in music. He sent his home recordings to friend and fellow bandmember Madison Stubblefield for additional collaboration.
“We … liked the material enough to try to put a band together,” he remembered. Collier then reached out to his former classmate, drummer Matthew Troncale, and later met keyboard player Teal Fitzpatrick, who already lived in Pittsburgh.
“It was just kind of a coincidence that this is where it happened,” Collier said of the group, which originally debuted with two additional members in the fall of 2009 under the name Small Cities. However, they weren’t as unique with their Talking Heads-influenced name choice as they thought. When they completed their debut album, “Jackson Purchase,” the following year and began requesting reviews, they found out there was another band that used the same name, and became The Slow Reel in August 2010. There was still some slight confusion, however.
“There all of a sudden wasn’t a band [called] Small Cities, when we were playing shows as The Slow Reel but selling these CDs that said ‘Small Cities’ on them,” Collier remembered.
Their latest album, “The Slow Reel Tape,” is just that — a cassette tape. Choosing to release the album on tape as opposed to vinyl or CD came down to a matter of economics, says Collier.
“Since we were going to be breaking up pretty soon, it just didn’t make sense to spend a couple thousand dollars making vinyl that we were only going to have for two months,” he said.
But the album does come with a digital download card for the modern-day listener to access. “They get the digital files that they want and they can put on their iPod, but they get to leave the show with a souvenir.”
If it weren’t for the breakup, however, “We probably wouldn’t be releasing this album right now, otherwise,” said Collier, who will be moving back to Kentucky for a teaching position at his alma mater, Bellarmine University. The other band members are also moving on to other opportunities. “We wanted to get this album out before we’re finished ’cause we’re really proud of these recordings.”
Collier prefers to focus on the music rather than the organizational work, however, and prefers to work on writing and recording music. “This is the first band that I’ve been the frontman for where I’ve really tried to do it right,” he said, referring to garnering press and going on tour. “It’s been a learning experience, for sure.”
The band provides a great escape for its members, who each have a heavy focus on academics: Collier received his doctorate in 2010; Troncale has a master’s in music; guitarist Stubblefield is completing his master’s in library science, and Fitzpatrick is in a Ph.D program for psychology.
“Teal’s program is really intense and time consuming — she often talks about how this is just the perfect other major thing to have in her life,” Collier said of the stress reliever.
“I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished as a band, and the three other members of the band are three of my best friends,” he said.
Collier said he hasn’t given up all hope that the band’s clock has run out, though.
“I’ve thought about trying to talk Madison and Teal into moving to Louisville to try to keep the band going,” he said, “but I think that’s something we’ll all have to figure out as we go.”
The Slow Reel
Where: Brother’s Bar, 206 Pelham Road S., Jacksonville
Cost: $5 for under 21, $3 for 21 and up
More info: www.facebook.com/theslowreel