Smoke Through It
'Smoke Through It', the second album by Milwaukee trip-hop duo Endless Blue, takes the Bristol sound of the early nineties and spins it off in a new direction. Refining the tone established in their self-titled release, producer Nick Mitchell begins to infuse the fruits of other genres into trip-hop's signature lo-fi beats, vintage synths, and jazzy bass. From the synthpop-laced chorus of 'Stranger' to the industrialized 'Break' to the tremolo twang of 'Undone', each song on 'Smoke Through It' presents a collage of sounds and tones encased in sharp and approachable songwriting. Tying it all together are the vocal stylings of Laura Hillman, an artist that seamlessly blends numerous eras of vocalists into a single voice. Drawing from the torch singers of the '40s, the classic female rockers, and the modern trip-hop singers, Hillman weaves a masterful tapestry that complements each song uniquely. Mitchell and Hillman originally met in the electro-rock band STATE4 in 2001 and have been working together ever since. Founded in 2003 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Endless Blue grew out of the duo's desire to do something a bit mellower and a bit more in the vein of some of their favorite artists -- namely Portishead, Massive Attack, and Hooverphonic. Working with newcomer vocalist Amanda Oechsle, Endless Blue released their first album in the spring of 2004, and supported it with a short US tour and numerous regional shows around the Midwest. After moving to Milwaukee in early 2005, Mitchell and Hillman started work on 'Smoke Through It' almost immediately, and wrapped production after about six months.