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The Cheap Seats

In the Studio: "Fly Low, Icarus" was recorded in December and February in the South Side home of guitarist Matt Wirt and producer/engineer Dave Wolfe. Before they started to record, Wirt says, they tried to decide "whether we wanted to record something that sounded good or for the record to be easy to re-create."

"Everyone wants to play live," Woods continues. "I always wanted to make good records. That was the big thing for me." Throughout the album's eight tracks the band has fun with banjos, keys, distortion — whatever strikes its fancy … to a degree.

"I tend to be a bit grandiose about things," Woods says. "There was a section in 'VA Hospital' where I imagined a massive choir, this big Queen type of thing. Dave had to tell me, 'There's no one here who can make that happen.' So instead we just layered the guitar tracks with feedback."

Do the Dinosaur: Besides its sonic allures, "Fly Low, Icarus" offers something sweet for the eyes as well. Its cover of a sleeping dinosaur was designed by Jesse La Doux, a Grammy-nominated artist whose work appears on posters and album covers for the Shins, Death Cab for Cutie and Modest Mouse. "It was a stroke of luck," says Wirt. "We sent him the CD and he agreed to do it."

Southwest Exodus: All of the Cheap Seats hail from Roanoke. Wirt relocated to Richmond in 2004, followed by the rest of the band (Woods, bassist Taylor Lineberry and drummer P.J. George) in August. With just six live shows under its belt, the band's "still in an incubation period," Wirt says. Members plan to get their live show "up to snuff" and then hit the clubs this winter. But Woods is already writing songs for the next record. "I'm the most disorganized person ever," he says. "But at work, I'll spend my days doing line drawings about music." — Kate Bredimus

"Fly Low, Icarus" was released Oct. 26. It's available through the band's Web site,

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