Tommy & The Tangerines, a six-piece band from Colorado, is lighting up the scene, one Denver/Boulder club performance at a time. A band that identifies with many different influences, they’ve been together since the summer of 2010, but listening to their five-track EP, you’d think they’d been together for years.
The band formed when brothers Matt and Ian Hendrick were searching for a new lineup after a previous group had disbanded. They met up with vocalist Mic C, clicked, and later added Ben Batchelor (drums), Laura Stratton (keyboards), and Patrick Coleman (bass). “You never look at it at the time, but now it all seems so serendipitous,” says Matt Hendrick.
Tommy & The Tangerines’ 2011 disc Main Squeeze starts off with Sam I Am, a track that feels light and fluffy during the first few chords and the feeling doesn’t end when the vocals kick in. The instrumentation swirls together as beautifully as the vocal combinations do, made possible by lead vocalist Mic C and Matt Hendrick, who supplies vocals and guitar.
Face follows and is by far my favorite song off this five track EP. It has a bluesy feeling to it in the guitars, but as the song progresses, it turns to something in the indie/pop realm with a dash of blues on top. The guitars are top notch in this track, courtesy of Matt and Ian Hendrick. The drums kick in from Ben Batchelor and the keyboards supplied by Laura Stratton solidifies the song like super glue.
Better Off Dead hits right in the middle of the EP, taking down the blues feeling and replacing it with a song with the most pop feeling of the five tracks. This song has more bounce to it and you’re sure to be dancing before you’re even aware of it.
Great Mistake, the band’s newest single, is an upbeat track with almost a country/folk feeling. The keyboards shine in this song and make me wish that more bands stepped up to the plate with this instrument. Patrick Coleman’s bass line is the backbone of this song, keeping a steady groove for me to nod my head to. I also can’t help but mention that this band knows how to write lyrics that are catchy and still flow with the song: Oh, I’ve been drinkin far too much this evenin, thinkin bout the one that got away. Oh, I’ve been sleepin far too much this morning, oh I’ve been sleeping far too much today, just dreamin bout the one that got away.
This band has something within them that sets them apart and that becomes evident after five tracks. What do they think gives them that extra sparkle? “We just want to put our music out into the matrix as it appeared in its genesis – straight forward, high energy and familiar. I don’t want to strip down or edit things to death just because I’m concerned about what a handful of elitists think,” Hendrick says. “When I was young I loved music for its pure connections, somewhere along the line I became a cynic, too, and now I’m trying to just get back to basics. When I write a song now I don’t over analyze it I just let it breathe for a while before going back to it, then if it still works we’ll keep it. I’m done thinking art is for a small group that gets it. I just want to write songs that have a beginning and an end and have a simple catharsis or story within that a lot of people can identify with.”
This album shows a wide spectrum of the groups’ talents, both individually and as a band. Hendrick says they all have a wide variety of influences. “We grew up with a very diverse music collection. We respect musicians who take their art seriously whether writing songs or playing their instrument. The band has a huge spectrum of influences from different Genres. If we had to say one I would say the Beatles. Everything in pop and rock is derived from them in some way.”
Coming up for the band in 2012 are more shows and a new album. “We are fundraising right now for an album which we hope will be released in this year. We have over forty originals that we will choose from to make this first full length release. Fans can expect better production and some varying styles.” They’re currently touring around Colorado.
“We just want a real time experience. To connect with fans and have them at a show singing with us is the most we can ask for. We aren’t trying to save or reach the world. It’s been tried and with quite more success then we will ever have. If we make a great record together that also will be a sense of accomplishment.”
You can catch Tommy & The Tangerines on Facebook, Twitter, or at their official website (which also lists tour dates). Be sure to click these links if you’re in/around Colorado and check these guys out live!
And for the quintessential Back to the Music interview questions –
What is the top played song on your iTunes (or other music playing program that you use)? Top played album?
I would have to say, “Face”. It’s a more throwback soulful tune that a lot of people enjoy. Its off our one and only release Main Squeeze.
What is the strangest thing on your iTunes or the one your band mates would be most surprised to see on your iTunes?
It would probably be off Mic C’s ipod. I know he’s got some The GEMZ tracks (the all girl teen bop group) on their that he likes to blast in his convertible down busy streets. He likes attention. I don’t ride with him anymore.
What song would you most like to cover? What would you do differently with the track?
That’s a good question…..There are many different answers from all the members. Mic C wants to do a version of Don Mclean’s “Vincent” only not so sappy and with a full rock band.