Category Archives: Interview

Interview: The Elephant in the Room

A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed the debut record by The Elephant in the Room. Lead singer and guitar player Joe was nice enough to answer some questions:

Back to the Music: How/when did the band get started?
Joseph Savino Jr., Guitar/Vocals: The band got started about three years ago. Me and Alfred have been in bands together since we were in eighth grade. Mostly metal and one crazy cover band. After getting bored with doing the cover thing, we built a home studio and just started writing.teitr

BTTM: Were you always sure you wanted to be involved with music in some way?
Joe: Music has always been a big part of our lives. Once you start playing music, it’s just something that you fall in love with and always want to do.
BTTM: How was the band name chosen?
Joe: We took a long time to choose a band name. We just never got around to it and already started booking shows. Every promoter would ask us our name and we had nothing to give them. To get them off our back we just threw out the name ThunderLips. That name only stuck for a few shows. We had a hard time finding a name that we thought fit us. Going through a bunch of conspiracy theory books, we came across “The Elephant in the Room.” Knowing the meaning of the saying, it just fit perfectly for the band name. We like to be the band that is hard to not notice.
BTTM: Who were your biggest musical influences growing up? Do you feel you can hear those influences in the album?
Joe: We butt heads sometimes when it comes to music but some that we can all agree on I would say would be Weezer, Muse, Radiohead, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Elvis, The Beatles, Queens of the StoneAge. I think you can hear a little bit of everything that we like in our music.

BTTM: How did you come up with the idea to do a KickStarter for the record?
Joe: We came up with the KickStarter idea after we found out Casey was going to work with us. We knew we had to do it, and knew the only way to make it happen was with the help of a KickStarter

BTTM: Why did you feel that was the right venue compared to the other fundraising sites?
Joe: Honestly, it was the only site that we knew about at the time.
BTTM: How did it feel when your goal was met and you knew this album would become a reality?
Joe: It was an amazing feeling when we hit that $5k mark. For people that have never even met us to put their own hard earned money to back us made us feel really good. We owe it all to our backers.

BTTM: Was there a backup plan in case the Kickstarter didn’t go as predicted?
Joe: We did not have a backup plan. We knew if we worked hard enough to get the word out we would make our goal.

BTTM: How was it working with Casey? What insights did he offer that may have changed your perception of the music or the album?
Joe: Working with Casey was such an amazing experience, he made it very easy and comfortable. Within the first hour, you would think we were friends for years. He was just that easy to get along with. He opened up our minds a lot when it came to suggestions with the music. He would have ideas that we would never have thought of and it would make a good part into a great part.

BTTM: How did the chance to work with Casey come about?
Joe: Alfred managed to book an Acoustic show at 10th Street Live in Kenilworth, NJ with Casey and us both on the bill. We talked a lot that night with Casey and were able to stay in contact with him. Going out on a limb, Alfred asked him and he said he was totally down to do it. 

BTTM: How long did it take to record the album?
Joe: It took about a month to record the record.

BTTM: What’s the song that you’re most proud of off of it?
Joe: We worked so hard on this record that every song is something we are proud of.

BTTM: Where will you be going from here? Is there a tour planned?
Joe: We plan to promote the album a lot. We will be booking as many shows as possible and hope to plan a tour in the near future.

 

Keep up with The Elephant in the Room on Facebook and Twitter. Their debut CD The Collective and The Individual is available now!

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Negative Earth Digs Deep Roots in the Universe of Electronic Rock

Right now, industrial techno music is all the rage. While you’re listening to the new acts or reliving some pioneers like Nine Inch Nails, there’s an up-and-coming artist you should be noticing. Negative Earth takes a modern twist to some industrial dark rock. Or, as Trev Kill likes to call it, electronic gravity rock.

“I think that most of today’s genres are a bit inane.  There are so many new classifications out there for music that it gets ridiculous.  I hate to categorize myself into a genre, but to attract the right listeners to my sound I need to label myself somehow. Electronic Gravity Rock is just a more interesting way to describe the sound as being of the Heavy Electronic Rock genre,” he says. “It was kind of a joke at first but it started to grow on me.”

Negative Earth is mostly made up from the efforts of Trev Kill, mixed with producers that he works with on the recordings. “When I began writing songs for Negative Earth, I was the only one to have any part in it.  I would show a few ideas to people from time to time and gain perspective from their opinion on different elements in my sound.  Until I made the move to work with my producer, I was the only one to write the music, lyrics and melodies.  Once my producer (Myron Wegner) and I started tracking the songs, he would start to infuse his vision on some parts that were weak or not yet written.  He was great to work with because he knew when to assist, and when to sit back.  If he did not contribute in the parts that he did, I feel the songs would not be as great as they are in their final state.”

Cut Implant Stitch is one of my favorite songs off of Negative Earth’s EP. There’s enough of an instrumental introduction to let you breathe in the song before Trev Kill’s vocals kick in like a sultry storm above the sea. The drums and guitar work in this song really kick things up a notch and show Negative Earth’s raw talent. Trev’s influences are bleeding through on this number – it has a very strong Trent Renzor vibe (with or without Nine Inch Nails backing him).

But his influences may shock you. While he gives an obvious nod to bands such as Nine Inch Nails, Tool, and Type O Negative, Trev says there were other artists who he grew up listening to. “Growing up I would mostly just listen and play whatever was around the house or whatever people were playing,” he says. “Some of the earliest stuff I remember feeling connected to when I was young were artists like Survivor, Johnny Cash, the Beatles, and Michael Jackson. As I grew older and made music with other players, I then started to broaden my musical intake.”

Ear Seed, the song that Trev feels would best define Negative Earth, feels the most like something that would fit right in with some of the popular industrial-feeling tunes of today. The song is heavy on the beats, almost feeling like there’s a fog surrounding your ears, and the vocals don’t pop through as much as some other tracks. This lends itself to hearing more of the bass lines of the song – both bass guitar and the incessant drum beating. “The lyrical content creates a portal that leads directly into the battle grounds of my head.  Seems to be the thing that’s anchoring, and it’s the same thing itself that levitates me. This is what Negative Earth is.  An inner conflict that resides inside.”

Gloomy Sunday has a great backing rhythm to the harder sounds that take first approach. The song left me nodding along the entire way through, feeling a connection with the track.

“When I hear certain songs or sounds, I feel a vibration within.  I want to achieve this with other beings.  My lyrics may be abstract and distant from true definition, but since perception is diverse, one song can effect everyone differently,” Trev says.

Slither exhales so much strength that you almost feel transported into another dimension. The sounds to start off are so intriguing, it has you turning up the volume little by little to get closer to the beats. The next verse kicks in and comes out at you, making you almost feel like the music is acting out the song’s title. Between the beat of this song and the slow back and forth progression between verses in this song, this would be greatly suited for a film.

“At a young age I was introduced to music by my parents who both played in a band.  I remember having the most interest in drums.  I would steal my mother’s wooden spoons to beat on various objects until I learned a few simple beats to practice.  At the age of 15 I began to learn guitar from my father.  He and I would play old songs together that he would teach me. After playing in different bands with other local musicians, I acknowledged that the only way I could achieve my vision musically was to start a solo project. At the age of 25 I moved to a new city, began working with a producer and started tracking my songs in the studio. The whole recording process was much more than just creating structure with sound, it was a learning experience in producing my own music. This is when Negative Earth began and started to evolve.”

Looking ahead on the year, Negative Earth has some exciting things coming up. “A music video for the song Slither is in the final stages of being completed.  It was filmed in the middle of last winter and early this year.  I will not disclose too much information about it as of yet, but for updates on its release visit the official Negative Earth website.  As for other plans, there are a lot of new events surrounding Negative Earth with new information being posted on Twitter and Facebook.

If you want to connect with Negative Earth for more information or updates, you can do so on Twitter here and on Facebook here. To listen to tracks from the upcoming EP, visit the official website here.

Going back to the music with Trev Kill

What’s the top played song/album on your personal iTunes?

Songs that I would wear out if they were on cassette!

Man in the box – Alice in Chains
Bleed – Meshuggah
Angel – Massive Attack
Revenge (some get back) – Necro
Lateralus – Tool
Just So You Know – American Head Charge
Throat full of Glass – Combichrist
the Real Thing – Faith No More
Shake Hands with Beef – Primus
Selling Jesus – Skunk Anansie
Deception – Tesseract
Firestarter – the Prodigy

Too many to list to complete this question.

What’s the strangest thing on your personal iTunes or the thing your band mates would be surprised to see on there?

Oh wow.  Do I really have to admit to this?  I would honestly say that people might most be surprised to see material from artists like Prince, Michael Jackson, the Ohio Players, Spooky Ruben, and !!! (chk chk chk).

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Simply Undrea: Harmony EP

I have something special for you guys tonight – an exclusive from Simply Undrea. Her first album, Harmony EP will be released Wednesday, July 11, and you’ll be reading about it here first.

Simply Undrea, a solo R&B/Pop/Acapella act, has compiled an EP of five cover songs. Her music career began in high school without her conscious knowledge and has all accumulated to the release of this EP. Some of her inspirations include Jill Scott, Maxwell, Nobuo Uematsu, and Utada Hikaru. “I have a lot of inspirations musically, but I can always turn to their music – classic or current, – and get something different out of it every time I listen to any one of their songs. I think that what’s great about certain artists, their music is timeless,” Undrea says.

The EP kicks off with Blue Skies, a short but effective start to the album. It warms you up and makes you excited for what is yet to come in the four songs that follow.

Continuing with Late Night Driving, Undrea reveals sultry vocals that are unlike anything being played on the airwaves today. Her voice has a deep quality that contests the higher pitched female artists that comprise the majority of the front running of the music industry today. This vocal tone keeps her fresh and makes her voice memorable. I keep trying to think of someone to relate her vocals to and I really cannot. She has the tone and reach of Amy Lee, but in a different way. Maybe she’s a combination of Amy Lee and Melanie Fiona. That’s as close as I can get it for you guys.

Late Night Driving is the song off this EP that Undrea feels best represents her as an artist. “I feel that “Late Night Driving” captures where I am currently as an artist. When I was fresh out of high school, I did more urban records. But now, I’ve had time to grow and to find my sound. Doing this EP was a challenge and it forced me out of my comfort zone because its a totally different genre then some of my earlier work.”

Alien comes up next, bringing with it soft piano sounds and higher notes from Undrea. Proving she’s a talent to be watched, she successfully hits the higher notes while retaining a tone in her vocals that makes her unique sound ever-present. This track is my favorite off the album – the slow, soothing sounds fit so perfectly with her voice. This is something I would put on when I needed to kick back and relax and forget everything that was happening around me.

This Time Tomorrow follows and its sweet guitar notes fill your head as Undrea’s vocals carry you off in the breeze. The slow tracks with not as many musical instruments work with her vocals – allowing them to shine. They’re so powerful that they would take over the music anyway.

This song also happens to be her favorite off the EP. “Hands down, my personal fave is “This Time Tomorrow.” It was one of two songs that I did in one day. I remember clearly – the sun was setting and it was the last take of the day. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and started. When I got past singing the second verse, I realized that I was crying because I was thinking of my Grandfather, and the song really reminded me of him.”

Hazy wraps up the EP, kicking things up just a notch in tempo, showing more diversity in Undrea’s voice and the talent she possesses. This song ends the EP on such a great note – a song still with limited instrumentation, but a bit more up tempo to leave you with a sweet taste lingering in your mouth. “‘Hazy’ was actually the first one that I recorded. I initially heard it while I was watching a scene of the show ‘Dollhouse’ on Netflix. I kept rewinding the scene just to hum along. I couldn’t shake the melancholy feel of it, it stuck with me all day so I knew I had to add my vocals to it,” she says.

For a first EP, Simply Undrea has set a high bar for herself. The song selection was carefully managed and suits her vocals perfectly. The EP flows from one song to the next and allows you to really get lost in the music and the vocal work. Undrea’s voice is such a smooth, deep, rich sound that it’s perfect for these things.

Looking beyond the release of her first EP, Undrea already has plans going for the future. “I’ve collaborated with the great non-profit organization “Hold On Another Day” to release a single called “You Are Not Alone (Y.A.N.A)” The song touches on bullying and it has an uplifting message to those who have been affected. I also want to start the writing process for some original songs for my album.”

You can find Undrea on Facebook. Her EP drops this Wednesday, July 11! With her exclusive release with Back to the Music, she has also set up a link for readers to check out her tunes. Visit her BandCamp site to stream the tracks.

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The Seasonal Affair In Defense of Their Genre

I usually like to weave interviews into an article – or usually on the blog, into a review – but this band’s interview is too great to cut and paste and leave you guys missing something. Therefore, please refer to my review in the previous post for some of my words on these dudes, and see below for their own words. Check after the interview for where to find them around the web – and where you can get their EP for free.

What brought you together as a band?

Andy: We’ve all been in other touring acts in the NC area, and Matt, Ashkon and I’s band (Aloretta) actually went on a tour with Sean’s old band back a couple years. TSA started as a music project between me, Matt and Ashkon and I think having that time to have gotten to know each other as musicians on tour, we all felt like seen would be been the best fit for us vocally and attitude wise.

You guys only formed in 2011, yet the entire time I was listening to your EP, I found myself turning up the volume more and more. What do you think you all have that sets you apart?

Andy – I think what sets us apart is the fact that we’re not overly focused on making a “career” out of music. Don’t get us wrong, we wear our feet raw promoting, love shows and love playing music together, but that’s all we really focus on right now. We’re not worried about making money, or impressing anybody; at this point in our music careers we’re focused on enjoying the ride, and we hope you’ll take it with us.

Who were some of your earliest musical influences?

Andy: Some of my earliest musical influences were Sum 41, New Found Glory and of course, Blink.

Ashkon: Some of my earliest influences were Incubus and LostProphets.

Matt: Well my earliest musical influences are of course Blink 182, New Found Glory and Greenday (but only the Dookie album)

Sean: Early influences would be Blink182, Green Day, and Simple Plan… Yeah, I said Simple Plan.

Why isn’t pop-punk dead?

Andy: Pop-Punk isn’t dead, it’s only getting more personal. Things like, the current state of the economy, the ever-increasing amount of pop/pop-punk bands and even pirating have a negative effect on some of us, but this dilemma gives rise to a certain kind of cultured, “hard-to-kill” mentality for certain acts. Bands such as The Wonder Years, Lions Lions and Hit The Lights, to name a few, combat this hard reality and are able to convey a certain kind of honesty and integrity in their music as a result. We think that this is what separates the boys from the men in our genera.

If you aren’t out to reinvent the game, what are you out to do?

Andy: We’re out to play the kind of music we enjoy, with the friends and fans we enjoy. Life is too short to worry about sticking to a genre, or trying to be “different” because someone says you should. We’re becoming more and more musically comfortable with each other every day, and we’re more focused on seeing where our minds take us and what we can create together, than worrying about living up to someone’s false expectations of what shelf our music should sit on.

What made you decide to release your EP for free? What impact has this had for you as a band?

Andy: There were a number of factors that made us decide to release our first album for free. We were inspired by artists such as Pretty Lights, whose music is free, as he is more focused on the creation of the music and the enjoyment of it by those who listen to it. That really struck a chord with us; it was really the way we wanted to introduce ourselves as a band. No dollar gimmick, we made the album for all of you and if we can enjoy it together then we’ve accomplished something awesome.

What’s your personal favorite song off the Home Stretch EP and why?

Andy: My favorite song off of Home Stretch has to be disaster. It was a song that lyrically, really translated the aggressive personalities of the instruments.

Ashkon : My favorite song off the EP is Disaster because we’re slaying whack ass bands that are selling everybody some bullshit gimmick making people think that the music they write is honest when it’s really just some corny, rainbow way for them to try to get some girls and make a lil’ money.

Matt: My personal favorite song on the EP is Crawl, only cause’ it’s the most fun to play live since it’s a no brainer on drums; but it’s still very catchy.

Sean: I love playing Follow Through live. It’s the first song in the set and it always gets me really jazzed up. I also ALWAYS fuck up the song and I love looking at Andy, Ashkon, and Matt’s face when I fuck it up. Priceless every time.

How important is it to you all to have such a hands-on interaction with your recordings?

Andy: It’s very important to our creative agenda that we have such a hands-on interaction with our material. Having the ability to return to a finished song over the course of weeks, maybe even months is crucial to our writing process. If something doesn’t sound right, or maybe we think something needs to be added, we go back and experiment. It’s kind of like a really long drawn out pre- production process, that finally ends when were comfortable with how the song sounds, which is rare now-a-days, in a world where you’re usually limited by your budget with an album.

The album flows together really well – the transitions are seamless. Was that a conscious decision or did it just materialize?

Andy: This album composition has been my brainchild since we started recording it. From the very beginning I knew I wanted the record to work as one cohesive element. Home Stretch is definitely a “Music Lovers” CD. It’s meant to be listened to from the first track, all the way to the last track. Not to say the songs don’t stand tall in their mix as a “single,” but we spent a lot of time with the smaller things like, song transitions, and really creating a sense of depth. It’s fun to listen to in headphones because you’ll always hear something new.

How do you feel about conceptual albums? Have you written one – or would you ever?

Andy: We think conceptual albums are cool. We love the idea of having one unifying theme throughout the whole album, you really feel like the songs are made for each other. We’ve openly discussed doing small 3 song free-releases, so I can imagine as that evolves, we’ll eventually do one.

What’s your live show like? What’s your favorite part of the live shows?

Andy: Our goal for our lives shows is to present our material in the most accurate way possible in reference to the CD. We see a lot of bands nowadays with spectacular recordings that can’t live up to them live – we think this is ridiculous. Everything you put on your album should be able to be reproduced live, no questions. Understanding, committing and practicing this mindset allows us have a much lighter, and relaxed mentality live. The confidence that comes from relentless practice really allows us to focus on the crowd and our performance, which is no doubt our favorite part of live shows.

What’s next for The Seasonal Affair in 2012?

Andy: Well, that’s a big question. As of right now we are in the midst of pre production for our new album. Once we’re comfortable with the amount of material we’ve produced, we’ll pick a couple songs and move forward with them. Though the pre-production will be all done by me, we will be branching out for our first time and tracking a couple songs with our good friend Drew Fulk at Think Sound Studios and will be bringing in Wil Andrews of the band Farewell (Epitaph) to help produce. We’ve got a couple other big things under wraps that we can’t openly discuss as of right now, but to conclude: we’re really stoked on the future, and can’t wait to mature among many great bands.

If you could make sure everyone knew one thing about your band, what would that be?

Andy: It would definitely be that we’re drama-free. We’re all best friends, and we treat everyone else like we know them. We’re not focused on doing what other people think we should do. To quote some new material you’ll be seeing in the future – “If you can hear my voice we’re relating.” It’s really how we think. We know where our road is going and everyone’s welcome to jump on for the ride.

What’s the top played song/album on your personal iTunes?

Andy: Well, my Mac just died, so I had to get a new one, which means I have basically no music. But if we’re being completely honest: “lying from you” by linking park is my most played right now. Don’t hate!

Ashkon: The top played song on my iTunes is Sippin on Some Sizzurp by Three 6 Mafia.

Matt: The top played song on my iTunes is Dumpweed, by Blink 182 and after that it’s Worst Song Ever, by Go Crash Audio.

Sean: The song that is the most played on my iTunes is Breath In by Hit The Lights. It’s an amazing song that gets me hyped up before shows and I usually will do vocal warm ups to it.

What’s the strangest thing on your personal iTunes or the thing your band mates would be surprised to see on there?

Andy: Yeah, it would definitely be the fact that the only stuff I have on my iTunes, aside from our pre production, is Linkin Park.

Ashkon: I don’t know that anything on my iTunes would surprise the homies in this band. They know all I listen to is Metal and Rap.

Matt: On my iTunes I listen to just about everything, but the strangest bands on my iTunes that the guys don’t know about is probably Ace of Base and New Kids on the Block; like, old school pop from the 90’s.

Sean: I’m usually pretty open about what’s on my iTunes, but I recently added One Direction to my library and I’ve kind of kept that on the hush hush. Those little dudes can sing!

What song would you most like to cover? What would you do differently with the track?

Andy: This is an interesting question, because we’re currently trying to find a song we can all agree on to cover. I personally would love to overhaul a good country song. They always have really bomb vocal hooks.

Ashkon: I wanna cover Nutz on ya Chin by Eazy-E.

Matt: I really don’t know of a song that I’d like to cover, but I definitely want it to be fun, upbeat one.

Sean: I would really like to cover Blink-182: Whats My Age Again. Only because I don’t think anyone has ever covered that song EVER.  Or When I Come Around by Green Day.  I’m cool with either.

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Hit these guys up around the web: Facebook, Twitter, official site. Be sure to check out my review of their Home Stretch EP in the last post and get it for yourself over on their Facebook. Huge thanks to them for the awesome interview and the great tunes!

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The First Impression Impresses on First EP

Beginning as a band as early as 2009, The First Impression didn’t get serious with their musical career until 2011. The Port Huron, Michigan, based pop-rock band recently released their first album, an EP by the name of Aimless Affection.

The EP kicks off with Memory of You, something that is reminiscent of the older pop-punk scene – think the likes of Senses Fail. The guitar is pleasantly making its presence known, backing soft vocals and drums. The vocals sound like something that would be heard around the Warped Tour 2004 or 2005 lineup. This song also happens to be Bieth’s favorite off the EP. “It defines us because the song is so full of energy and has that plausible alternative pop sound to it that you can’t all but help sing along and bop your head to the beat,” says lead singer and guitarist Tyler Bieth.

Killer Heart, their current single (available on iTunes right now), starts off slowly, but soon comes into its own when the chorus hits home. The sounds remind me of something of times past, which is particularly peculiar but the majority of this band is still in high school. “Being in high school while maintaining a band is a lot more hard work than most may think. We have to focus on our grades while at the same time focus on practicing and writing new music,” Bieth says.

The First Impression plans on making more extensive touring plans when they all complete their high school diplomas, but that doesn’t stop them from enjoying the shows now. “We can all agree that live shows are the best part about being in a band. The surprise and appreciation crowds have for us because of our talent is unsurpassable. It really boosts all of our confidence and drives us to look for more gigs to play at,” says Bieth. “Our favorite part about it is seeing all of the familiar faces of our friends and family that go so far out of their way to make it to all of our shows to give support and encouragement while we play”

Nothing to Say is undoubtedly my personal favorite song off the EP. The song as a whole reminds me of the pop punk genre that I’m so in love with, and between the great guitar work and the lyrics, it’s a home run. Bieth says that The All-American Rejects, Mayday Parade, The Maine, and Boys Like Girls are some of their biggest influences, and I can hear hints of a couple of those bands in this song in particular.

The band hopes to finish writing and record a new album this year. “We have already begun on the writing process and have about a good seven to eight song ideas and about five of them are fully or almost completely finished and ready to record and edit.” They’re also wrapped up in some Warped Tour excitement. “We’re in a competition to play at Warped Tour 2012 against 300 other bands in the area for the Detroit, Michigan venue. This would give us tremendous publicity if we could play here and all of our usual fan base have promised us that they would join us to come watch us play.” (If you’d like to see them play, head over here to vote!)

And what does the future hold for The First Impression? “We hope to get signed to a record label by the time everyone is out of high school so the label can better manage and promote our band to the public. All of us want nothing more in this life than to have a career making music. We don’t write music for the money or credit, but because we love it and it is our passion. Music is why we live and what we want to do for most of our lifetime.”

If you want to check these guys out, you can do so on their Facebook, Twitter, and official website. You can also check their Aimless Affection EP out on Spotify! I would recommend having a listen to Nothing to Say and going from there.

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My Lost Remedy collides with Rock Music

Some bands cannot escape comparisons, and that’s not always a bad thing. When a small band is compared to a band you have respect for, you’re going to take notice, aren’t you? I know I always do. When I saw that My Lost Remedy had been compared to Muse, a band I both enjoy and am always in awe of, I had no hesitation about checking them out. In addition to taking a listen to their album Unstable Forms of Interpretation, I got to have a chat with Matt Trentadue, who does vocals and guitar in the band.

“The band was formed by lead guitarist and vocalist Matt and drummer Anthony, who had played together in a previous band since 2006.  Our bassist, Nectaria, was introduced to MLR through the band’s former bassist Thomas, Matt’s cousin. It was evident from our first rehearsal that there was a great dynamic, both musically and personally,” Trentadue says.

My Lost Remedy open the album in the way that someone would ease you into a cave with a slow, tight fit at first, but then opening into a more expansive area. Azalea is a slow, mellow track that shows the band’s musical connection. The drums may steal the spotlight on this track, but the guitars aren’t far behind.

Come Out Tonight not only is one of the strongest tracks on the album, but the track that I sense the most blaring throwback to Depeche Mode, one of the band’s influences. The song is grittier while remaining the pace of a slow, creeping crawl. The way the guitars blow up the song in the middle is magical.

Diagonal is my favorite track on the album. The guitars layer over each other in such a title-appropriate way that it’s hard to not get into the beat of the song. Every time the chorus bursts in this song, I can’t resist dancing.

When I first read up on the band, I read some comparisons, especially vocally, to Muse. They Will Dismantle the Truth actually reminds me of Muse both vocally and musically. Trentadue sounds so much like Matt Bellamy in this track that it’s hard to miss and the long, epic guitars remind me of a live Muse performance.

“To begin with, it’s an honor to be compared to any band that has been successful musically.  There isn’t any particular band that we would specifically like to be compared to being that we aren’t trying to emulate them.  Our band influences include bands like The Beatles, U2, Radiohead, Pink Floyd and Depeche Mode,” says Trentadue

Run, the band’s current single, is the first song I heard by them and is a great introduction to the band as a whole. It has varying tempos, interesting musical shifts, and great lyrics. Matt’s vocals are allowed to shine on this track more than any of the others. There are no restraints, so let’s run far away.

“The strongest element to our band is our chemistry.  Each member of the band has a major importance to our sound.  From Anthony’s drum parts and unique feel along with Nectaria’s bass grooves, layered with the emotional vocals and driving guitar sounds.”

The album wraps up with what is the musically heaviest track on the album. Why You’ve Gone is loaded with guitars, featuring some pretty great bass lines that refuse to be in the background.

“The dynamics and writing set us apart.  We have a technical, sometimes experimental rock sound but with a mix of more melancholy songs.  Our live shows add a lot of atmospheric vibes and interactions,” he says.

The album felt like a progression of just getting your toe wet in the water to full on cannon-balling. This is a band to keep an eye on if you’re into downright rock music. They’re not trying any gimmicks – just trying to play straightforward rock and roll.

You can catch the band on their Facebook, Twitter, and official site. And what’s even better? You can stream Unstable Forms of Interpretation on Spotify! Just search “My Lost Remedy.”

The band has plans to tour in 2012, film some videos, and get back to the studio later in the year, so keep an eye on them!

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Tommy & the Tangerines Squeeze Colorado with Whimsical Tunes

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.

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