Thursday, August 4, 2005
Daphne Loves Derby, Sherwood, This Providence, Midnight Aria & Dead Reckless
The Backbooth, Orlando, FL
Shows that are good from start to finish are few and far between. Thankfully, the Backbooth is a venue where this phenomenon can often be experienced, and Thursday, August 4th was one of the few occurrences I have witnessed.
Apologies to Dead Reckless…you went on first, and I’m sure your set was quite good, but I got lost in downtown Orlando looking for parking and missed it. So, in reading this review, don’t think I neglected to comment on your music. I look forward to catching your show next time.
The first band that I caught was Midnight Aria, an indie rock band from Ocala, FL. Until twelve hours before the show, I had not heard of them, and wasn’t aware they were playing the show. I checked out their MySpace page (http://www.myspace.com/midnightaria) and liked what I heard, so I was looking forward to seeing their set. Unfortunately, I missed the first ten minutes of their set (again, because I got lost) but what I did see was impressive. I was quickly won over by their infectious hooks and intensity. They had a good rapport with the audience, getting them to clap their hands and sing along without being asked to clap. This is definitely a band I look forward to seeing again.
Next up was This Providence, an emo/indie rock band from the Seattle, WA area. They sounded like a poppier version of Moneen. Their set was really strong from start to finish. Their singer definitely had the whole sensitive-but-uncomfortable-in-my-own-skin vibe going on, which was very cool, and it appeared that the words he was singing were coming straight from the heart. They offered the audience only small bursts of energy, but a great deal of passion. Their set and their music were very enjoyable- I will be looking for them to return to the Orlando area in the future.
Sherwood, a poppy indie-rock band from California, was up third and they really tore up the stage. They were beyond energetic and had great enthusiasm for the show. They opened things up with a really cool version of “Do You Wanna Dance” before launching into their own music with great gusto. Every minute of their set was captivating because they were so into it, as were their fans. Their keyboardist was great; he was jumping all over the place, running around, singing, and never missed a beat on the music. The interaction with the crowd was phenomenal. They, too, won me over, and just like the first two bands, and I will be anxiously awaiting their next show.
Finally, Daphne Loves Derby went on stage. Anybody who doesn’t know who this band is needs to check them out right away, either through MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/daphnelovesderby) or PureVolume (http://www.purevolume.com/daphnelovesderby). Indie rock doesn’t get any better than this. There were a great deal of people in the crowd who were very into them, singing along (especially when they played their current video, “Hammers and Hearts”). There was a great deal of emotion and intensity put into their set, making it a very moving experience from start to finish. They kept the audience engaged, even when vocalist Kenny Choi was on stage solo with his acoustic guitar. The keyboardist from Sherwood joined them for a couple of songs, again adding in some of the vigor and enthusiasm from the earlier act. Daphne Loves Derby is not an act to be missed, and I urge anyone who is looking to see some good, talented musicians who put on a really tight show to check them out.
Interview: Fighting Courtney
Fighting Courtney is a young band that has already gained a strong fan base in an extremely musical area without having released any music at all. Their experience with past bands and great local musicians has quickly made them a local favorite among all ages. High expectations have been set for this young band, and seeing them go big in the future will be no shock to any of the locals. An album review can be expected soon. For more on Fighting Courtney, visit http://www.myspace.com/fightingcourtney or http://www.purevolume.com/fightingcourtney. A quick interview with them went as follows:
Independent Clauses.com- How long would you say you guys have been playing music, and how long have you guys been playing together as Fighting Courtney?
Fighting Courtney- Many member changes have taken place, but now we are stable. We’ve probably been since around January, and we all have about 3 years musical experience.
IC- Who is everyone in the band?
FC- Dustin Totten – Vocals, 15 years old
Sam Gomon – Drums, 15 yrs
Ryan Whitney – Guitar, 14 yrs
Trevor Mathews – Guitar, 15 yrs
Derrek Zoelle – Bass/Vocals, 14 yrs
Branden Gast – Synth/Vocals, 15 yrs
IC- You guys are all really young, yet have so much experience. Do you feel any pressure to live up to any standards of older bands?
FC- Yes, very much, like from our local influences Chiodos, The Weakend, and so many more. Most of the locals here have some type of record label or sponsorships, and yet a lot of them are our friends that we play shows with.
IC- It must be difficult to make a name for yourselves growing up in an area like Flint/Detroit given its very large and famous musical past and present. The talent in this area is stunning. What would be your greatest influences thus far as musicians and what keeps you motivated to keep playing?
FC- I know for a fact Dustin’s is Craigery Owens From Chiodos, and Cinematic Sunrise and Andrew Loehr of The Weakend. Trevor is just “out there”. Sam Gomon would probably be Conor Oberst, although Sam plays drums. Derrek would be Black Dahlia Murder, and Ryan would probably be any guitarist from any band he likes. Branden’s is any keyboardist that lives and plays.
IC- Does your music reflect your influences?
FC- We’re not very sure. If you listen to us you would have to see yourself.
IC- What’s one band you sound the most like?
FC- Probably Chiodos, or the Blood Brothers.
IC- So your long-awaited first demo/album is in the process, what can you say about it so far? What will it be called?
FC- It will be a good one indeed. It shall be called “I Hope You Phathom the Taste Of My Bullets”- a song that will be on our EP.
IC- What are your expectations and goals for the band this early on?
FC- Not too much. Hopefully get a record label- no matter from what record label. To try and do something with our lives, because like Dustin, most of us have nothing going for us but music.
IC- Can we expect a lot of live appearences and shows by the band anytime soon?
FC- Somewhere around November 2005, and/or January 2006.
IC- Here’s your turn to give some thank you’s, shout outs, dates, anything you want.
FC- Some thanks to everyone who have supported us, Tony from Independent Clauses for taking his time with us, and whoever wants to take a gander at our music in the near future.
-Interview conducted by Tony Kennedy in the month of August.
A Random Group of Good Songs
Truth in advertising. Enjoy.
Song: Breaking Habits
Bottom Line: If I never heard another indie song, it would be okay.
With “Breaking Habits”, Jude has created indie rock that is intricate, enveloping, personal, and emotional. Add to that some rocking out, and you’ve got the formula for a perfect indie song- which is very nearly what “Breaking Habits” is. The vocals here are stunning- beautiful, fitting, and never off, they pull at the heartstrings even more than the guitars do, which is a challenge in itself. The guitars are melodic, complex, and they have a unique sound. If that wasn’t enough, the harmonies are great, the lyrics are awesome, and when they finally rock out at the end of the song, there’s an intensity in it that cannot be duplicated by the most intense of bands- it’s an emotional intensity that comes from actually believing in the sadness captured in the song. “Breaking Habits” is a near-perfect song, and the fact that Jude isn’t signed and that they don’t even have a CD out is nearly sacrilegious. They must be heard.
Song: Electro Cult
Band: Fingers Crossed
Bottom Line: Tight musicianship propels this band.
Post-punk is built on timing and interactions- which is why Fingers Crossed is so good at what it does. The dark, moody post-punk of “Electro Cult” has the ticking drum beats, whirring guitars, and well-timed odd effects that make post-punk so good. Pair that with a slick set of vocals and a way-reverbed lead guitar lick, and you’ve got a song that you can dance to, or set a movie to, or chill to. It’s multi-talented because Fingers Crossed is so talented at achieving the balance between moodiness, pop sensibility, and enough creativity to sell it effectively. Certainly not the greatest post-punk band to hit the planet, but still very, very good.
Song: Until the End
Band: A Thousand Leagues Below
Bottom Line: A portrait of a growing band.
A Thousand Leagues Below is composed of members of the sadly defunct bands #1 Defender and Slingshot Round the Moon- and while it is sad to see the IC favorites #1 Defender go down, it is comforting to know that they’ve taken their experiences in the Defender and applied them to a new band. To that measure, Thousand Leagues… and #1D sound a lot alike- the delicate guitar sound, the variation of distorted and clean sounds, and meandering song ideas all are here. There are two major differences: the vocalist for A Thousand Leagues Below is much, much better, as his tone fits much better with the music. There are spots that it seems to grate with the music, but those will become less and less as the band writes more and more. The second difference is the fact that “Until the End” has a chorus. #1D never had choruses, and 1000LB pulls it off very nicely here. I’m excited to see what they have to offer in the near future.
Song: Long Stay
Band: In The Sun
Bottom Line: A quirky songwriting vision produces mixed results.
There are about as many stances you can take on In The Sun’s music as there are personalities in the world. Some will see his indie-pop/indie-rock musings as self-indulgent oddities, useless for others’ consumption. Some will see the songwriting but not understand the lyrics, or balk at the odd, sloppy, occasionally robotic voice which projects them. Some will say it’s alright, that in a couple of years and a couple of albums he will have figured out ‘who he is’ musically, learned better production values, and turned out a much better product. I fall somewhere in that group- these mostly acoustic, sloppy, odd, endearing recordings are clearly going somewhere. I’m not sure where it’s going just yet, but In the Sun has a very unique take on songwriting- which is something to be commended in this day and age. Something to check out? Maybe. A name to remember? Definitely.
Song: Prettier in the Dark
Band: Alina Simone
Album: Prettier in the Dark EP
Label: Fractured Discs
Bottom Line: Minimalistic, powerful, and scorned.
Alina Simone controls empty space like the Flaming Lips control lush orchestration- they use it as far as it will go, and then take it a little bit more to see if it will work. They both fall back on an established form to give backbone to the experimentation- the Flaming Lips on weird pop-rock, Alina Simone on a traditional drums/guitar/bass instrumentation. That’s not to compare Simone and the Lips- other than similar songwriting patterns, they have nothing in common. Simone’s forlorn songwriting has more in common with Ani Difranco or Alanis Morrissette than the Lips. But the control over emptiness displays confidence- she’s not afraid to let her smooth, dark vocals and jangly guitar play by themselves. She can carry the song anyway. She does, and the ethereal, smoky song that is put out bleeds with a fiery lyrical sarcasm and sets her apart from other female songwriters.
Song: We Need to Know
Band: Drawn In The Sky
Bottom Line: Eerily like other bands of the genre, but it’s really strong…
Drawn in the Sky is a dead ringer for Mono Vs. Stereo pop-punk band Last Tuesday. I don’t mean bears resemblance. I mean both of Drawn in the Sky’s singers have voices that mimic the voices of Last Tuesday’s dual vocalists. I mean that the songwriting styles are so close that the bands could be interchanged on a CD and no one would be able to tell the two bands apart. I love Last Tuesday, so this is a pretty good thing for me to say- but geez, it’s virtually impossible to tell the two bands apart. They even use the same type of background vocals. It’s as if they commiserated before they wrote songs. Drawn in the Sky has a little bit more mature songwriting in the fact that not every song is straight-up pop-punk like Last Tuesday, but it’s still very close. If you’re up for a tight, melodic power-pop-punk band, check out Drawn in the Sky. If you like them, then you’ll like Last Tuesday, and you’ll get two for one. How’s that deal?