Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

New Grenada-Modern Problems

June 1, 2006

newgrenadaBand: New Grenada

Album Name: Modern Problems

Best Element: Great Variation of Songs and Perfect Production.

Genre: Indie Rock

Website: www.newgrenada,com

Label: Contraphonic

Band E-mail: info@newgrenada.com

I couldn’t wait to pop the well-constructed digipack entitled [url”>Modern Problems by the Detroit 4-piece New Grenada in my player when I received it. Throughout the booklet there are 11 retro diagrams (or Figures) which each represent a ‘Modern Problem’, like police brutality, prostitution, and acid reflux disease. Needless to say, I was intrigued by the initial packaging. Luckily New Grenada did not forget that it is what is on the inside that counts, and from a musical perspective the CD is even more impressive then its housing.

From opener “Emergency Brigade” I immediately noticed that this was not just another indie-rock band. The opening track begins with the rhythmic styles of the bass and drums, with organ-sounding keys soon following. This really sets a unique tone within the opening seconds. Catchy and aggressive vocal work joins next. Some subtle guitar work completes the flavorful blend of unique indie-rock, which even offers a sing-a-long chorus to boot!

I love a band which has variation and New Grenada definitely mixes it up. By the time “Parting Shots” comes on (track 3), you clearly have no idea what to expect next. The angst-filled voice of bass player Nicole Allie cuts through the sound like a knife with her bold, thought-provoking lyrics and intense vocal delivery. Her bass work is also more than admirable and sounds incredible in the mix. I love hearing a bass in rock music which has such a dominant sound. Truth is, everyone in this band is more than proficient… John Nelson and Shawn Knight contribute the male vocals and guitar duties. Their lead and back up vocal work is fantastic, especially when fused with the feminine voice of Nicole. Knight also contributes the keyboard work, which adds another dimension to their sound and really helps give the band an edge on the competition. Last and certainly not least is Dave Melkonian, the man behind the kit. Dave can play both a simple backdrop and more eclectic drumming styles, often trading them one moment to the next; this makes him a more than capable skinsman. The recording of Steve Albini is the cherry on top! His legendary engineering is more than apparent on this disc- it is crisp and clear and heard throughout the album… each instrument is perfectly blended in the overall mix and really makes this great CD even more entertaining.

I won’t bother detailing a full play-by-play of the tracks but there are a few more standout tracks I should mention. The socially conscious “Chumps” is marriage of indie and punk rock which can’t help but get your foot tapping and you singing along. The progressive style of “Episodes” is a well-crafted alternative rock song.

New Grenada is the kind of band that you can’t help but appreciate. Their music is simplistically catchy and entertaining, yet it has an abundance of complexity in its depth. The CD will make waves when it hits stores on June 13th…if you’re a fan of Indie Rock you can’t afford to miss this.

-Josh Hogan

josh@orchidscurse.com

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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