Friday, January 30, 2009
Band of the Week: Winston Audio (+record review)
I love indie rock as much as the next guy. Come on, we all love to love bands that nobody knows about except for our little elite group of music fanatics, swapping Beirut EPs and exchanging stories about seeing Spoon live. It’s a fun little club, it always has been.
But when did indie music become synonymous with bands-who-put-out-such-strange-music-that-should-come-off-as-artsy-but-just-ends-up-sounding-bland? Fleet Foxes anyone?
What ever happened to good bands that are indie and rock hard?
Or even mainstream bands that rock hard?
Kings of Leon have gone U2 on everyone’s ass. Foo Fighters are rumoured to have called it quits. What about fucking Audioslave? They disbanded back in 2007. But fear not friends. The glorious hard rock that defined these bands has not been in vain.
Enter Winston Audio.
“Don't you know I'm not a martyr but you're making me bleed?
Is this all you ever needed, is this all you'll ever want?”
The Atlanta based band has a lead singer who sounds unmistakably like Chris Cornell, only better.
They’ve been around since 2003, but their current lineup (Daniel Dewitt, Dan Gleason, Zach Brown and Michael Adkins) formed in 2006. They released their first EP (Come on, Hibernate) in July of that year.
The guitar licks will get stuck in your head. I first listened to The Red Rhythm at night (twice through), then I went to bed. The next morning I was REALLY angry that I didn’t put the songs on my mp3 player because I had such an urge to listen to the entire record again and again and again. And that’s precisely what I’ve been doing ever since.
The mark of the majority of my favourite albums is that they get better with each listen. (If I'm going to be completely honest, I'm liking The Time of the Assassins less each time I listen to it.) When I first listened to The Red Rhythm, I thought it was good, but fairly unoriginal. The more I got into it, I couldn’t separate myself from the genius lyrics of “Devil’s Bed”, the soaring (and delightfully unexpected) trumpet in “Hey Ann”, and the speed-of-light cadence in “Smoke Signal” that makes it sound like those rare good bands on Warped Tour, not just the Rise Against clones.
“Keeping It Down” has background vocals that are remarkably similar to Anthony Kiedis (of RHCP duh), which makes me wonder why that guy didn’t do more vocals on the record.
This album might sound familiar, but at this point, musical overlap is bound to occur. Everything has already been done. Well, for the most part. I swear I’ve heard the bridge in “Devil’s Bed” before in a Fall Out Boy song (“Fame < Infamy” I think) but I really doubt these guys listen to Fall out Boy. Boys will be boys, music will be music, you might as well get an ass-kicking experience out of it.
The song “Action/Reaction” sums it up best: “If you push, we'll push back/violence is the only way we react.” The music here is oozing with restlessness about the state of music right now, so Winston Audio have retaliated with a brilliant debut LP featuring 10 proper rock songs and a final slow ballad, “Troubles,” which isn’t quite their forte, but I do respect them for dabbling in a different sound. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful song, but I’d much rather listen to “All This Time.”
In case you're incredibly dense, I'll state it outright: I fucking love this record. I need you to check out the following mp3s and buy the album in two weeks. Let's make Winston Audio the next big thing. Their music is already there, all they need now is a devoted fan base.
Winston Audio - On My Trail [mp3, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!]
start with this one. great opener. you may just have met your new favourite band.
Winston Audio - Smoke Signal [mp3]
this one makes me nostalgic for summer rock festivals and The Whigs. the drums and bass are wicked, and the guitars kick in full blast about a minute in.
Winston Audio - All This Time [mp3]
this one reminds me of Audrye Sessions, another favourite band of mine.
The Red Rhythm drops on February 10th, look for it at your local record shop.
Visit the band on MYSPACE.
And you lucky folks living in the South (Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, and Mississippi) get some live shows!
Feb 7 The Smoking Moose - 21+ w. The Bridges, DOTW, Ponderosa Oxford, Alabama
Feb 9 Caledonia Lounge w/ Death On Two Wheels Athens, Georgia
Feb 13 The Drunken Unicorn - THE RED RHYTHM ALBUM RELEASE SHOW w/ O’Brother & The Weeks Atlanta, Georgia
Feb 15 New Brookland Tavern w/ Marry a Thief & the Devil and the Lion & Kill Anties West Columbia, South Carolina
Feb 16 Tin Roof w/ Marry a Thief Charleston, South Carolina
Feb 17 Hummingbird Macon, Georgia
Feb 18 Alabama Music Box Mobile, Alabama
Feb 19 Sluggo’s Pensacola, Florida
Feb 20 Coasters w/ These Words Are Water Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Feb 21 Swell-O-Venue w/ The Weeks Jackson, Mississippi
Feb 22 Nick Birmingham, Alabama
Mar 4 Bread Coffehouse - FREE SHOW Atlanta, Georgia
Apr 4 K Street Tullahoma, Tennessee