Holy crap it’s been a while since I’ve posted something. Go away for SFU’s first ever Reading Week (a full week!!!), and I come back to have school waiting to put me in a chokehold for schoolwork. Stuff like my current job, applications for future jobs, and school politics (read: election time) don’t exactly help the case either.

In any case, today’s post is about a (relatively) new band on the scene. It’s times like these that I wish that I listened to the radio more often (which if you care to look back is perhaps hypocritical to say on my part, given my views on radio today), as I only came across their first single in February. Their first album, No Name No Colour, dropped in early October of 2010, with the single (presumably) going mainstream not too long after, perhaps adding a bit more time for it to make its way across the border.

The band is a duo, consisting of vocalist/guitarist Zack Lopez and vocalist/drummer Sean Stockham. They’ve had a huge presence in Sacramento, having first being picked up by a local alternative rock radio station, KWOD 106.5, back in 2007. A music director for KWOD received a single of theirs, “New Low,” and had it played by another DJ later that day. The response was huge. It would later go on to become the stations #1 track for the year of 2008 (as decided by an online poll). Independent of all this, the BBC’s Zane Low picked up and played “Busy Bein’ Born” in 2008 as his Single of the Week. In 2009 he debuted another song of theirs, “I Guess You Could Say,” once again to much acclaim.

Their sound reminds me strongly of the alt rock scene in the 90’s, and has me draw the largest comparison to Jane’s Addiction, albeit a more down-tempo one. I gather that mostly from the sort of echo effect applied to most of the vocals throughout the album. Same goes for the chorus harmonies, something for which I am a big sucker for. Better still, both guys share the vocals somewhat equally when soloing, which is always a nice change from just a lead singer. I think you get a better sounding vocal harmony from two different voices as well, rather than from what you get by overlaying several tracks from one singer to get the same effect (here’s looking at you, Freddie Mercury).

The other comparison comes from the guitars, and has me drawing some to Filter and Rage Against the Machine. While the guitar isn’t quite as technical as Tom Morello’s playing, some of the songs carry that Rage-esque feel to it, that sort of heavy chord strumming like from “Bulls on Parade.” It just makes you want to jump all over the place. This comes most prevalently from an album track, “Thought I Was”, but also pops up on tracks like “Busy Bein’ Born” and the bluesy-feeling “I Guess You Could Say.” Could be why they’re so popular.

Of course, I can’t forget the first track that hooked me, “Brand New Low.” Simple, yet so insanely good. And catchy. One of those tunes where it just clicks, and all you can say is “Yeahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!” The whole album is good though, worthwhile to buy for sure. But first, take a listen for yourself. And for what I don’t post, browse around on youtube for the rest. Chances are if you like any of the songs below, you’ll love the album in its entirety.

Brand New Low (Official Video). Quite well done if you ask me.

Thought I Was

I Guess You Could Say