December 01, 2002

ROCK AND ROLL: CLASS OF 2002 - PAGE 3


PETE YORN


Although Pete Yorn is a newcomer to the music scene, his debut release musicforthemorningafter, contains the artistic ease and lyrical maturity of musicians with many more years under their belt. His combination of acoustic guitar, smooth vocals and instantly hummable melodies work together to create radio-worthy songs without compromising a unique creative sound. Yorn combines cynical lyrics with positive vibes giving way to songs that are sweetly regretful yet strongly catchy. Growing up in New Jersey, Yorn began listening to bands which would later shape his sound (The Replacements and The Smiths to name a few) and taught himself to play the drums and guitar by the age of 12. He started writing his own music by the end of high school and after graduating from Syracuse, Yorn moved to Los Angeles to pursue a music career. Attracting a large following while in L.A., a producer for the Farrelly brothers (Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin and There's Something About Mary) heard him and became so impressed he asked Yorn to compose the score for their new film Me, Myself and Irene. He was soon signed to Columbia Records and began work on musicforthemorningafter, playing most of the instruments himself. His debut release generated rave reviews, sold out shows and devoted fans now eagerly anticipating more music from this successful and innovative artist.

- NINA WITT

 



PETE YORN

Photo by Danny Cinch

SERAFIN


London-based Serafin are Ben Smith (vocals, guitar), Darryn Harkness (guitar, vocals), Ronnie Growler (drums) and Mike Clark (bass). Serafin combine strong pop sensibilities with a hard edge and blistering live performance. Think Janes Addiction meets Weezer and you've got a good idea of their sound. The four released their debut EP, "Serafin EP 1" between supporting tours with Muse and JJ72 all across England, and they left a lasting impression on an American audience at the 2002 SXSW ASCAP showcase. Serafin was recently signed to Elektra Records. Serafin are PRS members who license their music through ASCAP in the U.S.

 

SERAFIN

LOUDERMILK


Davey Ingersoll (vocals/guitar), Mark Watrous (guitar), Shane Middleton (bass), and Isaac Carpenter (drums) are the architects of the heavy rock of Loudermilk. During their formative years in the mid 90's, both the grunge scene in nearby Seattle and the music of Motley Crue and Guns N' Roses had equal impacts on their evolution. In fact, while in high school they formed a G n' R cover band called .22's and Tulips. In 1998, Loudermilk released an independent demo Man With Gun Kills 3, which was picked up by American Recordings, who sent them out on the road opening for Mötley Crüe and Megadeth. Giving the band their first taste of the fickle music biz, American dropped them without putting out their debut album. Undaunted, Loudermilk continued to write and tour. The band performed at ASCAP's SXSW showcase this year. Earning the respect of DreamWorks, the label signed them and released their debut, The Red Record, in spring of 2002.

- KAREN CORREA

 

LOUDERMILK

FISCHERSPOONER


Known equally for their notoriously flashy theatrical live performances and their catchy pop songwriting, Fischerspooner is universally acknowledged as an act that has managed to bring something raw and new to the international techno-pop stage. Devoted to technology and colorful spectacle, the collective of artists, dancers and actors give unforgiving performances that are hard to describe but easy to enjoy. They create an opulent world where soulful vocals spiral out over old analog synths and drum beats, brazenly pushing forward and testing boundaries. Fischerspooner laid the rails for electroclash but wasted no time in getting onboard and building more down the line. Their debut album, #1, spawned the hit "Emerge" and spent several weeks on Amazon UK's Hot 100 list of top sellers. Following their recent deal signing with Capitol/EMI Records, Fischerspooner's unpredictable and lavish brand of electro-art shows no signs of stopping.

- KAREN CORREA

 

FISCHERSPOONER

VENUS HUM


Sprouting from an informal basement jam between friends Tony Miracle (keyboards, electronics), Annette Strean (vocals) and Kip Kubin (keyboards, electronics), the English trio Venus Hum was named after a benign medical condition in which Mr. Miracle hears the pulsing of his jugular vein. The name is a good metaphor for their brand of soft, hypnotically-droning electronica complimented by Strean's smooth, sensual voice and ethereal melodies. Eager to give credit to their diverse influences, they describe their aesthetic as a blend of master songwriters and electronic innovators like Burt Bacharach, Kraftwerk, Thomas Dolby and Orbital. They have recently produced a self released eponymous debut, and they are expanding their palette by adding more synths, moogs and digital effects to spice up their groove-centered garage parties.

 

VENUS HUM

HOOBASTANK


Vocalist Doug Robb, guitarist Dan Estrin, bassist Markku and drummer Chris Hesse came together to form Hoobastank after competing against each other in a high school battle of the bands. Coming together at a time when rap-rock and nu-metal were new and wildly popular trends, Hoobastank made every effort to be different and original. In 1998, Hoobastank went worldwide with their self-released first album, They Sure Don't Make Basketball Shorts Like They Used To, which sold well at shows and local retailers. The album's stylistic touchstones - sharp wordplay, soaring climaxes and a raw, overriding energy - showcases the quartet's mercurial talents and establishes them as a band with a sound and vision all their own. Indeed, the debut album sold extremely well online, boding well for the future growth of Hoobastank and expanding the band's fan base to places as far away as England, Israel, Russia and Brazil.

 

HOOBASTANK

Photo by Marina Chavez

S.T.U.N.


From the opening notes of S.T.U.N.'s Evolution of Energy, their potent Geffen Records debut album, it is clear that this Los Angeles band has a mission to storm the barricades of complacency. "You have to be brave," says guitarist Neil Spies, whose solid guitar work and instantly anthemic original songs anchor the band's sound. "There's always someone ready to tell you what you can't do. We're here to prove what can be done. Our music is all about awareness, intensity and entertainment - it's about activism in all its forms. We have the greatest respect for music made by people who faced adversity for the truth. Now it's our turn." The twelve original songs on the album draw upon influences ranging from The Who and The Pixies to Nirvana. S.T.U.N. (short for "Scream Toward the Uprising of Nonconformity") also pick up where vintage punk left off, injecting their music with an innovative yet accessible pop sensibility built on rock solid riffs, soaring melodies and a lyrical call to arms.

S.T.U.N.