The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band
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Rock the Vote: The Grizzly Atoms Reform Amid Political Turmoil

Breaking up is hard to do, but getting back together is even harder. After two years of hibernation, Orlando garage trio The Grizzly Atoms made the decision to reunite, start playing live again, and release a four-song EP of previously recorded material dubbed Witness. Those songs see the light of day this Friday at Spacebar, where the EP will be paired with cheatsheet covering the issues being voted on this November. See, the Grizzlies cite this election’s political climate as inspiration to reform. I spoke with Nik Sidella (vocals/guitar), Terran Fernandez (bass/backing vocals), and Nick Roe (drums) about all this and more over a bowl of Willie Nelson, a strain curated by the man himself. Enjoy.

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band

TVW: You guys were praising me in [the practice room] and I really appreciate that, but I wanted to thank you guys because you The Grizzly Atoms was one of the first shows I saw when I moved to Orlando. It had to have been like four or five years ago, but I saw you at Uncle Lou’s and you had just released an album.

Nick Roe: I know what show you’re talking about. It was one of the first or second Lou’s shows we ever played, right after we released the album. The last time we played Lou’s was one of our last shows with [Room Full Of Strangers], but before that it had been like a year-and-a-half.

TVW: Do you remember who else played that show?

NR: (After we all fumbled about trying to remember) Ricin House!

TVW: Yeah, that sounds right.

NR: Ricin House, us, and… one of these other fuckin’ bands. I remember because it was one of the first shows I saw Ricin House. There was a light bulb above him, and he hit the light bulb with his guitar and was it was going back-and-forth. And it looked fucking awesome.

TVW: They had some amazing shows at Lou’s. I remember him taking his guitar off, breaking it, kicking the door open, and running out. That wasn’t that show.

Terran Fernandez: We played that show. We were there. I remember freaking out like “Oh my god, this guy is…” because it wasn’t just like a show thing. He was definitely upset and decided to break his gear. Didn’t Danelectro send him a new guitar because he told him that story?

Nik Sidella: Nice!

TVW: Okay, first question…

[laughs]

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band

TVW: So, why did the band separate in the first place and why did you get back together?

N: We were in the process of ramping stuff up. We had talked about a bunch of stuff we hadn’t thought about before, the marketing side. The night before what became our last show, I got a call from my parents saying that my brother was in the hospital and that he might die. We played the show and then that was a continuous thing for the next three months. After that happened, I straight up told the guys, “Listen, I can’t do this anymore.” Trying to finish school, managing a job, and also trying to play music and get shows, it was a lot of stress.

NR: And there was some stuff with the band, limbo stuff. We had two or three different recordings that were like half-finished. We wanted to play shows, but it’s hard to book in Orlando if you’re not in the scene a lot. And with us being so busy, it was hard to meet people and be active. The strain of being in a band for years, [took its toll]. Taking some time away, as much of a bad thing as it sounds, it’s actually pretty therapeutic in a way.

N: I think after a few years apart, we got everything else figured out and now we’re in a place where we just want to play music and enjoy it again, to be a part of something again. Especially since we’ve seen the scene flourish in the past two years.

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band

TVW: Playing together again, how have the older songs changed?

NR: We kind of like, fine-tuned everything. More vocal melodies, Nik’s soloing has gotten way better; the drums and bass vibe more.

N: We’re just a three-piece, so we have to maximize what we can do. And one thing you can really do with a three-piece is really play with the dynamics a lot. And that is what we tried to bring to the old songs, was focusing on the balance of loud and quiet.

TVW: Does it feel easier?

NR: Oh yeah, I think we can all say it feels better than before. Not having each other just makes us want each other more.

[laughs]

T: It’s definitely a different band, but I’m excited to see what’s happening now.

TVW: Different band, how?

T: Um, just the way we interact. There was a lot of disagreement back then about how to do things in the band. We’ve all come back with different gear and that makes a new sound. Nik has like seven-billion pedal boards. I’m like trying to keep up with him changing his tone so much. But it’s weird playing four-string again. I play six-string bass primary, because I play really technical metal [in my other band]. I can just settle and have fun. But as far as the future goes, I’m really excited to see where the music goes.

NR: I think we should take a four-year hiatus and think about it.

[laughs]

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band

NR: yeah, we haven’t taken the time to write new stuff. We’re really playing our EP release show to release it and we’re going to go from there.

TVW: Is Witness new stuff?

N: This is stuff we recorded two years ago that we were playing live, but nothing we’ve released before. But with what Tarren said about new material, what I like about it is that we all have such various [tastes and styles] that I think we can bring that together and make some really, really cool stuff.

TVW: So take me through the moment where you actually decided to try this again?

NR: We would talk and jam once in a while. Nik’s really into Strangers stuff. He was doing the touring thing at the time. Terran is fucking touring. I’m kind of doing my own thing with two bands. Then I went out to drinks with Terran, and [Nik and I] would talk, but nothing really happened. Then they actually talked to each other and we decided to get together and have a meeting. It’s funny that the band broke up [behind Nik’s house] when Nik was going through all the stress and we decided to take a break. Two years later, we go back to the same spot and have the opposite of that conversation. We were also kind of nervous about the political situation, so that was another reason why. When shit is fucked up good music is made.

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band

TVW: So what does the political climate have to do with The Grizzly Atoms?

N: There was this one song I had written the lyrics to called “Witness.” I go down the rabbit hole with like conspiracy theories a lot, and I also try to educate myself on what the established idea of what things are. And the song was about seeing the bullshit that goes on, seeing how money kind of dictates everything in this country, how the corporate elites have power over everything, seeing that and doing nothing about it. “I’m a witness, yeah, but do I really see? I’m a witness, yeah, but I never speak.” So my idea was to play a show but also raise political awareness.

TVW: And that’s where the show in October comes in.

NR: Being in a band, you have a platform. If you have a platform, use it!

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band

TVW: Let’s talk more about the cheatsheet that you’ll be giving out at the show. Take me through the process of coming up with that.

N: When you vote, you see all this language about bills or names you don’t recognize and some people Christmas tree it.

NR: It’s confusing, sometimes you vote for someone who has the best name. Amendment One for instance, “Yes on One for the sun.” That’s completely falsified. It’s run by the utility companies trying to one-up the right to have free solar energy.

TVW: So with the cheatsheet, it’s focusing on stuff other than Trump and Hillary?

NR We’re trying to take an unbiased view with the candidates, the amendments, the people running for different offices, and giving pros and cons. Giving the information in a non-confusing way where they can see it and know what it is.

N: I think if people understand what they’re voting for, then that’s truly a democratic society. But I want to put out a disclaimer, this was made by people who lean towards the left side of things. We encourage you to do your own research because ultimately it’s not a democracy if you’re just pushing your own opinion on people. It’s only a democracy if you have your own point of view, and we think about it and talk about it and compromise.

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band

The Grizzly Atoms Orlando band

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Boxing At The Zoo - 'BATZ' (ep review)

Boxing At The Zoo – ‘BATZ’ (ep review)

A few months after the release of Daydreamer by The Young Psychedelics, the band has been reduce to only two members. Count your lucky stars that Daniel Ramos isn’t one of them.

Alongside Chase Bauduin’s grand bass playing and fall-in-love-with- me vocals, Andrew Lesmes’s impactful drumming (already stoically seen in local psychedelic-revival band, The Detour), allows for Daniel’s return to the role of charismatic and energy-releasing lead guitarist for his band, Boxing At The Zoo. Fueled by captivating indie pop rock that mixes the emotional depth of early Modest Mouse, the catchy rhythm of Vampire Weekend debut, and the blissful vocals of The Head and the Heart, Boxing At The Zoo self-titled EP (BATZ) strikes a chord of harmony and progression for the Central Florida independent scene.

BATZ opens with “Wanderlust,” a playful tune that drags you in with its brilliant rhythm and friendly indie pop sound. Flowing into “Ms Molly,” Boxing At The Zoo demonstrates some playful riffs — their signature at this point. Remarkably, these two are the most straightforward tracks on the EP.

Leading into “Another Story (Feel So Low),” the dynamic sound of earlier tracks are simply and elegantly shifted into a bouche of elegant lyrics: “Another story/Just another chance to be proven wrong/Just another chance to move along.” Chase’s vocal duet with Daniel provides a milky mixture of sincerity and passion. “Gone,” a song drenched in lyrical depth and an attitude that strives for hopelessness, continues this trend with the lyrics, “No point in dragging distant memories/No, they won’t make me a better person.”

“Time Will Tell” drags you back into the quick and promising indie pop from “Wanderlust” and “Ms Molly.” BATZ closes with another passive-aggressive tune that is filled with as much elegance as any track on this EP: “If you simply tell me you miss me/ I can pretended to care.” Daniel gives us a wink with this solo near the end of this track and wraps us all completely up with: “Oh she loves me!/Yeah she loves me!/ And she knows it!”

Beautiful and drenched with a taste for irony, Boxing At The Zoo presents an enthrallment for independent rock in Central Florida. As Daniel continues to provoke us with realistically romantic lyrics, we can only wait around patiently, for more.

Boxing At The Zoo – ‘BATZ’ (ep review) by Andres “Andy” Andrade 

Pleasures The RUB Review

EP review: PLEASURES – ‘The RUB’

pleas·ure – (n.) a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment.

I caught my first glimpse of PLEASURES at GROWTH, a half-show, half-visual spectacle that served as the unveiling of a mobile light installation from Orlando musician/artist, ARK. PLEASURES played directly before ARK. No doubt. He picked the right band. The spacey bliss of PLEASURES lulled the audience into a trance; a blanket of warm synthesizers wrapped each individual. This feeling translates directly onto their beautifully produced debut-EP, The RUB. Enjoy.

Three of the four songs that make-up The RUB are over five minutes long. Each one of them whips and whirls the listener through space and time, as instruments crash over each other. On the opener, “Everything Forever,” the guitar and synth are subdued during the verses, but pulse with intense color in the instrumental breaks between them. They continue to soar higher and higher, finally exploding into stardust after almost six minutes. Vocalist Katherine Kelly seems to control them with her heavily modulated commands. She cries, “I want you.”

These robotic vocals glitch out on the next song, “Gemini Twin.” The synths do the same, firing like malfunctioning lasers. It’s important to note that these wild elements are always offset by a tight, precise rhythm section. Check the infectious drum beat on “Man is A God.” It forms a launching pad for the other instruments.

For as weird as The RUB is, its most supernatural moment is the final track, “Tryna Get The Honey From The Pot.” A pounding electronic beat serves as a pallet for Kelly’s twisted coos. The layers of sound bind to form a wall of static. We have truly transcended this space. Then, the EP just stops. Probably, a sucked into a black hole or some shit. 

Dromes – ‘Deep Thoughts’ (ep review)

Dromes is the moniker of Orlando vocalist, DJ, producer, and multi-instrumentalist, Chandler Strang. Over the past few months, he’s released a handful of remixes and original tracks, some purely instrumental, and some featuring his own voice or a number guest vocalists. Now, Dromes is gathering those tracks for his debut EP, Deep Thoughts. Enjoy.

Deep Thoughts is not a predictable listen. It’s filled with differing sounds, changes in tone, and unfamiliar voices. And with each new track, Dromes pulls elements from different parts of the musical spectrum. “Within, Without,” the EP’s opener, is filled with these airy synth lines that evoke Washed Out. On the very next track, “I Don’t Hate You,” Dromes lulls over these acoustic guitar melodies that hearken back to early early-to-mid-2000’s R&B slow jams – see Usher’s “U Got It Bad” and Justin Timberlake’s “What Goes Around… Comes Around.” He again switches things up on the pulsing “Norwegian Gem,” which incorporates vibrant cymbals that really add color to the song.

These jumps in style are what make Deep Thoughts such a fun ride. After repeated listens, I began to see Dromes as this guru of sound, continuously changing hats and looking damn good in every single one. But, he’s not alone. The features Dromes brings on Deep Thoughts also help shape the changing musical landscape. The vocal samples from Orlando pop artist Priest on “Only One” haunt the instrumental, turning the song into somewhat of a Crystal Castles’ stronghold. Then on “Relapse,” Dromes and Delia Albert, vocalist from Gainesville duo PALMEDO, craft an infectious, sugar-coated, dance-inducing pop tune. I could go on about the greatness of Mr. 3’s slick verse on the EP’s closer – there’s some great lines about Zubats in caves and meeting girls on Tinder – but I think I’ve made my point. I like this.

“Mr. 3 and Dromes got the shit to make your smoothie melt.”

FAV TRACKS: “If It’s Alright,” “Norwegian Gem,” “Relapse”

Dec△des In Sp△in – ‘Light/Science/Primer’ EP

In October 2013, Orlando-based progressive garage group Decades In Spain released their debut, self-titled EP. What struck me most about Decades In Spain was the bright guitar work of Marc Hernandez and Alex Langfur. The band’s latest EP Light/Science/Primer, released yesterday, is no different – in fact, everything has expanded. The two juxtapose thick distorted chords with a crispy, intricate web of melodies and solos. Throughout the EP, the guitar tones are always mutating, creating a fresh atmosphere with each new song.

Both song structure and production have both been greatly improved upon, with mixing credits going to Ryan Roman. Overall, Decades In Spain have crafted a handful of really enjoyable tunes. They’re improving as a band, and I will continue look forward to all their future output. Enjoy.

Decades In Spain are playing a show with Transcendental Telecom, Zap Dragon & the Attack, and Clean Demon at The Copper Rocket this Saturday. Give Light/Science/Primer a listen, and if you like what you hear, go check ’em out!

Track of the Day: Cold Beat – “Worms”

It’s a lazy Sunday over here at The Vinyl Warhol. Today, I’ve got a new track and new band. Grass Widow bassist, Hannah Lew, has just released the first music from her side project, Cold Beat. “Worms” is a short burst of surf rock ecstasy, kind of like this post. Enjoy.

Pre-order: Worms/Year 5772, out November 5

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