8/25/2010

Broadway-rock without the AZT breaks.

First three adjectives that come to mind when listening to this album:
One-of-a-kind
Concise
Entertaining

Three favorite tracks on album:
Petty Games / Worries Grow With Time / Nothing's Wrong
Island Fever
Now or Never

What do you get when you cross the intense range of Adam Lambert, the crushing guitars of "Ballroom Blitz" by Sweet, and the perfected harmonizing of Rent? Stagehands. These kids aren't messin' around either. They've single-handledly written, recorded, and played/sang every song on the broadway-rock musical that makes up The Silent City.

The wow factor really set in after a couple of days of listening to the album. I began to notice myself humming the tracks. The more I listened to The Silent City, the more impressed I was. Don't get me wrong, it's completely an unnatural idea for me to imagine a musical as only an album; however, Stagehands pulls it off with expertise. Imagine listening to an album that is an allegory (of sorts) depicting the viciousness of the record industry (or life, for that matter) with its perfectly constructed pop ideals. Sounds good, right? And it is.

The only faults I found with the album lie in some of the aspects that come off as slightly cheesy. For example a few of the character voices are a little overly emphatic at times. Also, the storyline is a tad simplistic. Maybe add some knife fights or some AZT breaks.

In the end, if you like Broadway musicals and rock (or one or the other), there's a decent chance you'll dig Stagehands. And, what do you know, you can actually check 'em out for free. The album is available at stagehandsmusic.com.

Q&A: (with Marko Pandza of Stagehands) 
1. Who or what is your musical inspiration? 
"For real: Green Day, Queen, The Nightmare Before Christmas Soundtrack (Danny Elfman), System of a Down, Muse, Tub Ring. I love bands that don't care what people expect them to sound like. That attitude is something we definitely applied to The Silent City. For fake: Kenny G. For real, but wishing it were fake: Lawrence Welk." 

2. How long has Stagehands been together? 
"Going on 5 years, if you count the very beginning. It takes a long time to write an album, an even longer time to write a musical, so combining the two was a real stop-and-go process of learning, revising, hair pulling and cat fights." 

3. How did Stagehands start and what was the process for creating The Silent City? 
"The bassist/writer Dave had this idea of a band doing an album where there was a seamless story and the band members played the characters. Kind of like Quadrophenia, or American Idiot if they weren't all narrated by the lead singer through a more abstract story. We played in a Green Day tribute act together and he sprung this crazy idea on me when it was done and I fell in love with it. 

We spent a lot of time in a stuffy room with our guitars and some recording software for months and came up with about 50 ideas that were whittled down into the current incarnation of The Silent City. The story came from a 1 sentence story pitch I wrote, and we developed it scene by scene, word by word in tandem with the music. Funny enough, the show's not done yet even though it's recorded, so the creative process is still ongoing. So if you're bored of the album, TOO BAD! We're going to make it longer." 

5. Favorite music format? Compact disc, vinyl, or mp3?
 "Vinyl, no contest. I've stopped buying CDs, mp3s are worthless. That's why we give away our album free on our website. For me, mp3s serve the purpose of screening which records I'm going to buy. Vinyl looks nice, smells nice, and you never feel closer to the music then when you drop that needle.

That being said, some CDs are still cool. Malajube's Labyrinthes CD packaging was stellar, and Metallica's Death Magnetic had a cool booklet design even if the album sucked." 

6. Favorite album of the moment? 
"Same answer as favourite album of the year: Foxy Shazam (self-titled). I've been following these guys for years and they've finally hit their stride. It's impeccably produced, a joy to listen to, catchy and quirky as hell. Sean Nally is a genius and I predict big things for these guys. Imagine Queen on the back of a motorcycle with Evil Knievel and that's Foxy Shazam." 

7. What's next for Stagehands? 
"We want to create something special. Like the main character Stan, we want to leave a legacy. There's some preliminary work done on an expanded Silent City, as well as on a couple of potential future musicals. Those should be out around 2030, judging by how fast we work. But we're never going to stop writing."

Album design:
The design for the album matches sound and style of the music. It's simple, concise and sets the mood perfectly with its dark colors and theatrical imagery. Also, pop the disc into your computer and there's a pdf of the lyrics, which is always a plus. 


Next Up:
Born Ruffians, Say It (2010)

2 comments:

  1. Have to agree. It's catchy as heck!

    My personal faves are: "Ashley/Searching/La Bibliothèque", "Welcome to Our Town" and "Now or Never".

    Also, Marko's a cool guy.

    ReplyDelete
  2. All good songs. And Marko def seems cool! Thanks for reading.

    ReplyDelete