The State Theatre presents: The Return of Viola, Eggers, and Reed: "Together Again"
As the opening song "Columbus Day Parade" announces: Mike Viola is on a mission.
From the get-go,Viola's new release, Electro De Perfecto, pulls listeners in with a decidedly hot-rodded version of his acclaimed songwriting. Songs that are gloriously dark and uplifting about being lost in the maze of middle age, hungry for life as the body decays.
Recorded entirely in Southern California, Electro's ten tracks seem to absorb the life of their urban desert surroundings. Motel melodies wash over fast food joints and pharmacies, Beach Boys-style stacked harmonies color the Bukowski-tinted lyrics. At times bright ("Soundtrack of My Summer"), while at others boulevard-dark ("Here's the Rub"), there is undoubtedly a triumphant thread that winds its way through the album, leading toward its centerpiece and pivotal track, "El Mundo de Perfecto."
Three years ago, Viola relocated to the Echo Park area of Los Angeles from New York City to get a little closer to his music work for the movie biz, and met drummer Victor Indrizzo while recording the soundtrack for Get Him to the Greek at Sunset Sound studios. "I started playing some songs off of McCartney's London Town and Victor played along note for note. So, we decided to start a band together." Indrizzo invited his friend, Sean Hurley, to play bass and the three quickly gelled. Mike adds, "I brought some new songs to rehearsal that I already had finished and planned for my next record. A few worked, but the rest didn't live up to the noise we were making together, so I wrote more specifically for the sound of this band." The trio ended up recording at Victor's studio in LA with some help from engineers Vincent Jones and Ryan Freeland.
Viola now realizes that Electro De Perfecto - a non-sequiter that Mike's young daughter, Izzy, created while learning Spanish - does reflect the city it was recorded in. "I'm here in Los Angeles now... way out west. You get out here and that's kind of as far as you go... the landscape is intense and unforgiving, it's like the edge of the world. I never looked back, I looked around and whatever I saw became fodder for me while I was stuck in traffic on the way to rehearsal scribbling down lyrics."
Mike also felt the kinship of his bandmates contributed to Electro de Perfecto's overall feel. "The three of us are married with kids and we've all been kicking around making a living in the music business since we were young. So we would vent to each other and this theme developed and I'd kind of joke-sing about it while we were jamming. I didn't get specific, I just let our collective subconscious ping-pong around the album."
Viola's previous song writing and music production credits include Oscar-nominated That Thing You Do!, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, and last year's Get Him to the Greek. Mike recently scored Carrie Preston's (True Blood)indie comedy film That's What She Said, and his work will also be heard in the upcoming film Fun Size, starring Chelsea Handler and Johnny Knoxville, and Vamps, directed by Amy Heckerling and starring Alicia Silverstone.
In addition to his soundtrack work, Viola is also well known as the main architect and front man of Candy Butchers. Founded in Boston before eventually taking root in New York, Candy Butchers recorded three albums for Sony, including 2003's critically acclaimed Hang On Mike (recently re-released on vinyl with 27 bonus tracks). In 2005, Mike set out on the indie path with the creation of his own label, Good Morning Monkey Records. His first release on the start up, Just Before Dark, was recorded live at the renowned Los Angeles club Largo and showcases a seasoned performer enjoying new artistic freedom. Mike's next album, 2007's Lurch, transports listeners from the New England suburbs and into his East Village state of mind. A euphoric collection of classic pop, Lurch received international acclaim thanks to the uplifting single, "So Much Better."
In addition to his own records, Viola has collaborated with a host of prominent artists. In 2009, he co-wrote and produced Mandy Moore's full length Amanda Leigh which features the pop gem, "I Could Break Your Heart Any Day of the Week." Viola has also produced and written with Rachel Yamagata, Ned Brower of Rooney, Best Coast, Tracy Bonham, Dan Bern, Jeremy Fisher, Gin Wigmore, Will Dailey, and Dia Frampton of The Voice.
Mike has a few "supergroup" projects under his belt as well, including 2006's L.E.O., an Electric Light Orchestra inspired power-pop-collective featuring Bleu, Andy Strummer of Jellyfish, Chicago's Jason Scheff, and Hanson. Viola formed The Major Labels, a fan-favorite collaboration with Bleu and Ducky Carlisle, and released Aquavia in 2009.
Electro De Perfecto was released via Good Morning Monkey Records/Hornblow Recordings on September 13, 2011 on gatefold vinyl and CD. To the thrill of longtime fans, the albums Just Before Dark and Lurch are also slated for release in the near future.
The last thing the world needs is another Beatles-inspired band. What enables The Nines, from Toronto, Canada, to stand out from the armies of acolytes who have religiously studied the Gospel of John, Paul, George, and Ringo is the vital artistry of Steve Eggers. The piano-pounding bandleader employs the sacred texts not as an end in itself, but rather as the springboard for personal expression of a highly personal sort, writing songs that capture real life as it is lived today.
The first Nines LP, Wonderworld of Colourful, came out in Canada in 1998 on the Bare Naked Ladies' Page label and was distributed through EMI. Later that year, Universal Music Canada released a piano*based four-song EP. This preliminary version of the band was sufficiently appealing to connect with the pop underground and top the Canadian college chart, but, as Eggers readily admits, the Nines were then still very much a work in progress.
Still, this initial studio foray did offer a tantalizing glimpse of the young artist's potential. The second Nines lineup cut, Properties of Sound, released in North America in 2001 (Airmail Recordings picked up the album in Japan a year later). Additionally, several of Eggers' songs wound up on network TV series, including Dawson's Creek, Party of Five, and Joan of Arcadia (and most recently the theme song for Global Television's The Jane Show). Eggers has worked and shared the stage with artists as diverse as Andy Partridge (XTC), Jason Falkner (Grays, Jellyfish, McCartney), Ron Sexsmith, Roger Hodgson (Supertramp), Vince Neil (Motley Crue), and many others.
Since then, Eggers has totally committed himself to writing, refining, and recording the material, and finding cohorts who could help him achieve his vision, which is predicated upon bringing the grand legacy of the 1960s into the present. Picking up where the Beatles left off is a big challenge, but it can be done, as XTC, Jellyfish, and Spoon have proved. The Nines belong in that rarefied company. - written by Bud Scoppa, Rolling Stone Magazine, Paste, Hits.
"Reed keeps getting better with each release and might be ready to take his place among the David Grahames and Michael Carpenters of the genre." - Absolute Powerpop.com
*"Reed is the olive branch that offers sustenance for the soul through rich and layered melodies and soaring harmony." - Review Magazine.com
"Andy Reed certainly knows his way around a song as he delivers the goods on this exceedingly tuneful record done at his very own Reed Recording Co. I can't help but think of a young Jon Brion while listening to this, especially on some of the later tracks on the record. Expect to hear great things from Andy in the future." - conqueror-of-the-moon.blogspot.com
Andy Reed is a singer/songwriter/composer from Bay City, MI. Reed owns and operates his own analog/digital recording studio, Reed Recording Company, and records on a daily basis. He has released two solo albums and is currently going by the band name, An American Underdog. The new An American Underdog record, Always on the Run, was released in 2011 and has received great reviews and was well received in the independent music circuit as well. Reed has composed a film score for an upcoming short fil called Camino which is scheduled for release in Fall 2012. Andy also plays bass in the Michigan based band The Verve Pipe. He is currently writing and recroding the next full length An American Underdog record.