Band of the Week: Total Babes

Concert Preview

Meet the Band: Christopher Brown (vocals, guitar), Jayson Gerycz (drums), John Elliott (synthesizers) and Nathan Ward (bass)

Garage Rock:

The band began in 2010 as an outlet for the pop songs that weren't quite right for Brown and Gerycz's "noisy project" Swindlella. The band recorded the album in a Medina garage. "We didn't have much of a clue as to what we were doing," says Brown. "We had never written songs in that style before. We also didn't know how to record; that's why it sounds all blown out and crazy. We just wanted to make a rock record." "We goofed around with writing some pop rock tunes and had fun," says Brown. The group released its debut, Swimming Through Sunlight, in 2011 by Old Flame Records.

Back to the Basement: The band didn't go to a proper studio to cut its latest album, Heydays, which it recorded last year in a Middleburg Heights basement. "The songs that made the record were written in the six months leading up the rerecording," says Brown. "We felt we had grow as musicians and been able to play these songs a lot better. Our friend mixed it and beefed up everything and made it sound good. Playing with John [Elliott] opens so much up. He came in and added a whole new element to it and opened up the songs a lot. Nathan [Ward] is a rock back there on bass, which is perfect for what we need."

Why You Should Hear Them: Heydays is a great indie pop record that features sharp hooks and accessible songs. The tune "Bone Dry Eyes," for example, benefits from raspy vocals and escalating guitars. "It's about being bored with the environment you're in," says Brown when asked about the tune. "It's about being stuck and stagnating and wanting to get out of that. I was just feeling that I needed to get out of a toxic situation. I deliver pretty intensely on that one." The songs have a Brit-pop feel but Brown says that isn't intentional. "The songs just came out naturally," he says. "I like Yo La Tengo, Silver Jews and bands who have been doing it for a minute who are always consistently good." "Sunnyside," a song that consists of a single piano riff, comes off as one of the most evocative songs on the disc. "I just never had a home for that song," says Brown, adding that the track "has been around for awhile." "It never felt right with every other project but it makes sense on this record."

Where You Can Hear Them:

Where You Can See Them: Total Babes perform at 9 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 14, at the Happy Dog.

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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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