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MP3 Even in Blackouts - Fall of the House of Even

EIB blends an angelic female voice with punk, bluegrass, jazz and R&B.

19 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Punk, ROCK: Acoustic

Even in Blackouts have carved a following based not on their own considerable lineage, but instead through a dynamic and highly stylized form of acoustic pop; though they have a wonderful form of credibility in their founder and guitarist, John "Jugghead" Pierson. For those of you who are unfamiliar with his work, John''s storied career in music began as the lead guitarist for the seminal third-wave punk band: Screeching Weasel. John describes Even in Blackouts as, "A vehicle I started to bridge the gap between the work I did in Screeching Weasel and the acoustic music I listened to growing up." Few outside the punk scene could understand the level of John''s ethos. It would have been easy to imagine the band piggy-backing on the success of his former group: selling out performances with a core following of die hard Screeching Weasel fans clamoring at the stage. Strangely, Even in Blackouts have found that their following draws less from their guitarist''s reputation and more from their stellar musical performances. This attention has attracted the most unique audience: punk rockers, indie fans, college kids and well worn professionals all hanging out, having fun and listening to music. The punk scene holds a vigil over its music, protecting it with the reckless fervor of a jealous lover. In the punk scene credibility everything; those who compromise the ideals of this niche are doomed to hell. The scene turns its back on bands that compromise their sound for increased marketability and fame. This fact is legend and with good reason, but Even in Blackouts have taken to proselytizing the masses by simply playing the music they love. They refuse to be pigeonholed into one narrow genre--the result has been an ability to charm audiences with their unique female fronted, hard strumming acoustic style that blends the attitude of punk and the song writing influences of pop legends such as Carol King, Neil Diamond, and Smokey Robinson. Even in Blackouts sound is strange and familiar, a simulacrum of acoustic pop music that is flushed out with grace and spirit. Even in Blackouts are notoriously hard to define?you will hear their influences, marvel at their attitude and stage presence?but strangely they are carving out their own place in the musical world. Founded in 2001, the band was a new outlet for John Pierson who has spent his life formulating exciting artistic challenges as both a musician and playwright. John describes the development of Even in Blackouts as one of these creative challenges, "The band wasn?t just going to be a band that....put songs together to have fun, although I wouldn''t say that isn?t important to me. It is very important, but my idea of fun incorporates writing material that explores the darker corners of my brain: the parts that need to be worked out or expressed so that I can learn something." In this learning process, John found a confidante in lead singer Liz Eldredge, who has grown to embody the song writing style of the group. "Liz and I have gone through much in the last four years. She has become more and more a crucial part to my writing a song. I have been forced to learn more....in order to satisfy her abilities as a singer. I have had to create songs that are personal but that could be transferred to how she feels too. I have had to write songs out of my own range so that she could be challenged." The both John and Liz have found comfort in these new challenges. "One of the reasons I chose acoustic was I thought it would be a near impossible task to create an energetic band that did not rely [solely] on electricity [thus the name Even in Blackouts]. Even though I think I have failed in this attempt, I feel we have found a band that doesn''t try to rely on the skills they already have. [Frankly] I don''t feel fulfilled with a song unless I have learned some new [aspect of music]." John defends his methodical approach to the process of creating music, and is particularly fervent about creating new and expansive music. "I don''t want to just be a cookie cutter pop punk band....it seems more and more that is what many pop punk fans are looking for, and gauge the validity of a song on these very narrow requirements. I have never been interested in that approach. I want audiences to have to find this band, and find elements....that calls to them [whether it is punk, pop, rock etc.] perhaps it will make them feel that they have discovered something personal." In 2002, Even in Blackouts self-released Myths and Imaginary Magicians. The album sold so well that it attracted the notice of the Berkeley, California label Lookout! Records (Green Day, Screeching Weasel, and the Queers). The following year, Lookout! re-released Myths and Imaginary Magicians to an international market. Even in Blackouts worked relentlessly on touring, gaining an ever growing fan-base through a grass roots approach to promotion. By mid 2003 audiences were clamoring for a follow up to their debut album. In an effort to appease their following, the band released Foreshadows on the Wall on New York based Insubordination Records imprint Knock Knock Records. The band warmed to the idea of releasing some extra material not found on their previous album, Myths and Imagery Magicians, on Lookout Records. Even in Blackouts wished to release something unique; Knock Knock Records with the flexibility afforded by their position in the world of the niche pop/punk underground, had the drive and commitment to make this record a reality. Foreshadows on the Wall also gave Even in Blackouts a chance to bring together their friends, members of the performance group The Neo Futurists on vocals, and Dan Vapid of Screeching Weasel, The Mopes, The Methadones, and Sludgeworth on guest vocals and guitar. Foreshadows on the Wall was a fitting name of an EP that segued into their highly anticipated second full-length record, Zeitgeist''s Echo. Released in 2004 by Knock Knock Records Zeitgeist''s Echo was a perfect experiment into the more abstract form of acoustic pop. The album left many reviewers stunned at the expansive changes in composition. The new album allowed Even in Blackouts the freedom to create their own musical art form. Decoy Music proclaimed, "The songwriting is calm and mature, exactly poetry put to song, haunted by images of morning and light, dying and ghosts of relationships past. It''s like they sat down and converted a beautiful painting into musical form. "David Chamberlain of the Chicago New City described, "From the vocals of Liz Eldredge to the contrite guitar pop that the band pumps out in waves....Even In Blackouts has made some of the catchiest, most addictive pop-punk tracks ever....This band is one [of] the city''s true underground gems and has more punk-rock aesthetic than ninety-percent of those actually trying for said quality." The release of Zeitgeist''s Echo heralded a transition within the band, namely the loss of the Lipman Brothers, Brad and Danny who aided its driving rhythm section; as well as Dan Lumley, the legendary punk rock vagabond drummer who has appeared in countless bands and recordings from Screeching Weasel, to the Riverdales, and Squirtgun. John laments the loss but continues to move forward, "We have gone through musicians partly due to miscommunications of authority, and creativity."Even with this uncertainty John was able to quickly enlist the talents of three fantastic musicians who have helped expand the band?s musical horizons. First those of former Teen Idols guitarist Philip Hill: "Now that we have Phillip Hill playing with us, we are challenged more to incorporate complicated harmonies, and I feel the need to incorporate his untapped talents as a Grand Old Opre alumnus, someone who grew up with Dolly Parton telling him not to eat too much chocolate and Willie Nelson telling him that his mother is quite a lady. I want to incorporate his voice and technical guitar playing. [Philip] has more fun [playing music] in one night than most people have in a whole year." The second musician enlisted was Gub, a rough and tumble guitar player who''s sheer physical presence is more than a match for the charisma of lead singer Liz Eldredge. "Gub is a crazy kid who grew up in some difficult situations, from the Roughest areas in the south side of Chicago. He''s a big grizzly bear, a kind man that has committed his life to musical pursuits. "Gub has added to the character of the band with his coarse voice and unique picking style, "His guitar playing is different from mine, he uses a three finger picking technique where I use a four to five finger technique, he can sing roughly to both fit in with Liz''s singing and contradict her voice at the same time." The final piece of the Even in Blackouts equation was filled by that of a vegabound musician name Bice - who fit in on drums fit in perfectly. John followed his instincts carefully to find a drummer who matched the bigger than life personalites that has grown to define the bands unique approach to composition. "[Actually] we had no permanent drummer through our first three recordings. Lumley played on all those records, but it was known from the beginning that he did not want to join a band [full time]. He just enjoyed recording. And our intention was to not commit to a drummer unless we were blown away by his playing. "John discovered just what he was looking for when he recruited Bice. "He is a wild man behind the drums, and he drives our performance even further into abundant energy. He has driven me to destroy three guitars already, just to take it that extra distance, to bring ourselves to a place we hadn''t been before. "John instincts were correct, based on two simple phone conversations, Bice was offered a chance to perform with the band. When John reflects on his fortune he espouses noth but high praise for the new performer, "He turned out to be the best drummer I had ever played with. He is the friendliest, most in control personality of the entire band. Irreplaceable." The newest incarnation of Even in Blackouts has been defined by the swarm of brooding men who surround the innocent veneer of lead signer Liz Eldredge, leading one reviewer to proclaim, "Liz looks and sounded like an Angel amongst a stage of devils. "John?s reaction to such a critique: "I like this image. The grungy masculine backdrop to her angelic appearance, but always aware that she too is just as devilish, just as dangerous. She is tough, a tomboy with a natural talent and elegance." The new life and energy of the band has lead to a barrage of touring and events throughout 2004 and 2005. Even in Blackouts have promoted Zeitgeist?s Echo with relentless energy, culminating with a full U.S. and European Tour in the spring of 2005. The band has continually won over audiences by remaining accessible to their fans. Much of this accessibility is in their translation from record to their live performances. ?The distinction between performance live and on records is something we are all interested in. I don?t care much for trying to repeat what we did on a record with our live performance. I don?t mind being perceived as two different bands. I don?t mind some people saying I love them live, but I don?t like the records, or vice versa, the albums are so cool and trippy, but their performance live is messy and loud.? Even in Blackouts have evolved into something that is beyond the scope of the punk scene, the underground and the following forged by John''s tenure in Screeching Weasel. Even in Blackouts have grown into their own form which is defined by the sum of its performers; its ethos is in John, Lizzie, Philip, Gub and Bice; and their commitment to crafting music that challenging, familiar and engaging. They continuously lead audiences to strange new places whether it is through live performances or recordings; the journey is something to be shared....

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