Oketo

Hello, we are Oketo. We are a band from Lincoln, Nebraska, made up of six strapping young lads who are extremely passionate about music and art. Our goal is to create a sound you've never heard before, yet a sound that will make you feel.

Sweet Ray Laurel

The Very Beginning

Sweet Ray Laurel began its formation in 2002, when bassist Kenny Potter confronted his friend and guitarist Eric "La Bohem" Boehmker at a Halloween party that Kenny's then band Jon E Law was playing that night. Knowing that his band would not continue much further, Kenny asked Eric if he would like to put together a new band. Within a week , they had started playing together and trying to find other musicians to complete the fold. After trying out a handful of singers and guitarists, they came across Jims, front man of the previously disbanded local space-punk band Prick B. Mafia, in early 2003. They met for a few practices and found an immediate chemistry.
They started writing songs as a 3-piece acoustic act with Kenny on bass, Jims on vocals and electric guitar, and Eric on acoustic. They played one show at Cincy Punk Fest '03 with this line-up, feeling incomplete without drums. After trying out a couple drummers, Jims suggested his childhood friend Dane Dickmann with whom he had played many shows while Dane was in the late local pop-punk band Uncle Pervey. The moment that he walked into Sweet Ray's practice space, they started playing and the intensity that the band was looking for was no longer a search. That day, Eric put down his acoustic guitar and started his new venture into the quick moving and effect driven blues leads that he would from then on be known for while he was in the band.

Experimentation

After writing a few new songs and taking songs from the former set list, they then started playing everywhere around the Cincinnati area. Their sound was constantly evolving from the beginning. Songs like "A Nomad at Home" (featured on the Bluegrass Disaster compilation) and "Jimmy's Song" showed influences that ranged from Neil Young to Bob Marley. They then stepped it up a notch when they wrote "Look Alive", "The Halo Effect", and "Radio Down" (featured on Sexy Killer Records Compilation '05 & Split EP with Silver Bridge Disaster) which showcased the band's new found explosive and passionate post-punk sound that would heat you up and cool you down a dozen times within a sometimes 7-minute experience. This is the sound that would dominate their setlists while playing every place in Cincy they could find and traveling around the midwest from '04-'08. During this time SRL was compiling random recordings for their (still unreleased) EP "Distance The Light". With their sound still evolving with more eclectic tastes ranging from aggressive soul to reggae, ska , and world music progressions, while also experimenting with different kinds of flowing harmonies, they found their EP to be an inconsistent mix of songs that would not truly capture the essence of their live show.

Addition and Subtraction

Around summer of 2008 SRL recruited longtime friend and gifted musician Matt "Mattchu" Grone to join them on keyboards and synth and take their sound into a more spacey direction and new level of intensity. The band then made a unanimous decision to record and produce a full album themselves that would project their new style in a more organized fashion than the previous effort. After completing the rest of their shows for the year, they got to work.
During the recording sessions in late 2009, Eric decided to leave the band due to creative differences. This made the band have to refocus their ambitions and start anew. They immediately decided Mattchu would take over lead guitar while still playing keyboards, sometimes literally at the same time. The band then set off to finish the album and embrace their new 4-piece lineup.

The Self Titled CD

After taking a break from playing out to rejuvenate the band's new form, Sweet Ray Laurel released their self titled album and began setting up shows to promote the release. The album features old favorites in a different form like "Freight Train" and "Radio Down", plus new songs such as "Gone" and "More" that accentuate their love for progressive time signatures and multi-layered orchestrations. Their first show back was their annual Halloween party "Dress up and Dance" on Oct 31st, 2010.
After that show, SRL toured heavily along the East Coast, hitting up cities like Columbus, Indianapolis, Lexington, Louisville, Dayton, Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City. Releases from the CD were picked up and played on radio stations and podcasts across the country, and around the world. As their US and international fan base expanded, the band began writing new music.

And Now...

During the recording of their new EP, Matt was transferred to Boston, MA. During this time, SRL was lucky to pick up Dave Catton, a very talented guitar player who had played in other bands with Jims in the past. Dave started working with the band to fill in the sound. In February of 2013, Dave was added as a permanent member. The band continues to grow and reach new audiences each day! With the release of their new EP, Tabula Rasa, available now, Sweet Ray Laurel will show fans the culmination of years of honing their sound to what is now a very eclectic and original mix of the best rock has to offer.
Sweet Ray Laurel is an adventurous band with surprises around every corner and live shows that will unite any crowd of any background. Stay tuned to see what happens next...........

According to Cincinnati CityBeat:

The seeds of Indie Rock crew Near Earth Objects were planted when singer/guitarist Devin Clarke and bassist/keyboardist Leland Davis got together to jam while in high school (they’d been friends since middle school). A few years later, they decided to get more serious about starting a group, landing Richard Inman to play drums and taking on the name Near Earth Objects. The trio took its time developing material and chemistry before making its live debut in late 2013.

Last summer, Near Earth Objects released its first recorded effort with the four-song EP Situational Awareness, which showcased the group’s progressive, occasionally psychedelic style, marked by an engaging stream-of-consciousness fluidity. The band’s imaginative arrangements were on full display on the EP’s opening epic “Introduction to Feeling Something,” as well as the closer “Serotonin Drift,” which sounds like David Bowie and Pink Floyd writing a winding Math Rock/Post Rock ballad for Secret Machines.

More recently, Near Earth Objects added a fourth member — Daniel Walton — to provide cello for the band as it continues work on its first full-length. On the great album track “My Mind,” Walton’s presence is felt in the billowing, sophisticated atmospherics he adds to the proceedings, a perfect compliment to the group’s expansive sound.

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