Thank You Scientist
Bent Knee, The Madeleine Haze
1545 E. Cary Street
Richmond, VA, 23220
Watch & Listen
Thank You Scientist
For the uninitiated, Thank You Scientist was forged from the music program at Montclair State University in New Jersey when guitarist Tom Monda met saxophonist Ellis Jasenovic and trumpeter Andrew Digrius. The three bonded over their love for Frank Zappa, Mahavishnu Orchestra, The Beatles and Harry Nilsson. Those influences would become the seeds for what Thank You Scientist would evolve into today.
With the addition of vocalist Salvatore Marrano, bassist Greg Colacino, drummer Odin Alvarez and violinist Ben Karas, Thank You Scientist's lineup of virtuoso musicians was complete. The band would go on to self-release an EP, The Perils of Time Travel, in 2011 followed by their debut full-length, Maps of Non-Existent Places, in 2012, which caught the ear of Sanchez, a fellow purveyor of progressive stylings, and led to his signing of the band.
To pinpoint Thank You Scientist's sound would be inconceivable. On Maps of Non-Existent Places they hold a virtual master class on musicianship, fusing elements of progressive rock with jazz fusion, classical, metal, psychedelic and pop for a head spinning, mind-blowing listening experience. The seven-piece band, who collectively play some 20 instruments, boasts a hyper-composed sound which is indebted to their experience and formal training in both classical and jazz idioms.
A Frank Zappa for the indie generation? Incubus jamming with the Mahavishnu Orchestra? Mr. Bungle and Steely Dan joining forces to fight Godzilla? King Crimson and the Brecker Brothers serenading you at your bedside? It all seems so strange on paper, yet it's sure to satisfy your ears in the best of ways.
Bent Knee is a band without frontiers. The Boston-based group seamlessly connects the worlds of rock, pop and the avant-garde into its own self-defining statement. On its Cuneiform debut release Say So, the band focuses on the sound of surprise. It's rock for the thinking person. The group's lyrics are dark and infused with themes focusing on the emergence of personal demons, unwanted situations and the difficulty of conquering them. Its mercurial sound matches its subject matter. It's a thrilling aural roller-coaster ride with arrangements designed to make listeners throw their arms up in wild abandon as they engage with them.
"Say So resoundingly demonstrates the increasing refinement and confidence of a group that doesn't quite fit any conventional pigeonhole, with emphatic crunch, a knack for complexity, mixed with lively wit," said Steve Smith of The Boston Globe. "Live, the band projects visceral glee, exactingly harmonized and wholly infectious."
Founded in 2009, Bent Knee is a true collective. The band operates as a democratic entity with sky-high standards and a determination to push boundaries. Frontwoman and keyboardist Courtney Swain's acrobatic, multi-octave vocals are nothing less than extraordinary. Guitarist Ben Levin morphs between the hauntingly melodic and extreme, dissonant sonics—sometimes within a single verse or passage. Bassist Jessica Kion and drummer Gavin Wallace-Ailsworth deliver deep and thunderous grooves, full of engaging, intriguing ornamentation. Violinist Chris Baum's driving melodic overlays and atmospheres further take the band's sound into wild territory. And all of it is brilliantly processed and produced by sound designer Vince Welch.
Bent Knee has remained on a skyward trajectory since forming. Its last two albums, 2014's Shiny Eyed Babies and its self-titled 2011 release, have been celebrated as significant art-rock achievements by important music publications, including Wall Street Journal, Consequence of Sound, The Needle Drop, Innerviews, and Eclipsed. The group has performed more than 300 shows across the U.S., Canada and Japan to date and will embark on its first European tour this year. They've also performed at major festivals and venues including The Lincoln Center, ROSfest, Tulsa Center of the Universe, and Campbell Bay Music Fest.
The Madeleine Haze
Progressive Hard Rock trio The Madeleine Haze began as an acoustic solo project for vocalist/guitarist Zack Goebbel. Inspired by French novelist Marcel Proust's "episode of the madeleine" and the connection between music and involuntary memory, he released "In Search of Lost Time," an intensely personal EP that became an unexpected regional success.
Zack assembled a band and the sound quickly evolved into a mix of classic Hard Rock and modern Post-Grunge. The resulting politically-charged EP, A More Perfect Union, was a clear sign that this was not a band who was afraid to challenge the listener both musically and lyrically. During this time they also contributed a cover of the anti-war anthem "Killer of Giants" to the "No More Tears: A Millennium Tribute to Ozzy Osbourne- 1971 – 2012" compilation. The band supported these releases with headlining tours across the US, and provided support for acts such as Adrenaline Mob, Vicious Rumors, Seven Witches, Super Bob, XFactor1, Bulletboys and Broken Teeth.
With growing national success came pressure from the industry to conform to a narrow view of what a mainstream Hard Rock band should be. Rather than limit themselves to those stifling constraints, however, the band became more creatively ambitious than ever. The result is Noble Lies & Pious Frauds, a ground-breaking full-length album set for release in the Fall of 2014. Thematically, the album serves as commentary on how corporations, religious and political institutions and even the people we love can manipulate how we think and act. Musically, the band incorporates everything from thrashing Prog-Metal to radio-friendly power ballads, bringing disparate genres together to create a cohesive whole. With crowd-pleasing hooks and virtuosic musicianship, The Madeleine Haze proudly walks the line between the Mainstream and the Progressive fringe, and trusts their fans to take that journey with them.