Into Another, States and Kingdoms, Romans

Into Another

Into Another's music was not easily categorized. At once hard rock, grunge, alternative, and post-punk, the band's arresting melodies collided with their stop-and-go rhythms. They added to that a guitar wizardry steeped more deeply in classic heavy metal bands like Iron Maiden than the New York City hardcore scene that nurtured half of the band's membership early on, and an esoteric, far-reaching lyrical scope delivered skillfully by Richie Birkenhead's silky banshee wail. Through several indie albums and one major-label offering, fans and critics got to know Into Another as an intriguing, soulful quartet capable of transporting listeners with their adventurous soundscapes and other-worldly approach to guitar-based rock & roll. Into Another came together in 1990. Birkenhead, one-time guitar player for seminal straightedge flag bearers Youth of Today and vocalist for the reggae-tinged Bad Brains-inspired Underdog (who released an incredible album through Caroline), hooked up with drummer Drew Thomas, who he had known for years through the New York City scene. Thomas -- himself a hardcore alumni who spent time bashing the drums for Revelation Records recording artists Bold -- shared Birkenhead's desire to abandon the limiting conventions of the hardcore music style and explore other types of songwriting. The pair found exactly what they were looking for in Lower East Side musician Peter Moses, a longhaired guitar player who had never performed in a band before. His wild and uninhibited playing style greatly impressed Thomas and Birkenhead, who next recruited bassist Tony Bono. Bono had done a tour of duty in proto-thrash act Whiplash -- a band about as unlike Bold as one could imagine. Into Another performed their first show at New York's Pyramid, sharing the stage with a budding White Zombie. They were soon after offered a recording contract by Revelation. The following year, they released their debut, a self-titled album displaying Into Another's sharp musical chops and tripped-out spiritual vision, encapsulated by the band's multi-pointed star logo which adorned the album's cover artwork. In 1992, Into Another released the playfully titled Creepy Eepy EP -- four songs that reflected their increasing range. One of them was a lamenting ballad for a fallen friend laced with beautiful acoustic playing and heart wrenchingly honest and poetic lyrical prose. The band grew in popularity, with the press, fans and major labels taking an interest in this odd band comprised of a shorthaired hardcore singer with a high-pitched range, a mod-looking drummer, and two longhaired guys in bell-bottom pants. 1994 saw the release of what many consider to be their masterstroke -- the epic Ignaurus opus, filled to the brim with spectacular songs that venture into deep, dark, and progressive rock territory while still being firmly anchored in melody, groove, and abrasive angst. This album catapulted Into Another into the ranks of much-heralded "buzz" bands. Many proclaimed them to be the proverbial "next big thing" to arise out of the hardcore scene alongside one-time labelmates Orange 9mm, Quicksand, and Civ -- all of whom went on to sign with major labels. Into Another left the indie world in 1995, signing a deal with Disney-owned Hollywood Records, who at that time was best known for releasing the Crow soundtrack. They gave Revelation one last EP, a benefit release for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, as the band was made up of three vegans and one vegetarian. Into Another entered Seattle's London Bridge Studios with producer Rick Parashar, a man who had previously worked with Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam, to mix their next full-length album. They emerged with Seemless, an album that reigned in the excesses of previous works in favor of shorter compositions and more direct, straightforward lyrics, without sacrificing Into Another's unique and well-established musical identity. They supported the album's release with several dates on the Warped Tour alongside L7, labelmates Seaweed, New York hardcore veterans Sick of It All and, more yet, the public never quite warmed up to the band. They released one more record through Hollywood, the T.A.I.L. single (featuring incredible non-album B-sides). Sometime after they recorded another album's worth of material -- weird, trippy songs steeped in electronica and drenched in effects that strayed far away from the band's barn-storming guitar rock. But the recording was never released and the band broke up. Thomas went on to enjoy a short stint with New Rising Sons while Birkenhead reformed Underdog and embarked upon a reunion tour. ~ Ryan J. Downey, Rovi

States and Kingdoms

Ian Love, Steve Pedulla, Jim Kimball, John Herguth, Gordon Hartin, Jeff Gensterblum

States & Kingdoms is a new band featuring members of Rival Schools, Thursday, Retisonic, Small Brown Bike, and Atlantic/Pacific.

To truly understand the quiet phenomenon that are Romans, one listen to their music will explain everything. Romans dip their toes into several of rock n' roll's most pristine ponds, is a refreshing departure from today's plastic wrapped, industry made, music money makers. Helmed by Jeremy Fury and supported by Craig Bonich, Romans strives for timeless, not temporary, firmly steeping themselves in the classic composure of music's most prolific songwriters.

"I remember Craig and I finished off a couple bottles of wine and were doing a taped interview for a popular online music site," he remembers. "I thought, 'Man we should start a band together someday,' A few years later, here we are. I envisioned this project to encompass the best parts of rock n' roll nostalgia incorporating everything from 50's doo wop, 60's brit rock, and 70's glam."

Romans are like tasting the rainbow of classic rock with a modern twist. Infused with the unique rawness of a Stones-esque boogie in "All The Glitters Gone" to the delicate lacing of Roy Orbison nostalgia in "Somedays" there's no denying the catalog of songs has swagger as demonstrated in the nod to T-Rex in "Us Being Young" and "Our Love" acknowledging the Ziggy Stardust era Bowie.

With tracks produced by L.A. based noise-smith Manny Nieto (The Breeders, Rumspringa, Health), Rick Parker (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Von Bondies, Good Old War), and Tony Visconti protege Mario McNulty (Bowie, Lou Reed), Romans have a great deal to be excited about. Over the past few months the band have shared the stage with The Detroit Cobras, Electric Six, D Generation, and Foxy Shazam. Most recently, the band's single "Let's Get It On" was placed in the latest Royal Caribbean TV commercial in the U.K. and Ireland.

So, is rock n' roll dead? Definitely not. And Romans are on a mission to make sure that doesn't change. No matter how music trends ebb and flow, the one time tested certainty is people will always want songs to connect with and Romans deliver by doing it their way and having more fun than anyone else.


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