23RAINYDAYS
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23RAINYDAYS

Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C., United States | INDIE

Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C., United States | INDIE
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23RAINYDAYS (23RD) was a band that had an incredible ride in the first decade of this century. Four albums and opportunities to play on the national stage with such acts as Kill Hannah and Violent Femmes, as well as features on MTV back when the “M” actually still stood for music put them in a place that few independent acts get to. The music and the touring took its toll though and in 2010, founding member Ian Kaine MacGregor decided to call it quits.

23RD fans can rejoice as IKM and the other original members, Abe Elmazahi and Ravi Rao are back with their brand new single “Turn Up The Radio!” off the upcoming release Circus in January, 2013. - Wordkrapht Magazine


People are only ever friends with someone in a band for one of two reasons: either a) they truly like the music, or b) they know that friend is going to be famous someday. Cos we all know, musicians are often intolerably obsessed with music. With me, it may just be both reasons...

I met Abe Elmazahi of 23 Rainy Days on a fan forum for another band, and we got to talking about all kinds of music. He told me excitedly about how he'd just joined 23RD, based out of D.C., and suggested I check out a couple of tunes. I was skeptical, of course; if Web 2.0 has done anything, it's enabled every would-be Cobain or Oberst to get their 'sound' heard.

I downloaded a couple of tunes off of their EP The Ghost In You and was very honestly impressed. I liked the sound, oddly reminiscent of 90s grunge, yet with extra layers, an electronic edge that lended itself very well to the material.

The band - made up of Ian Kaine Macgregor (vox, guitar), Abe (guitar), Ravi Rao (bass), Jonathon Lim (keys, synth), and Eric Garwood (drums, electronics) - are poised for stardom as they release Broken Hearts Bleed Black, their newest effort, and take it out on the road. Make no mistake, these dudes all have a good idea of what they want and where they're going; truly brilliant, interesting music, from truly talented artists.

I sent a handful of questions along, and the guys obliged with some insight into their music and influences...


WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO TAKE UP MUSIC?
Each of us has our own story about why we started playing, but I think that this band exists because we are inspired by each other. When we're working on new material, sometimes one of us will do something that makes everybody in the room just stop. We all look at each other for a second and then all of the sudden, we're all just standing there smiling like idiots. That's when you know somebody has done something inspirational and that's why we all still play in this band.

WHAT BAND OR ARTIST IS YOUR BIGGEST MUSICAL INFLUENCE?
Again... if you asked all five of us, you'd get five different answers. Collectively I'd have to say our biggest influence is The Cure, by far. Outside of that, we've been significantly influenced by New Order, Motley Crue, Duran Duran, Bush, and the Smashing Pumpkins.

ALL BANDS STRIVE FOR THEIR OWN SOUND, BUT IF YOU WERE TO HAVE A RECORD OF YOURS LIKENED TO ANY ALBUM, WHICH WOULD IT BE?
One day I would like to write an album that would be compared to The Cures' Disintegration. That album is so gripping and unbelievably emotional, and I would love to have people relate to our music in that way.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE SONG TO PLAY LIVE?
In our current set, I'd say our two favorites are 'Broken' and 'My Own Addiction'. 'Broken' just feels right everytime we play it. It's a perfect song and everybody plays an important role. 'My Own Addiction' tends to be a crowd favorite and the response we've gotten from that song is amazing.


WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE UNKOWN BAND?
There are two. First, even though Kill Hannah is signed to a major label, they are virtually unknown on the east coast and other parts of the country. They are an amazing band and I think that if they had some decent radio play, they could break wide open. Second, there's a band in D.C. called Full Minute Of Mercury and I haven't seen a band this original in a long time. They have the songs, the show, and the lineup... I have no idea why they haven't been picked up by a label. - AnOdetoCathode.com


This week’s column has two local selections, and we start things off with “My Own Addiction,” by 23 Rainy Days. The music bursts out of the speakers on this very well-produced alternative-rock track. The guitar tone on the lead work is excellent, and I’m digging the combination of drums and electronic beats. - MetroMusicScene.com


Washington, DC's 23RainyDays are a difficult band to pigeonhole, not that one should wish to, especially after hearing the Wonderful Disaster EP. Having already self-released two EPs and their full-length debut, the band has demonstrated their ability to evolve, honing their finely tuned craft of '80s synth-laden pop rock with powerfully melodic hooks that are sure to put listeners as much in the mind of Vertical Horizon as it would The Cure. Now signed to Radio.Active.Music, Wonderful Disaster serves as a primer for the re-release of their debut, beginning with the upbeat rocker "Goodnight & Goodbye." The interplay between the guitars and the synthesizer makes for a beautifully enticing combination, topped off by Ian Kaine MacGregor's emotive vocals. If one were to compare his singing on this EP to that of their first release, The Ghost in You, one can immediately detect the level of improvement, particularly in his control of his range - he reaches those high notes in as effortless a manner as the Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant or Coldplay's Chris Martin. Some subtle percussive glitches are thrown into the song, enhancing the otherwise slight but effective electro elements of the band's sound. "Big Paper Airplanes" takes a more drastic turn in this direction, though it hardly lightens up on the rock elements, especially in the booming chorus and a small but fiery solo from guitarist Dennis Kapoyos. It is from here that the majority of the EP takes the band in a much more electronic direction than their usual oeuvre, as the Lil'e and Tom Napack remix of "My Own Addiction" and "Monster" both pulsate with lovely synth arrangements and danceable beats, with Bryan Kimes' bass taking on a semblance of Peter Hook in the latter track, along with a rather alluring chorus, while the remix of "My Own Addiction" will undoubtedly remind many listeners of early Iris. Even the new version of "The Blackest Days," originally from The Ghost in You EP, balances out poppy electronics with guitar-driven drama, speaking volumes about not only the 23RainyDays' pristine sense of arrangement, but also about Kapoyos' production work. Every synth tone, every guitar note, every vocal passage resonates in perfect clarity, making for a crisp and shining sound. The only downside to Wonderful Disaster besides its short length is that their juxtaposition of rock and electro comes across as somewhat schizophrenic. Perhaps a reordering of the tracks would have helped the flow of the EP seem less haphazard, placing the more balanced tracks of "Goodnight & Goodbye" and "The Blackest Days" in the beginning, transitioning into the slightly more electro atmospheres of "Big Paper Airplines," and finally sending listeners to the dance floor with "Monster" and the remix of "My Own Addiction." However, the tracks are not so severely divergent from each other that this impede one's enjoyment of the Wonderful Disaster EP, nor should it dissuade anyone from recognizing that 23RainyDays are indeed a tight-knit pop rock band that can surely appeal to a rather wide audience. - ReGen Magazine


23 Rainy Days has constantly been improving with each batch of new songs they’ve released, and their new album, A Wonderful Disaster, is no exception. They embrace their influences (The Cure, The Smiths) while expanding on them, and they do it beautifully, creating a gorgeous expansive sound, lush with electric guitars and syths. And lead singer Ian MacGregor’s Cure-ish vocals fit the slightly depressive lyrics like a hand to a glove. - MetroMusicScene.com


Having released several EPs and playing more than a fair share of live shows with groups as diverse as The 69 Eyes, Thrill Kill Kult, and Violent Femmes, Washington, DC's 23RainyDays deserve no small amount of credit for their brand of alternative goth rock. Signing to Radio.Active.Music in late 2008, the band has re-released their full-length debut, From Today Until Forever. While the Wonderful Disaster EP was a nice little teaser for the band's eclectic style, showcasing their incorporation of danceable electronics with emotional melodies and atmospheric yet accessible rock, From Today Until Forever is a much more straightforward and cohesive affair. The electronics are still ever present, providing just the right amount of background ambience and texture to the songs without overtaking the band's rock & roll energy. Right from the opening notes of "Once a Hero," 23RainyDays delivers a short lovelorn epic of ringing guitars and powerful melodies that will immediately put one in mind of the gothic and pop rock anthems of the early '80s. Ian Kaine MacGregor's emotive vocals carry each song from harrowing depths to wide-eyed heights the likes of which are reminiscent of HIM, though not quite as fatalistic, and as in the case of "My Fascination" and especially in "Fire in Tokyo," adding just a touch of melancholic whimsy akin to The Cure. Indeed, that particular song sounds almost like it could be an outtake from Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me with a horn-like keyboard refrain that is eerily similar to "Hot Hot Hot!!!" or "Why Can't I be You?," but sounding less like an overt rip-off and more like a playful homage. The title track is one of the more electronically-minded tracks, not dissimilar to the bulk of the Wonderful Disaster EP, with a pure club beat and more keyboard layers perfect for the dance floor, until the full band kicks in for a gut-wrenching chorus. Other songs like "My Own Addiction," "The Haunt," and "The Ghost in You" have excellent radio potential, from Dennis Kapoyos' conservative but expressive guitar solos, a steady and danceable rhythm section courtesy of bassist Bryan Kimes and drummer Brian Fasani, and full of Jonathan Lim's catchy synth hooks, topped off by chord progressions that are quite simply instantly appealing. Adding to this is that no track on From Today Until Forever exceeds the four minute mark, making each song a bite-sized morsel of dark melodic rock that will attract those with short attention spans, but as the music is so richly constructed and expansive, nothing is lost in their brevity. In the end, this is the blessing and the curse of 23RainyDays - the album begins sharply and ends just as abruptly, coming full circle as the sound of thunder that intros "Once a Hero" closes out the acoustic despair of "Rest," but it is all over far too quickly. It leaves you wanting so much more than it offers, although it can be argued that this is due to the band's attention to detail and taking care not to overwhelm the listener. If nothing else, it keeps one coming back for more, and as the production is as crisp as it is dense, chances are new elements will be discovered with each progressive listen. - ReGen Magazine


Now this is interesting, the Washington based four-piece have single-handedly managed to make Goth-rock cool again by bringing it smack down into this decade void of any real inspiration. This EP, released at the end of last year will give fans of dark alternative one-million reasons to rock-out take for instance the explosive opener ‘Goodnight and Goodbye,’ all blistering guitars and total knock-out synths. Then we have the more melodic and thoughtful moments embedded in ‘Big Paper Airplanes,’ and it’s here the band show just how unique they can be, this tune delivers elements of pop-punk, indie, electronica and rock all in one neat and concise package (and there is a killer solo in there too) it’s just great to hear.

In ‘The Blackest Days’ the band cleverly encase negative themes within a poppy and uplifting cocoon of keys and stomping beats in such a way that would make glam-rock noiseniks Placebo very proud. Similarly, the previous track ‘Monster’ comes across like a more accessible Apoptygma Berzerk with buckets of melody and substance oozing from the corners of this dance floor bothering beauty.

23RainyDays make prominent and valuable pop music with a black heart, blending Cure-esque melody with Zeromancer-style rock ethics for an intriguing and evocative listen. There is certainly room for this lot to grow and evolve in 2009 even now, after two self-released EP’s and a debut album, but that of course, is the mark of an exciting band who are able to embrace both new and old influences with such energy and passion. Long time fans will certainly question which direction the new material will go in, as there are rock hard songs that sit comfortably alongside EBM-styled ditties on this outing including a pounding yet sensitive remix of ‘My Own Addiction’ to finish off this seemingly effortless collection of quality death-pop music. - Sphere Magazine


Capable of creating appealing hooks through their reinterpretations of the ‘80s and ‘90s goth movements, with more than a subtle influence from the radio-friendly antics of groups like Linkin Park and mascara-laden emo bands still rotated on MTV2, 23RainyDays are obviously talented songsmiths and musicians. A good record. - OnTap Magazine


23 Rainy Days had a rather auspicious beginning: 10,000 fans attended their first gig with Guided By Voices, Kill Hannah, and the Violent Femmes at the National Mall. More than two years later, 23 Rainy Days is still going strong, playing (smaller) shows in support of their most recent release, "The Ghost in You." Decked out in eyeliner, the group creates moody goth-punk reminiscent of Chicago’s Alkaline Trio. 23 Rainy Days carries a deep appreciation for dramatic ‘80s groups like the Cure, channeling their inner Robert Smith in creating darker soundscapes—a fact clearly evident on tracks like “Broken.” 23 Rainy Days is certainly a band to keep an eye on—the band plans to use 2006 for extensive touring and live dates. - OnTap Magazine


Okay. Before I say a single thing, 23 Rainy Days are ANGSTY. They roll around in their own sadness and their urine is laced with pain. However, the songs are strangely touching, so that automatically allows them to behave in such a way. And the lead's allowed to get away with seeming as if his voice has been greatly dettered by castration. With silky, flowy vocals and a very clean overall sound, teh boys of this partly goth-based band pull off very listenable inner cries of torment. - Leechy's Catch of the Day


After such a wet summer you might want to just dry out. But then you'd miss the full force of 23 RAINY DAYS. Because Ian Kaine MacGregor (vox, gtr), Abe Elmazahi (guitar), Ravi Rao (bass), Jonathan Lim (synth), and Eric Garwood (drums, electronics) combine a melodic, '80s feel with a thoroughly modern energy that we find utterly refreshing. The band's new, and fourth, CD, The Ghost in You, will be on the street on, of course, May 23. Get ready for the downpour! - The Washington City Paper


Discography

Circus
(EP-Release set for Jan 2013)

Instruments of Fashion and the Murder of Romance
(EP-Copyright 2009)

A Wonderful Disaster
(EP-Copyright 2008)

From Today Until Forever
(LP-Copyright 2008)

Broken Hearts Bleed Black
(EP-Copyright 2006)

Strangeland Records 2007 Compilation
(Copyright 2007)

The Ghost in You
(LP-Copyright 2005)

Big Paper Airplanes
(EP-Copyright 2004)

Under Blue Skies
(LP-Copyright 2003)

Photos

Bio

23RD Named a TOP 3 BREAKOUT ARTIST by MTV and featured on MTV, MTV2, VH1 and MTV OnDemand

Most bands go their entire careers without playing before a crowd of thousands. For 23RAINYDAYS, that chance came in 2004, before the band even had songs or a name, much less a stable line-up. They had all decided to quit music in order to pursue their careers. It was months later that they were offered the opportunity to open for Kill Hannah and the Violent Femmes at Live on Penn. They quickly put a new lineup together and in a matter of weeks they had written 15 new songs and were playing to 10,000 people on the streets of DC.

From such auspicious beginnings, 23RD have not only gone on to prove themselves as great songwriters focused on the national stage (they recently returned from a stint on the road with industrial founding fathers, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult) but also as a prolific recording act. In a little over four years, they’ve managed to record two full-length albums and a handful of EPs, mount three coast-to-coast US tours, get picked up as a MySpace Band of the Week and ink a new deal with Metro area record label, Radioactive Music.

Creating a sound self-described as “Dark Pop Synth Rock,” 23RD balance the doom and gloom perspective of their Goth roots with the consummate pop production that has been garnering them airplay across the Mid Atlantic. Listening to their songs ‘Monster,’ ‘Get a Gun,’ or ‘From Today Until Forever’ you get your fill of guitar but can feel a dance band dying to surface. In the words of singer Ian Kaine MacGregor “The people in our band are absolute music fanatics and we’re all the sort of misfits that liked everything from Depeche Mode to Motley Crue when we were growing up.”

Because of — or perhaps in spite of — that diverse range of influences, 23RD hesitate to be lumped in wholesale with any and all of the scenes their music touches upon. They are not goth and certainly not emo. 23RD’s music owes more to melodic, eyeliner-heavy British acts like Placebo, The Killers and The Cure than any MTV-friendly angst rock by a long shot.

The band — currently comprised of singer/guitarist MacGregor, bassist Bryan Kimes, and keyboardist Jonathan Lim — has big plans for 2009. They’ll be touring extensively in support of Radioactive’s re-release of their first album “From Today Until Forever,” and their newest release “Wonderful Disaster v2.” It promises to be the most ambitious touring schedule the band has ever tackled and they are also exploring the possibility of a trip to the UK. Based on the strength of 23RD’s accomplishments so far, D.C.’s favorite black-on-black-clad sons have alot to look forward to. It's almost a given that widescale recognition awaits 23RAINYDAYS.

Bands We've Shared the Stage With
All Time Low, Violent Femmes, Kill Hannah, White Tie Affair, Guided By Voices, Brett Scallions (Fuel), Red, Modern English, Thrill Kill Kult, The 69 Eyes, and Katatonia.