Aberdeen City
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Aberdeen City

Band Alternative Rock

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


It’s not very often that something comes along, immediately grabs you by the ears and literally DEMANDS your attention, particularly when that “something” has crossed the Atlantic and admits to being influenced by quintessentially English artists – y’see when the Yanks get it wrong, they seem to be the masters of getting it wrong big time.

Therefore, it was with some trepidation that ‘We Learned By Watching’ met my CD player for the first time, and yet by the third stab of reverb from opener ‘The Protagonist’, the two were on first name terms and have been ever since. This demo contains seven tracks in all, and I’m really not lying to you when I say there isn’t a duff track among them.

The music throughout recalls ‘Bends’-era Radiohead (i.e. when they actually had tunes), the majestic melancholy of Sparklehorse and the desolate beauty of Interpol – check out the grandiose ‘Final Bout’ for a worthy successor to the ‘Pol’s ‘NYC’, where Brad Parker’s vocal is as haunting as a thousand Ian Curtis’s hanging from Lincoln Cathedral’s ceiling.

Not that ‘We Learned By Watching’ is totally shrouded in darkness. The sprightly ‘Popular Music’ recalls some of the Beach Boys more upbeat moments and without resorting to blatant plagiarism (are you listening, The Thrills?), a fact that is cemented by the pop-goes-jazz tinkling of Chris McLaughlin and the unmistakeable sound of Parker’s voice, which could be described as Michael Stipe without the goat’s neigh finishing off every sentence, or Thom Yorke minus the histrionic mumbling.

‘We Learned By Watching’ is quite simply one of the most inspired collections of songs I’ve heard this year, and if it were a general release would be lauded as one of the debuts of 2003. The fact that Aberdeen City are currently without a record deal is as big a mystery in my book as the whereabouts of some Iraqi tyrant, although if ‘We Learned By Watching’ is anything to go by, that statistic will surely be more of a “when” rather than an “if”. - Drowned in Sound.com


Discography

We Learned By Watching [EP] (2003)
Bright [EP] (2002)

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Aberdeen City f: 2001.

Aberdeen City is a Boston-based four-piece rock band that does not sound like post-grunge. They are four people obsessed with music, each in their own way. The result is a band that feels music as intensely as they think about it, crafting songs of an introspective, emotional nature.

Brad (vocals, bass) is a songwriter and a record store clerk with an encyclopedic knowledge of pop music history. If you need to get from the Smiths to Pavement in less than five moves, he is your man. Chris (guitars, synths, end of the world noise) is a producer, a sound engineer and a gear junkie. His attention to detail/tone endlessly shapes the sound of the band. Ryan (guitars, keyboards) is a film buff with an unfulfilled passion for the drums. Largely responsible for the band's unconventional rhythms and song structures, he prefers the big picture.
Rob (6'3", 250 lbs, drums) is a metrical monster with an unfulfilled passion for large-scale demolition work. When not busting through skins, he can be found selling oversized drums and gongs at the local drum shop.

In 2001, when they started out, Aberdeen City carried lots of gear to make their point. Sometimes the overall effect was a bit medicated and their
arms grew tired. The further they traveled, the less gear they took with them. And as the band became more comfortable with just guitars, bass and drums (and the occasional synth), their sound began to change.

In the winter of 2002-3, they holed themselves up in a house in southern Connecticut to self-record and produce some songs. The result was their We Learned By Watching EP (Self-Released 2003), which introduced them as a confident, self-reliant band that could make interesting music for everyone by themselves. From the moody swagger of 'Final Bout' to the dark, spongy pop of 'Popular Music', their dense, ambitious pop songs began to catch people's ears. The UK's Drowned In Sound called the record
"quite simply one of the most inspired collections of songs I've heard this year, and if it were a general release would be lauded as one of the debuts of 2003".

Following the EP's release in late 2003, the rooms got bigger and more full. In recent months, Aberdeen City has shared the stage with bands like The Frames, Ours, Clem Snide, British Sea Power, Stellastarr*, The
Walkmen and Kaito UK and has regularly played rooms such as the Mercury Lounge, The Bowery Ballroom (NYC), Schubas Tavern (Chicago) and The
Paradise (Boston).

In 2004, the band continues to use their streamlined set up to disguise pop songs. They are currently playing lots of shows and working with producer Nic Hard (The Church, Jesse Malin, The Bravery) on their debut LP to be released on Dovecote Records in 2005.