Almost Free
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Almost Free

Detroit, Michigan, United States

Detroit, Michigan, United States
Alternative Indie


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Almost Free (power pop gem w/ multi-decade inspiration)" - Fingertips Music

"Almost Free Offer Free Download" - Blog Critics

"In/Out Album Review"


The kids should eat up this bubbly outfit. Reminding me of the Killers after listening to a steady dose of The Queen is Dead, the dance floor ready “Really Don’t Know (About You)” includes well hidden guitars that provide a little muscle under the decadence while “Generation Y” simply crackles with synth pop energy I wish would disappear forever. This is not for me, but these kids have tapped into a new wave of lighthearted indie rock. Fans of Crystal Cave or Naked and Famous will be attracted here, for each song is inoffensive and bouncy with only the most sincere of emotion on display. “Times We Used to Have” is a fitting title, for it sounds like another time, with touches of effects and crisp interplay between bass, guitar, and synth. Vocalist Andy Bird has an infectious voice and these guys are ready for the teenage hipster crowd. Almost Free borrow heavily from the 80’s, a decade I am sure these guys have only read about, and their fans of the same ilk should eagerly adopt them. The one highlight for me was the darker “Don’t Bother Me Now”, a slightly more forceful track that eschews some of the peripheral genteel qualities of the earlier songs for a more direct delivery. The song also includes a well honed guitar solo and could be harbinger of future steps in the right direction. Almost Free’s use of sugary synth frustrates me, but the kids seem to love it. However, to their credit, there is a broader scope of talent on display that could carry this band beyond a few college radio charts. - Jersey Beat

"In/Out Album Review" - The Aquarian

"Notes From the Underground: Almost Free/Land of Nod"

by Jonathan A. Berz

In addition to some heavy-hitting national acts, innovative performance artists and the lure of campground anarchy, this year's Land of Nod Experiment promises a sampling of Detroit's more willing and able —many of whom often find a prospective audience somewhat out of reach. "We have played nearly every distinguished venue in the Metro Detroit area — hundreds of sporadic, lackluster gigs," says vocalist/guitarist Andy Bird of Almost Free. "It's still a hassle trying to get into a decent venue or perform with enjoyable bands. We still have to coerce our friends and families into attending our concerts." Fortunately, a considerable number of spots (along with the potential to attract some well-deserved awareness) have been designated for some of Michigan's most promising locals.
The Sterling Heights trio (with Bob Impemba on bass and synth and Garren Stevens on drums) released Modern Mistakes in 2009, highlighting a bourgeoning musical expertise that is considerable for a local debut. While difficult to pin to a genre beneath the umbrella term "indie," the album contains plenty of radio-friendly pop elements (hyper and thickened post-punk rhythms pad impressively pedaled, effects-loaded guitar work escorted by Strokes-like vocal stylings and production) reflecting a wide range of influence. "Initially ... our sound was grungy jam-rock with poppy overtones ... suddenly we were exploring psychedelic and progressive rock ... for a period we were fixated on surf rock acts ... I'd say our current sound is an amalgam of all the above." The band is currently working on an EP and hopes to have it released this fall.
"We believe that all successful bands are constantly tweaking the mixture of sounds and textures in their repertoire, experimenting with different structures, timbres and instruments; we hope to maintain this evolving formula from album to album," says Bird. "For Land of Nod we will attempt to craft the most seductive set of songs and sounds possible. We want to lure in prospective admirers and capture the ears of wandering listeners. I expect the show to be theatrical and peculiar." Black Lodge, Woodman and Audra Kubat will assist in rounding out Detroit's rousing and innovative representation on Saturday. | RDW
- Real Detroit Weekly

"Modern Mistakes-Almost Free"

The debut album form Metro Detroit’s Almost Free may clock in at 35 minutes, but it will only take you only sixty seconds to realize that principle songwriter Andy Bird (vocals, guitar) is an extremely talented individual.
The uptempo Modern Mistakes gels in overall theme as the ten blissful tracks revolve around relevant 21 century disillusions that engulf the everyday man. These darker tones are catapulted by Bird’s pop perfect vocals and are backed by the hard hitting rhythms of Bob Impemba (bass) and Garren Steven (drums). Throw in a synthesizer and some outstanding production quality and this album stands up as one of the best local releases we have seen this year.
Song highlights include the cyberpunk “Computer Relations,” high flying “Are You Entertained” and alt rock friendly “20something.” However, it’s the mid-tempo ballad “Never Said A Single Word” that pulls me in and makes me want to dust of my collection of Glen Philips recordings. Even though musical comparisons alluding to The Killers or Radiohead can be made across the spectrum, this album holds its own as a fresh and clean take on tried and true modern rock sound.
- Motor City Rocks

"Album Review-Modern Mistakes"

It's a well known that all music trends, regardless of how uncool they are in present tense, eventually resurface. (See "garage rock" in the late '90s.) So you can gamble your life savings on grunge rearing its lank-haired head in a decade or so. Thus, it wouldn't be a surprise to see '90s Brit-pop get all popular again. What's surprising — and mildly amusing — is that the chirpy, Brit-style indie emitting from my speakers after this CD hit the player hails from Sterling Heights.
OK, Almost Free isn't the first band from this side of the Atlantic to have been inspired by Pulp, the Lightning Seeds and E-fueled Madchester bands the Soup Dragons, the Stone Roses and the Charlatans. They're not even the first band from here to do it. Remember Charm Farm? Or the recent Bear Lake? These guys are, however, the best in some time. Trust me; I'm from the land of bad food and worse weather so I should know!
Having said that, Almost Free sounds most like the Killers, presumably because they share many of the same influences. So it's fair to say that Almost Free doesn't bring much new to the table; what the band does have, though, is a barrelful of excellent songs, beautifully constructed and magnificently executed. Garren Stevens' drum work verges on tribal, notably on the fabulous drone of "Lines," while frontman Andy Bird's guitar screams from songs such as "Computer Relations" (a song touching on the subject of electronica-fetishism). More, each chorus here is catchier than the flu, and the production crystal clear.
Modern Mistakes is a good album and the 35 minutes you'll spend listening won't be wasted.
- Metro Times (Detroit)

"Rock & Roll Fanatasy"

March 18, 2005
Source Staff Writer

“almost free” doesn’t identify with any one type of music. But one thing is certain: they definitely are not a cover band.
almost free is a band made up of Sterling Heights residents Andy Bird, Bobby Impemda, Mike Tomei and Shelby Township resident Garren Stevens.

Bird, Impemda and Stevens have been playing together for 2 1/2 years and Tomei joined six months ago.

“By adding Mike, it put us to a new level,” Stevens said. “We are a lot more professional and he fits in perfectly. We always said that the missing component to our band was a keyboard player and vocalist.”

The bandmates agreed that the influences for their music are not what people typically think teenagers like.

“We are influenced by the Beach Boys, Yes, Nirvana and The Cars,” Bird said. “If we had to define ourselves, we would probably fall into the pop rock category.”

They also agreed that music and their band is not just a hobby, but a way of life now and for the future.

“We are serious about this and would like to pursue it forever,” Bird said. “It is our passion and obsession.

Tomei went on to say that he hopes to influence people with his music and Stevens said he just wants the opportunity to play and have people hear his music.

“I go to school, work full-time and am dedicated to the band,” Stevens said. “The band is the only thing right now that I really love.”

Bird, Impemda and Tomei all attend Stevenson High School and Stevens attends Macomb Community College.

almost free plays at bars and clubs around Macomb County, such as the Emerald Theatre and the Hayloft in Mount Clemens, as well as different festivals and parties during the summer months.

“We usually try to play twice a month during the winter, but in the summer months, we are playing every weekend,” Stevens said. “And we would like to get more festival gigs this year.”

Bird said the band has run into some obstacles in trying to make a career out of music. Because they are so young, Bird said, they are sometimes taken advantage of or not taken seriously.

“I do not even know how many times we have played and not gotten paid,” Impemda said. “But when we were just starting out, we did not know any better. But we have learned.”

And Bird said that it is uncommon for a young band like theirs to be playing all original music.

“Playing original music is hard, so we really don’t get a lot of respect,” Bird said. “And if we play with cover bands, the audience doesn’t want to hear us playing our own stuff.”

almost free has the chance to prove themselves when they compete against nine other bands during the third annual High School Battle of the Bands.

The competition will be taking place at the State Theater in Detroit from 1 to 6 p.m. on March 19.

Bird said that the Battle of the Bands will be the chance for exposure and to meet other bands.

“It will be a good chance for us to meet people who are in it for the same reason that we are,” Bird said. “It is hard to find good bands that we would play with.”

The bands will be competing for the chance to record in the John Lennon Bus on March 20, at the Apple Store in Somerset Mall.

The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus is a nonprofit state-of-the-art mobile recording and multi-media studio. The band will also receive a Maxell prize package, a Brian Moore iGuitar, 1,000 custom CDs from Disc Makers, a copy of Apple’s Production suite, gear from, and a free entry into the John Lennon Songwriting Contest.

Local winners also become eligible to compete for the High School Battle of the Bands grand prize. The grand prize winners receive a 40 gig iPod for each band member, a performance slot on this summers Warped Tour in the Detroit Area, and $1,000 courtesy of NAMM, the International Music Products Association.

The other bands competing in the Battle of the Bands are: No Ones Anthem of St. Clair Shores, The Satin Peaches of Commerce Township, 3rd Eye of Detroit, The Red Rocks of Clawson, Wall of Denial of Walled Lake, 11 Letters Long of Clarkston, Kendra Okamato of White Lake, Monkey Jacket of Royal Oak and Usual Suspect of Macomb Township.

- The Source Newspaper


Still working on that hot first release.



Almost Free is a trio that brings together the best of proverbial alt-rock styles (with pedal-effected guitars, bending solos and spindly high-neck fret throttling that can recall the now-nostalgic big-muff shred of Smashing Pumpkins, tempered by a more esoteric stateliness ala Radiohead) paired functionally with a palpable penchant for classic surf rock’s sunny timbre, (a recipe that will recall influences like The Pixies). But this seemingly straight-forward approach is given a bit more of a gritty uppercut by a tight and calamitous embrace of post-punk: propulsive percussion tornado-ing forward over wavy bass lines that set that fractured dance vibe – not so much anthemic floor-hitters but an intricate and enjoyably jittery take on the traditional toe-tapping head banger pound.“How can we be free if we are always chasing an intangible and subjective state of mind?” asks Almost Free frontman, Andy Bird. With Almost Free, their idea of learning how to cope with one’s surroundings involves comprehending that the everyday grind is a necessity to life, while never allowing it to shape them. Bird (vocals, guitars) and his bandmates, Bob Impemba (bass, synth, noise) and Garren Stevens (drums), fashion a substantially foreboding sound that covers various elements underneath the neat, but broad umbrella of alternative music. For Almost Free, living life to the fullest while realizing that every single decision and action has a price is a sublime feeling to express through their alternative-rock blend of grungy guitars, progressive hooks and upbeat drumming. Often sounding like a cross between The Smiths and Bloc Party, their nervy rock is the kind that pushes forward without sacrificing drive or focus. With Almost Free, a strong focus on the revelatory happenings that music creates continues to play the most prominent role in their tenure as a band.

Almost Free has received loads of press for their latest EP, "In/Out", which was produced by Social Security, the production duo of Marc Jordan (The Cult, Velvet Revolver) and Todd Weinstock (Glassjaw, Hustle Club, Men Women & Children). "In/Out" has been featured on the AOL Music Spinner page, Spanish and British podcasts, Seattle's KEXP website, and several renowned music blogs. A midwest tour in support of the EP has helped them spread their fan base and reach new listeners throughout the US.