Alta Mira
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Alta Mira

Albany, New York, United States | INDIE

Albany, New York, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Alternative


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



"Best of 2010 - Arts & Entertainment"

Best Rock Band

Alta Mira

We’ve stuck these guys with the term “prog” before, but we believe, deep down, that Alta Mira are trying to write anthems. In fact, upon hearing their debut LP, our first instinct was to compare them to Albany pop-rockers the Wait, but “with a math problem.” So we’ll drop the modifier and just call them what they are: a kick-ass rock band. - Metroland

"He's got the pipes; they've got the chops; Alta Mira has got the goods."

Two years ago, a relatively unknown band from New York's upstate Capitol Region released a modest five-track EP on the Albany based Indian Ledge Records label, entitled Fables and Fabrications. A rich soiree of sound, constructed with intricate, yet understated guitar work over a timely rhythm section, all making way for the voice of Joe D. Michon-Huneau, who provides a steady stream of emotionally heavy lyrical outpourings. With that release, Alta Mira managed to cram as much substance into five songs as many bands sometimes put into twelve. It would be a long two years before we'd hear from them again, but Alta Mira has returned, having culled from the music bin a solid collection of densely textured, skillfully crafted aural devices that operate like clockwork, yet still leave room to breath. The talent, art and production are all here, and they are each of the highest caliber. The songwriting is meticulous and flowing, sometimes slithering around unforeseen corners, but always maintaining defined parameters throughout the album's lengthy venture.

A tambourine rattle draws the opening strings as Hunter Sagehorn's delicate guitar begins to wind a bed of song with which to lay Michon-Huneau's soft narrative across; all before giving way to the bottled rage of “Tambourine's” heavy chorus. A strong opening statement, “Tambourine” gives a good idea of the kind of things to come. Like a slowly unraveling sonic ball of yarn, “Din and Drone” rolls the sound established in the opener into a deeper realm of introspection, placing the vibe on a warm, peaceful plain before unloading one of the album’s strongest melodies into the chorus. “The End of My” begins with a crisp, opening guitar riff, setting up one of the most finely crafted pieces of musicianship featured on the album, eventually giving way to a layered vocal finale, drowning the listener in rich, layered melody. An album highlight is found in its sixth track and lead single, “Slumberjack.” With the most original instrumentation on the album, the track captivates from the get-go with a thick, tugging bassline, which serves as a focal point throughout the song. A continuously escalating piece of music, “Slumberjack” is the album’s most essential piece of listening material. “Buglight” displays the group’s cohesive sound as well as any track on the album while it chugs ahead with a thick, bass-driven groove, affixed with one of the finest vocal performances on the release. Where album falls a bit short of the mark is in its tendency to follow a somewhat narrow path that, while fully explored, is not traveled far beyond --- causing deviations, like “Slumberjack” , to stand out for being a bit different and unexpected.

If wandering guitars, introspective lyrical pondering and laid back indie-rock grooves aren't in your wheelhouse, this album is less likely to penetrate your psyche. If you are inclined to swing in such musical circles, while keeping an open, curious mind at all times, Alta Mira is a fulfilling journey, loaded with treasures to unearth through repeated listens. Not every track on Alta Mira is going to reveal its intricacies upon first listen - and this is part of what makes the album a success. A great deal of time and effort when into molding, shaping and smoothing these songs into the polished pieces that they are; just like cracking them open and revealing the beauty within requires time and effort on the part of the listener. Those who seek shall be rewarded with a wealth of quality listening material with which to fill their sonic bellies - while those unwilling to hunt for their musical sustenance could be left unfulfilled.

Alta Mira is...
Joe D. Michon-Huneau, Vocals
Hunter Sagehorn, Guitar
August Sagehorn, Bass
Tommy Krebs, Drums
- Sputnik Music - Bryan Lee Madden

"Alta Mira: Alta Mira"

Albany, NY based Alta Mira's eponymous debut has been over two years in the making and gives off every impression of being a labor of love. The album flows more smoothly than expected, given the wide range of moods it covers. The time and effort put into this album shows not just in the well put together package of songs, but also in the comfort the band clearly feels with the material. There is a confidence in these songs not usually found on a debut album.

According to the band, the environment of Barefoot Studios, where the album was recorded, was highly influential on the finished product. Barefoot Studios is a large studio space housed in a former mental hospital. Bassist August Sagehorn likened the place to Hell in an interview with the Albany Daily Gazette. But the dark mood that atmosphere must have inspired does not completely permeate the album. It is difficult to pin down a specific emotional tone for the album as a whole; indeed it is sometimes difficult to pin down the emotional tone of individual tracks. Many of the songs go through several tempo changes while vocalist Joe Michon-Huneau effortlessly brings the audience along for the ride.

Alta Mira has already been compared to a multitude of different musical acts, ranging from Radiohead to the Beatles. All of these influences are clear on the album, and with so many influences pulling the band in so many directions, it would be tempting to classify Alta Mira as an album with too many personalities. But that would not be fair. The band's influences are clearly stamped on their sound, but they have done something unique with all of it, and created something new.

While Michon-Huneau's vocals are quite flashy and seem to overshadow much of the album, a close listen shows Sagehorn's bass to be more of a driving force. Sagehorn steers the songs seamlessly into one another, allowing Michon-Huneau to dazzle us with his not inconsiderable talent. Nowhere is this dynamic more apparent than in “Sinker/Or” with Sagehorn's modest, yet powerful instrument gently steering the song.

In fact, August Sagehorn dominates the album enough that it is sometimes to the detriment of his brother, Hunter, the band’s lead guitarist. The only tracks of the album in which Hunter manages to outshine his brother is the excellent “Din & Drone” and “Harder They Fall” which manage to feature the guitar playing above the competing efforts of singer and bassist. Underneath the overpowering talents of Michon-Huneau and his brother August, Hunter Sagehorn does display a promising ability, and one hopes that further releases from this band will allow him greater opportunity to shine. But on this disc, he is underwhelming, or at least seems that way in comparison to his bandmates.

Drummer Tommy Krebs, while also playing second to Sagehorn's bass and the vocals, holds his own. Unfortunately, he never has a moment to truly shine, though he comes close in the prog-rock style “Harder They Fall,” a track that brings the Mars Volta to mind. Krebs opens the track with some deft work, though it quickly takes a backseat to the Sagehorn brothers’ intricate playing.

Though many bands debut with impressive work, it is rare for a first album to feature quality of this caliber. Alta Mira has a sense of themselves and their own sound that might easily be mistaken for maturity. It isn't quite right to label it thus, as this group clearly has a great deal of growing to accomplish. But they do seem to have an almost uncanny sense of their own talents and limits. The group rarely treads in areas that are beyond them, and play their material with an ease that suggests an uncommon level of natural talent. That alone makes Alta Mira one of the more exciting bands to debut this year. - - Andrea Martin

"CD: Alta Mira’s “Alta Mira”"

We first heard Alta Mira three years ago, when they were sharing the stage with the haunting Lisa Germano at Valentine’s Music Hall. We immediately became fans.

A year later, the young quartet released their debut disc on Indian Ledge Records. The EP “Fables and Fabrications” caught a lot of ears and garnered the band lots of great press.

Now they’re finally unleashing their first full-length album. It’s about time. And it’s worth the wait.

Alta Mira’s sound is difficult to pin down. It’s certainly not any kind of straight-forward rock formula. It’s complex, intoxicating. This is challenging stuff.

Joe Michon-Huneau‘s passionate, open-hearted vocals immediately leap to front-and-center, while drummer Tommy Krebs and brothers Hunter and August Sagehorn (on bass and guitar, respectively) mold the songs with intricate, imaginative arrangements like seasoned sonic sculptors. Tempos and moods shift 180-degrees in a heartbeat. And back again. Is it art-rock anchored in funk? It shimmers as much as it shakes. It’s delicate, yet dynamic. It’s purposefully disorienting. There’s genuine drama here.

Take, for example, “The End of My,” which sounds something like Jeff Buckley singing an incredibly contagious Marshall Crenshaw song backed by the Police’s Andy Summer. And that’s followed by the compelling, yet understated instrumental “Interlude.”

The band’s sound has drawn comparisons to such diverse influences as Radiohead, Incubus, the Beatles, Talking Heads, Verve Pipe, XTC, Jerry Cantrell, the Mars Volta, Tool, the Sea and Cake. They’re all right. And all wrong. Alta Mira’s music unfolds at its own pace to reveal its altogether unique inner beauty.

Alta Mira celebrates the release of their self-titled album debut at Revolution Hall in Troy on Saturday (December 5). They’re calling it “The Alta Mira CD Release Experiment,” and the festivities includes art installations, interactive 360-degree video and music by Alta Mira, Railbird, Matthew Loiacono and Matt Durfee. Doors open at 7pm. Admission is $10, which includes a copy of the new CD. -


Recording is nearly complete for a follow up full length album set to be released late 2011.

"Alta Mira"
Alta Mira - December 2009 - LP

"The Fables and Fabrications EP"
Alta Mira - August 2007 - EP



  Born from the suburban outskirts of Albany, Alta Mira craft sturdy pop-rock for the chronically self-conscious. Employing the standard-issue tools of rock-and-roll, the four-piece outfit creates tricky rhythmic landscapes, unexpected grooves and infectious melodies, all tied up into tight bundles of pop song goodness. It's Joe Jackson in Chuck Taylors.

Alta Mira have garnered solid regional standing with the releases of The Fables and Fabrications EP in 2007 and their self titled full-length in 2009. The band has brought their tight and dynamic live performance throughout the Northeast, opening for acts as diverse as Ra Ra Riot, Lisa Germano and The New Deal. Look for their new full-length release in the Summer of 2011.
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