Ashlands Attic
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"Local Band Plays Tune for '90210'"

Ashlands Attic, a local pop/rock band that has been entertaining at local venues since 2009, can expect to broaden its fan base when its song, “Unexpected Happenings,” is played on The CW show “90210.” The show will air at 8 p.m. Monday.

Bass player Mark Lawton of Hudson said the show’s producers contacted the band to request music.

“The whole experience has been amazing,” Lawton said. “One second you are practicing in an attic in Ashland, Massachusetts, and the next second you are in the studio recording a song to be heard on TV by millions of viewers!”

The band also includes lead singer Ryan McMullen, guitarist Andy Sullivan, drummer Joe Benatti, and rhythm guitarist and backup singer Benjamin Larracey.

- Worcester Telegram & Gazette


"Ashland Band Brings Back Beatles"

ASHLAND — The Beatles played their first gig in Liverpool's Casbah Club. Aerosmith first performed together at Nipmuc Regional High School.

And the up-and-coming band named Ashlands Attic was born in a Pizzeria Uno in Westborough by college buddies who "wanted to reclaim the music of the '60s."

Four guys met at Fitchburg State College in 2002, hung out together and, after graduation, went their separate ways.

Looking back, Ben Larracey recalled, "It's a funny thing. We roomed together. We all liked the Beatles but starting a band never came up. We never even thought about playing together."

Three years after graduating in 2006, Larracey got together with old friends Ryan McMullen of Worcester and Joe Benatti of Natick last August at Pizzeria Uno. Over Diet Cokes, they decided they had to do something about the state of music today.

"We wondered 'Why isn't there a band like the Beatles anymore,"' recalled Larracey, 25. "We were all of the same mind. We wanted to make fun, catchy songs that aren't hard rock. Not screaming music but maybe a couple of screams."

Looking for a bass player, they hooked up with Mark Lawton of Hudson, who'd graduated from Fitchburg State a year after them.

"Everyone in the band has a different musical background," said Larracey who works as a substitute teacher in Ashland. "It's funny how we gelled."

In March, they played their first show in a YMCA in Worcester and since then have played locally and in Boston. And they released a three-song demo "From the Attic" that can only be heard on their Web site, www.Ashlandsattic.com.

Now they're all together, rehearsing in the attic of Larracey's parents' barn on High Street in Ashland, grabbing whatever gigs they can get.

Larracey plays guitar and keyboard and McMullen plays keyboard. Lawton plays bass and Benatti plays drums. Everyone sings.

Ashlands Attic plays tonight at 9 p.m. at the Lucky Dog Music Hall, 89 Green St., Worcester. They'll appear with '80s cover band Flock Of...

They've already booked four June shows including the Cantab Lounge/Club Bohemia, 738 Mass. Ave, Cambridge, on June 14; an afternoon graduation party in Ashland on June 20 and an evening show at the Notorious R&R 5 Star Dive Bar, 80 Broadway, Malden; and a June 27 show at Copperfields, 98 Brookline Ave., Boston.

Looking ahead, they'll be playing Aug. 20 at The Chicken Bone, 358 Waverly St., Framingham, and Dec. 18 at Rock On Main Street show at The Center for Arts in Natick, 14 Summer St.

Since getting together the band has written 15 original songs and covers the Beatles, Queen, Coldplay, Keane and others.

At concerts they regularly play their signature songs, "Unexpected Happenings," "Songs in the Key of L.A." and "Shelley Duvall" which McMullen said has nothing to do with the skinny actress who played Olive Oyl in the movie "Popeye."

For a band with humble origins, they're chasing big ambitions.

Recalling the conversation that started the band, McMullen described Ashlands Attic as "an adventure to reclaim the music of the '60s."

As a kid growing up in Worcester, he sang in the choir of Our Lady of the Angels. At college, he'd formed the Punk band Entropy with Benatti and later played with Aralis, a hard rock band whose named meant "poison flower."

But over the years, McMullen had come to feel "Music today is overproduced. There's no heart, no fun."

For him, the new band provides "a way to make music fun again."

"I think our philosophy is 'Keep it simple.' A lot of bands try to over-complicate things. We want to make music people can enjoy," he said. "I think you can sing our stuff in a car or play it at a cookout."

With little formal training, McMullen has been teaching himself to play the piano and keyboards. "I've always been able to freestyle and make music out of nothing. But I'm not claiming to be a prodigy," he said.

A special education teacher in Lancaster, McMullen, 27, said the band feels confident about its future.

"We're kind of melding together and constantly evolving. We love our music. On stage, we just try to be ourselves," he said. "We're just a fun band and we encourage our audiences to have fun, dance like idiots and throw their cares away."
- Metrowest Daily News


"Catch And Release"

Each member of this pop-rock foursome went to Fitchburg State, but they didn’t come together as a band in college. They formed after the members graduated, naming themselves after their practice space—an attic in an Ashland home. Despite no longer college bound, Ashland’s Attic has a definitive college radio sound. The peppy fuzz guitars, rollicking bass lines, and cowbell-laced drums on “Oh, Yeah!” are similar to the jangle pop that bands like the Replacements rocked on college stations back in the day. And even though the serene chorus of “Oh, yeah, it’s all right” is a form-fit college radio anthem, it’s only part of what makes Ashland’s Attic so great—the other part being their lead singer sounds like Steve Perry from Journey. Ryan McMullen, with his crisp, high-pitched vocals, updates “Don’t Stop Believin’“ with the lines “your chips are down, the cards are drawn…don’t you know you’ll still be fine.” Any band that plays college rock with monster ballad swagger will outgrow Metrowest attics.
ashlandsattic.com
-David Boffa - Worcester Magazine


"Ashlands Attic Signs Love Letter to Rock"

“To Shelley, With Love” Ashlands Attic
Craig S. Semon

With the goal of making “rock ’n’ roll fun again,” Ashlands Attic delivers pristine power-pop without the unnecessary pap on its solid debut, “To Shelley, With Love.”

The wholesome foursome (singer-keyboardist Ryan McMullen of Clinton; guitarist Ben Larracey of Ashland; bassist Mark Lawton of Hudson; and drummer Joe Benatti of Rutland) all went to Fitchburg State before the learning institution pretentiously renamed itself from a college to a university. (While you’re at it, why don’t you change the name to Fitchburg State Shangri-La or Fitchburg State Xanadu? It would make as much sense.) After college, the aspiring quartet practiced in the Larracey family attic in Ashland (hence, the name Ashlands Attic) and soon became a club favorite in the area.

With plenty of snap, crackle and pop, the band members (in their quirky bio notes) prominently list their favorite sugar-coated breakfast cereals, alongside their favorite (and often cheesy) ’80s songs. For McMullen it’s Franken Berry and a-ha’s “Take on Me,” respectively; for Larracey, Lucky Charms and Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight”; for Lawton, Fruity Pebbles and Katrina and the Waves’ “Walking on Sunshine”; and for Benatti, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and the Cure’s “Picture of You.” On top of that, they’re wearing matching outfits with different pastel colored ties inside the album jacket. The makers of Garanimals would be proud. McMullen reassures his swooning female fans that the sun still shines even on the cloudiest of days on the bubblegum pop pep-talk “Oh, Yeah!” McMullen’s endearing voice caresses the verses for all its worth and cheerily belts the charming, cathartic chorus of “Oh yeah/It’s all right/Oh yeah/Stay here tonight.” The song’s feel-good vibe is heightened with a hook-laden mix of rumbling guitars, clattering percussion and soothing background harmonies. But if the chorus is any indication, McMullen’s sensitive New-Age shtick hides an ulterior motive. Then again, making time with the ladies is the reason why Paul McCartney started playing music in the first place and look how much more he accomplished.

“Sticky Situation” (which would have been the perfect name for a sequel to a Buzzcocks’ classic) is a scruffy ditty about bottled-up emotions and the insecurities of being rejected. McMullen is pitch-perfect as the hopeless romantic with a burning desire to reveal how he truly feels. His natural, flowing delivery sounds as if he’s having a conversation with a close friend and chimy guitars, handclaps and impeccable harmonies add to this intimate and engaging soul-searcher.

The actress best known as Jack Nicholson’s tormented wife in “The Shining” gets the not-so-secret secret admirer/borderline stalker treatment on the offbeat love ode to the real-life Olive Oyl, “Shelley Duvall.” Instead of wielding an ax or pumping his guns after downing a can of spinach, McMullen hauntingly snaps, “You blow my mind/You’re so unkind/You’re so unkind.” With McMullen’s tender, tortured falsetto colliding with churchlike organs, choirboys’ backing vocals, Who-like chord progressions and crashing drum beats (almost as if Jack is pounding to get into the door), one doesn’t know if the actress should be flattered or take out a restraining order.

McMullen needs to feel the sunshine on his face on the scornful, sad-sack lament “Remember November.” Sounding like a cross between the Cult’s Ian Astbury and Keane’s Tom Chaplin, a disillusioned McMullen soulfully cries out, “Our souls are just soul/Our place just a place/These smiles seem so fake/Wish they would fade away.”

“Unexpected Happenings” is Ashlands Attic’s ambitious attempt to come up with “A Day in the Life” for the new millennium. McMullen rattles off his uneventful daily morning ritual, which includes sipping his coffee, grabbing the newspaper (it better be the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, especially after this article) and petting the cat. Then the phone rings with bad news. With a “Walking on Sunshine”-like melody, the song sounds more lackadaisical than Beatle.

On “In My Youth,” McMullen fondly reminiscences about the days when he used to be “hopping the scotch and chasing the girls.” Unless he’s Mad Men’s Don Draper, I guess he’s referring to adolescent high jinks. That’s the problem with 20-something-year-olds suffering from Peter Pan envy, especially when you unleash a high-pitch falsetto that makes you sound as if you haven’t reached puberty yet.

McMullen is smitten by a shiny-haired Breck girl who’s “really something” on “Simple Kiss,” but what’s really something is how this romantic ditty starts off like the Monkees at their gooiest turns into Queen at its most bombastic. With his sparkling keyboards, McMullen sounds like the second-coming of Davy Jones — that is, until crunchy power chords and pumping drums help him unleash his inner-Freddie Mercury showman. This is a lively and dynamic showcase for the band that will make them the envy of their peers.

The album’s closer, “The Beginning,” starts with the declaration that “this is not the end.” Let’s hope so. McMullen and fellow attic dwellers come to the realization of what they need to be and that’s a bona fide rock ’n’ roll band. With his tender and tortured falsetto reaching Thom Yorke earnestness, McMullen asks, “Do you feel/Like I feel,” while synthesized orchestration and snarly guitars smother his unanswered cries. It’s a stellar moment from a band to watch. - Worcester Telegram & Gazette


"Noise In The Attic"

Ashland’s Attic — allegedly named for the space where the band first met and jammed — has a fresh, vibrant sound, laced with upbeat grooves and melodic vocals. There’s something timeless and unjaded about songs such as “Sticky Situation” or “Unexpected Happenings,” something that just lends itself to head-bopping. In a lot of ways, the band captures the incandescent joy that made electric Buddy Holly-era rock so electrifying: The music’s straightforward, clean and very, very fun. Ashland’s Attic performs with the Tokyo Tramps at 9 p.m. Nov. 12 at the Lucky Dog Music Hall, 89 Green St., Worcester. (Victor D. Infante) - Worcester Telegram & Gazette


"Ashlands Attic Keeps It Classy"

Listening to Ashland’s Attic surely brings one up to the attic of Rock and Roll sounds. Their tunes recall the vibe of the ’60s and ’70s such as the Beatles, The Beach Boys and other classic rock.

The members of this local foursome — Joe Benatti on drums, Ben Larracey on guitar, Mark Lawton on bass, and Ryan McMullen on lead vocals and keyboard — each attended Fitchburg State College, but never came together musically until after graduation. Actually, it wasn’t until a night at a local pizzeria that they decided to get together as a musical unit, and it went a little something like this: “Hey, you like classic rock? So don’t I! Let’s start a band!”

Officially formed in August 2008, Ashland’s Attic is on a mission to make music fun. Not big fans of the modern rock or rap that fills the airways these days, these guys love to play the music they grew up with — the Beatles, Queen, Pink Floyd, The Kinks, The Who, and Boston. Taking turns on the mic, the members are in the market for catchy tunes with a yearning for the simple rock music you used to hear back in the day.

Ashland’s Attic isn’t simply a cover band — it’s the sound they aim for, not just a rehash of classic rock tunes. They have 15 original songs under their belt, and say they’re writing new songs all the time.

What drives Ashland’s Attic is the entertainment factor; for these four down-to-earth guys simply hope to make those on the dance floor groove, encourage sing-alongs and spend an evening feeling loose and happy. Stop by to hear their classic groove as they hit the area on July 2 over at The Tara Pub at 8 p.m. and on July 23 at The Lucky Dog at 9 p.m. Check ’em out at home in your pajamas at myspace.com/ashlandsattic.

-Doreen Manning - Worcester Magazine


"Up & Comers"

To be addicted means to become so psychologically/ physically dependent upon something that any level of cessation induces trauma. I blame Ashlands Attic, a hot new band coming straight out of the infamous MBTA stop, for the fact that I can’t seem to make it an hour without clicking on their love-inducing song, “Simple Kiss.”

The group of four (Ryan McMullen on keys, Ben Larracey on guitar, Mark Lawton handling bass, Joe Benatti on the kit and everyone sharing vocals) are squeaky clean, polished and so adorable you want to shoplift them. Their first album, To Shelley, With Love, was released in March 2010 and is filled with upbeat tunes that mix Keane with The Beatles and Buddy Holly.

“We came up with the album name because one of our songs was named ‘Shelley Duvall,’” Lawton said. “The song was hauntingly beautiful, just like the actress.”

The boys of Ashlands Attic all attended Fitchburg State, according to Lawton, but did not connect musically until after college when McMullen, Larracey and Benatti were looking for a bass player. As luck would have it, Lawton was dating McMullen’s sister. He auditioned for the group and the band was born. Today, they gig out in the Worcester and Boston areas, playing clubs like Ralph’s and Tammany Hall. And with catchy songs like “Oh Yeah!,” it’s no wonder that the crowds go wild.

“We have a really loyal fan base, they show up at all of our shows,” Lawton said. “And if you get a couple of beers in them, they really start to dance!”

Although the band is amazingly talented (with no professional training) and cute to boot, Lawton noted that no eager female fans were actively throwing themselves at Ashlands Attic.

“I think my mom might have rushed the stage once,” he joked. “But she was just doing it to be nice. The band and I do what we do because we love it. Growing up, we had Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and that was our escape ~ our drug. But music is the only drug we push.”

For more info on Ashlands Attic, go to
www.ashlandsattic.com., and catch them
opening for The Flock of Assholes on Thurs, 09/02, at The Lucky Dog
- The Pulse


Discography

In March, 2010, the band independently released their debut album:
"To Shelley, With Love.

1) Oh, Yeah!
2) Sticky Situation
3) Shelley Duvall
4) Remember November
5) Unexpcted Happenings
6) In My Youth
7) Eyes In The Sky Tonight
8) One Good Year
9) Simple Kiss
10) Song In The Key Of La
11) The Beginning

Photos

Bio

Creating fun music for people to enjoy is truly a goal that Ashlands Attic, a Rock & Pop band based out of Ashland, Massachusetts, has set out to achieve. The band’s story literally began in an Attic nearly two years ago, when band members first started to record lively music that people could snap their fingers and tap their toes to. The band realized it was destiny for them to come together, when ironically they had all attended the same college simultaneously, but didn’t actually link up musically until after graduation. It was then that they recognized they wanted to make music to get people onto the dance floors again. The band, comprised of members Joe Benatti on drums, Ben Larracey on guitar, Mark Lawton on bass, Ryan McMullen on lead vocals and keyboard, and Andy Sullivan on guitar and vocals, describes their sound as a mixture of part retro and modern rock, blended with the essence of each of the band member’s personal influences. With combined influences including The Beatles, Queen, Coldplay, The Killers, Keane, and The Beach Boys, Ashlands Attic merges the sound of classic rock bands with modern rock to create new music that is luring to the ears of listeners. After one or two listens of Ashlands Attic, their music will certainly addict you.

Ashlands Attic creates their music to give audiences a sound that has long been appreciated, but severely missed. Ashlands Attic fills that hole by providing the feel good vibe that today’s one-dimensional music lacks. While the band has their share of ballads and deep songs that will pull at the emotional strings of music fans, it’s ultimate goal is to consistently inject fun into the atmosphere. The goal is that people should have a good time while listening to music and forget about the more stressful things in life. Ashlands Attic is currently promoting their debut album titled, “To Shelley, With Love.” The album features numerous fan favorites including, “The Beginning,” which seamlessly fuses pure vocals and music together, to create an inviting sound for music lovers. And who couldn’t love “Simple Kiss,” a song that pays homage to The Beatles while transporting you back in time to an era where people celebrated fun over stressful things. The band is currently performing live and pursuing their goal of having more people become familiar with their music.