A Stillwater Satellite
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A Stillwater Satellite

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"Working On a Novel, by A Stillwater Satellite"

By: Vandal Truong
Rating: 9/11

Over a sparse single guitar chord, "Gasoline Into An open Fire" opens like many other rock ballads. But then the song swells into a brash, emotional howl filled with more guitars and throbbing drums of a growling, salty rock jam. Expect the unexpected on Working On A Novel, the debut EP from the New York based quartet known as A Stillwater Satellite.

These are not pretty boys looking for a top ten hit. The band has been playing together for over ten years and it shows through the album's dedicated, workman-like balance of bluesy, hard rock and funk. Each song has its own identity, from the do-wop breakdown of "So Sick Of Sorry" to the John Doe/X sounding "Oceans" (a number when performed live at Spike Hill in May, created a sea of bobbing heads and dancing bodies).

These innovative, dedicated musicians formed in high school through cousins Will Medica (lead vocals, guitars) and Tim Gannon (guitar, keyboard), who recruited two of their favorite musicians from previous bands, Mark Macaluso (drums) and Tim O'Flaherty (bass, woodwinds). Although they are varied in arrangement and style, their songs share a masterful interplay between acoustic and electric instruments with heartfelt lyrics, demonstrating that A Stillwater Satellite’s greatest strength is the sum of all their members.

However, it is not easy to pin down exactly what their sound is. They are a jam band (especially in concert), yet at times they sound like The Replacements and Velvet Underground. They incorporate six-strings, electrics, acoustics, a high bass, a big kick drum sound, slides, floats, even screaming voices. Their songs do not follow any convention yet they seem to stitch it all together nicely with a three-part harmony.

The band's talents shine full force in, "Making Monday Morning...Friday Afternoon," a song that details the heartbreaking journey to create something bold through art. These may be the darkest moments but if you look inside, to hear and to feel – the band reminds the listener – then you come out stronger and, almost more importantly, with a body of art created. This is exactly what Working On A Novel is, a journey that resulted in an artful blend of jazz-blues-funk-roots rock. - Knocks From the Underground


Working on a Novel EP
"Making Monday Morning" was Featured on the Jan 20th edition of DJ Mojo's Maximum Music Hour:
BTR Live Studio Performance:



A Stillwater Satellite are a New York quartet who have been together for over ten years. Their desire to explore the limits of their abilities, both in songwriting and performance, combined with a cohesive workman-like approach, which has been developed over a long musical relationship, help form a sound which is unmistakably their own.

The group was started when two sets of high-school mates came together through the blood/musical connection of cousins Tim Gannon (guitar, keyboard and harmony vocals) and Wil Medica (lead vocals, guitar and steel guitar). Tim O'Flaherty (bass and woodwinds) had been playing with Tim Gannon in various groups at the time, and Mark Macaluso (drums and harmony vocals) had known Wil from their own similar ventures in previous years. This core group, which remains to this day, was for a number of years augmented by various friends and family, making the group at times an eight-piece -- complete with back-up singers and horn section -- and allowing Tim Gannon and Tim O'Flaherty to explore their keyboard and woodwind abilities respectively.

This experimental approach to rock music has continued to influence their style. Not necessarily being content with three-minute, perfectly-structured songs, at times they will stretch out, letting the moment guide them; but they also concern themselves with the direction they are taking, which allows them to focus their energy on the intricacies which might otherwise get lost in the fog of improvisation -- tight yet complex compositions being the outcome. The end result is simply that no two songs sound the same, and this is the band's strength; then layer over this ever-changing, progressive musical landscape their use of three-part harmonies, and you have the glue that holds the entire entity together.

Part relentless jamming, part compact but complete pop songs, add a bit of a soul or a country backbeat, top it off with a deep focus on vocal harmonies and you have the core of A Stillwater Satellite's sound: a distinct balance of influences as well as abilities, not self-consciously cultivated but, like the group itself, genuinely cohesive from the experience of years together.