Attack Release
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Attack Release

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"NYU Alumni Prove That Life After School Can Rock"

NYU alumni prove that life after school can rock
FEATURE | Attack Release
By: Pey C. Tan
Posted: 4/18/08
It all started in a freshman dorm. Alec Tabak and Simon Henin, now NYU alumni, quickly formed rock 'n' roll outfit band The Stammers after a chance meeting in Brittany residence hall.

Attack Release will be performing on April 29, 2008 at The Annex. The show begins at 10 p.m., is 21+ and costs $8.
Six years later The Stammers had disbanded, and after a cool twist of fate on Craigslist, Tabak began making music with friend Grace Kim. Later they were joined by Henin and Sascha Michaels, who had played drums in The Stammers in their Brittany days. Not long after the quartet's inception, Attack Release was created.

Tabak, 27, reflects upon the toll that the length of Release's inception has taken.

"As a group with a collective age of over 110 years, we just don't have the energy to fight anymore," he joked.

But make no mistake: There is nothing stale about the music of Attack Release. The band is composed of Tabak on guitar/vocals, Henin on guitar, Kim on bass and Michaels on drums. The members have an impressive repertoire, and it is hard to believe that the band has been together for less than a year. They have certainly begun to create a music-making formula, and one that works.

Working as the recording engineer for the band's material, Tabak is very much involved in creating the band's sound. "There is a tradition of New York rock bands with more elaborate double guitar arrangements, and I think we're a part of that," he said.

Attack Release rarely ever strays from this "two-guitar" ethos, making music with strong rhythms and catchy riffs, accompanied by understated vocals. "Reputation Maker" is reminiscent of The Strokes' "Is This It," while other noteworthy tracks like "No Sugar" and "Hair" hit indie gold with forthright verses and pop sensibilities. The music is always a collaborative effort, but Tabak is the sole songwriter.

" 'Hair' relates the story of a protagonist coming to consciousness in an apartment, not wanting to be there, leaving and then being impeded by out-of-service elevators," he said, adding that many of the songs are about "fraught relationships, though they're not necessarily autobiographical."

Essentially, this is the voice of Attack Release. As the dissonant spokesperson for city-dwelling twenty-somethings, the band has a distinct penchant for focusing on the tribulations of young college graduates. The topics range from post-college anxiety to ambiguous romantic relationships. But like the adage goes, it's always best to write what you know, and Tabak has no problem depicting his lifestyle through explanations of the claustrophobia of small apartments or the desire to meander through the streets of New York.

"I like playing with the sounds and rhythms of words and how they just sort of fit into the narrative of a song," Tabak said. "I think almost all rock music is basically pop music with rock instruments, and you can't make pop music without a memorable sound, so melody is important as well."

Besides banging out tunes in their recording studio on Rivington Street, Attack Release also enjoys hanging out at New York haunts like the KGB Bar. They are currently coming up with more tracks to add to their oeuvre and may book another show for the summer. Tabak said that he would rather get the band playing to the best of their abilities rather than rushing out an album. But even though he has been performing for some time, Tabak still gets the jitters when taking the stage.

"Half an hour before we go on, we think, 'Oh, this is not going to be so hard! Of course we can do this, we play a lot, and we're well-rehearsed, and we know our material.' But then 10 minutes before we're like, 'Oh shit, we actually have to do this now, but how will we do it?' " Tabak said. "But we do it anyway."

Though they enjoy the adrenaline rush of performing for fans, the two front-men of Attack Release have a few choice words about the dangers of life as a musician that many aspiring rock star might know: "Lack of sleep and a lousy diet" often accompany great aspirations.

"Learning to play your instruments is a great thing to do. And practice. Keep those tuning breaks short and address the audience in a way that makes them feel engaged," he said. "And don't wear ear plugs while you perform; you should be able to hear what you're playing."

Keeping these words of wisdom in mind as they pursue their dream, Attack Release is a band that undoubtedly caters to the college crowd - no matter your alma mater.

Pey C. Tan is a staff writer. E-mail her at © Copyright 2008 Washington Square News - Washington Square News


"Reputation Maker"/"Hair" Mercury Lounge twin-single



Youth is wasted on the young. Attack Release plays fury without the folly, resignation without the drama, modern boredom without the precocity. Nothing slick about it, which is to say nothing unnecessary: just lean, candid guitar rock about the sad romances of people and places. Think Television, but minus the convolution; Guided By Voices, but minus the logorrhea; Pavement, but post-Pavement. Think Guitar Hero, if you like, except with songs you didn’t know you loved. Attack Release is necessary in the way the best bands have always been necessary: simple, tuneful, and unerringly wise. Fully aware of all the times and places of the world and, better still, at home in none of them. --Daniel Levin Becker