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By Travis Woods

Release Date: 7.11.09

Label: Self-released

It’s one thing for a band to expand its horizons upon each new release, stretching their sound into new sonic territories and environs as they grow as musicians and artists; it’s another thing entirely to punch through those horizons into new stratospheres of excellence and beauty, to not so much expand into new arenas as to explode into them–which is exactly what Aushua has done with Limbo, the six-song follow-up to their debut EP, the solid and searching No Harm Done.

While No Harm Done stood as a debut and unified declaration of Aushua’s sound and style, Limbo is that disc’s inversion–it stretches into multiple directions at once, fraying this way and that, chasing noises and riffs down one melodic, twisting alleyway after another, and forms an eclectic and staggering image of a band discovering its potential. Songs like the ethereal grooves and howls of “Tuck (How it Feels Away)”, the coolly rippling and glistening crunch of the noisy “Pedestrian,” the one-two punch of hymn-like shouter “Hiding Place” and the closing shimmer of “God in Search of Man” whorl-print together into a dizzying chain of sound, one that feels like anything but limbo; rather, it sounds like a quantum leap forward.

After their phenomenal debut EP, No Harm Done, and a national tour, our favorite Santa Ana band, Aushua, is still dishing out incredible musicianship with their latest EP, Limbo.

Although the term, “limbo,” may indicate loss of movement and sense of direction, this sophomore EP couldn’t be more of a contradiction in terms of barriers. Self-released and just a smidge of the flavorful full-length album that is to come, this six-track record is beyond foreshadow in the time-line of rock history. Instead, this collection of songs break through the stigma of location and is a blatant red flashing sign that shouts “Going to be huge!”

As a disclaimer, I must state that the band members of Aushua are not ego-driven nor arrogant. It’s the simple and honest fact that songs like “Pedestrian” deserve a full arena as it bursts with vocals echoing Radiohead and The Verve. “Tuck (How It Feels Away)” transitions through an astounding amount of textures while “What’s It Worth” is a solid rhythm-driven story asking a simple question. Nate Gammil’s vocals are more liberal than ever with riffs weaving in and out of the stripped down and existential “God In Search of Man” making his range sound unfathomably limitless.

However, the true gem of this EP is the title track where all band members’ strengths beautifully merge by way of an impressive blend of vocals, poignant beats layered upon distortion, and keys shining from beginning to end. Following this highlight, “Hiding Place,” perfectly wraps this canon of otherworldly soundscapes up with an addictive tropical-like hook.

Aushua is currently working on a full-length album with producer, Greg Doyle. Limbo is available on iTunes now alongside No Harm Done.

Every day (we hope) The Oregonian Music Blog will post a song of the day for you to enjoy. It might be a new song or just be an excuse to geek out over our favorite bands. But it will always be worth a listen. Let us know what you think of the song in the comments at the bottom. And check out past Songs of the Day by clicking here
There's the storybook California -- the beauty, the tranquility. Then there's the daily California -- the smog, the people, the headaches. Plenty of music has been written about the dream and the reality. But "Hiding Place" by Orange County band Aushua captures both.
If ever a place would, it has to be Orange County...
On one hand, as you listen to it you can almost feel yourself driving down the PCH at sunset. The top's down, a cool breeze blows. There's no cares in your life to get in the way of fully enjoying the scenery.
On the other hand, you can feel a longing, almost a desperation that builds to the chorus of oh-oh-ohohs. Maybe that drive down the PCH is actually a getaway.
"I heard it all before // promise not to anymore // but I'm just listening to the breeze // I'm begging, saying 'please, there ain't nothing wrong."

- Oregon Live


No Harm Done EP - 2008
Limbo EP - 2009

Regularly played on KROQ's "Locals Only" show and KUCI in Irvine, CA



AUSHUA: The short story

Nathan Gammill, vocals Phil Newyear, bass
Eric Newyear, guitar Lee Newyear, drums

Southern California quartet Aushua shapes big ideas into outsized anthems — making music that’s a feast for the body, mind and soul. In barely three years, the Santa Ana-based foursome has gone from scrappy do-it-yourselfers who recorded their initial EP in a college chapel to polished performers who’ve earned a reputation in Los Angeles clubs as a band that can deliver sonically and emotionally.
Aushua (awe-shoe-uh) traces its roots to a friendship struck up by singer Nathan Gammill and bassist Phil Newyear. Within months, Phil’s younger brother, Eric, had joined to play guitar, to be followed by the youngest Newyear, Lee, on drums. Gammill and the band of brothers set to work on the “Hold On!” EP, released in late 2006. That EP’s rough-hewn but melodic music — and its follow-up, “No Harm Done” — earned notice from several L.A. media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times’ Buzz Bands column, the Orange County Register and radio stations KROQ-FM and (now-defunct) Indie 103.1.
It was a great start toward realizing a vision Gammill had been developing since he was a youth in Costa Mesa. “I was raised listening to artists like Bob Dylan and Jackson Browne, but it wasn’t until I discovered the boldness and intensity of early U2 that I got away from the juvenile music I’d been fed by my friends,” Gammill says. “I learned to sing listening to the Unforgettable Fire album and some Rufus Wainwright, but since then I’ve always listened to a lot of female songwriters for influence. I think they are really more in tune with sentiment and the poetry of song.”
In 2009, Aushua is busy making its own verse — a debut album that is informed by the ravenous musical appetites of four twenty-somethings who are as likely to groove to the Talking Heads as they are Nina Simone or PJ Harvey. The recordings, under way in out-of the-way warehouses in the Orange County cities of Anaheim and Orange, are as much about big ideas as they are big sounds.
“The whole record is an inner dialogue — as a people, we've rebelled against everything we can, so it’s about taking a stance, now, about pushing for something,” Gammill says. “I’ve been around a lot of people who are jaded … great writers or artists who aren't working in a creative field, because they’ve never been really pushed into anything, or doubt their relevance. I could be one of them, but we have a unique opportunity to make something beautiful..”

[May 2009]

Management: Ken O'Leary