AZTEC
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AZTEC

Victoria, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF | AFM

Victoria, Canada | SELF | AFM
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Rock Indie

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""Aztec Releases The Best Indie Rock Album Of The Year With Stitches""

Aztec Releases The Best Indie Rock Album Of The Year With Stitches

This morning I was excited, I finally got to hear the new Pennywise and the new Rise Against. I was all for it, and despite their releases, I didn’t get the same kind of emotional response as I did with “Stitches”. I’m calling Aztec’s release that came out on July 11, as the best independent rock album of the year. 5 tracks and a tear in my right eye, this is iconic. To be fair, my tearing right eye is because I stabbed it with my finger on accident, but that’s ok, tear induced musical response reads better for print. (Not really print)

Aztec’s release starts slow, reminding me of Jade Tree’s releases and even some Deep Elm artists that I recall, and is far better than Slow Coming Day’s constant droning that I hated on Tooth and Nail Records. They put together a nice track on “The Benefits of Being Alone”, which to me is an anthem that reminds me of how awesome it was to be back in Los Angeles after a divorce in 2011. It’s the kind of honesty and slow moving song that really captures the band’s emotional prowess, without going into an “emo” type of sorrow, it’s actually quite impactful and well written, bringing a nice start to the record.

The record continues to work through several different moods, and while at the core it’s indie rock, it has a touch of class that will put it right in place with the 1990s alternative movement, especially with the guitar driven “Too Shallow to Be a Grave”, and it’s nice. You would expect this to be a B-Side on the “Angus” soundtrack, because it’s that catch, that good, and dare I say reminiscent of Weezer when they first showed up.

Through the 5 tracks, of this record, you get a nice mix of songs that stand out, and are well rounded. No one song is better than the other, they are all encompassing as a whole. I’m sincerely impressed with how this record flows, and it’s a united front that plays to the strength of the band. It’s this type of cohesion that really makes this record a standout in the scene for me. I’ll be surprised if this record doesn’t get the band signed to a nice contract or at least to tour with some well-known indie bands.

“Stitches” is rocking, it has legs, it’s powerful like Drive Eight’s first record, and yet it stands on its own as a quality recording that I personally claim is the best indie rock record of this year. It’s going to be hard to top this one, and believe me, I hear a lot of music, all day and night. I throw my support to this record, and hope Aztec continues to produce quality records like this one. - Sell Out Records


""AZTEC: “Stitches” – Catchy Enough to be on Radio Without Sacrificing Substance!""

AZTEC: “Stitches” – Catchy Enough to be on Radio Without Sacrificing Substance!

Canadian band AZTEC is a motivated band of friends formed with a “play anywhere for anyone” mentality. AZTEC’s performance is an intense emotional display fuelled by time spent crammed in a van and the efforts demanded of today’s determined ‘indie band’. AZTEC is Lead vocals/guitar-Kyle Schepens, Lead guitar-Saul Sitar, Bass-Patrick Gleeson and Drums-Amber Banman.

The have just released their 5-track EP, , Mixed and produced by Nathan Hussey (All Get Out), Charleston S.C. and Mastered by Kenny McWilliams (Archer Avenue Studios), Columbia S.C.

AZTEC is a band that came out of nowhere for me. Their EP walks all sorts of lines; it’s just the perfect amount of offbeat indie, with the perfect amount of melody and good old rock n’ roll. The dynamics are also well above par; the right amount of loud gritty, raw guitars riffs mixed with beautiful six-string melodically-inclined notes, and matching vocal verses and choruses from Kyle. The little harmony touches to every song are also vitally important in giving the songs an extra touch of class.

Kyle Schepen’s vocals are delicate, fragile, and emotional at times, and then gritty, raw, and biting at others. Lyrically the band’s writing is superb. Some of the lyrics are enigmatic and cryptic. Others are 100 percent honest, and personal. Saul Sitar’s guitar work is refreshing. If you like guitar-based music, you will like this album. At the other end, Amber Banman’s drum work is subtle, and explosive, while Patrick Gleeson’s bass lines, are, exactly how they should be!



The flow of this EP is smooth. Every song flows right into each other seamlessly. These songs are at their nature, Indie, yet at the same time they are catchy enough to be on the radio without sacrificing any substance. In fact, ‘substance’ is the word that best sums up “Stitches”. And it can be found in what I consider the EP’s standout tracks, in this order: “Untitled Part One”, “The Benefits Of Being Alone” and “If I Believed In Anything”.

Overall is a AZTEC is a band that isn’t afraid to flex its rock n’ roll muscles in contrast with most indie bands who hide behind the façade of ‘sublime eclectic ‘. AZTEC hit power chords and anthemic choruses with unabashed chivalry whenever the occasion calls for it!

In addition, you can understand every single word that is sung. Meaning that AZTEC take their vocal responsibilities seriously. Lastly, but certainly not in order of importance, several of the songs on “Stitches” have killer hooks that will worm their way into your head very quickly.

AZTEC is extremely talented and the EP itself is consistent, demonstrating the band’s incredible musicianship and songwriting. I would highly recommend “Stitches” to anyone – high quality crafted songs that you’ll be listening to for quite some time. - Jam Sphere


""So indie it almost hurts at times, Aztec are a well polished alt rock machine.""

So indie it almost hurts at times, Aztec are a well polished alt rock machine.
Opening with the crunchy guitar chugs of ‘The Benefits Of Being Alone’, one can’t help being reminded of those hipster kings and queens, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. Blending male and female vocals effortlessly, Stitches is snappy and exciting, an EP that stands up and declares ‘Who said rock was dead, anyway?’

‘Too Shallow To Be A Grave’ balances guitars with personality, a strong rhythm section, and an arrangement that keeps the ears keen for every beat of the track. Shifting from verse to chorus, the style and organization takes hairpin corners while keeping you firmly and comfortably in your seat. ‘Untitled Part One’ is more of a steady ballad, yet has darker undertones that come from a deep and powerful rhythm, and soars at the mid point with its yowling, brittle guitar solo, while ‘If I Believed Anything’ heads on more of a straight up punk direction, with touches of Weezer in the warm, blustering guitars.

Closing with ‘East’, Stitches comes to its conclusion with a thundering and at points aggressive final track, structured with Aztec’s distinctive production and arrangement. It’s a fitting end to a regularly thrilling EP that demands a second spin after its first listen. - CrossRadar


""with no weak links at all, this is one of the best E.P's I’ve heard in a long time.""

Aztec are an alternative rock four-piece hailing from Canada, and have built up a good fanbase through the old-fashioned route of touring their collective behinds off. This E.P. has been produced by a member of one of Aztec’s favourite bands All Get Out, and is remarkable for the reason that it manages to capture the elusive raw energy of a band playing live, which is so often lost in translation during the recording process.

Aztec write consistently strong melodic pop/rock songs that are always catchy and memorable, but, as with many alternative bands, their hooks are not of the obviously signposted ‘here’s the big chorus’ type, which is a corny characteristic of many of the more commercial bands. The way they double up their hooks with female backing vocals brought to mind the Dandy Warhols, but without the ‘cooler-than-thou’ lyrics, and a closer listen shows they belong more with the more quirky, offbeat likes of Modest Mouse and Manchester Orchestra.

Opening track ‘The Benefits of Being Alone’ starts with a mellotron-esque sound with a gentle, chugging guitar before lead singer/guitarist Kyle Schepens enters with the opening lines ‘Got no plans today, gonna smoke my cigarette…maybe drink the bottle here of red…’. This melancholy tone sets the lyrical mood for the whole E.P. but is soon counterbalanced by the music exploding into widescreen, a wall of guitars and Amber Banman’s raw, primal drumming setting the listener’s ears alight. Schepens’ distinctive voice reminded me of the Pixies’ Black Francis (but without the screeching).

The dichotomy and interplay between downbeat lyrics and upbeat music, along with pretty vocal melodies offset by heavy guitars, is found throughout the E.P. This is showcased best by the second song “Too Shallow To Be A Grave” (great title) which marries a surging, melodic musical backing to self-lacerating lyrics: “I am nonsense scribbled down, then erased and never found…I’m the cancer that you fight every day“. Even with words like that, it is the one of the most commercial of the five tracks, and would make a great single.

Third track “Untitled Part 1” is more mid-paced and features some gorgeous, chiming lead guitar work from Saul Sitar (the two guitarists combine well across the whole E.P.). Lyrically, it appears to be about a family reunion and nostalgia trip gone wrong (‘brothers and sisters all around, what did you bring me out here for?‘), yet, again, the overall song is uplifting to listen to.

Fourth track If I Believed In Anything is my personal favourite of the five and perhaps also the poppiest. With an understated but radio-friendly chorus and a nice harmony section, I could imagine this being very popular on college radio, proving Aztec can write a great pop song in the classic sense. Definite contender for the lead track off the E.P. and the first single, in my opinion.

Closing track East is a superb finale, a short, quirky song in waltz-time, with a quiet-loud-quiet dynamic and an explosive chorus that rivals Kings of Leon for epicness. It ends an extremely good run of songs that, for me, showcases what an E.P. can and should be. Essentially, it should aim to be a mini-album rather than one strong track and a bunch of filler. This one perfectly exemplifies the former and, with no weak links at all, is one of the best E.P.s I’ve heard in a long time. - The Faulkner Review


Discography

Stitches EP (July 2014)

*In production on EP2. Release date: Early 2016*

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Bio

AZTEC is a band that embodies the concept that less truly is more within each of their songs as they create a sound that is as distinct as it is endearing. By blending distorted alternative hooks with driving indie rock to breathe unique songwriting sensibilities into each track, the band allows every song to truly have a life of its own. Their sound contains songwriting that combines cascading guitar hooks with sweeping bass lines, dynamic drumbeats and captivating vocal melodies.  Their live shows are bursting with optimistic energy and contagious enthusiasm that have got audiences to convert their friends into fans with their performance on stage or their recordings online.

 

Their debut EP Stitches was released in 2014, and garnered positive reviews across the board and their single “The Benefits of Being Alone”, became a fan favorite among audiences across Canada and online.  Since then, the band embarked on a cross Canada tour in early 2015 and had another Canadian summer tour on the horizon that kicked off in June after teaming up with Badmouth Bookings. AZTEC will be promoting their upcoming EP being produced by Nathan Hussey of All Get Out and featuring album artwork by Chris Freeman of Manchester Orchestra. The band is currently in production for their next.

 

AZTEC currently receives strong airplay after being named “Band of the Month” for May 2015 by Victoria BC’s The Zone 91-3, while Stitches was named “The Best Indie Record of the Year” by Sell Out Records. The band has risen through the ranks of Canada’s thriving indie rock scene to become a leader of the pack by focusing on their sound and their passion for songwriting. Sincere songwriting and endearing musicianship have allowed them to discover a solid fan base of their own through word of mouth and grassroots touring. AZTEC is a real band with real fans that write real songs for real people, so prepare to hear them on a stage near you this year after the release of their upcoming album.

 

"Aztec Releases The Best Indie Rock Album Of The Year With Stitches"

-Sell Out Records

Band Members