Seattle, Washington, USA

Three-piece indie, alt-pop band that will easily appeal to fans of such acts as Radiohead, Coldplay, Keane, and Death Cab For Cutie.


With “ABSOLUTES,” Barcelona have crafted a vibrant collection of stadium-sized anthems and reflective ballads, unified by soaring melodies, lush arrangements, and singer/keyboardist Brian Fennell’s persuasively personal lyricism. Intricately orchestrated songs like “Stars” and “It’s About Time” are animated by a dramatic sonic scope, with Fennell’s remarkable vocals conveying an ardent yearning for emotional release. Such exuberant and evocative music invites a powerful kinship between the band and its audience, a bond which only serves to stir the Seattle-based trio’s creative spirit.

“To have people – I don’t know who they are and they don’t really know who I am – feel some strong connection to the words I’ve written,” says Fennell, “that’s one of the most magical things about what we do.”

Fennell played piano and guitar in a few teenage bands before attending Seattle Pacific University and embarking on his own self-described “solo guy” career. Inspired by such singer/songwriters as Teitur and Brett Dennen, he soon became a popular fixture on Seattle’s musically fertile coffeehouse scene. In 2005, Fennell recorded a solo album, “SAFETY SONGS,” accompanied in the studio by his best friend, producer/musician Brian Eichelberger. Upon the album’s release, the solo guy asked Eichelberger and fellow Seattle Pacific University students Chris Bristol (guitar/vocals) and Rhett Stonelake (drums) to join him for gigs.

“We very quickly realized that it was going to be something more than a backing band,” Bristol says. “We all came to the idea that if we were gonna do it as a band, we were gonna do it as a band. It might’ve started out as a singer/songwriter thing, but Barcelona really hit the ground running as a group.”

Dubbing themselves Barcelona, the band began playing in and around Seattle. Influenced by independent-minded combos such as Lovedrug and Copeland, as well as the more esoteric sounds of artists like Sigur Rós and Rufus Wainwright, the fledgling group fashioned a dynamic widescreen sound which elevated the intimate power of Fennell’s songwriting.

Barcelona swiftly found themselves the object of major label attention, but just as they were poised to sign on the dotted line, the proposed deal fell though. What initially seemed a crisis proved an opportunity which sparked the band’s ambitious energy. Barcelona took the bull by the horns and began touring on a regular basis, travelling up and down the west coast. Before long, they had developed a fervent fan following from Seattle to San Diego.

“It was all kinda do-it-yourself,” Fennell says, “which was something we prided ourselves on.”

“Looking back on it,” Bristol says, “that deal falling through was one of the best things that have happened to us as a band. It forced us to explore the world as an indie band and you learn a lot doing it on your own. The amount of knowledge that we’ve gained from those experiences is priceless.”

With a publishing deal providing the capital, Barcelona set to work creating their debut album. The band spent much of 2006 recording in studios all over Seattle, co-producing alongside Eichelberger (who also guided the towering string arrangements). Melding newer material with a re-recorded trio of “SAFETY SONGS” (including “Response,” “Numb,” and “Colors”), the resulting “ABSOLUTES” expertly captured the breadth of the band’s musical ambition.

“It ended up a combination of songs I’d written before Barcelona,” Fennell says, “and new songs we wrote as a band. Somehow we were lucky enough to have that be cohesive. These songs written over this span of time and transition led to what we felt was a strong full-length record of songs that made sense together.”

Released in August 2007 on the band’s own NBD Music, “ABSOLUTES” received rave reviews from coast to coast. “Barcelona has captured fleeting emotions and indescribable feelings,” opined the Boston Globe, “and put them into the slightly more tangible forms of music and lyrics.” “Not only the best local debut of 2007,” declared Seattle Weekly, “it might be the best local release, period, of 2007.”

Eichelberger left the line-up in late 2007, opting to focus on his burgeoning career as producer and engineer. Carrying on as a trio, Barcelona spent much of the next year honing its sound by criss-crossing the continent on three national tours, including treks with Low vs. Diamond and Sherwood. By December 2008, the band was ready to further explore its possibilities by signing with Universal Motown.

“As time goes on,” Bristol says, “you realize that you can only do so much. We were just ready. Having other people behind us, we can achieve much more.”

Believing that “ABSOLUTES” has not yet reached its fullest potential audience, the band decided to reissue their debut, amended with a number of recent songs, recorded in January 2009 at Death Cab For Cutie drummer Jason McGerr’s Two Sticks Audio. The new material – which in


"Absolutes" LP

Set List

Fall Out of Trees
It's About Time
Come Back When You Can
The Takers
Lesser Things

Set length can range from 30 minutes to 1 hour.