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"Pure pop for now people"

Pure pop for now people
by Jason Bugg on 01/18/2008

Another month brings another showcase for some of Asheville’s most exciting local bands at The Orange Peel. While last month’s show displayed the softer and more psychedelic sides of Asheville’s rock scene, January’s offering serves up some of the best and most humable artists that Asheville has to offer. Here’s a look at the groups playing this month’s offering.

If You Wannas: When listening to the If You Wannas, the most immediately noticeable thing isn’t what they do well, but how they manage to click all cylinders at once. This band is a tight rock ‘n’ roll machine which takes its nods from both Fugazi and My Morning Jacket, the rhythm section of Trevor Stoia and Jacob Baumann create a level of tension and terseness that simultaneously grates against and gels with guitarists Ryan Cox and Gavin Conner’s laconic country infused strum and whine. It’s a cacophony that you can sing and dance along with, and it’s all by design.

“We go for hooks,” says Cox. “I try to write what I would want to listen to, and that’s a three-minute-long song. We want people to go home and remember something on the way home.”

Erika Jane & Remember the Bees: At first listen, Erika Jane may be the odd girl out at the showcase. With a sound that is both more quiet and more stylistically refined than the others on the ticket, Jane’s gorgeous take on pop music is the perfect stuff for a rainy day. The stories that Erika songs tell are relatable, accessible and—most importantly—humable. It may be easy to ignore the quiet girl with her guitar and the big voice, but to do so would be a crime.

“I think every song should tell a story,” Jane says. “Sometimes they tell stories through music, and sometimes they tell stories with words. A hook is a good thing if it’s done the right way.”

The Broomstars: The Broomstars have a sound that is instantly recognizable and yet not derivative, representing the sum of their collective influences: the stomp and volume of ‘90s rock with the Moog infused whimsy of the ‘80s, all wrapped in some of the most endearing boy/girl harmonies this side of Frankie and Annette. But don’t expect The Broomstars to be leaving town chasing that perfect wave anytime soon. Instead, they are more focused on refining their songs and leading Asheville’s music scene into a pop utopia of sorts.

“This town is really saturated in progressive thought, and pure pop music is a really easy way of bridging the gap of all genres and all types of music to get your message out,” says bassist Jared White.

The Goodies: The Goodies are an Asheville institution. Fronted by the incomparable Holiday Childress, the band has spent the last 15 years walking the tightrope between Judy Garland–by-the-way-of-Tom Waits-influenced caberet pop and a muscular Van Halen-influenced rock.

“We grew up on [rock and roll],” says Childress. “We love Van Halen. Whenever I get together with Mike [Allen, drummer] he just lays it down because he’s such a hard hitter. It’s such a definitive sound of the Goodies’ career, and over the years I’ve tried to rein it in and refine it. The Goodies are an athletic kind of rock show.”

— Jason Bugg is a writer based in Asheville.

- Mountain XPress

"Clean Sweep"

Clean sweep
The Broomstars amp up Asheville's rock scene
by Alli Marshall in Vol. 14 / Iss. 13 on 10/24/2007

Though The Broomstars’ brand of skillfully executed, synth-fortified indie rock sounds anything but haphazard, the band’s inception was exactly that.
Songwriter Jason Daniello was catching a shuttle at the Charlotte airport when the girlfriend of percussionist Clayton Jones saw Daniello’s guitar case and struck up a conversation.

Living the Waffle House dream: If you want to be a Broomstar, you’ve got to carbo-load.
It was one of those potentially awkward, “Hey, my boyfriend’s a musician, too,” things, only the end result was synchronistic rather than, well, weird.

“It’s not like they were constantly auditioning drummers,” Jones notes.

The group (now about seven months into their foray as a band) also includes Daniello’s wife, Liz LeBleu, on synthesizers and vocals, and Jared White playing bass and synthesizers.

Their first gig, as part of a Bonfires for Peace concert in Pritchard Park, was really as a backup band for Daniello’s project, Jason and the Argonauts. LeBleu, who had never been in a band before, thought she was just lending her keyboard experience to a one-time thing.

Fate, it seems, intervened, and now the Broomstars have show dates of their own lined up, an EP (due out this fall) and fans (the band was recently named among Xpress readers’ favorite as-yet-undiscovered local bands) clamoring for more.

“We’re all enthusiastic, but we’re also realistic,” White says. “We’re all in our 30s. That puts us in a different bracket. I don’t want to say mature, but ... .”

But the Broomstars are holding down jobs (LeBleu works in the school system; how anti-rock star is that?), raising families and dreaming (realistically) of future regional tours.

Where the group’s members (who all moved to Asheville within the past three years) set their sights high is on the quality of their records and live shows. The upcoming EP is based on Daniello’s already-completed songs with additions of what White calls “spice and accents” from the rest of the band.

“Jason’s melodies are infectious,” the bassist insists. “That’s what drew me to play with him. I do a lot of ambient affects”—such as the addition of his newborn baby’s heartbeat to the end of the song “My Heart Trembles.” (Again, more sweet cred than street cred.)

Jones adds, “Keyboards, melodies and beats give it a little electronic edge,” though the Broomstars don’t want anyone to mistake their quartet for an electronica outfit. This is rock.

“Asheville is dying for rock bands,” Jones says. “Even middle-of-the road bands are doing well. When the [Smashing] Pumpkins came, people lost their minds.”

The Broomstars are no ‘90s rock revival, however. Their songs sleekly meld fuzzy guitars, unflinching percussion, melodic keyboards and pop-astute lyrics.

Up to now, practice sessions revolved around laying down tracks at Silvermine Studios. Their plan: record a solid album and perform it live. The next step is writing songs as a group for a full-length album.

“When we first got together, we were rehearsing three or four times a week,” Daniello says with a laugh. “That kind of tapered off. It’s a cyclic process, but we all hang out. We’re all friends.”

But the Broomstars are only just getting started. While LeBleu jokes that they can count the gigs they’ve played on one hand, they’re hoping for Grey Eagle and Orange Peel slots in the future—a future that looks as bright as the Broomstars’ namesake.

The moniker refers to a Hale-Bopp type of comet spotted by an ancient Chinese dynasty—an omen of sorts.

Jones, ever the realist, says with a shrug, “Some people think we’re janitors.”

who: The Broomstars with the If You Wannas and Between the Seams
what: Rising local indie rockers put on a Hallow’s Eve bash (one night early)
where: Joli Rouge
when: Tuesday, Oct. 30

- Mountain Xpress

"Best of WNC 2007"

intro by Alli Marshall in Vol. 14 / Iss. 12 on 10/17/2007

You also told us who to check out in the visual arts: Photographer Jen Lepkowski and anime painter Taiyo la Paix are new names in this section. And you clued us in on what bands have been flying under our radar. While funk quartet Ol' Hoopty garnered enough of a following to place among the best local rock groups, neo-soul act the Secret B-Sides, indie rockers the Broomstars and folk-punk artists Sirius B are, according to Xpress readers, the ones to watch.

Local Band Nobody's Heard of
1. Ol' Hoopty
2. Secret B-Sides
2. Broomstars
3. Sirius B

- Mountain Xpress


Slivermine Sessions EP, release date Feb. 22, 2008



The Broomstars are coming for you! From their Asheville, North Carolina beginnings to their new CD release, the Broomstars have blazed forth and are zooming ahead.

Broomstars, how Chinese Dynasties once referred to comets, are few and far between. Voted as one of the best undiscovered bands in Asheville’s Mountain Xpress, this comet plans to circulate around for a while.

Jason’s lyrics and spirit lift one to new heights. Jason Daniello, on lead vocals and guitar, has been in orbit for some time. His former project, Jason and the Argonauts, enjoyed success in the Southwest and from coast to coast. On bass, Jared White juxtaposes the various musical genres from which the Broomstars draw inspiration, creating a solar system of vibration. On drums, Clayton Jones lends the fire, fueling the heavenly body of the Broomstars. Liz LeBleu, married to Jason, chimes in with vocals that mirror her man’s as she creates new avenues through the stars with her synth sounds. Jeff Santiago, who recently joined the enterprise, skyrockets out, lending guitar and vocal power.

The Broomstars’ new recording, The Silvermine Sessions, transports you through atmospheres of space and sound. In particular, the track “My Heart Trembles” is heavily saturated with lush, sonic landscapes using all analog gear. Bass lines pulsate, ring-modulated guitars delicately swoon, and the synth’s bombastic, yet sometimes subtle melodies emerge. Good “old-fashioned” knob twisting provides swirling textures at the end of the song. The result is a remarkably vivid rock sound, rampant with the band’s trademark inventiveness. This indie rock synth pop experience will leave you bathed in moon dust. Get lost in space with the Broomstars.