Burn Disco Burn
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Burn Disco Burn


Band Alternative Pop


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The best kept secret in music


"Burn Disco Burn loves you"

Despite its curious, incendiary moniker, local quartet Burn Disco Burn neither embraces the much-battered '70s genre, nor does it seem to harbor any intent to incite torch-bearing villagers to storm whatever mirror-ball bearing, flashing dancefloor castles may still remain intact.

Fronted by lead singer, lyricist and rhythm guitarist Nick Burd, Burn Disco Burn utilizes a conventional rock band format (with Chris Ellis on lead guitar and keyboards, Kathryn Musilek on bass and backing vocals, and Matt Heideman on drums/percussion) to create beautifully moving, relentlessly tuneful folk-rock.

Burd doesn't display a great deal of vocal range (at least on this disc), but his reedy, intimate, confessional tone works splendidly as a vehicle for his graceful, stream-of-consciousness vignettes which recall - and compare favorably to - the moody, melancholy creations of such early-'80s, pre-alt-rockers as R.E.M., The Church, Lloyd Cole & The Commotions and The Smiths.

The disc is beautifully recorded by local wizard John Svec at Minstrel Studios and co-produced by Svec and the band. The musicianship is first-rate by all hands, with showy solos eschewed in favor of a lush, dreamy, ensemble sound.

Likewise, the songs - taken separately - are well-crafted and presented, but it is as a whole that the disc really works its charm. Clocking in at nearly an hour, "I love you and what you've done with the place" is a seamless collection of tunes that dovetail neatly into one another, forming an elegant, earth-toned song cycle perfectly suited for autumnal reveries. An excellent, winning debut.

review by Jim Musser - Iowa City Press Citizen (Info to Go!)

"Burn Disco Burn"

The songs of Iowa City's Burn Disco Burn seep into your head. The yearning Nick Burd sings of is all too familiar. And as uncomfortable the memories may be, it's strangely comforting.

Take "Ringing," which is instantly familiar the first time you hear it. Though upbeat, it's an anthem for anyone who's ever longed for a love that could not be. When Burd croons in his Johnny Reznick (Goo Goo Dolls) voice, "And so she'll have to choose between not enough and the whole wide world," it could be taken as another corny love song, but it's not. It's genuine.

"Me in Midair" is soft and sad. Like most of the album's offerings, it's melancholy memories vocalized in a CD scrapbook. It's this somber look at life that is so associative, and Burn Disco Burn's strongest quality. It's also displayed on "Driving Into Static," which speaks of not being able to come up with the words when it matters to tell someone how you really feel about them.

Just when you're beginning to feel sorry for yourself, the group brings you back with something cheery like "If Anything Happens to Me They'll Come Looking for You," a bouncy, poppy tune that'll have you singing out loud in the office.

In the collaborative Burn Disco Burn sound, all parts are equal. No particular standouts, but a solid unit of indie alt rock.

review by Justin Kendall - Des Moines CityView

"Restraint makes 'I Love You' beautiful"

Seeing the name Burn Disco Burn on concert flyers over the past year or so, I steered clear, fearing some sort of techno, post-industrial noise or mega-heavy sludge.

Boy, was I missing out. BDB plays melodic guitar rock of the kind made popular on college campuses through the late '80s by bands like the Connells and Buffalo Tom.

But that sound, blissfully tuneful, doesn't sound dated or stale.

This isn't far from what emo bands like the Promise Ring are doing, but without the self-consciousness inherent in the genre.

The quartet's debut disc, "I Love You and What You've Done With the Place," contains 11 strong tracks that are further proof that the possibilities of the guitar-bass-drums set-up are yet to be exhausted.

Singer Nick Burd has a fantastic voice, a clear instrument with enough grit to give these songs a nice edge.

And, unlike most local bands, harmony backing vocals crop up often, with bassist Kathryn Musilek's sweet voice used to full effect.

Restraint is the key element of the band's formula.

Most young groups bash away at the songs, but BDB realizes you can't hear the hooks unless the guitars are more shading than bombast, the rhythms more precise than pounding.

While every track here has something to recommend it, some do stand out.

"Everything's Fine" is a giddy rocker about the melancholy of a passing summer that will sound great in these waning warm days on a drive with the windows down.

The two opening tracks, "Ringing" and "Busy Driving," set the tone early, with the chiming guitars of Burd and Chris Ellis laying a nice bed for Burd's earnest vocals, particularly on the latter tune.

Drummer Matt Heideman deserves a nod for sounding like a solid member of the band, a feat considering the fact that he joined up one month before the group recorded "I Love You. . ."

In the band's press kit, Burd writes this of the band: "They play for their friends. They play for themselves. They play spin the bottle."

Would that it were that simple for all bands. If it's that easy to craft soaringly catchy and effortlessly winsome songs, they ought to use that bottle to capture and sell the formula.

review by John Kenyon - The Cedar Rapids Gazette (Weekend!)


Vegas Lit Places (due out October 2004)
Japanimatronic (EP/promo 2004)
I Love You & What You've Done With The Place (Full Lenth 2002)
Crooked Hello (EP 2000)


Feeling a bit camera shy


You may not have heard the name Burn Disco Burn. But you’ve heard their music. Burn Disco Burn songs have been heard on Mtv programs including the Real World, Road Rules, Fraternity Life, and Sorority Life, as well as Oxygen Network programming. That combined with a rigorous touring schedule including SXSW and NXNE showcases, and you start to get the picture.

Burn Disco Burn isn't a disco band. They're not an emo band. They're not even really a rock band. Or a new wave band. Or an alternative band. They're not a pop band, either, really. Or maybe they are. They're probably all of these things. They're too busy writing songs to care.

They have a wide range of influences. Death Cab for Cutie. New Order. The movie Chelsea Girls. REM. Radiohead. Weezer. Catherine Wheel. The Smiths. Yo La Tengo. Raspberry Italian sodas from that place on Washington Street.

They write songs about lots of things. Girls. Boys. Cars. Seasons. Roy Lichtenstein. They have an EP called "Crooked Hello" and an album called "I Love You and What You've Done to the Place." There is a song on it about driving around an empty college town in the summer with all your windows rolled down. It's probably about you. At least the second verse is.

They play for their friends. They play for themselves. They play spin the bottle.

And all you can do is sit there and listen.