Chrash
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Chrash

Rock Island, Illinois, United States

Rock Island, Illinois, United States
Band Pop Alternative

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"Chrash Course: Quad Cities Band Marks the Release of The Name They Change, November 29 at RIBCO"

Written by Jeff Ignatius
Wednesday, 26 November 2008

The Quad Cities quartet Chrash goes by many names, and right now its preference appears to be Chrash Flood. That shape-shifting seems to reflect an almost willful desire for obscurity.

It's also a fair summary of Chrash's appropriately titled new record, The Name They Change, which the band will celebrate Saturday night at RIBCO.

The album opens with pure guitar pop and closes with a bifurcated song that ends where the previous track began. It's warm and inviting at the outset and ends up in a cold and distant place.

That elusiveness isn't by itself a bad thing; Radiohead has made a career out of it. But it's incongruous with the easy allure of the record's first two-thirds.

The CD - the band's third full-length - is front-loaded of the sort of slightly askew power pop that Robert Pollard specialized in with Guided by Voices - prizing hooks and accessibility without sacrificing eccentricity. Lead vocalist Chris Bernat even sings a bit like Pollard, particularly when his voice is paired with some majestic guitar in the climax of "The Office (British Version)."

The record starts on an undeniable note, with the sunny and surefooted "The Wish Song" hinting at insecurity in its self-reference: "This is ‘The Wish Song' / I hope that we don't get it wrong / It is the first song that I will sing to you for real." It's a near-perfect band showcase, as Pat Stolley's production lets each player shine without ever detracting from the song. The joyous and brief instrumental break is a model of egalitarianism and economy.

"The Office (British Version)" offers a different side of the band, and it's a smart juxtaposition, with emotion and nuance replacing the giddy pop of the opener. Underneath the drums, guitar, and piano is a thin layer of keyboards that exerts a force on the song far out of proportion to its prominence in the mix.

The ever-shifting "Clap Jordan" fuses those different sides, as the chorus and verses sound as if they were drawn from two different songs. It works, though, introduced by a flurry of hand percussion and never stressing the contrast between the parts.

Throughout, there's ample space for each musician. "Aging Aircraft" gives bassist Kim Murray the lead, while Paul Blomquist's drums on the album are propulsive and busy but unobtrusive. The guitars of Burnat and Eric Stone explore without being showy. Through six of its nine tracks, everything serves the songs.

But discordance creeps in on "The Excess Parade," which begins with patched-together crowd noise that only serves to introduce idle chatter as a sonic motif.

Most jarring is the bluesy party vibe that gets severed and replaced with a solo piano halfway through the closing "Director's Cut." Piano is all there is to the 35-second "Bonus Features," which precedes "Director's Cut" on the record but plays more like a continuation or a sequel. (And who consumes the bonus features before the main attraction anyway?)

These art-rock bits are superfluous and distracting in the absence of some larger, self-evident goal. The effect on The Name They Change is akin to body-snatching, as a forcefully magnetic record is gradually overwhelmed by something that sounds and looks similar but lacks humanity.

I get the impression that Chrash wanted The Name They Change to degrade as it progressed, but that disintegration mars an otherwise sterling example of pop songcraft.

Chrash will host a CD-release party on Saturday, November 29, at RIBCO in The District of Rock Island. The band will perform at 11 p.m. Idpyramid (10 p.m.) and Meth & Goats (1 a.m.) will also play.



For more information on Chrasth, visit MySpace.com/chrashmusic.
- River Cities' Reader


"Chrash delivers on album and at live show"

By Stephanie De Pasquale | Thursday, December 04, 2008 |

More often than not, I come across bands that are either good live or good in the studio. My favorite country group, The Drew Davis Band, falls into this category. They put on an amazing live show, but they have trouble capturing the same intensity in the studio.

But the Quad-City band Chrash Flood proved Saturday night that it can deliver on both fronts. Chrash Flood just released its third album, “The Name They Change,” with Future Appletree Studio 1. Chris Bernat, the lead singer, credits Pat Stolley for the record’s sound, and Stolley was on hand at RIBCO to run sound for the band’s CD release show.

The instruments and vocals were at just the right level so each part was clearly audible, with no one member trying to show off. This was most evident in Paul Blomquist’s performance on drums, which was crisp without being overpowering.

Bernat also demonstrated enunciation skills I’ve only heard previously in classically trained vocalists. No matter the volume or intensity of his voice, I could understand every word and hear every consonant. Add to that his ability to steadily stay on pitch during elongated vowels and emotion-filled expressions and you have one quality performer.

At the CD release party, Chrash Flood performed “The Wish Song,” “Aging Aircraft” “American Spirit,” “Raised by Gays,” “The Excess Parade” and “Clap Jordan,” all off “The Name They Change.” The band also performed “Spin Cycle Brainwash,” one of four new songs it has written since recording “The Name They Change” last year.

Since adding Eric Stone on keyboard and guitar over the summer, Chrash Flood has put more space into its songs. The effect was positive, giving the tunes room to breathe, and the songs are still true interpretations of the album.

For more information about Chrash Flood on the Web, visit myspace.com/chrashmusic and qctimes.com/goanddo/nightlife/bands.

Stephanie De Pasquale can be contacted at (563) 333-2639 or sdepasquale@qctimes.com.

- Quad City Times


"Chrash releases optimist rock record, finds new sound"

By Stephanie De Pasquale | Monday, November 24, 2008 |

Quad-City band Chrash will play at a CD release party for their album "The Name They Change" Nov. 29 at RIBCO.

Chrash finished recording the songs on their latest album “The Name They Change” more than a year ago. Since then, they have a new member in the band and have put more space into their sound, but never got around to actually releasing the record.

Chris Bernat, lead vocals and guitar for the group, booked a show in Iowa City and told the venue they had a new CD and sent an advance copy. About a month before the show, they found out it had been booked as a CD release party.

“It forced us to say, ‘Well, we should probably get this manufactured,’” Bernat said.

The band made a 500-copy limited edition release of “The Name They Change” that was delivered at 4 p.m. on the day of the show. Bernat joked that they delayed releasing the album in the first place because they wanted to take their time with production, and in the end, they ended up rushing through it anyway.

Chrash categorizes itself as optimist rock, and rightly so. “The Name They Change” has an upbeat, relaxed tone throughout the album and ends with a serene, fading piano solo. Since recording the album, Aiden Landman, who played a variety of instruments for the band, left and was replaced by Eric Stone on guitar and keyboards.

“He’s been fantastic. I give Eric a lot of credit for helping us get a new sound,” Bernat said of the space Chrash has inserted into their songs. “When you’re starting off and not as experienced in composition, you tend to want to fill up the space. And then as you let the songs breathe, you realize you can do more dynamically that way.”

Since Stone joined Bernat, Kim Murray on bass and backing vocals and Paul Blomquist on drums, Chrash has written four new songs and amped up their performance schedule. Murray doesn’t think the band’s new sound will confuse fans who buy the record with year-old material and then hear them live.

“The stuff we’re doing now is kind of a more natural progression,” Murray said. “I don’t think it’s really that radical of a departure.”

Chrash recorded “The Name They Change” at Future Appletree Studio 1. It is their third full-length release with the Rock Island recording studio. Bernat credits recording engineer and producer Patrick Stolley with not just the sound of their recordings but also helping to make their songs better by reconstructing them.

“He’s like our George Martin, not that we’re the Beatles,” Bernat said. “Pat is downright our fifth member and probably one of our biggest supporters.”

IF YOU GO

What: Chrash CD release party, with guests Meth and Goats, Idpyramid and Centaur Noir

When: 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 29

Where: RIBCO, 1815 2nd Ave., Rock Island

How much: $5

Information: ribco.com

On the Web: myspace.com/chrashmusic - Quad City Times


"Chrash goes green, animated for album"

Stephanie De Pasquale | Sunday, November 23, 2008 |

Chrash is going green with its latest record release, “The Name They Change.” The Quad-City band opted for simple sleeve, sans booklet, but Chris Bernant, on lead vocals and guitar, is confident the environmentally friendly packaging won’t get lost among a sea of jewel cases.

The front cover features a drawing by Johnnie Cluney, a local musician and illustrator for Daytrotter.com, a Web site run in Rock Island that records up and coming bands and offers free downloads of the recording sessions. The Web site has been featured in Rolling Stone and Wired magazines.

Cluney’s cartoonish style that is prominent on the pages of Daytrotter, carried over to Chrash’s cover art and looks like it belongs on the Web site. Bernant said the look works to their every advantage.

“I love the colors. I love that we look like cartoon characters,” said Bernant. “I think that having this in the package and on this cool CD, it actually sounds better. Whether it sounds any different than the CD copy I have from the masters, I doubt it. But to me it does sound better when you have this.

“You’re more likely to keep this in your collection and listen to it because you have this piece.”

For more on Chrash and the CD release show at RIBCO, visit qctimes.com/goando on Thursday or pick up a copy of the same day’s Quad-City Times.

If you go

What: Chrash CD release party with guests Meth and Goats, Idpyramid and Centaur Noir

When: 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 29

Where: RIBCO, 1815 2nd Ave., Rock Island

How much: $5

Information: ribco.com

On the Web: myspace.com/chrashmusic

Stephanie De Pasquale can be contacted at (563) 333-2639 or sdepasquale@qctimes.com. - Quad City Times


"Chrash keeps reinventing itself"

By Stephanie De Pasquale | Wednesday, July 16, 2008 3:23 PM CDT

Chrash has been around the Quad-Cities for 10 years, but founding member Chris Bernat said people still are surprised by the band’s sound when they come to a show for the first time.

That might change soon, though, with the group’s Saturday night performance at RIBCO in downtown Rock Island. The performance will be taped for

explorationiowa.com, a Web site that features Iowa bands.

Bernat has a hard time describing Chrash’s sound and has come up with his own genre in which to classify the band.

“It’s rock ‘n’ roll, but it’s not heavy rock and it’s four pieces and vocal harmonies and melodies. But, hopefully, we give you something to think about as well. We try to have insightful lyrics,” he added. “It’s not really heavy, but it’s not really super-light. It’s kind of rooted in pop music.”

Chrash has always been Bernat and whoever he could get to play and record with him throughout the years. Paul Blomquist and Kim Murray have been playing drums and bass, respectively, with Chrash since 2003. But the newest member, Eric Stone on keyboards, backup vocals and guitar, has only played about three shows with the band.

Bernat is excited that fans will be able to see what Stone has added to Chrash’s sound and hear some new songs that will be on a release due out in November and titled “Chrash, the name they Change.”

“I think what’s really cool about it is you’ll see stuff that’s not on our (previous) albums,” Bernat said. “We have a couple of fans out there that like what they’ve already bought and paid for and have in their collection.”

The name of Chrash’s upcoming album refers to the words that Bernat likes to stick with “Chrash” to fit the band’s mood, the venue they’re performing at, an upcoming holiday or just whatever they think is interesting at the time.

The current name is Chrash Flood in reference to the flooding across Iowa. Previous names have included Chrash Your Pants, Chrash Flow, Chrash Cow, Chrash Course, Chrash Pipe, Chrash Money, Chrash Gordon, Chrash Diet, Orange Chrash, Chrash Potatoes, Chrash Browns and Chrash Nasty.

“I love to play with words and abuse the English language as much as I can,” Bernat said.

Also playing with Chrash on Saturday are Bumper Crop and Maylane. The show begins at 10 p.m. Cover is $5.

IF YOU GO

What: Chrash with Bumper Crop and Maylane

When: 10 p.m. Saturday, July 19

Where: RIBCO, 1815 2nd Ave., Rock Island

How much: $5

Information: ribco.com on the Web

Also on the Web: MySpace.com/ChrashMusic
- Quad City Times


"upbeat on downbeat"

http://media.www.dailyiowan.com/media/storage/paper599/news/2008/11/11/Artsmp3s/Upbeat.On.Downbeat-3536584.shtml - The Daily Iowan


Discography

The Comedian - 8-song EP, Futureappletree records (out of print)
The Party - 12-song full-length, Futureappletree records
Audio Feng Shui, 11-song full-length, Futureappletree records
The Name They Change- Limited Edition 9 song full-length

Photos

Bio

Chrash began in 1997 when Chris Bernat, Tripmaster lead singer began to borrow all musical friends to help, write, play and record music that came to mind. some years later Chris joined with Winter Blanket rhythm section Paul Blomquist and Kim Murray to form a consistent unit that would soon include Eric Stone on guitar, keyboards and backing vocals. That unit continues to write, record and Play as Chrash.
http://www.myspace.com/chrashmusic