City of Squares
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City of Squares

Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Rock Pop

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"Artist Spotlight: City of Squares"

Hey everyone!

Kicking off this Tuesday with another edition of Artist Spotlight! This week, we're staying in the Beantown area and focusing on an up and coming band from the area called City of Squares! The band consists of Jenna Paone on lead vocals and piano, John Baptista on guitar and vocals, Bill Ferri on bass and backing vocals, and Jon Francis on drums and backing vocals. The band mixes in the worlds of pop and rock into a more user accessible sound that everyone can relate to and takes in influences of various artists such as The Beatles and Maroon 5. Jenna's voice is absolutely captivating and stunning, and her amazing vocal delivery allows the songs to have a life of their own and reel you in almost instantaneously with their hypnotic piano melodies and intricate guitar licks, all done with spontaneous ease. I just had the pleasure of seeing them in concert recently this past Friday at The Middle East Upstairs in Cambridge, and I only attended the show because I've heard of the band name before but I never actually heard any music from them, I just wanted to see what their music is all about. They were well worth the price of admission and totally blew me away with an amazing performance that showed off all their talents in one, fell swoop! Some recommended tracks for you to check out include "City of Squares" and "Dirty Shoulder".

To check out the music of City of Squares for yourself, head on over to their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/cityofsquares The band also has a ReverbNation page, and you can access that by going to http://www.reverbnation.com/cityofsquares - Peter Amara- Music Box Pete Blog


"Spotlight: The Jenna Paone Band"

It's hard to know what to expect when you meet the Jenna Paone Band. When you enter her home, you're greeted with classic, cleanly decorated suburban looks -the only sign of music being the equipment peeking out from the family room a few feet away. Paone, however, is easy to spot. Being the front woman for a band of men, it's easy to expect a ball-busting bitch that constantly has to reaffirm her standing. However, you'd be greeted by a petite, expertly dressed brunette with an infectious smile an undeniable energy. "This isn't weird," Paone breathes as she rushes around the kitchen to pour everyone drinks. "I really am this crazy!"

"It's true," says guitarist John Baptista as he made his way to the rehearsal space. "Welcome to the circus."

The piano-based, rock/jazz group formed around a year and half ago, after Paone, who was taking recording lessons from now drummer Jon Francis, mentioned she needed a band. "Pro-Tools was not my thing," says Paone. "I basically forced Jon to record a demo for me and then was like, 'I need a band!' and then he was like, 'Here's a band!'"

Francis jokes, "It's true. I am the catalyst of this group!" He reached out to long-time friend and guitarist Baptista. A student at Berklee, Baptista's natural-born talent was obvious as the group corralled themselves into one of their eight-hour practice sessions. Baptista's passion while playing was infectious. While Paone would pause during songs to explain their origin, Storytellers-style, Baptista would be off fiddling with his equipment or spontaneously forming a new riff. "John also has musical ADD," says Paone. "We all have our time frames; John's is about 45 seconds. He's usually playing with the guitar, or messing with my piano, or even in the bathroom." The rest of the band laughs, including bassist Bill Ferri. "He plays a mean bathroom," Ferri adds.

Ferri's snarky one-liners showcase an easy-going and entertaining group dynamic. Ferri, like Francis, also teaches, and has been playing bass since age 13. "I couldn't go to sleep if I hadn't practiced," says Ferri about discovering bass. "I would wake up, play for an hour, then go to sleep. I was obsessed."

Sitting through only a small part of their practice time feels like a privilege. Paone's voice and piano are expertly intertwined with Baptista's rock-themed riffs, as Ferri and Francis add unexpected bluesy twists. It's easy to be struck by how effortless their music comes, as they work their way through songs ranging from the seductive "Smoke" to the wondrously fun "Honest Woman," where Paone innocently remarks, "I feel like we need a disco ball for this song."

If there's one underlying trait shared by all the members (besides the sarcastic comedy), it can be summed up in one term: smart, in every sense of the word. "We're all trained," explains Paone, who began playing the piano when she was 4-years-old. "We've all been doing this for a very long time; that's something that's cool. We all have certain expertise in different areas of music." Baptista adds, "We have our different backgrounds. So the different melodies in our music really shine through."

While their musical skill is undeniable, their knowledge and realistic view of the music industry is also impressive. Despite an intense work ethic and a longing to perfect their music, the group collectively understands that the better they are as an unsigned band, the more attractive they will look to a label in the future. "We have a lot of work to do still, but that will make us more appealing," says Francis. "We have to think about this," says Paone. "We really want to make this our career. We all do. We want this to be it." As the rest of the group nods in agreement, Francis once again jokes. "Off the record? I'm in this for the girls."
- Performer Magazine


"Rock On: Hanging Out With Boston's Jenna Paone Band"

I wasn’t sure what to expect as I walked in to meet the Jenna Paone band. Despite the raw, rainy weather, I preceded into a classic, cleanly decorated suburban home, with the only sign of music being the equipment peaking out from the family room a few feet away. Paone, however, was easy to spot. Being the front- woman of an almost all- male band, it was easy to expect a ball-busting bitch who constantly had to reiterate her standing among three incredibly talented men. However, I was greeted by a petite, expertly dressed brunette whose smile was infectious and energy, undeniable. “This isn’t weird,” Paone breathed as she rushed around the kitchen to pour everyone drinks. “I really am this crazy!” “It’s true,” said guitarist John Baptista as he made his way to the rehearsal space. “Welcome to the circus.”

The piano-based, rock/jazz group formed around a year and half ago, after Paone, who was taking recording lessons from now drummer Jon Francis, stated the blatant need for a band. “Pro-tools were not my thing,” said Paone. “I basically forced Jon to record a demo for me, and then was like ‘I need a band!’ and then he was like ‘Here’s a band!’” “It’s true,” Francis reiterated in a joking demeanor. “I am the catalyst of this group!”

Francis then reached out to long time friend and guitarist Baptista. Being a current student at Berklee, Baptista’s natural-born talent was imminent as the group corralled themselves back into one of their eight-hour practice days. Baptista’s passion while playing was infectious. While Paone would pause during songs to explain their origin “Storyteller’s” style, Baptista would be off fiddling with his equipment or spontaneously forming a new riff. “John also has musical ADD,” said Paone. “We all have our time frames; John’s is about 45 seconds. He’s usually playing with the guitar, or messing with my piano, or even in the bathroom!” The statement was greeted by laughter from everyone, including bassist Bill Ferri. “[He] plays a mean bathroom,” Ferri added.

Rounding out the group was Ferri, whose snarky one-liners throughout the day gave way to an easy-going and entertaining group dynamic. Ferri, like Francis, also teaches, and has been playing bass since the tender age of 13. “I couldn’t go to sleep if I hadn’t practiced that day,” said Ferri. “I would wake up, play for an hour, then go to sleep. I was obsessed.”

Sitting through only a small part of their practice time, felt almost as if a privilege. Paone’s voice and piano was expertly intertwined with Baptista’s rock-themed riffs and Ferri’s and Francis’s unexpected bluesy twists. I sat, struck by how seemingly effortless their music came, as they worked their way through songs ranging from the seductive “Smoke” to the wondrously fun “Honest Woman,” where Paone so innocently stated, “I feel like we need a disco ball for this song.”

If there’s one common thread that holds to be an underlying trait among all the members (besides the sarcastic comedy) it would be summed up in one phrase: being smart, in every sense of the word. “We’re all trained,” explained Paone, who began the piano at age four. “We’ve all been doing this for a very long time; that’s something that’s cool. We all have certain expertise in different areas of music.” “We have our different backgrounds,” added Baptista. “So the different melodies [in our music] really shine through.”

While their musical skill is undeniable, their knowledge and realistic view of the music industry is also impressive. Despite their obvious high work ethic and longing to perfect their music, the group collectively understands that the better they are as an unsigned band, the more attractive they will look to a label in the future. “We have a lot of work to do still, but that will make us more appealing,” said Francis. “We have to think about this,” said Paone. “We really want to make this our career… we all do. We want this to be it.” As the rest of the group nodded in agreement, Francis once again looked at me dead in the eye and jokingly stated, “Off the record? I’m in this for the girls.” - Plaster Magazine- article by Michelle McKnickle


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

"If there's one underlying trait shared by all the members [of City of Squares]...it can be summed up in one term: smart, in every sense of the word."
- Michelle McKnickle, Performer Magazine

The music of piano-driven rock quartet City of Squares is ferocious and sophisticated all at once. Built upon a crooked tower of blues and soul, their distinctive brand of modern rock comes complete with edgy riffs, sultry undertones, danceable grooves, and attitude to spare. The band has been taking the East Coast by storm over the past two years, making their way from the cobblestone streets of their hometown, Boston, to the nitty-gritty New York City alleys and the dignified avenues of Washington DC. As they set their sights on playing big cities and small towns everywhere, they stay committed to one thing: making great music for anyone who wants to hear it.

By enhancing catchy melodies with story-driven lyrics, the band succeeds in being both entertaining and thought-provoking. Jenna Paone (Lead Vocal/Piano) delivers simple truths and complex poetry in a voice that is endearingly raw. Her words and images, whether in an electric party song, raunchy blues grind, or symphonic ballad, leave lasting imprints as they tick by. She’ll have you singing along with her during the show and mulling over what she said long after the last set’s over.

But don’t be misled by the depth of the lyrical content or the pop-inspired hooks. What Paone, Jon Francis (drums), and Bill Ferri (bass) have created is a true-blue rock and roller-coaster ride of sound that twists, dips, climbs, and every now and then just comes crashing down. Sometimes sweet, sometimes downright dirty, it’s a sound that has earned them comparisons to everyone from Fiona Apple to Maroon 5 to Coldplay; a sound that pierces as it rolls on- vibrant, dynamic, and full of life.

With new guitarist Samm Bahman on the axe, City of Squares is currently recording a brand new full-length album.

Instrumentation
Jenna Paone - Lead Vocals and Piano
Jon Francis - Drums and Backing Vocals
Bill Ferri - Bass and Backing Vocals
Samm Bahman- Guitar and Backing Vocals

Some of the venues and events City of Squares has played at include:

~ The NECN Today show (live TV broadcast)
~ 95.9 WATD - live radio appearance
~The Middle East (Upstairs and Downstairs)- Cambridge, Ma
~Harper's Ferry- Allston, Ma
~The Hard Rock Cafe- Boston, Ma
~Church of Boston Rock Club- Boston, Ma
~Bill's Bar - Boston, Ma
~Copperfield's- Boston, Ma
~Arlene's Grocery -NY, NY
~The National Underground- NY, NY
~The Ace of Clubs- NY, NY
~The Alphabet Lounge- NY, NY
~Solly's- Washington, DC
~The Apartment- Providence, RI
~The Tinker's Son- Norwell, Ma
~The Fairhaven Inn- Fairhaven, Ma
~lululemon athletica's "Kicking Cancer's As*ana"
Benefit for the Zakim Center @ Dana Farber- Boston,
Ma
~Ignite The Nite (Fundraiser for Boston GLOW's Ignite Change Essay Contest) - Boston, Ma
~Balance Studio's Benefit for Haiti- Cohasset, Ma
~The LFC Hillsborough Memorial Event- Baltimore, MD