Civicminded
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Civicminded

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"Civicminded Saves the day with Sequence"

Civicminded saves the day with Sequence

by Sarah Wengert - The Reader

Some superpowers are well worth having. Chief among them is the ability to rock, a superpower Civicminded proves on its debut album Sequence.
Revealing an undercurrent of geek chic not readily obvious from its brawny, polished sound, Civicminded guitarist Phil Reno said the band name was inspired by a group of ineffectual superheroes, called the Civic-Minded Five, from the cartoon The Tick.
Civicminded formed in 2004 after Lower Case i broke up. Reno, bassist Chris Clay, guitar/synth player Jesse Bloom and drummer Dave Collins (Bloodcow) recruited singer Lawrence Deal for the project.
The band has worked on the CD nearly a year and a half, so Reno said fans will recognize many of the songs from live shows. Jim Homan of Ware House Productions recorded the album.
Deal's sultry, snaking vocals, Bloom's spooky synth, and a dynamic-heavy rhythm section merge the best of modern rock, teetering between majestic and ethereal, with an almost new-wave tinge
Tracks like "Circle Gets the Square" and "Quid Pro Quo" are movers. Other standout tracks include "Stoplight Traffic," "Carried Away" and album-opener "Anchor." The album is extremely cohesive, and is solid throughout.
Reno said songwriting is a collaborative effort.
"I'll orchestrate some stuff and bring it to the band and we see how it fits," he said. "We all bring ideas to the table, the band shapes the song and before you know it, it's complete."
Civicminded evokes sounds from bands like Depeche Mode and Quicksand.
"I'm a big fan of '80s music. I grew up on it," said Reno, who plays in local '80s cover group Secret Weapon. "We try to bridge the pop element of that with the more angular sound of groups like the Cure and Radiohead and Unkle. We try to meld the music we love."
The band is giving free copies of its CD at its Waiting Room Lounge release party. Surreal the M.C. and Jamazz will spin indie-rock remixes between sets.
"We're playing with some of our favorite bands," Reno said of the opening lineup, including Paper Owls, Sleep Said the Monster and Race for Titles. "I would want to go see that show, and the fact that I get to play it is just a bonus."

Civicminded releases Sequence Friday, Dec. 21 at the The Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St. The 8:30 p.m. show costs $8. Race for Titles, Sleep Said the Monster and Paper Owls open. Surreal The M.C. and Jamazz spin between sets.
21 Dec 2007
- the Reader


"Local Tunes"

Local Tunes
Omaha's Civic Minded
By Marq Manner

Omaha rock band Civic Minded features members that many consider the best Omaha musicians in their individual roles. The band itself is not the biggest buzz band around, though their sound straddles many current trends that may normally get them looked at by local labels, out on a hip tour, or even get them mentioned on some of the more prominent music blogs on the internet. I met up with the band at Murphy's this past week and we talked about the band's new CD, where they have been, how one gets some attention in this town, and where they would like to go. The band will be releasing their first full length, "Sequence," this Friday at the Waiting Room. Supporting the band on this night will be a solid undercard that includes Race For Titles, The Paper Owls, Sleep Said The Monster and Surreal and Jamazz.

Civic Minded started four years ago when guitarists Jesse Bloom and Phil Reno, drummer Dave Collins, and bassist Chris Clay were entering the end game of their previous long running project Lower Case i. Some of the band members were rehearsing at their practice space inside the Ranch Bowl, when former Gauge vocalist Lawrence Deal stumbled in drunk. Clay wasn't at this rehearsal but somehow the band found new life as he explained, "I had actually started skipping practices because I didn't think it was going anywhere. I was going to quit. They sat me down and said you can't do that as we have something now that is actually going somewhere." Reno continued, "I was not happy with the prospect of not playing with these guys." So after almost a decade and with Deal on board the band changed their name to Civic Minded and left the straight rock sound behind and began to explore more experimental tones with a new wave pop sensibility.

Four years, many studio experiences and money setbacks later the band has its first full length, "Sequence." "We went in knowing it was going to take a lot of time," Clay said. "We wanted a certain production values to it." The band actually started out recording in the studios that were set up at the now defunct Ranch Bowl. "We did a lot of recording stints here and there," stated Reno. "It didn't do what we wanted to do. We scrapped a lot." Deal added, "There were certain vocal takes that weren't quite on the level that we wanted it to be." "Sequence" features a lot of the initial material that the band wrote four years ago along with tracks that were written along the way. The aspect of the band that seems to have grown the most is the lyrics as Deal explained, "Lyrically with me it was more or less me trying to bring something thought provoking. It was riding a line between a pop rock chorus at some points and something that would mean something." The band achieves what they set out to do with "Sequence" melding credible production and music with those pop hooks.

The band has always been considered a musician's band, and they are looking to break out of that mold and find a wider audience for their music. The band also feel as if people don't know where to categorize them, not that they think it should matter. Reno explained.

"We are perpetually under the radar. It's the same as it always has been for us. We have always written music that is a little more challenging to listen to. It's not spoon fed. We play cool shows and we love the bands we play with, but we just kind of chug along because we love what we do. I would love for people to latch onto us, but there are certain facets of this town that have to align for that to happen." Deal added, "Omaha is really odd to me in what the music fans will grab onto and what they won't. I don't try to figure it out. I just play music and hope they will like it."

Clay summed it up: "I get to hang out with my best friends and do what I love to do."
- The City Weekly


Discography

1. Civicminded : Sequence (Full Length)
2. No Pride Records Sampler: Volume 1
3. First National Bank: Omaha Sampler

"Carried Away" was in regular rotation (Jan - June '08) on 89.7 The River (KIWR) in Omaha

Photos

Bio

Best New Artist 2008 at the Omaha Entertainment Awards.

Press blog from the Omaha's Reader-
Deal's sultry, snaking vocals, Bloom's spooky synth, and a dynamic-heavy rhythm section merge the best of modern rock, teetering between majestic and ethereal, with an almost new-wave tinge
Tracks like "Circle Gets the Square" and "Quid Pro Quo" are movers. Other standout tracks include "Stoplight Traffic," "Carried Away" and album-opener "Anchor." The album is extremely cohesive, and is solid throughout.
Reno said songwriting is a collaborative effort.
"I'll orchestrate some stuff and bring it to the band and we see how it fits," he said. "We all bring ideas to the table, the band shapes the song and before you know it, it's complete."
Civicminded evokes sounds from bands like Depeche Mode and Quicksand."