Common Shiner

Common Shiner

 Chicago, Illinois, USA

Common Shiner not only has an incredibly accessible acoustic rock sound, but also thoughtful songwriting and clever lyrics that appeal to a wide range demographics--from the attentive student of music to the casual pop listener.


(Recommended if you like: Dave Matthews, Guster, BNL, Ben Folds, Death Cab for Cutie, The Fray, OAR, classic rock)

What people are saying about COMMON SHINER:

"Arrestingly magnetic live."
- Lone Wolf Productions

"Absolutely captivating."
- Fearless Radio, Chicago

"One of the most polished and professional bands we have had on the show. Their music defies comparison. Beautiful harmonies combine with flowing, inspiring lyrics to take the listener on a journey of love and understanding."
- Michael Teach, Chicago Acoustic Underground

"I really dig the EP [Viennas]."
- Isaac Slade, lead singer of The Fray

"Viennas may be the best CD out of Michigan this year."
- Calin, DJ at 88.1 WYCE Grand Rapids

"Those guys rock!"
- Dev, DJ at 96.1 RadioX Grand Rapids

"Common Shiner takes the commonplace and makes it unique--their folk-rock approach plows new ground with distinctive tunes."
- The Grand Rapids Press

"Look for the emergence of Common Shiner, a jammy five-piece... O.A.R. fans will fill with jubilation [and] DMB fans should start grooving along."
- Recoil Magazine

No one would expect a band named after a pretty boring bait fish to make any measurable splash (pardon the terrible pun)--but in the past couple years, that's just what Common Shiner have set out to do.

Common Shiner originated in Grand Rapids and rose from the Michigan roots-rock rubble just a few years ago. It was not long before their 2006 debut album, So Long..., received accolades from local press and earned radio airplay in West Michigan. Their sophomore effort, Viennas, enjoyed even wider success as it sold across the country and the first single, "No Melody" secured mainstream radio rotation (and eventually charted at 142 on national Adult Contemporary charts). Following those successes, in the fall of 2007 the band made a leap across Lake Michigan to pursue full-time musical careers in Chicago.

The band has a little more in mind than just playing cute music though. Says Bangalore of their line-up, "We want to be able to really rock, but with two less traditional instruments leading: piano and acoustic guitar." But even that goal seems to hide a more interesting pursuit.

The group's real mission? Obliterate pretense and destroy elitist notions in any scene with quality songwriting that appeals to a wide range of listeners. You won't see these boys promoting any indie gimmicks, nor will you find them wearing arena-rock arrogance. What sets the band apart is the marriage of thoughtfulness in songwriting and undeniable accessibility. Everyone who listens to Common Shiner comes away liking something different, and these boys wouldn't want it any other way.

"I think there's some disheartening segregation in the music world right now," says Brooks. "There seems to be a dichotomy of 'Mainstream vs. Indie,' and now there's also this often cliquey notion of scene. I guess we just feel like listeners can see through that; we want to present music that is unifying and completely without pretense. We want to destroy ridiculous walls. Music is music. And it's community."

Chicago venues played:
Double Door
The Abbey
Cubby Bear
Beat Kitchen
Elbo Room
Red Line Tap
Goose Island (Wrigleyville)
Tonic Room
Underground Lounge
The Republic
Silvie's Lounge
Underground WonderBar
Walter Payton's Roundhouse (Aurora)
Mad Maggie's (Elgin)
"No Melody" (single) - #142 radio – national – Adult Contemporary
#1 band in Michigan, rock, pop, and folk rock genres (Myspace Top Artists chart)
#3 band in Michigan, any genre (Myspace Top Artists chart)
#5 band in US, folk rock genre (Myspace Top Artists chart)
Notable Concerts:
Part of International Pop Overthrow two years in a row- Chicago (4/10, 4/09)
Played for 5,000+ people at Michigan Harborfest (8/07)
Opened for This World Fair (5/07)
Opened for Flickerstick (12/06)
Showcased at Midpoint Music Festival (9/06)
Opened for Tim Reynolds (9/06)
Best Rock Album Nominee - Viennas - 2008 WYCE Jammie Awards
Most Outstanding Band - Supercave Competition, Calvin College
Best Crowd Reaction - Supercave Competition, Calvin College
Best New Artist Nominee - 2007 WYCE Jammie Awards
Best Rock Album Nominee - So Long... - 2007 WYCE Jammie Awards


No Melody

Written By: Morgan Foster

I should quit everything
Everything I've been putting off for a while
Well maybe tomorrow I'll get started
Maybe I'll try the low-carb craze
Then again maybe not
I don't think I have the will-power to give up pasta so quick
I could quit biting my nails at least
The cuticles look like I've been chewin' on 'em for weeks
There's so many things I should keep doing
I'd be so unstoppable if I could just get going
What is this thing
That's got me totally out of control
Like a cat on a string?
And is it so hard to fall?
Will my thoughts add up to anything
Anything at all?

No words, no song will do
To match that look from you
No tune, no melody
Could say why you get to me

Bookstore Girl (live)

Written By: Morgan Foster

Holding Stephen Hawking and Pynchon
To cover up my X-Men number 21
Thinking of impressive things to say
But I got nothing so I'll just wait it out, wait it out

There's gotta be something more to life
Then New York Roast and the occasional Chai
She looks at me and I spin around
That's a decent thing to say I oughtta write that down
I've been looking for love all around the world
But I'm in love, I'm in love, I'm in love with the bookstore girl

She looks so cute in her green uniform
And I'm trying to convince her that I'm not the normal customer
I order my coffee, she checks me out
No wait, that must have been somebody else

There's gotta be more to this thing
Than herbal tea, caffeine, and ginseng
She's the prettiest thing in town
That's a good one too, I need to jot it down
With her slight pretentious air I want her in my world
Cause I'm in love, I'm in love, I'm in love with the bookstore girl

With Emily Bronte and Sinclair, I'm trying to stay well read
But not as well as I've been reading her
I guess Im next in line, I should think of something to do
I'd like a tall espresso decaf vanilla mocha you

You wanna get out of here with me
From Stephen King and Bill O'Reilly
Dont know what it means but I like the sound
I've gotta remember to write it down
Come on out of this café and out into the world
Cause I love you, I love you bookstore girl


Written By: Michael James Brooks

Holding onto a better day
'Cause I didn't know that people could change
So much in so short a time

It might seem I'm letting go
But I think you've learned me long enough to know
Letting go is not what I had in mind

I still need you
No matter where I'm headed
It makes me weak to say
So I haven't said it
In so long, in so long, in so long
But something's been so wrong

Holding out for a miracle
'Cause somehow this time all the obstacles
Seem much greater than they ever did before

Well I know these chords are getting tired
And the lyrics leave so much to be desired
But sometimes, I think, less is more

I say I need you
You're where I'm headed
It makes me feel so frail
So I hadn't said it
In so long, in so long, in so long
But something's been so wrong

Well sometimes people change
But our love should never wane
I think my pride just got in the way
Of allowing me to say
I still need you

I still need you
You can't hear so I cry it
I need you
Though I tried to deny it
For so long, for so long, for so long
But I'd been so wrong

How's the Weather at the End of Time?

Written By: Morgan Foster

(Lyrics to the uncut version)

The smell of spring
The dewy cling to my skin
The sense of change
Yet I end up here every year
Well, they say that you can smell your memories
I swear I could drink mine right now

My father's laugh
My mother's hands
I can almost feel it right now
What was once and what is left
Is all I have
I want to absorb what existed

Can I spend just a few more minutes
In this backyard of meaning?
In my sandbox of memories
I wonder what I've become

It's time to come inside
You're too big for the swings
I think we were too big for everything
But what exists beyond these limits?
What did it all mean?

A hopeful spring after the nuclear winter
Here we are the fallout
Stand back and watch it all end
But don't worry, we had a good run
It wasn't in vain
At least I don't think so

It's time to come inside now
Death'll be here soon
And we'd hate to keep it waiting
You say why are we still here
I don't really know
I think someone else wrote the ending

But I could stay here forever
In this eternal undefined
Beyond words of explanation
The cosmos in my eyes
Reflecting your stars when we align and I know
Your love is the universe
Your love is the universe
Love is the universe

It's time to come inside
It's time to come home

April Says Goodnight

Written By: Morgan Foster

The power's out on State Street when April says goodnight
And the heartbreak comes faster without the benefit of light
We're so sad and no good, so sad for no good tonight
Because the power's out on State Street, and April says goodnight

And I start and stop fights with nothing concrete
But you battle on
It's always so bad, the affect that you had
On me

The bells ring out loud and clear to end everything we knew
Got lost in the vain crowd, and somehow found you
We were so sad and no good, so sad for no good then too
But the clocks were counting down to end everything we knew

And here you stand now like nothing has changed
And I thought so much was gone
And I just can't take how hard you are to shake

Don't come back now, I've got so much to do
And you keep asking for minutes
When it's always been for you

There's so much that I've been through
And yet I still wonder, will I ever be ready to live without you?

Don't come back now, I've got so much to do
And you keep asking for minutes
When it's always been for you
And I can't deny that it's always been for you

April says goodnight


EPs Never Have Titles (EP - 2008)
Viennas (EP - 2007)
So Long... (LP - 2006)

Set List

April Says Goodnight
Super-Neurotic Man
Over the Rhine and Out of My Mind
No Melody
How's the Weather at the End of Time?
Even My Vices Have Vices
Cynic's Prayer
A Beautiful Disgrace
Interdimensional Love Song
Write Back Soon (A Million Words)
May Calling
Bookstore Girl
Glass Globe World
Too Late
Broken Symphony
The Naturals
Something Beautiful
Now, Now
So Long
Ring Around the Moon
I Should Know
Skateboard Lady
Rachel's Song
Beautiful, Dangerous Blue
El Camino
Started Me
Town Greyhound
Miss Breezy Ankles

Typical set is an hour, though they've played as much as four. Also can do several covers, examples:

"Zak and Sara" - Ben Folds
"Fight Test" - Flaming Lips
"Yellow" - Coldplay
"World Spins Madly On" - The Weepies
"Hey Jealousy" - Gin Blossoms
"Billy Jean" - Michael Jackson
"Falling Slowly" - Glen Hansard / Swell Season
"John Wayne Gacy Jr" - Sufjan Stevens
"Alive" - Pearl Jam
"Brothers on a Hotel