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The best kept secret in music


"Conner: Hello Graphic Missile: Review"

Conner are four young guys from Lawrence, Kansas - Bryce Boley (drums), Phil Bonahoom (bass), James Duft (guitar/vocals) and Tom Wagner (guitar). Soon they received, justly, comparisons to The Strokes, The Clash and Built to Spill. Their debut album, Hello Graphic Missile (Sonic Boom Recordings) is astounding, a clever but substantial collection of uncommonly catchy songs that displays the capacity of Conner's fine-tuned rock. 13 songs, 40 minutes of rock n´roll kiss that knocks you unconscious to the ground with bouncy bass lines, brushed drums, mind-blowing guitar riffs and a lilting, rough voice. Few bands are this open-eyed to the chance that music can be both strangely tricky and easily remembered. In addition, making any record that sounds different from anything else is a triumph in itself. A triumph of intense, eerie, and compelling songs. Tempting, isn't it?
Luscious "Cold Feelings" and irresistible "Independent Women", course together subtly, all texture, mood, and shade... These songs are great - genuine, rugged, melodically stormy and full of rock flesh and blood. I find that they get better with each listen. If you like these two songs, you'll like the lot, for sure. As a whole, the group has created an album charged not only with catchy rock songs but with the breath of an almost forgotten indie honesty. Highly Recommended.

- Sixeyes

"Conner review"

Often times when people ask what type of music a band plays, it's tempting to give a long, detailed answer. There are usually a wide selection of ridiculously specific sub-genre classifications that may be used to demonstrate I have no life and like to pretend I know what I'm talking about when discussing music, but when it comes to Conner's Hello Graphic Missile, I might just have to respond with a succinct, "rock and roll".

The Lawrence, Kansas group has received what I would consider fairly accurate comparisons to The Strokes. Another, and perhaps more accurate, comparison would be to Franz Ferdinand. Like many of the Scottish group's catchy tunes, many of the tracks on Hello Graphic Missile, are built upon a bouncy bass line providing the perfect sound bed for lead guitarist Tom Wagner to lay upon his appealing guitar hooks while vocalist/guitarist James Duft adds intermittent chord slashes.

Don't let these comparisons to modern groups mislead you, however. As is the case with the previously mentioned groups, Conner's rock influences are firmly rooted in the creations of their predecessors from two to three decades ago and the thirteen tracks on Hello Graphic Missile would certainly make them proud.

"Conner: Hello Graphic Missile review"

Conner is like a Swiss Army Knife: full of multi-purpose appendages, yet all anchored in a handy base. For a band that draws from such a vast musical palate, it would be easy for Conner to deliver a mix tape for their third LP. Thankfully, this is not the case.

Nor is it an album that aims for quirks. While many pop bands are writing songs with marimbas, esoteric structures or spicing songs with found sounds and electronic blips, this Lawrence, Kansas band is focused on classic songwriting. Whats more, the four-piece keep their songs taut, knowing when to move and when to back off.

The opening songs ring faintly familiar as if recalling an aural history of rocks last decade: emo, garage, post-punk, dancehall, et al.

About halfway through, the album switches gears to a more unified sound. The melodies and groove continue though now with the grittiness of classic rock. Where Im A Balloon recalls early British punk, Enough For You And Me harkens to Britains rock scene in the 60s.

The modern and retro halves are held together by tight, focused songwriting and James Dufts dynamic vocals. From the sexy cockiness of Floating On Error to the punk urgency of Balloon his forceful tenor is ambiguously British and always commanding.

Hello Graphic Missile is an impressive collection of groovy, melodic rock that stands out from todays indie fare by celebrating classic songwriting and shirking the so-weird-its-cool mindset thats been given too much face value in the catchall pop genre.


"Conner Review"

Conner are four young guys from Lawrence, Kansas - about thirty miles from Kansas City on Interstate-70. I've been to Kansas, and driven around on those highways, from Oklahoma, to Kansas, to Missouri. It is pretty, in a big-sky, large fields kind of way. But unless you're in one of the bigger cities, there isn't much there. Corn Wheat fields [The Corn fields must have been in Oklahoma... lots and lots of them]. Open Sky. You get the idea, right?

So then, these guys Conner - Bryce Boley on drums, Phil Bonahoom on bass, James Duft on guitar and vox, and Tom Wagner on guitar - make this crazy tight rock music that channels Joe Jackson and late 70s Elvis Costello and the Stones. They've certainly got chops, and Duft's vocals are great. They get compared to the Strokes a bit too, which I can see, sonically speaking, but if it is Strokes, then it would have to be The Modern Age 7" Strokes, before they got so clean and overly-produced. This track has some great guitar work on it too - a little Dinosaur Jr. or Pavement-ish in the second half maybe, and the solo in the last bit reminds me of the new Hockey Night stuff Mark posted a while back - a wicked-tight rock package basically.

Conner's first full-length, Hello Graphic Missile, was released this week by Seattle-based Sonic Boom Recordings, and is thirteen songs worth of fantastic pop-rock. Check out their Myspace page to hear and download a few more songs, and visit the Sonic Boom store to pick up Hello Graphic Missile for a mere twelve bucks, or you can go to to download a copy. Recommended.


"CONNER : The white Cube"

Finding Conner’s debut album, The White Cube, is a lot like digging through a box of dusty records and coming across a rare lost and forgotten garage band from the genre’s early days.Despite the elements of nostalgia, however, the Lawrence, Kansas-based band sounds anything but prehistoric. Singer James Duft’s warbled vocals bring to mind a young Ray Davies from days of the Kinks’ past, while Tom Wagner lends a talented hand, backing him up on both vocals and guitars; take “Easy” and back it with “Silent Film Score” and you’ve got prime single material here, on an album that, as a whole, never falters once.Meanwhile, the fact that it was recorded entirely in analog, using reel-to-reel tape, gives the disc a sound as fresh and crisp as a virgin LP, hot off the press and just out of its sleeve. The rock rejuvenators at work here are bound to make their mark in the current garage revival scene — especially as they add an approach to songwriting that’s notably original; if anything, Conner is a trailblazer in the resurgence.
- Greg Winter


The White Cube, self-release
Hello Graphic Missile, 2006 Sonic Boom Recordings


Feeling a bit camera shy


Banding together in a loosely-knit group, these musicians used any public forum they could find to (metaphorically) spit on nationalism, rationalism, materialism and any other -ism which they felt had contributed to a senseless war. In other words, Conner was fed up. If society is going in this direction, they said, we'll have no part of it or its traditions., wait!...especially artistic traditions. We, who are non-artists, will create non-art - since art (and everything else in the world) has no meaning, anyway.