Dai Atlas
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Dai Atlas


Band Alternative Metal


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The best kept secret in music


"The Buffalo News"

On Friday (Jan 10, 2003) Mohawk Place hosted Black Book Records Presents, a showcase for the local indie label, featuring Dai Atlas, Puma, the Missing Planes and the Warren Commission.

...The evening's highlight arrived last in the form of the mighty, muscular and, dare we say it, most exciting new band we've heard 'round these parts in quite a while, Dai Atlas. This was my first time seeing the band, and I was wholly unprepared for the beautiful din created by the twin-guitar line-up, powered by the soulful near-metal vocals of Tommy Stanford, who has lent his guitar and keyboards to another Buffalo treasure, Girlpope, for the last several years. Hook Generation guitarist Justin, now splitting his time between that group, his duties with Dai Atlas, and production work with Puma and others, blew flurries of rapid-fire notes on his lefty Les Paul; we haven't seen a rock guitarist of his stripe in this town in many a moon. Stanford's meaty riffs and the rhythm section's groove-centric bombast combined to create a sound that hinted at some bold hybrid of early Soundgarden and the classic arena boogie of Humble Pie. Every song hit home in an indelible way. If you've been craving no-nonsense, pretension-free rock 'n' roll on the local club scene, do yourself a favor and catch this remarkable band soon. It will be worth staying out "for the duration," rest assured. - Jeff Miers

"The Buffalo News"

taken from Jeff Miers' article entitled "Buff 'N' Wax", 6/27/03...

"Following an amazingly powerful set at Robby Takac's Allentown Music as Art Festival, I was given the hot-off-the-burner disc from Dai Atlas.

Who knew that Tommy Stanford - known as "the Kid" while performing guitar duties with power-poppers girlpope for the past several years - could belt it out with the most soul we've heard in a hard rock band since Chris Cornell led Soundgarden through the intricate folds of "Superunknown"?

Stanford is simply a monster, and the two tracks on this EP - unlabeled, naturally - reveal Dai Atlas to be perhaps the most exciting heavy band to emerge from the Buffalo underground in years.

Having an incredible rock fret-burner in the form of erstwhile Hook Generation main man Justin Guerin sure doesn't hurt. If that's Guerin handling the sitar-like embellishments on the disc's second track, color me even more impressed than I've been when seeing the band live.

The rhythm section? After I picked my skull up off the floor following my first "in-concert" encounter with these boys, I tossed around the notion that the Joel Menter/David Iten tag-team reminded me of some very early live bootlegs I'd heard featuring John Paul Jones and John Bonham duking it out during Led Zeppelin sets. If there's any justice in the record business, Dai Atlas will be having some dude with a fat cigar and a fatter checkbook paying for its recordings in no time." - Jeff Miers

"The Sound and the Fury"

It's distinctly Buffalo, flavored with steel and tinged with rush

Liverpool had skiffle and the Beatles. Detroit had Motown and punk rock. San Francisco had "jam" bands. Seattle had grunge.

But Buffalo?

Late last year, Nick Purdy, publisher of the hipster national music magazine Paste, asked me, apropos of nothing: "What are you guys doing up there? I'm hearing a big buzz about the music being made in Buffalo, but no one can tell me just exactly what it is."

Purdy's question has been bugging me since. Just what are we doing "up here"?

Ask 10 people what the "Buffalo sound" is, and you're likely to get 10 different answers. Over the years, I've heard "blue-collar noise," "Rust Belt rock," "experimental stuff."

In a sense, all of that is right. On any given night, you wouldn't have to look too far to find one of the above genres being honed in an area club. Recently, though, three strands of a "Buffalo sound" have emerged and are clear enough to define.

There's a slightly gnarly, punk-laced strain of alternative pop happening inside clubs like Mohawk Place and the Continental.

Heavy music hasn't gone away, either; bands are emerging with a sound that assimilates the best of what grunge had to offer into a rough-hewn stew of blues, progressive sounds, hard rock and heavy metal.

And, not surprising for an area with a thriving arts scene that belies its dwindling population, an experimental estuary is being explored by a handful of young bands clearly influenced by the spacey art-rock of latter-period Radiohead.

Somewhere in the mix of these disparate styles is a sound that, though a bit nebulous, is distinctively ours.

This hard land

Defining a city's sound involves some historical revisionism. It's easy, in retrospect, to declare Seattle the city of grunge, but that's due to the fact that the first bands to explode out of that city were playing a version of early '70s hard rock, which provided a consistency of sound among them. This, of course, doesn't mean that every Seattle band played grunge, or even that there was a definitive "Seattle sound." Same goes for Buffalo.

Our city does have a heavy rock pedigree, ranging from the cult following generated by hardcore post-punkers Snapcase, to metal band Every Time I Die, which has just been added to this year's Ozzfest, and made Spin magazine's "Top 25 Bands to Watch in 2004." Like Birmingham, England, the wasted steel town that gave birth to Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, Buffalo's withered industrial skyline has encouraged angst-fueled heavy music.

"Buffalo's a Rust Belt city with a rich history in the louder genres like metal and hardcore," says Joel Menter, bassist with the leading light on Buffalo's heavy rock scene, Dai Atlas. "There's also a thread of melancholy that runs through a lot of the songs written around here. It's hard to notice it, but once you put your finger on (the heavy and melancholy duality), I think you always find it in a Buffalo band's songs." You'll certainly find it in Dai Atlas' work. Formed a few years back from the dust of a band called Georgia Tucker, Dai Atlas exploded out of the gate, its first gigs upping the ante on Buffalo-based hard rock. Vocalist/guitarist Tommy Stanford, an erstwhile member of power-pop quartet Girlpope, surprised everyone at the band's early gigs with the unbridled blues-based fury of his singing. Including, it seems, himself.

"I really kind of owe it all to my high school band teacher, William Cocca, of Springville GI," Stanford says of his vocal acumen. "He basically, during a saxophone lesson, told me, "OK that was fine, now, don't be a wuss this time! Play it OUT!' So when I began singing lead in Georgia Tucker, I had all sorts of problems with projection and control, and thinking back to that quote led me to just belt and break down those walls of self-consciousness. That's basically it."

Joined by his longtime friend, Menter, and guitarist Justin Guerin, who had been working with Hook Generation and as a producer for other artists, Dai Atlas did some recording, gigged a bunch, and racked up a fan base of blown minds. The band's mix of post-punk metal and '70s-era hard-blues calls to mind Soundgarden, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, but the ensemble's penchant for odd rhythms and unusual structures suggests an affinity with "outside" modern rockers like the Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age.

With new drummer Joe Schneider in tow, Dai Atlas is poised to lay a full-length album to tape, and if all goes well, hit the road outside of Buffalo on a regular basis.

Sounding it out

Ultimately, what matters is not so much just exactly "what it is we're doing up here," but that we seem to be doing so darned much. Dai Atlas, the Juliet Dagger and Sleeping Kings of Iona all have what it takes to put us on the map. Any one of them could end up defining the "Buffalo sound" for a generation.

But most artists in our neck of the woods are more concerned with eeking out an existence, balancing day jobs with night gigs, and finding a way to get out of town to play once in a while than they are with attempting to define exactly what it is they are doing. The invention born of necessity, then - anything goes here, and for the most part, audiences are open - could well be the defining element of the Buffalo sound.

Dai Atlas' Stanford has given the matter some thought.

"To categorize a Buffalo sound would require some major effort," he says. "I think Buffalo is a gem buried deeply into the soil of this dirty, filthy industry just waiting to be excavated and polished off. There's so much diverse music swirling about here, that to lump it into a specific category would insult the bands not really matching.

"You have bands like Doombuggy, the Johnny Nobody and Girlpope playing straight-up rock and roll. You have the Missing Planes, the Last Days of Radio and the Sleeping Kings of Iona with a more alternative sound. You have bands like the Rabies and Voodoo Dollies playing incredibly raw and punky stuff. You have heavier music from Veil, the Sonic Boom Project, and us. You can find weird industrial or Gothic pop, alt-country and quirky electro acoustic bands. If you want it, we've got it here. So come and get it. Because it's all here, and it's all really good.

"If I was reduced to using one word to describe the "Buffalo Sound,' it would be "real'."
- The Buffalo News


- "Heathen" b/w "What it is to Fall" single on Blackbook Records - Spring 2003
- 2002 6-Song Demo

We are located at garageband at: http://www.garageband.com/artist/daiatlas, and our demos are available for download off of our website.


Feeling a bit camera shy


... The incessant blaring of some sort of stereo or another fuels these four parts whose sum is overshadowed by the ferocious whole known as Dai Atlas. Headphones, blown speakers, cramped practice spaces, almost crowded out by the sound, these things make up their habitat. They believe in the dream of a riff that can liberate you. Careless overuse by inept practitioners has turned the power of rock into a cliche, but it's a cliche that still sends tremors through teenage boys' bedrooms. It makes them obsess over records and fervently search for the greatest one...
... They will take up the mantle laid down by the past and provide the heat needed to fuse it with the restless energy and breakneck expectations that ignite the future. Tommy (guitar, vocals), Joel (bass), Justin (guitar), and Dave (oversized drum kit) were barely born when long-haired visionaries, towering like stone statues in stage light, were clearing a bombastic path, forging the sonic extreme that would eventually buckle, and be crushed under the new guard's punishing precision. Dai Atlas knows the history that presaged their inception, but doesn't let reverence restrict them...
... Strange to think that in Buffalo, a worked-to-death city once built by steel, now ravaged and battered, but standing, that there was a void waiting, almost aching to be filled by a band with the unbridled sonic strength and muscular melodic drive of Dai Atlas...