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"Independent Music Review"

Happenstance and ingenuity. Although not the name of the newly emerging southern California progressive rock band, no pair of words can more adequately sum up its story. As their website proclaims, it is a band "simply called Den"; and the story of its trio of twenty-something musicians is a lesson on how sometimes, the right non-cohesiveness can yield the best kind of cohesion of all.

There's no specific date on its beginning, but Den formed from the side project of Andrew Thomas, Connor Marks, and Andres Arazoza. At the time of its conception, Thomas and Marks were spearheading an acoustic California pop group, and used Den as a vessel through which to free themselves from the confines of belonging to a certain genre, as well as to experiment with new sounds and styles, often decidedly wildly. The respective Dallas and Long Beach natives met in college, and became frequent musical collaborators. As a result of their years of side-by-side playing, each was comfortably conscious of the other's sound. Thomas's childhood friend from Dallas, Andres Arazoza, joined Den at its beginning, having at the time been commissioned for vocals. And it was undeniably hodge-podge.

The lack of real structure and seriousness would have quickly killed lesser talent- Marks and Thomas were pursuing other projects, and all three members were considering foregoing rock glory in favor of more lucrative 9-to-5's. But each member's ability slowly began to make manifest, most notably in the odd fact that none of them was consigned to a single instrument. Each member a multi-instrumentalist, and core parts are often written by different members, further unifying the music while at the same time differentiating it, when there are 3 people writing basslines, guitar parts, melodies, and lyrics, you have a true collaboration and a dynamic evolving sound. Early LA shows saw a stage filled odd and varying instruments, from accordion, mandolin, theramin, violin to upright bowed bass and glockenspiel. Such perspective and experimentation contributes to pieces of music that are alien and familiar at the same time, similar to finding out your parents are actually aliens. Marks generally took over piano and guitar, Thomas the bass guitar and mandolin, and Arazoza guitar and vocals; but the roles frequently switched around. For example, Thomas wrote vocal and guitar parts, and Marks contributed to bass lines, etc. At some point in the rocking and wailing, the wise decision was made to begin recording the practices to analog tape. Something was emerging from the random collision of talent, something raw and unrefined and real. It was also unheard. Gradually, the side project pushed other projects to the side, and the members made their serious commitment to cultivating their new art.

So after six months of these garage band-esque "jam sessions," and weekend recording sessions in a ramshackle 1960's wooden farmhouse on the central coast, the band suddenly stomped its way into the public consciousness, playing a sold-out show in Los Angeles in the fall of 2007. And just as suddenly, it retreated back from whence it came; a mysterious hiatus occurred, leaving both the band members, and their small but ardent fan base, uncertain as to Den's future.

A triumphant reunion ensued in the spring of 2008, however, with the revitalized musical sound an echo of the band's relief at being together once again. At this point, due to ever-growing popularity and whispers of record-label interest, the proverbial road diverged once again for Den; and yet again, they opted for the one less traveled and chose to pursue an independent label. After a release of their debut EP and a momentary falter in the face of heartbreaking gas prices, the plans were cobbled together for a grand national tour for 2008, with stops mapped out everywhere from San Francisco to Dallas to New Orleans to New York. As clichéd as it sounds, Marks admits, the band is being guided by not much else than their music. Such commitment based on something so intangible seems tenuous at best; but Den derives its strength from its members' subtle comprehension of something many can't understand: a group creating as a group, with egos and roles set aside, from which stems the powerful whole of Den's music, pushed solidly and relentlessly forth by the truth and purity of each part.

-Carrie Leigh, Independent Music Publicist

- Independent Review




August 10, 2008 - LA based budding Indie Rock Band DEN has decided it's time to leave. Converging as a side project in early 2007, DEN would quickly push the main projects to the side in a whirlwind that would lead to their debut EP, a handful of LA and NYC shows, and the decision to hit the road using only the music as a compass. Founding members hail from Southern California and Dallas, and draw their experience from playing over 60 shows in the California area in 2007, opening for acts such as Mickey Avalon, Cisco Adler of Shwayze, Stephen Perkins of Janes Addiction, The Starting Line, and Ben Kweller.

The "Narcoleptic Breakfast Tour" is in support of DEN's recently released debut EP, and consists of 20+ shows spanning up the California coast and across the midwest as far as Tennessee.

DEN will be playing in San Luis Obispo, CA on Wednesday, September 3, at Boo Boo Records at 5pm and The Frog And Peach Pub at 10pm.

### - PR

"CD Review"

The California Aggie // Arts // CD Review:Caddywhompus EP

CD Review:Caddywhompus EP
Rating: 4/5
Written by Sonia Parecadan
Published September 8, 2008
Caddywhompus EP
Record Label

Rating: 4/5

Currently touring the western half of the U.S. to promote their debut Caddywhompus EP, Los Angeles-based indie rock band DEN draws from an array of influences. They play the sort of upbeat, groovy rock and roll that reminds me of some of my favorites, old and new - the Pixies, Phil Collins, the Decemberists. The list can go on.
While their sound might not be particularly distinctive - at least, not yet - it is by no means boring, either. Lead vocalist Andres Arazoza's impassioned, raspy vocals bring each song to life atop a layered, instrumentally diverse, jazzy rock blend.
Album opener "A Song" is a rhythmic country rock tune with a '60s feel. Although it didn't catch my attention at first, the more I listened to it, the more I liked it.
The second track, "Persuasion," is my favorite. With the piano, fiddle and violins incorporated over an alternating tempo that ranges from frantic and screeching to mild and melodic, it was structurally interesting yet catchy.
Like the rest of the album, third track "Gohar" shows strong classic rock influences. Arazoza croons with the fervor of Janis Joplin to a moving blend of driving guitars, rolling pianos and tragic violins.
"Commonwealth Girl" is immediately infectious with its boisterous blend of instruments and Beach Boys-esque background vocals, incorporating a fun xylophone and pretty violin.
The fifth track, "ABABACAB" is mostly instrumental. Tambourines, organs and an array of other sounds come together in a fusion of psychedelic funk.
"Father War" is reminiscent of Neil Young. It's a fitting final track as fluttering piano keys and soft violin create a rising, dramatic atmosphere.
DEN played at The G St. Pub on Friday. For more information on the band, visit

-Sonia Parecadan

Give these tracks a listen: "Commonwealth Girl," "Father War"
For fans of: Of Montreal, Pavement, The Breeders

- The California Aggie


"Caddywhompus EP" - April 15, 2008
"Hence The Boats" - TBR 2009
"A Song" - Single; airplay on KLSU in Baton Rouge, LA



Listening to DEN is like getting hit by a grand piano filled with sprinkled donut holes then scraped off the pavement by your grandmother’s pet raccoon. Spinning a dark comedy of controlled chaos in a hard candy carapace, the group exploded from a shell of isolation and experimentation in early 2008 with an EP release, shows in LA and NYC and a national tour in the fall. Wasting no time, these troubadours slipped into seclusion in the outskirts of Austin, TX to begin recording what will be their much anticipated debut LP for 2009, “Hence The Boats”.

Any expectation for the sound of the classic drums, bass, guitars, and piano quintet could no sooner be crushed and delivered in such a cohesive way as this group. Drawing from an array of classic rock and jazz influences and dabbling in fluctuating time signatures and vocal harmonies, comparisons made to Stephen Malkmus, Of Montreal, Pavement, and early Phil Collins seem to fluctuate dependent on the experience of the individual listener. The average attendee at any of the handful of sold out LA shows late 2007 and early 2008 would probably tell you 'Rock' while another might add '…with no socks on'.

Converging in Los Angeles in 2007, DEN was an escape and a side project for Dallas transplants, Andres Arazoza and Andrew Thomas, and native Connor Marks. Marks and Thomas were founders of an alternative pop act sparking label interest and Arazoza was very much caught up in the world of film. A lack of goals, expectations, and pressure allowed for a burst of creative ingenuity spawned by individual desire for challenge and pure love for music. A random decision early on resulted in each and every session being recorded to analog tape. Jams would last for hours and each and every second was accounted for; in review, magic was uncovered in the moment. The power of that single moment was dissected, pursued, and developed in a ramshackle 1960's wooden farmhouse on the central coast, which resulted in the homespun recordings that would become DEN's debut EP release. This EP contains the grit of raw unbridled emotion captured in true Indie style; listening to the album is as if you are there, with raw performance giving way to heavenly strings and lyrics to confuse the lazy and reward the explorer.