Eaton Lake Tonics
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Eaton Lake Tonics

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"Rancho Folly IV"

Prolific indeed is Eaton Lake Tonics frontman Domenic "Tony" Ferraro, who's already released two of this year's most intriguing local discs under his literary-inspired alias Bob Fante: Rancho Folly V and Proud Now American, the latter a split LP with The Ox Magnolia. Wouldn't you know, this ELT release might just be the best of the lot.
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Eaton Lake Tonics, Rancho Folly IV (Self-released)
Though some of Ferraro's projects - particularly under the Fante rubric - might be resolutely lo-fi and DIY, it's still puzzling to many that this publication classifies his band as "avant-garde/experimental" around Music Awards time. First and foremost, Ferraro is a pop tunesmith of great facility. His catchiness is his signature strength. Sure, he might throw in a soupçon of dissonance here and there (always in the accompaniment, never in the actual melody), but that's just a red herring. Rancho Folly IV is as accessible a rock record as you'll hear this year.

Ferraro is not above recycling repertoire, either. "Business Just Gets Bad," the gorgeously anthemic "Monty and Lettie," "How To Get Out of My House," "John Fogerty," and "Barbara" all appeared on Rancho Folly V, but here they are radically different - much more fully realized and powerful. The last two, in particular, are transformed into extended tours de force, courtesy mainly of his full band. The quaint charm of the Fante versions is replaced by an in-your-face immediacy, with interesting instrumental interplay between Ferraro and longtime collaborator Ryan Thomas Becker. Indeed, the new "Barbara" starts out sunshine-poppy and winds up sounding downright lysergic.

Vocally, Ferraro can't seem to wipe the wiseass smirk off his mug (think: Ben Folds or the guy from Green Day), but his music is smart and surprising enough to hold your interest through its myriad twists and turns. Cop via www.myspace.com/numericpiglatin.

- Fort Worth Weekly


"Rancho Folly IV"

The melodic rock charms of Fort Worth continue to tickle my ears with Eaton Lake Tonics' latest release, Rancho Folly IV. While some local scenesters wax nostalgic of the glory days of the 1990s, bands like Eaton Lake manage to capture a sound that is all at once fresh and familiar – and yes, reminiscent of guitar-heavy hooks made popular back in the days of flannel and poppy angst.

Tony Ferraro's vocals have just enough of a Southern inflection to pull the ear back to Fort Worth, while Ryan Thomas Becker's unmistakable guitar rocks over the catchy beats. This is the kind of album you should listen to in your parent's basement after school. What is it about North Texas rock that reminds me of the more progressive sounds of the 1960s? The track John Fogerty, in particular, reminds me of early Doors -- I think it's the keys that do it. The Slow Burners have a similar effect on my ear (though their harmonies sound much more British); the common denominator here is Ryan Thomas Becker, thus leading to my conclusion that he came to Denton in a time machine to remind us all what rock is supposed to sound like. Thanks, Daddy-o!

Barbara starts off with Jonathan Losasso kicking out a downright '60s pop beat straight out of a David Lynch score. This sound gets duly screwed around with by the rest of the band until about two and a half minutes in, when the Jim Morrison keys start swirling around again. One minute there's an innocently nostalgic scene unfolding before your ears, and the next everything's gotten weird and uncomfortably transfixing. It's like an episode of Twin Peaks!

I highly suggest picking up Rancho Folly IV if you need a punky-Southern kick in your collection. They represent the North Texas sound well without actually sounding like anyone else. I dig. - Pegasus News


"Rancho Folly IV"

By PRESTON JONES

Tony Ferraro’sEaton Lake Tonics is an unabashed pop band masquerading as a boundary-bending art project.

Ferraro, with help from bandmates Ryan Thomas Becker (when does that guy sleep?), David Howard and Jonathan Losasso, has fashioned the new Rancho Folly IV, a record littered with bracing bits of pop genius cloaked in noise.

Few local discs have a stronger opening salvo than the three tunes that kick off Rancho Folly IV; opening track Business Just Gets Bad is one of the best songs I’ve heard, local or otherwise, all year. Ferraro’s vocals have a practiced nonchalance; sounding as though you would rather be anywhere else but still being engaged with the song is tricky, but the singer-songwriter pulls it off.

Further in, a garish breakdown at the end of No One Hates You, Jenny gives way to the tender acoustics of Singers of the Size; it’s a snapshot of the band’s range and ease at muddying up gorgeous compositions. Rancho Folly IV is one of the finest records Fort Worth has produced this year. The Tonics will celebrate its release with a Dec. 18 gig at Lola’s Saloon, joined by Whiskey Folk Ramblers and Slider Pines. - Star Telegram


Discography

Bernadina CDLP
Peg Legs and Merry-A's CDEP
Long Arm Days CDLP
Vicodina CDLP
Hate CDEP
Rancho Folly IV CDLP

shit streams at: elt.muxtape.com and myspc/numericpiglatin
radio play: at 88.7FM and 91.7FM and online

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Bio

Formed 2004. Extremely prolific and active. Effective, efficient and self-contained rock and roll unit. Proud owners of awards and house pets.

We like: Elvis Costello, MC Paul Barman, Deltron 3030, Centro-matic, Beefheart, Spoon, Guided By Voices, Big Star