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The best kept secret in music


"Aware Records"

Say Hello to the Master Siege Control marks the debut of the Chicago rock band EXO. Combining the perfect mix of melody and wall of noise aggresiveness, EXO's rock attack hints of NIN, Jane's Addiction and yes, the Beatles. Don't be afraid to meet the (M)(S)(C). The addiction will be worth the trip. - Steve Smith

"Tip Sheet - London"

In with our latest package from Jeff McClucky & Associates, our favourite American promotions company, came the latest edition of their The Bridge Sampler, intended to promote up-and-coming acts to alternative radio.

But this was no ordinary edition; subtitled Examining Chicago's spirit of unsigned and indie music, it features music from JMA's home city.

None of this would have been of interest, of course, were track one on the sampler not (A) unsigned and (B) one of the best sounds we've heard this year, unsigned or otherwise.

And to cap it all, isn't EXO a great name for the act behind this track?
- Katherine Meilling


This is probably my favorite local band right now, and has been for a number of years. Singer and principal songwriter Scott Tallarida has impressed me ever since I saw him playing acid jazz in the back room at the Avalon. He, and the rest of the band, have a rhythmic, harmonic and melodic sophistication that is very rare in rock music. To this day, I can't really think of anyone that they sound like, except, at times, a very loud Beatles. One thing I like especially about these guys is the way they play with rhythmic figures throughout their songs. Big hits come off of the downbeat, which gives the songs a much different impact than you're used to hearing. That off-kilter approach tends to apply to the overall structure of the songs as well, with big dynamic shifts and empty spaces punctuating the stellar guitar work of Tallarida and Jason Lee.
- unknown


A case of mistaken identity, that's really all it was. When the instrumental opener to exo's first full length lunged at me full throttle, heavy percussion and treble-drenched feedback first, I figured the other 13 tracks would also be Chicago-styled industrial fare, ala Pigface, Murder Inc., or even Big Black. But here's what the rest of "Say Hello to the Master Siege Control" consists of: melodious guitar work, groove-laden low end, shimmering electronics, soaring vocals and a stellar NU metal production. There are no standout tracks; they're all good. Exo's album delivers hook-based songs that are often grounded in bombastic and meaty rock, sometimes reminiscent of 60s bubble-gum pop, or a little of both. The band propels a vibe whose impact is immediate by relying on a standard structure, in which a catchy riff builds and eventually climaxes in a charged sing-along refrain. In their more whimsical, "British" moments, exo recall a futuristic Blur, and their sound-effects bits bring to mind the Super Furry Animals, whose music is a concoction of love for both the Beatles and Sparks. Sure, comparisons to acts like Papa Roach or Powerman 5000-their contemporaries-or Quicksand and Orange 9mm-their mid-90s precursors-are in order, but so is affirming with noted enthusiasm that exo is quite good. For all its trappings of considerable predictability, this home recorded and self-engineered debut album charts a fine beginning for a band whose trajectory is probable mainstream success. It should also be noted that exo's vocalist sounds frighteningly similar to the singer for now-defunct Jawbreaker, Blake Schwarzenbach, who now fronts Jets to Brazil. I swear the intonation in their voices is identical, as is the way they mouth their syllables.
- Laurent Lebec

"Illinois Entertainer"

From The Bealtes influences to the noisy, aggressive sounds reminiscent of early Nine Inch Nails, EXO's Say Hello To The Master Siege Control combines these seemingly incompatible styles to create a solid sound. Some of the more intriguing songs come in the latter half of the album. "The Acid Test" encompasses trippy, downtempo grooves reminiscent of The Beatles psychedelia, along with "Barely Awake" which utilizes electronic grooves sparingly. Other songs lie more along the industrial side of things. "Mission Critical" has nice industrial beats and a solid bassline, and "Starstruck" offers up poppy melodious vocals coupled with surging guitars, as is the fashion these days. At times heavy, and others more melodic, the combination of electronic grooves with organic sounds on Say Hello To The Master Siege Control fits in swimmingly with the sound that is all the rage today.
- A.L.


Say Hello to the Master Seige Control - 2000
The Safety Primer Justice - 2003

Visit http://www.exonoise.com for downloads.

Tracks from the "The Safety Primer Justice" being played on Chicago Radio (q101, 94.7 The Zone)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Since the band's inception in 1999, EXO's goal has been quite clear…to make music by their own standards and no one else's. All original members were heavily involved in the Chicago music scene before being drafted by lead singer/guitarist Scott Tallarida, who had left Trailer Hitch (Man’s Ruin) earlier that year on a mission to create his ideal music machine. Consequently, there was a local buzz about EXO before the group ever set foot outside of their rehearsal room. After an immediate onslaught of showcase shows, EXO became uncomfortable with the idea of others trying to define and mold the band before the band had defined itself. So they disappeared, locking themselves in Scott's apartment to make a record and figure out who or what EXO really was.

The definition of EXO is simple, as it should be.

EXO is from Chicago
EXO is four men
EXO plays rock music

Nothing more, nothing less.

With the self-release of their first full-length album, Say Hello To The Master Siege Control, in December of 2000, EXO emerged with confidence and quickly started to build a loyal regional following. Produced and recorded solely by the band, the album received a number of glowing REVIEWS. After a West Coast tour and extensive national tour last summer and fall, EXO was ready to record once again, this time in a basement studio built by the band, and aptly named Binge.

Through relentless dedication to music they can call their own, EXO has honed their sound into a precise craft…melodic but aggressive, raw but perfect. Upon hearing the noise, people have compared it to everything from the Beatles to Queens of the Stone Age to Nine Inch Nails. Although it's difficult to derive any congruent list of influences from listening to EXO, one thing is for certain: it is EXO, and there's no mistaking it.

The anticipated follow-up to the MSC is slated for release in September of 2003, and EXO is poised and ready to bring it right to your front door and politely ask you to give it a listen. Say hello.