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The best kept secret in music


"All the pulsing bass hooks and emo pop crashing choruses are here"

These guys rocked our first ever HM New Issue Release Party" in Austin (hey, it's cheesy, but just a good xcuse to party) and did it with strength and hooks. All the pulsing bass hooks and emo pop crashing choruses are here. Without reinventing the melodic rock sound, Fairfax still makes a strong claim that begs for radio airplay.

"Death Cab for Cutie, Dashboard Confessional, and other guilty pleasures for the 25-and-up crowd"

Light These Dreams (Jacket Weather) Pop rock for 12-year-old girls: Death Cab for Cutie, Dashboard Confessional, and other guilty pleasures for the 25-and-up crowd. Fairfax isn't quite The O.C. material just yet, but they're on their way to 101X stardom. With catchy sing-along opener "A Night Like This" gluing itself to the angst-addled brains of the pubescent set, maybe David Kiesel's über-nasal vox will go unnoticed. - Austin Chronicle

"Fairfax is only a step away from becoming a household name."

Austin, TX native four-piece Fairfax is only a step away from becoming a household name. Their clever power-pop is catchy, melodic and driven by crunchy electrics. Their latest release, Light These Dreams, combines pop hooks and raw emotions to create something relatively memorable in a generally drab and forgettable genre.

A Night Like This pushes the record into gear, and although there is a lack of vocal integrity, the guitar-focused musicianship is solid and kept me listening. Fallback Plans and Don't Count on Me continue the trend, and I almost find myself wishing the band's vocalists, Josh Cochran and Dave Kiesel would take singing lessons, because there is little else holding Fairfax back from potentially becoming a nationally recognized act.

The Day We Lit the Fuse and Hail of Shrapnel are better from a vocal standpoint; but I refuse to believe the band is playing to their full potential. This is a very capable four-piece, complete with well-written songs, musically as well as lyrically. I have to say that I'm rooting for them as they progress from record to record
- www.punkdiscovery.com

"With catchy hooks, melodic rock stylings, and strong emotional base, they’re standing on solid ground."

It seems as if the lone star state is starting to actually put out some good bands, yes okay I mean other then The Cutaway and Riddlin Kids. This pop-punk band of friends are making a name for themselves with their latest release of “Light These Dreams.” With catchy hooks, melodic rock stylings, and strong emotional base, they’re standing on solid ground. - Asylum Magazine

"Fairfax offer up ten tracks of raw but smoothed-over love"

Coming out of the thick indie rock tradition of Texas – well, at least, around Austin – is the young four-piece Fairfax. Like Chapel Hill, Austin seems flush with excellent undiscovered indie bands that are always simmering underneath the consciousness. Composed of Dave Kiesel on vocals/guitar, bassist Sam Painter, drummer Brandon Johnson and Josh Cochran on guitar, Fairfax offer up ten tracks of raw but smoothed-over love. Only playing out for six months, Fairfax are a fairly polished affair. Light These Dreams starts out on “A Night Like This” with slow distorted drums before the crux of their sound comes in. That is, mild distorted guitars with margins of muting couple with minimal lead rhythmic solos to echo parts. Kiesel vocals are solid and earnest, though not rangy and tight, which may actually be better for their sound. Their bio notes how their songwriting is influenced by Hopeless Records’ bands, and I would assume specifically Digger, and this is clear on the opening. Though a closer comparison comes from taking a punk Digger and ironing it out with indie rock and the Cars. “Fallback Plans” follows with a less striking composition and “Don’t Count Me Out” is slightly more appealing. “The Day We Lit the Fuse” adds a bit of histrionics, while “Oxygen” comes into to flat-out rock you. “Oxygen” is a slow starter, but picks up and proceeds to take the song of the album award. “Hail of Shrapnel” mimics contemporary super pop-punk too much, but “Counting Down to Midnight” slides the tempo back with their standard solo guitar picking lead. “Undertow” has some good foot tapping moments and “Spent Shells and Shallow Graves” treads on familiar ground from the previous songs. Fairfax winds things down with the finale “Losing Control.” “Losing Control” again features a light picking single guitar that parallels Dashboard, before they include some nice changes with piano and strings. If Fairfax are able to keep it together, I expect them to do some sweet damage this next year. - EXODUSTER.COM

"Fairfax owns melodic indie rock"

Once again Austin, Texas proves that it holds the patent on great indie rock music. Fairfax owns melodic indie rock Latching onto all the emotions we hold most dear, “Light These Dreams” almost feels like rape, it hits that close to home. But all negative connotations aside, Fairfax taps a toe along with tremendous beats that are friendly to emo kids and mainstreamers alike. Considering their singer/guitarist Dave Kiesel was grew up during the torrid ‘80’s modern rock explosion while breaking skin to The Beatles it should be no surprise that the results when he pens songs bridge the gap between those glaringly different influences. If you’re looking for the next great hook, go no farther.

"“A Night Like This”, the lead-off track from the band’s debut album, Light These Dreams, is exactly the kind of song that could transform “emo”"

Emo: the most detested descriptor in music criticism? When the Trail of Dead’s Source Tags and Codes was released two years ago to substantial acclaim, critics were reluctant to use the dreaded word because the music, in their minds, did not “deserve” to be labeled as such. We all understand why, but it’s becoming a little unfair to the word’s progenitors that a name intended to describe nothing more than a genre’s sound must connote poor quality as well.

Yet one asks oneself, who is there to combat this injustice? Amidst a filthy pool of Dashboards and New Found Glorys, Blink-182 stands as the only popular—this qualifier eliminates the Trail of Dead, as well as a number of others—emo band worth a damn. As such, it is easy to see how the inequity began. The question is, which upcoming indie band will break the mold and join Blink-182 among the emo elite, those with the power to provide the term the fair treatment it deserves?

For a few minutes, it seems as if Fairfax might be the one. “A Night Like This”, the lead-off track from the band’s debut album, Light These Dreams, is exactly the kind of song that could transform “emo” into a word with the potential for greatness. The song is wonderfully infectious, replete with anthemic guitars that crash courageously through the ebullient choruses and featuring the rare verse that serves as more than a mere set-up for the imminent rock-out. With any luck, “A Night Like This” will soon find a place on modern rock radio.

After this exceptional highlight, however, Fairfax offers little to persuade the emo-hater. The lyrics appear to be lifted from that detestable Poetry 101 course Christopher Carrabba and likeminded songwriters enrolled in at age 16 and never progressed from. Take, for example, the metaphor on “The Day We Lit the Fuse”: “Sparks that fly are often more than a glow / And who knows what they could ignite if they get out of control”. In his abashedly “elegant” lyricism, singer Dave Kiesel continually avoids detail, opting instead for safe intimations of fear and regret, and consequently leaving his words cliché and totally bare of any intended insight.

Worse, on “Don’t Count on Me”, Kiesel produces a nearly definitive “emo checklist” for his opening verse: “Sometimes things change, hope dies, love fades / It’s not hard to see I’m just not sure of anything / Sunset, sunrise, bad days, blue skies / Count on these things, but please don’t ever count on me.” Bitter, disillusioning view of the world. Check. Self-doubt. That’s there all right. Allusions to universally recognized poetic images. Got those. Some more self-doubt. Good. Very good.

Even past the lyrics, Light These Dreams fails repeatedly to convince the emo-skeptic. From start to finish, there is virtually no variety in sound, and unsurprisingly, the hooks do not sustain the quality of the opening track. The only benefit here is that there are no acoustic ballads to suffer through.

Thus, “emo” remains synonymous with all things trite, effete, and unexciting. One can continue to hope that someday a few indie bands will enter the popular scope and prove to critics and music listeners alike that “emo” is not a dismissing label, but Fairfax will most likely not be one of them. Until such a day arrives, a few choice singles from Blink-182 are all we, the emo-hopeful, have.
- Stylus Magazine

"The singer has a great voice which would be a lot better if he started singing about some real shit, like getting loaded and driving around in custom Trans Ams with 3 or 4 hott ladies itchin' for some real lovin'."

Fairfax Reviewed by Chaz Bartok
Fairfax is a band that sounds like a lot of other bands, which is their biggest problem. The formula is pop-punk, basically hooky songs with crunchy guitars done in a fast tempo, but with some emotional singing about a bunch of crap no one cares about. But there is talent lurking beneath the radio-friendly sounds, the singer has a great voice which would be a lot better if he started singing about some real shit, like getting loaded and driving around in custom Trans Ams with 3 or 4 hott ladies itchin' for some real lovin'. But instead we get pussy stuff that I just can't get into. Sure, I may be an acne-scarred 3-time loser with a greasy mane and a built-in-bong in my cherry 'am, but I know when shit needs to rock a lot harder and that's the problem here. I need some edge in my music and this is all KROQ speciality lite-punk. I wish these dudes well because clearly they're looking to get famous, but unless they unleash the beast within, they won't be rockin' my scene any time soon.

"An enjoyable blend of pop hooks and upbeat, drop kick guitar riffs and drums"

An enjoyable blend of pop hooks and upbeat, drop kick guitar riffs and drums might sound like the same old to you, but fairfax's catchy factor is 11 on the scale of 10. it's hard not to enjoy a band with so much pop sensibility. "light these dreams," fairfax's latest LP on jacket weather records has a lot of cheesy pop elements that can't be disguised, but for some reason i can't help but enjoy the good ol' catchy pop melodies of this austin band. 2 months wer espent tracking, producing, and mixing "light these dreams," and the quality shines through the fulfilling bass and drums. it's bound to be something you're into, so check out fairfax today! - emotionalpunk.com


FAIRFAX - "Light These Dreams" 2004 - LP
Austin's WB Christmas CD - "Away in a Manger" 2004
Austin Punk Rock.org - "A Night Like This" - 2004
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past projects
Potential McKenzie - Self Titled 2003 - EP
Red Five Standing By - "Would You Date A Robot?" 02 - EP


Feeling a bit camera shy


FAIRFAX is the culmination of life-long project of great friends David Kiesel (guitars/vocals) and Brandon (drums) along with friends Bill McCharen and Ben Beach. This adventure, that is an artist's musical journey, started one afternoon after David Keisel (vocals/guitars) and Brandon Johnson (drums) finished their lunch and walked up stairs in David's house to experiment with some new songs David just finished. That was eight years ago. Over time Keisel and Johnson have developed a musical connection that can only be achieved through hours of practicing and performing together, and while they rarely see things from the same direction, the music has always moved their friends and fans both to smile, enjoy, and think about their lives.

Their newest project has begun to gain the attention of music fans all over Texas. As the Austin Chronicle claims "... they're on their way to 101X stardom." David Kiesel was weaned on Beach Boys' and Beatle’s records. From a young age he was entranced by the undeniable magic of pop melodies, big hooks and even bigger choruses. "I grew up loving early Beatles and underground punk rock à la Hopeless Records bands," Kiesel recalls. However, hooks and melodies alone aren't going to get your foot tapping and pulse jumping. Drummer Brandon Johnson brings the energy with his syncopated, “play-it-with-both-hands” backbeats. The rhythm section is enhanced by Ben Beach on bass guitar who takes speacial care in keeping a tight "pocket" with Johson's beats. They are joined by Bill McCharen who adds complimenting vocals and thick guitar textures as well as the occasional keyboard track.

Some of the highlights of 2004 included releasing a video for the song "A Night Like This", being included on compilations for Austin Punk Rock and Austin's WB, being guests on Austin's KLBJ radio station, Being named "band of the month" for October by Austin Punk Rock, and being guests on San Antonio's KRTU 91.7 FM.