First Circuit
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First Circuit

Los Angeles, California, United States

Los Angeles, California, United States
Rock Indie

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You know that exhilarating sensation you get when griping your hands around the steering wheel of a brand new car? It’s intense as the world around you becomes quiet and all that is left is the road ahead of you. Well one listen to Los Angeles’s freshest new band, First Circuit, will produce that feeling of euphoria with their perfectly harmonized vocals, yearning pedal steel beats, and dreamy rhythm. - The Gigity


There always has to be one album or group which slips under my skin without me knowing why and this past couple of weeks it has been First Circuit‘s I Hope You Get What You Came For EP. There are touches of Winterpills and Georgian Company (two of my favorite bands, in case you didn’t know) and a handful of others bands in their sound. It took me a few listens to nail those down. I don’t know why. They are obvious. It was close to midnight when they broke through and I was exhausted from wrestling with words and sounds and only wanted to close my eyes and rest. I sat in my chair and let the music wash over me and have since listened a number of times. They strike a groove without striking a groove somehow and are just far enough outside the lines. The key? Songwriting. There are only five songs, but they are five intriguing songs. One, in fact, I Hope You Get What You Came For, is now a go-to song for me when I need to cleanse the ears after a long day of listening and writing. Performance: B. Production: B. Songwriting: solid A. And it gets better with each listen. By the end of this week, it could be A‘s across the board. Visit their Soundcloud page here, listen and if you like it, follow the links at the bottom of the page to learn more about the band. - Segarini (Blog)


Billed as the debut of Adam Kurtz's new band, Saturday at the Empire Dine and Dance marked an important moment for the local songwriter. After two songs as a duo with frequent collaborator Keith Mann, the band was completed by the addition of Elijah Ocean and Michael Anderson (both of Loverless) and singer Nancy Cartonio. The new quintet's set was culled entirely from the 2008 release The Devil Is Defeated, including all but the final track from the album.

From "Illusion" — which does a great job of introducing each instrument — to a refreshingly chaotic finale with "Surrender," it was apparent that this wasn't just a backing band but a new life for Kurtz's songs. Though there's at least one local show on the horizon for the "trio" of Kurtz, Mann, and Zoom (their drum machine), the prospect of this full band sticking around looks pretty good.

Though Elijah Ocean had been noticeably sedate during his first set of the night — holding down the rhythm on an acoustic guitar while Kurtz did his best to melt faces — the leader of Loverless was now in rock-star mode, Portland's own larger-than-life guitar hero with the stage moves to match it. The trio played through their 2006 LP, Fighter, before closing out the set with a handful of tracks from their more recent Nothing Under The Sun.

The fact that two-thirds of the band was pulling a double seemed to have no effect on Loverless, as they attacked every song with more rock fury than most bands in town can seem to muster at their best show, and I'm not even convinced they were really trying that hard. They would have gone all night (and who's to say they didn't, at the afterparties?) but last call came and went, and it was time for the show to end, much to the disappointment of some enthusiastic and vocal fans. - Portland Phoenix (Maine)


Who knew that the Russian tribute band Kino Proby would spin-off a solo album? Well, here it is with Adam Kurtz and a great backing band that features "The Colonel" (actually Kurtz?) on a sometimes scintillating lead electric guitar.

Kurtz moves from "Alchemist" to "Architect" with his opening two songs, and that's a pretty accurate reflection of what we've got here - half swirling mixture and half artful, straight lines, resulting in a sound that's off the beaten path and totally accessible at the same time. "Alchemist" opens with a spiral of electric distortion and then moves into a pop/prog number that likes to slow and quicken its meter. "Architect" is a bouncy, jazzy piece that leads with a great line - "a fatal flaw is fucking up the blueprint" - and features spacey backing vocals.

Early on, the vocal mix is the exact opposite of what we have Moreshead's EP, mixed to the body of the track, a little muddied by the instruments, and somewhat hard to make out. But as the album builds, so does Kurtz's voice, and a pair of very strong songs highlights the album's second half. "Surrender" reads like an ironic criticism of Bush and the Iraq war, with a warm sing along center - "We've gotta stay cool" - and a breakdown into the finish where Kurtz's voice shines through a simple acoustic accompaniment and repeats, "We won't surrender," as the full band returns. Like Jeff Beam and a number of other locals, Kurtz loves his melodies, but isn't going to be squeezed into anything formulaic. This is a smart album that's an easy listen. - Portland Phoenix (Maine)


The Devil is Defeated is the solo debut from Adam Kurtz, the charismatic frontman of Portland's favorite ethnic rock act, the Russian tribute band Kino Proby. Quite the departure from the fast-paced shredding of the Soviet stalwarts, the Devil is Defeated is a tight, sensitive and melody-driven ten-song set. Kurtz tackles the familiar coming-of-age territory of finding, losing, and recovering love in all its many forms. Musically he says it with lush acoustics layered over seemingly screechy electric riffs and a pop sensibility. Yet somehow, the sonic juxtaposition works perfectly for the bittersweet subject matter. Kurtz sings that he is "turned on by absurd and unproductive points of view," but despite the jaded undertones, he still manages to wax eloquent about the anguish of our most self-involved decade. Standout tracks include the contemplative acoustic-driven "Atmosphere," the upbeat "Easy Love," and the hauntingly dark "Oxidation." With poignant lyrics, blistering guitar, and a full sound that is smooth and succinct in an era prone to sparse low-fi rockiness, Kurtz's debut is solid. - Self Published


Adam Kurtz
The Devil is Defeated
Halfway Rock

Click to hear: “Atmosphere”

Adam Kurtz fooled me. At first glance, it looks like a full band made this album. Four other names are credited in the list of musicians in the liner notes, and the photo shows six people gathered on a porch. A closer look, however, reveals those six to be Kurtz himself in different hats and glasses. And I suppose I should have realized there’s no such person as The Colonel playing lead guitar, since Kurtz is a killer guitarist himself, known for the jaw-dropping solos he pulled off with the (only half-imaginary) Russian-rock tribute band Kino Proby. Lesson learned.

The Devil is Defeated is easy on the ears, a likeable mix of moderate rock with some Russian, folk and prog shadings. And it begins in promising fashion, with the extended intro of “Alchemist”: picked acoustic guitar pierced by an electric unfurling soaring notes.

I wish Kurtz had taken more compositional chances like this on the rest of the record. That is, more prog, less slog through wordy verses sung in Kurtz’s passable but unremarkable voice — the vocals of a lead guitarist, you could say. There are some hummable melodies — see “Atmosphere” [featured on thebollard.com] and “Oxidation” — but most aren’t strong enough to stick.

“Surrender” is an arena-rocker that also showcases Kurtz’s fine touch multi-tracking vocals, yet no guitar solo! In fact, Kurtz keeps The Colonel on a short leash throughout Devil.

Maybe it’s time The Colonel released a solo album. - The Bollard


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

First Circuit, from Los Angeles, combines angelic pedal steel, male/female harmonies, and stratospheric guitar solos with big drums and thumping bass to both break your orbit and provide memories of your home planet. Throw in an occasional MicroKorg lead line atop melodic and thoughtful lyrics, and you have a completed sketch of First Circuit. The full painting requires a pair of headphones or a minimal cover charge.

Lead singer/guitarist/song writer Adam Kurtz (Kino Proby, Damselles and the TC4) stitched together this 5-piece to breathe grander life into a 10-year catalog of acoustic guitar-written songs, inspired by icy winters in Maine, a cross-country exodus, and finally the adventure of two-and-a-half years mapping the streets of Los Angeles by bike. Emily St. Amand’s (Noah and the Megafauna, Killsonic) hauntingly beautiful vocals playfully compete with Kevin Milner’s (Still Waters Run Deep) expressive and sonically diverse pedal steel to be First Circuit’s signature sonic icing. Drummer Dustin Prince (2=3, Model K) and bassist Jessica Fagre-Perry (Lez Zeppelin) are a kick ass rhythm section, no more, no less.

First Circuit releases its debut 5-song EP “I Hope You Get What You Came For” in October 2012. The EP was recorded, mixed, and mastered all in analog in Los Angeles, California. Currently it’s available for pre-order at their official site which looks a lot like a BandCamp page: http://firstcircuitband.com