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Orlando, Florida, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Orlando, Florida, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Alternative Indie




"Under The Gun Review 9 ARTISTS TO WATCH IN 2015"

It’s not quite rock ‘n’ roll, it’s not ambient, it’s not quite experimental. LAVOLA hits this balanced middle ground music lovers haven’t seen since the likes of Seattle’s post hardcore poster child, The Blood Brothers. The band’s latest LP, This Book is My Cowardice, is a vibrant display of all of the above mentioned genres. Songs like “Show Your Face, Motherfucker,” harness a blast of uncontrolled energy, while tracks like “Watch Your Step” and “Please Excuse The Blood” are so fittingly strange that no other up-and-coming band in the scene could come close to duplicating. It is a truly unique sound no fan of alternative music should sit on. This Book Is My Cowardice was released independently in early 2014, with a vinyl pressing to come later in the year. - Under The Gun Review


Through thick and thin, musician Julian Cires proves he’s no coward on Lavola’s latest masterful record.

By Alex Rendon

Photo: The RO Project

Chances are, if you are an avid local music fan, you’ll be well-acquainted with the musical bombast that is Lavola. This four-piece has been building a name for itself with its intense live shows and enthralling recordings since 2009. At the helm is Julian Cires, a well versed, highly-educated 27-year old who has been constructing the melodies of Lavola since he was a young pup studying at William T. Dwyer High School. It was not until Cires moved back home in 2009, after studying creative writing at Florida State University, that his vision for the group named Lavola became fully realized.

Once settled back in his Jupiter home, Cires hit the ground running, quickly teaming up his longtime friend, bassist Matt Hanser, and finding a drummer, Brian Weinthal, through Craig’s List. Shortly thereafter the band began to play gigs, and its thunderous sets, highlighted by Cires’ frenetic guitar work and piercing vocals raised eyebrows. Lavola began to earn a reputation as a “must see” live act. Built on a massive barrage of noise that swayed from the post rock experimentalism of groups like Explosions in the Sky and Mars Volta to the pensive atmosphere of Radiohead, Lavola sounded nothing like anything Palm Beach County audiences had ever heard. Within five months of performing, the Lavola saplings got their big break. It was in late 2009 that a rep for booking giant AEG Live become so enamored with Lavola’s sweeping, sweat-soaked set at Propaganda (which would become the group’s first live EP, Live at Propaganda) that he hand-selected the upstart trio to open up for national touring act Silversun Pickups.

Success seemed imminent for Lavola. In August of the following year, an A&R rep from Warner Bros. Records approached the band after another sonically savage set at Propagnda. Nothing resulted from that meeting, just a free cup of Joe for the three Lavola boys, but it seemed an indicator of great things to come. In 2011, the group released its first EP, Leaving Paris, which landed them a write up in nationally distributed publication Alternative Press Magazine. Later on Cires’ would be selected as Best Rock Vocalist by the New Times.

Shortly thereafter the bottom fell out. The three original members of Lavola disbanded, right before the group was set to record its first full-length record. Cires had to quickly summon up three viable musicians to keep his brainchild alive. Cires never lost sight of his vision though, and quickly made lemonade out of these lemons. It was through this adversity that Cires would meet his muse, collaborator and the mellifluous ying to his cacophonous yang– violinist Emily Dwyer. To followers of Lavola’s incendiary work, Cires’ partnership with an orchestral player didn’t make much sense. But his teamwork with Dwyer paid dividends and has jolted Lavola into new musical territories otherwise unthinkable.

Dwyer’s symphonic quality added an entirely new dimension to Lavola’s 2014 album, This Book is My Cowardice (TBIMC)– which came out this past March. Cires is not shy to admit the impact Dwyer had on his latest effort. “I found myself sending her drafts for feedback quite a few times,” said Cires from his transplated new home of Winter Park, Florida, where Cires and Dwyer took residence at the end of last year. It should come as no surprise that Dwyer and Cires’ musical kinship proved romantic kismet. “Most importantly,” Cires added, “(Emily) had an invaluable role in helping me see this particular work through to the end.”

Dwyer was the steady rock through the turbulent times Cires’ encountered in keeping Lavola alive and putting out this record. Cires experienced yet another lineup change in 2013 (settling on the current lineup of Cires on lead guitar and vocals, Dwyer on violin and backup vocals, Paul Defilippis on bass, and Matt Cabrera on drums) and switched a few producers (one of whom is said to have accidentally deleted several hours of recording sessions saved on a hard drive) along the rocky year-and-a-half long recording process of TBIMC. Cires and Dwyer stuck to their guns. “There were times when we felt like the stars were just not going to align for us,” added Dwyer about the trials and tribulations the couple endured in putting out the album. “But once you pour yourself so devoutly into something, it’s really hard not to see [the work] through to the end.”

The end result is Cires’ most expansive, experimental and mature work to date. Incorporating strings in non-traditional contexts (in the vein of Arcade Fire and early A Perfect Circle) Cires told us this album is “noisier, more aggressive, yet more ethereal and symphonic,” than his previous efforts.

The title of the record itself encapsulates all of Cires’ hardships through the recording process. “This Book is My Cowardice” is part of a larger quote from “The Book of Disquiet” by one of Cire’s favorite writers, Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. “It has multiple meanings for me but the most direct interpretation speaks to the process I underwent in seeing this work through to the end,” he explained. The part of the quote Cires really gravitates towards reads: “I begin because I don’t have the strength to think; I finish because I don’t have the courage to quit. This book is my cowardice.” We’d say South Florida’s music scene is lucky that Cires was too cowardly to quit on the project (if we interpreted that quote correctly.)

Regarding being boyfriend and girlfriend and playing in the same band together, Cires and Dwyer seem to be in their honeymoon phase. About Dwyer, Cires said working with her feels “natural and simple,” and that he’s “never felt more compatible with anyone before.” Dwyer spoke more amorous words: “Making music with someone you love introduces a whole new element of passion to a project,” she said. “To share every up and down with someone else really brings everything full circle.”

The two told us Lavola plans on releasing a vinyl version of TBIMC towards the end of the year, and a short national jaunt in support of said release afterwards. As for what the rest of the future holds for Lavola, Dwyer told us the unit will continue writing music “laced with poetry and [their] own blood.” Despite a move up north, local Lavola fans need not despair. With two members still based in South Florida, the group has maintained a loyal devotion to its South Florida base, performing in our Tri County area at least once a month. “We look forward to playing more shows where sweat and beer mix all too similarly,” promised Dwyer. - The Atlantic Current

"Alternative Press: Welcome to AP&R: LAVOLA"

"Atmospheric" and "abrasive" seem like contradictory terms for any band to use to describe themselves, but West Palm Beach, Florida, trio Lavola navigate through unhinged angst and austere moods with aplomb. "From a visceral standpoint, the music comes from my influences," says frontman/band founder Julian Cires. "I listen to hardcore and a lot of noise/ambient music; how [our] music straddles the polarities is a little harder for me to discern. It's about exploring a spectrum of emotions and to satiate the desire to feel and experience different things. But really, I like to have the music do the talking, if that's an option!" The band issued a digital single ("Vereen") in September, and they hope to have an EP our before the end of the year, with a full length to follow in March. - Alternative Press

"Ten Best Broward and Palm Beach County Albums of 2014"

Lavola - This Book Is My Cowardice
Jupiter native Julian Cires showed true grit and determination in putting out his group's debut long player, This Book is My Cowardice. Not only in the sonic ferocity that emanates from it, but more literally. During the year-and-a-half long recording process, dude endured three lineup changes and multiple producer switches (one of which is said to have lost part of the album on a hard drive).

The revised final Lavola lineup proved fortuitous and fruitful, however. Violinist Emily Dwyer provided yet another dimension to Lavola's already expansive sound. With the addition of the strings, and in the vein of early A Perfect Circle albums, TBIMC has an ethereal quality that gives its more aggressive moments an epic timbre. - Broward/Palm Beach New Times

"Soul Asylum - Culture Room - March 16"

...The West Palm Beach trio took the stage, and despite its lacking in numbers, the Culture Room didn't feel too large. Describing the "Lavola sound" is a difficult task. It's sort of like At The Drive In meets Pixies with a hint of Radiohead. Is that complex enough for you? Nevertheless, it's impossible to deny the raw talent exploding from this group of musicians. In sum, Lavola is the best band you don't know about yet. - New Times

"Best Rock Band of 2011 - LAVOLA"

"In terms of decibels, sweat, and determination, Lavola's got South Florida by the balls. Led by Julian Cires' soaring, unparalleled vocals and similarly acrobatic guitar work, the trio provides a sonically complex experience on par with the Mars Volta and occasionally even Radiohead. Ably filled out with bassist Matt Hanser and drummer Brian Weinthal, this is a group that's always on the brink of complete thudding and screeching chaos, but it never loses the handle. Each one of its EPs — Black Sea of Trees, Live at Propaganda, and Leaving Paris — has proved to be better than the last." - Palm Beach/Broward New Times

"Best Male Rock Vocalist of 2011 - Julian Cires"

"Julian Cires, lead singer for cacophonous Northern Palm Beach three-piece Lavola, possesses the kind of vocals that command attention. He has dexterity in range, for one, taking his voice on adventurous turns that vacillate from ear-piercing howls one minute to soothing, velvety coos the next. Cires, a rather handsome Latin man, can also take his delivery in intriguing androgynous directions. He has Aimee Mann and Björk listed as influences on his band's profile page, and his more effeminate vocal skills are evident on the more tender dips in his trio's sonic roller coaster. Thom Yorke and his haunting and bewitching voice, however, is Cires' number-one inspiration." - Palm Beach/Broward New Times

"Glimpses of the South Florida Scene: Lavola"

"Lavola was picked from a slew of equally great bands to open for Silversun Pickups last month, which hopefully earned it even more of the attention it so deserves: Its EP, Black Sea of Trees, sold out shortly after its release, and the band has drawn comparisons to the likes of My Morning Jacket and Dinosaur Jr. Dead Meadow wouldn't be a far cry either -- something about their sound, even with its fresh crispness, is distinctly old-school. Drawing on the heavy-duty riffs and sweetened melodies of decades past, Lavola's tried-and-true rock is undeniably its own. All three bandmates -- Julian Cires (vocals, guitar, songwriting), Matt Hanser (bass), and Brian Weinthal (drums) -- teamed up to answer some questions and even spoke a little bit about Chupacabras."

New Times: Where and how did Lavola come into being -- was there something else any of you were working on before?

Julian Cires: Around 2003, Matt and I played in a local band called Soma. I played drums in that group, but I had been stockpiling my own material and ideas that would eventually materialize as Lavola. Eventually, Soma dissolved and I moved to Tallahassee and Matt to Colorado. We didn't really keep in touch. Around 2009, we both had moved back to West Palm, and I asked him to play bass for my music project. We recorded the first EP, Black Sea of Trees, and shortly thereafter began posting ads looking for a drummer so we could actually perform these songs live. Brian responded to one of the ads in December of 2009. He had just left college and was all set to move to New York to pursue music but changed his plans so he could audition. We played our first show as Lavola February 23, 2010, in Miami.

How did you guys come up with the name Lavola? What's its origin?

Matt Hanser: A Lavola is actually a term for an elusive mammal that is closely related to the Chupacabra. The genetic structure between the two creatures is 99.98 percent identical. The only difference between them is that the Lavola has evolved to thrive and live in cold-weather climates (mainly Northern Siberia). There are only about 10,000 of them known to man, and they are known to feast upon small game as well as caribou. We thought it was a cool band name.

Tell me what it was like opening for the Silversun Pickups and how you got picked to be
in the lineup of bands that were in the running for that space.

Cires: It's difficult to put into words how appreciative we were to have had that opportunity. It was a very memorable evening, to say the least. We sold the remaining copies of Black Sea of Trees that night, and hanging out with the other bands after the show was really cool. Regarding how the bands were selected for the AEG showcase, Steve Rullman ( chose the lineup, as far as I know. I received a call from Steve some evening in May, during a "crab-core" show we performed. Look it up. The call could not have come at a better time.

Black Sea of Trees -- great name, great artwork, great album. When and how was it put
together? Who produced it?

Cires: Thanks. When I invited Matt to play bass, I would teach him the songs, and he would come up with his bass parts to accompany the music. I chose which songs to track, and we both agreed that they were an appropriate introduction to Lavola. We began tracking with our good friend Tom Barthle (who mastered the record) and finished tracking at Echo Beach Studios during the fall of 2009. It was mixed and engineered by Steve Smodish at the studio except for the title track, which was recorded in my bedroom. I produced the record. The artwork is by Angela Petsis ( Her art is a huge influence in the songwriting, and she and I are very excited to have her art be an extension of the music regarding future releases. I wrote "The Philosopher's Daughter" the same evening I discovered her mixed-media work on display in Tallahassee.

Julian, your lyrics are intense and visual. A lot of your songs read like stories -- are any
personal? Tell me about the inspiration behind the title track of your EP.

Cires: All of the songs are very personal to me. However, I've never been one to articulate my feelings very well. The lyrics are thinly veiled with fiction. They resonate with me because they are personal and refer to something specific. However, I enjoy the distance that a narrative affords me. Every song on the EP as well as the short story included within the physical release generally deals with an inability to adapt to sudden change -- when you've fully invested your identity into the future or an abstraction and suddenly it's gone.

Which bands -- and even movies or books -- do you guys feel influence your music? Furthermore, what have you been listening to lately that you feel is wonderful?

Cires: There are way too many bands to list! But I'd say some major ones are Radiohead, P.J. Harvey, Jeff Buckley, Queens of the Stone Age, the Dillinger Escape Plan, a Perfect Circle, St. Vincent, Blonde Redhead, Aimee Mann, Autolux, Portishead, Bjork, and Nine Inch Nails. Moreover, Angela Petsis (artist) and Haruki Murakami (author) are a huge influence in the songwriting. I've currently been listening to Daughters' latest album and Centuries, a local band from West Palm Beach.

Hanser: I've actually been on a huge Pixies and Sonic Youth bender for the past couple of weeks or so. As for newer stuff, I've been enjoying Daughter's newer stuff as well as Them Crooked Vultures. Josh Homme is a beast.

Weinthal: Broken Social Scene, Grizzly Bear, the Middle East, Late of the Pier, Mew, LCD Soundsystem, and the Now Breathers.

You guys are from West Palm Beach. What do you like most about the local scene and
being a part of it -- and what aspects of it kind of suck?

Cires: I find that just being a musician, in general, has become more challenging in context to thriving within certain paradigm shifts. We offer our music for free online because we want everyone to hear it, but it also feels like we've been strong-armed to do so. The support for music, local and otherwise, has been dwindling as far as numbers are concerned. That's not to say that people are less enthusiastic about music. There's just some sort of disconnect between the numbers and the enthusiasm. It's puzzling, but that's reality now, and we have to work around that, finding other means to finance our band expenses such as studio time, practice-space payments, gas for shows elsewhere, etc. That's not so much a local scene issue as it is a universal one, and the recession has perpetuated it even further. It sucks, but I am also fascinated by it. It's cool to see other musicians experimenting with means to share their music in ways that respect the fans as well as the artist, and we're no different. We're still trying to feel it out.

Hanser: There's definitely somewhat of a scene down here, although I would say the vast majority of it is musicians from other bands. The thing about it that I really like is that it's a tight-knit group of people who support each other. Historically, outside of that circle of people, it sucks because it seems like most people don't really care about local music, although that appears to be changing recently.

Weinthal: The West Palm area has a few really solid music venues, which is great, but it seems people come out to shows to see a specific band and then bail once they're done. This isn't good. What is nice to see are the projects of friends and people I've grown up around and how they've developed and improved.

What else can we look forward to from you guys... Is a tour in the works?

Cires: Initially, we wanted to tour the East Coast this summer. I think we were really excited with the momentum that was already built behind us. Procuring the "Schwagon" for $600 from ex-Russian Mafia was also gratifying. But there was still a lot we needed to establish in Florida. Like recording a new EP, which we are currently working on.

Hanser: Pyrotechnics, and crazy amounts of them. I'm talking like Civil War cannons
and Napalm, the works and more. No, but seriously, the next EP should be good.

Three Lavola concerts of note coming up: Wednesday, July 28, at Respectable Street in West Palm Beach (opening for Dead Confederate); Thursday, July 29, at Roxy's in West Palm Beach (opening for TR3); and Saturday, July 31, at the Respectable Street 23rd Anniversary Party. - Palm Beach/Broward New Times

"MP3 of the Day: Lavola's "The Queen Is Dead""

"Explosive West Palm Beach trio Lavola has been grabbing local headlines like nobody's business with less than a year under its belt. Last month, the group's exploratory rock 'n' roll wowed audiences and industry reps alike at the AEG showcase at Propaganda. The band's dynamic set was so impressive that it edged out two established local groups (The Clementines and Goolsby) and secured an opening spot at the Silversun Pickups gig at Boca Raton's Sunset Cove held one week later on June 16.

Lucky for those of us who missed out on the monumental guitar noise shelled out by this bruising three-piece that night, the band has decided to release the gig in its entirety as an album -- the aptly titled Live at Propaganda. With every song checking in at over five minutes, it's hard to discern any radio-friendly hits, but it's safe to assume that airtime on the Wild 95.5s of the world are far from the mind of these sonically adventurous musicians.

The track we've put up, "The Queen Is Dead" (no relation to the mopey Manchester band the Smiths' hit), highlights all the group's touchstones: fierce guitar work, walls of reverb, untamed musical bridges, and lead singer Julian Cires ever-evolving vocals. Cires' harmonies are perhaps the one aspect that most people will take home with them after listening here. He poses a cadence that's somewhere between Perry Farrell catharsis and Thom Yorke despair. Although it would be a shame not to give kudos to Lavola's rhythm section too -- particularly drummer Brian Weinthal's cascading cymbal work.

Download an MP3 of "The Queen Is Dead."

The band will continue its local onslaught with scheduled performances at Roxy's on July 29 (opening for Dave Matthews Band touring member Tim Reynold's band TR3) and the Respectable Street Anniversary Party on July 31." - Palm Beach/Broward New Times

"Lavola Scores Opening Slot for Silversun Pickups Concert at Sunset Cove on June 16"

"Congratulations to West Palm Beach's Lavola, the band chosen to join Against Me! and the Henry Clay People as support for the Silversun Pickups' performance June 16 at the Sunset Cove Amphitheatre in Boca Raton. The West Palm Beach trio's enormous, bombastic melodies proved to impress the majority of the crowd. In attendance were the AEG Live folks, the Honeycomb's Steve Rullman, Lavola manager Bradford Schmidt, Sweet Bronco's Chris Horgan and Jessica Glisson, Blond Fuzz's Jordan Cruz and Dave Barnard, and dozens of other local musicians and fans. Photographer Chris Bellus could tell what was up the moment the show was over.

Silversun Pickups fans will enjoy Julian Cires' fierce and wide-ranging vocal styles and his guitar pyrotechnics as well as the energetic support from bassist Matt Hanser and drummer Weinthal. The three mop-headed musicians threw themselves around Propaganda's stage without letting up Wednesday night, and it's that commitment to the stage that will carry them to bigger slots in the future.

Need another shot of Lavola before next week? We''ll have more information on their gig with Blond Fuzz this Saturday at Respectable Street coming soon.

Silversun Pickups. With Against Me!, the Henry Clay People, and Lavola. 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 16, at Sunset Cove Amphitheater, 12551 Glades Road, Boca Raton. Call 561-488-8069, or click here." - Palm Beach/Broward New Times

"LAVOLA (SFL Music Magazine Feature)"

"One of the toughest things for an unsigned band in South Florida is grabbing any attention in the live scene. If you have, odds are you may have something a little different, and Lavola just may have that something.
In just a few short months, this threesome out of Palm Beach have taken every show that they could book and gained a slew of fans with every chord struck. Armed with just a newly released 4-song EP and a terrific live show, Lavola made a big enough impression on this music fan to compel seeing a few more live viewings and wanting to present the next spotlight on a local South Florida act.
SFL got together with Lavola for a few drinks and a slew of questions to introduce you to another of the scenes up and coming acts you should know about. Ladies and gents, Lavola!"

*Four page Interview follows. - SFL Music Magazine

"Radioboxer with Lavola at the Annex in Hialeah, August 13 Concert Review"

Exerpt regarding Lavola.

"Some time around midnight (the details become fuzzy where kegs and red Solo cups are concerned), West Palm rockers Lavola took the stage. Comprised of vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter Julian Cires, drummer Brian Weinthal, and bassist Matt Hanser, this three-piece indie-art rock outfit really do fill out the stage. They opened with a large, atmospheric and very nearly hypnotic guitar loop built on one of Cires' pedals and awash in chorus. Listen to their stuff, it sounded a little like the beginning of "We Were Heroes For the Day," only much bigger, a wall of sound buffeting the crowd. Then they broke into "The Queen is Dead."

Hard, driving, guitar-driven rock pierced by Cires' high-pitched vocals are the norm for Lavola. And it's shocking really, reconciling what they put down live with the fact that they've been performing together a very short time. This is undoubtedly a band to watch."
- Miami New Times


This Book is My Cowardice (LP) - 2014
I'm Leaving Paris (EP) - 2011
Black Sea of Trees (EP) - 2009



An abrasively symphonic indie rock quartet fronted by vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Julian Cires and violinist/vocalist Emily Dwyer, LAVOLA has managed to make their mark on the Florida music scene one show at a time. Their catalogue is masterfully crafted with sonic artistry and precision; the lyrical content speaks volumes to the masochists in us all. In much the same manner, their live shows transcend the typical show atmosphere by combining ironic polarities: subtle with abrasive, melodic with dissonant, passive with furious. Their fan base is solid, as is the accompanying press: featured in Alternative Press (AP&R Band of November 2013), named 1 of 9 artists to watch in 2015 by Under The Gun Review, and named Best Rock Band and Best Rock Vocalist by New Times. Jason Pettigrew, Editor in Chief of Alternative Press, writes “Young dudes taking chances, coming up aces…nailed it.” Lavola have opened for Silversun Pickups, Against Me!, Soul Asylum, The Dear Hunter, O’ Brother, Tim Reynolds (of Dave Matthews Band), Dead Confederate, Stolas in addition to many other prominent names. LAVOLA is currently touring in support of their latest album “This Book is My Cowardice.”


Radiohead, The Smashing Pumpkins, Blood Brothers, Arcade Fire, Explosions in the Sky, At the Drive-In, Dashboard Confessional, The Joy Formidable.

Band Members