Key Note Speaker
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Key Note Speaker

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The best kept secret in music

Press


"kexp review"

"Key Note Speaker's brand new release was one of those records I liked the first time I heard it,
really liked the second time and then loved the third time around....plus I don't have the time
to be reviewing anything 3 times all the way through. Its solid from start to finish and should
have people excited to see where they go from here. I know I am."

John
The Morning Show with John Richards
KEXP 90.3 Seattle
KEXP 91.7 Tacoma/Olympia - John Richards


"AMG Review"

Professional baseball scouts reserve their highest praise for "five-tool players," farm-team prospects who exhibit the critical skills -- hitting for average, hitting for power, fielding, throwing, and base running -- that typically, but certainly not always, result in success at the major-league level. With Fiction, Key Note Speaker similarly boast the raw tools and talent generally endemic to superior rock & roll, even if this debut falls shy of such greatness. Co-produced by Seattle legend Jack Endino, Fiction's smartly crafted melodies are well served by a nuanced, spacious sound that suggests a wide range of influences but pays blatant homage to no one source in particular -- frontman Scott Gallagher's songs are sturdy, not exceptional, but his emotive vocals speak volumes, suggesting Key Note Speaker's most powerful music still lies ahead. (For more information, visit www.knspeaker.com.) - All Music Guide


"Skratch Magazine Review"

"The debut full-length from this Seattle quartet is a brilliant bit of modern, alternative ethos.
With a sound that often could be mistaken for a new R.E.M. disc, this band captures the perfect
melodies, the perfect harmonies, and the perfect attitude. This band has the knack of
writing tunes that wrap around your brain (such as the second track, "What Went Wrong") that
will probably get picked up as rotation radio play tune.
They've already been embraced by one of the newest players in the music world, Starbucks, who've
put two of the band's songs in their regular playlist. With that much caffeine behind you, how could
you go wrong? These guys are the real deal. They have the talent and the sensibilities to
make a really big splash in the industry. This is a beautiful first album by a band that is
destined to succeed."
- skratchmagazine.com


"Live Show Review"

"A proclamation was handed down to the slowly gathering crowd at Chop Suey Monday night.

"We're bringing the rock tonight," declared Scott Gallagher, without even trying to hide the
joking smile on his face. But all kidding aside, Gallagher, frontman for local newcomers Key Note
Speaker, was not simply feigning bravado, nor was he simply trying to get a laugh. The foursome
backed up their claim with an intense, emotional set with songs ranging from hair-bandesque
metal to power pop, and everything in between. In short, they brought the rock.

The unquestionably talented band, made up of guitarist and lead singer Gallagher, Ed O'Brien
on bass, Joe Couden on drums, and Chris Olson on keyboards, put on an incredible show, getting
the work-weary crowd (it was Monday, after all) on their feet and dancing along. Much of
Key Note Speaker's success seemed to thrive on O’Brien and Couden’s pounding rhythm section.
The two ensured that every song, even the softer, slower ones, kept up the intensity and the
power of the preceding tune, and really kept the audience engaged. Along with Gallagher's passionate
lyrics and smooth vocals and Olson’s pulsating rhythms, the band created a fun, energetic set
of original rock.

Key Note Speaker played songs from their recently released debut album, entitled Fiction, and even
threw in a Tom Waits cover. The boys seemed to enjoy their time in the spotlight. They just
couldn't help getting into their own songs and really having fun– smiling, joking, and rocking out
with each other. Olson even had to part with his Rivers Cuomo glasses for several songs
so he could pound on the keys and dance freely without having to worry about them falling off."
- The Wig Fits All Heads (online zine)


"Pop Overthrow, Key Note Speaker's Subtle Reinvention"


"Key Note Speaker introduced themselves to Seattle's local pop scene in 2005 via Fiction, a pretty
impressive collection of Jack Endino–produced tunes that managed to sound crisp and bright while still
maintaining a sense of depth thanks to a few creative alternative rock and country twists. Fiction's catchy
tunes secured the band's place as a local pop outfit, resulting in Key Note Speaker's appearance on bills
with other indie rock groups such as Young Sportsmen, Some by Sea, and the Pale Pacific.

Now, a year later, it's time for the band to reestablish their relationship with the music community.
Instead of springboarding off their previous pop reputation, Key Note Speaker give us The Musical,
a collection of songs (recorded again with Endino) that step even further away from anything that could
be defined as "power pop" (a term that has unjustly found its way into more than one KNS review).

The Musical's opener, "Overture (On the Prowl)," is a haunting and deeply sung track that may imply a
more Alice in Chains–inspired "grunge" flavor is to follow. But in "Nightly News," the second track, the
band subtly toys with melodies and keyboard, proving there's still some bright spirit at this album's heart.

The Musical continues to wade through darker territory, but that isn't to say there aren't some upbeat
highlights that get the toes a-tappin'. "Please" is almost Smoking Popes–esque, and "The One I Always
Call" is reminiscent of Pedro the Lion circa Winners Never Quit.

They may not be the kings of much in this town, but Key Note Speaker are moving inexorably toward a
throne, albeit a self-created one."


BY MEGAN SELING /The Stranger - The Stranger


"cd review, The Musical"

"For their sophomore release, Seattle band Key Note Speaker chose to pursue the concept album.
A particularly bold endeavor, since in order for a release of this nature to appeal to the masses it must
be able to lead its audience through the narrative without turning the story into melodrama or leave them
feeling as though the songs are destined along some planned lineage to a premeditated outcome.
For the journey that is The Musical, the four members of KNS--Scott Gallagher (vocals, guitar),
Edmund O’Brien (bass), Chris Olson (keys) and Joe Couden (drums)--along with legendary indie producer
Jack Endino, pull it off flawlessly, creating an anthology whose compositions are just as strong
independently as they are as part of the whole. What results is quite possibly one of the most
distinct and intelligent albums of the year.

One of the qualities most immediately apparent in Key Note Speaker’s music is their uncanny ability to
channel the souls of their influences in such a manner that one can actually feel the presence of those
who inspired the piece, while not presenting a blatant rip off. With a diverse background of mentors,
and compositions accentuated by unique individual talents to support this, in coming together
they have created a remarkable “color palette” that can be identified as completely their own.
It is this range that resonates throughout The Musical--quite possibly never has such genuine homage
to Cobain and The Eels, among others, been released previously.

While obviously not wanting to divulge too much of the storyline by offering my own interpretation of it, the
album, presented in two acts, examines the confusion of our modern world, delving into society’s maniacal
tendencies and how the individual responds--exploring personal conflict, vulnerability, desires, hope and
resignation, and ultimately, how it translates outwardly. A premise easy enough to understand, seeing as
numerous artistic works have used these central concepts as their focus. But with The Musical, each song
expounds on the emotion of its predecessor, with the entire production reaching its crescendo in
a scorching cover of Tom Waits’ "Goin’ Out West," whose roaring beat literally sends shivers
down the spine. And while the inclusion of this song is somewhat confusing as part of the overall story,
since it was incorporated as an encore it doesn’t necessarily need to integrate.

In the end, if KNS proves one thing with The Musical it is that they are not a flash in the pan that
will be continually rehashing the same melodies or dragging you along some predictable sing-song
methodology years from now, but rather a band that will continue to challenge their audience.
If there is not already a place for them in your collection I recommend creating one. Without
question, Key Note Speaker possesses the talent to go all the way to the big leagues in this
business and spend a very long time within those ranks."


Sara Huguenard | The Wig
- thewigfitsallheads.com


Discography

Debut Release 2005: FICTION
Produced/Engineered by Jack Endino
Featured Tracks: "Pretty", "What Went Wrong", "Trouble"
Guest appearances by Jen Wood (Postal Service, Black Heart Procession) & Cello By Brent Arnold (Built to Spill, Modest Mouse, Sleater-Kinney)
Radio Rotation 2005: KEXP 90.3 FM (Regular Rotation and an appearance on Audioasis), KNDD 107.7 The End (Young & the Restless and Live from the Morning Alternative), KGRG Auburn, KAOS Olympia, Starbucks HearMusic, XM Satellite Radio.

Sophomore Release Jan 2007:
The Musical
Produced/ Engineered by Jack Endino
Mastered by Alan Douches
Heatstroke Records
Featured Tracks: "Nightly News", "Polkadots", "Reaction"

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Solidifying its current line-up in early 2004, Key Note Speaker brings together four distinct musical voices into a cohesive whole. Guitarist/vocalist Scott Gallagher's ear for melody and knack for writing a catchy hook is enhanced by Chris Olson's keyboards and synth flourishes. Providing the bedrock upon which their songs are laid are Edmund O'Brien's supportive, propulsive bass and Joe Couden's heavy, articulate drumming.

Key Note Speaker's debut album Fiction, recorded with Northwest music legend Jack Endino (Nirvana, Hot Hot Heat, etc), was released independently in 2005. Featuring guest turns by Jen Wood (Postal Service, Black Heart Procession) and Brent Arnold (Sleater-Kinney, Built To Spill), Fiction was met with critical and popular praise. John Richards of the influential station KEXP stated "Fiction is solid from start to finish, and should have people excited to see where they go from here. I know I am." All Music Guide said Fiction's smartly crafted melodies are well served by a nuanced, spacious sound that suggests a wide range of influences but pays blatant homage to no one source in particular." Three of the softer tracks from Fiction were in regular rotation in Starbucks stores nationwide.

Since coming together, Key Note Speaker have gained a devoted following in the Northwest, playing venues such as Neumo's, The Crocodile Cafe, Chop Suey, Western Washington University, and several large outdoor festivals alongside notable artists such as Sean Nelson (Harvey Danger), Jen Wood, Carrie Akre, The Pale Pacific, Sgt. Major (feat. Kurt Bloch) and Joel RL Phelps. They have also performed live several times on Seattle's The End 107.7, and on KEXP's Audioasis program.

Key note speaker's sophomore album and first release for Heatstroke Records, The Musical, finds the band re-teaming with Jack Endino and expanding on their nuanced power pop with more complex arrangements and varied instrumentation. The Musical introduces a more mature band, addressing matters both personal and political on songs such as "Nightly News," "Reaction," and "A Little While." While seemingly made of darker stuff than Fiction, The Musical retains some of the band's cocksure pop sensibilities on tracks like "The One I Always Call" and "Polkadots." The Musical is a collection of songs that promise to engage, challenge, and reward.