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"Things happen in this town!"

On the ordinary day July 15, in the thick of the heat wave, something (and
something “cool” at that) happened at the Thunderbird Coffee House in
Jackson. Let none say that nothing happens in Jackson For Ever and Ever,
Amen. Especially as, if that is the case, the speaker ought to shut up and
do something. The live music scene in Jackson tends to be lacking but there
has been a spike in availability as of late thanks to people like Jon Hart
of the Thunderbird Coffeehouse and groups like Sons of Rock Entertainment.
There were two bands scheduled to perform at the coffeehouse that night. Of
the band, Lacona, word on the street said they were made, in part, of
“touring members of Wilco”. And the other, Pretendo (of NYC), were a
complete mystery to me save for the flyers floating around the coffee shop.
Pretendo was the first of these groups to play and took the smoking section
like a bunch of guys with guitars (believe it or not!) Their sound wasn’t
so unique as the style behind it. A three-piece ensemble, bass (John
Castro), guitar (Devon Levins) and drums (Stephen Calhoon) is a limited and
overused outfit, which led me to expect a similarly plain musical
experience. This was not the case however, and this is a credit to the
bassist and drummer. Stephen Calhoon had some interesting cymbals and
equipment (which we lucky listeners were the first to hear) and most
importantly, energy. This combination held some interest. But my attention
was stolen by John Castro’s clever and just plain good harmonic style based
in dyad scale manipulation; innovative bass, undeniably. Better yet were
John Castro’s and Devin Levins’ use of hooky and melodic vocal harmonies,
and this is where the six-string slinger made known his greatest talent.
After Pretendo’s echo reminiscent of British Invasion Rock & Roll, injected
with noisy art rock for an hour, the next group was up.
Lacona, consisting of Geoffrey Dolce on vocals and guitar, Gary James
plucking bass ( my favorite musician of the night!), Patrick Newbery
tickling keys, with Mike Horick filling out the sound on drums, ambled up to
their equipment giving off the most Indy vibes I’ve ever caught. The
strongest point of this band was the song writing, which was flowing and
well paced. The unique aspect of Lacona is Patrick Newberry’s droning and
enchanting synth. Geoffrey Dolce’s vocals are perfect for the subdued
intensity of the band’s sound, which the drummer’s style complemented
perfectly. I commend Mike Horrick for knowing, as most drummers seem not to,
that drummers shouldn’t play constantly and twice as loud as every other
member. Gary James was indeed the most enjoyable part of this band for me.
He uses the bass in a very melodic and rhythmic way which is (only slightly)
reminiscent of Paul McCartney. The greatest thing about this performance
was that they were ALL at a perfect volume. It was bearable to sit and
listen and possible to hear every part. What a concept! Moreover, their use
of modes beyond major and minor was refreshing.
Quite a night of music cropped up downtown, indeed! If you missed it, and I
bet you did! I pity you, but just a bit. I have never had such a good
pop-rock experience in Jackson as I did on that steamy evening. And if you
take only one thing from this I hope it is along these lines: Things happen
in this town! Get out of your house!
- Jackson Weekly

"Lacona, melody makers"

It isn’t immediately obvious what to make of a guitar band whose members have played variously in Wilco, Azure Ray and Head of Femur, and which claims as major influences Love, The Cars and Television. But a cursory listen to Chicago three-piece Lacona’s debut EP, Come On, which was recorded at the studio of ex-Wilco member Jay Bennett, makes it transparently clear: keyboards, bass and drums combine to make a melodious noise not unlike that of a ’60s pop band with a proclivity for the occasional odd and eccentric flourish.

The Chicago Reader rightly pegged some of the band’s arrangements as “just a tad too pinkie-stuck-out,” although that may be just the point; add a touch more diversity and a few extra eclectic turns, and Lacona might fit well within the confines of the Elephant 6 Collective, a loosely defined group of rock bands strongly influenced by psychedelic ‘60s pop acts.

Lacona is certainly not yet a project fully formed. But with Geoffrey Dolce’s nimble vocal style and Patrick Newbery’s often curiously bellowing keys -- and possibly another album’s worth of experimentation -- it could well be on its way to creating something worth shouting about.

- Pittsburgh city paper


LACONA This local quartet integrates a romantic-80s-pop sense of melody into familiar Chicago art-rock; Geoffrey Dolce's vocals on "Watching," from their debut EP Come On (Scuzzball), made me imagine Simon LeBon fronting the Sea and Cake. The ringing guitars sound a little muffled, and some of the arrangement flourishes are just a tad too pinkie-stuck-out. But there's reason for all of it to be there, and Patrick Newbery's keyboards add some lovely depth of field. This show is a release party for Come On. The Changes headline; Head of Femur opens, Manishevitz plays third. - Chicago Reader

"Lacona "Come On""

Lacona Come On CDEP Scuzzball:
Recorded at ex-Wilco member Jay Bennett’s Pieholden Suite Studio, Come On is a seductive introduction into the thoughtful, high-energy psych-pop meets post-rock of Chicago’s Lacona. Come On's unique sonic footprint is devoid of artificial reverbs and glittery digital effects. The result allows the listener to hear the natural, gritty sound of a band playing live, which is deftly juxtaposed with guitarist Geoffrey Dolce’s vibrant voice and the shimmering, nervy texture of his guitar. Lacona is on to something – their sound, even at this nascent stage of their development, is unique – and Come On is something people will want to get into.

RIYL: Wilco, Love, Television, Karate, Blur, The Byrds, Kinks, The Velvet Underground
- Copperpress

"Several pieces of Chicago rolled into one band"

The Double Door, a music venue in the heart of Wicker Park, has been kind to Chicago musicians throughout it's eleven years of hosting music and art events. It's such a staple in my neighborhood that I often forget to drop by and see what's going on in Chicago's music scene. Luckily, last Friday I stopped in on a friend's suggestion to see local band, Lacona.

Lacona began in the fall of 2002 and is comprised of a collaboration of talent: Geoffrey Dolce (vocals and guitar) Patrick Newbery (keyboards) Alance Ward (drums) and Gary James (bass). Members of Lacona play or have played with such acclaimed bands as Head of Femur, Consafos, Azure Ray, The Watchers, Chris Mills, Archer Prewitt and Herculaneum, and have shared the stage with Rilo Kiley and Deerhoof. Their show at the Double Door was a CD release party for the just completed production of their EP, "Come On," which releases on Scuzzball Records March 1. It was recorded at ex-Wilco member, Jay Bennett's Pie Holden Suite studio with protégé engineer David Vandervelde. The album, and live show, integrates a pop, alt-rock slate that may not be too revolutionary, but comforting all the same.
- Chicago Flame, Inferno


Come On EP: Scuzzball Records
Pantomime: (self released)



Pantomime (self released)

With a hodgepodge ensemble of strings, horns, stabbing guitars and howling keys, Lacona unleashes its most arresting offering to date on Pantomime. This first full-length album culminates three years of working Chicago's indie scene with its own brand of intelligent rock n roll.

Pantomime's well-sequenced build is film-like in scope. According to Lacona cofounder Patrick Newbery (keys)"Pantomime can be seen from a cinematic sense. It has certain characteristic reoccurring themes, with a sense of climax and resolution - almost like a Mercury Rev thing." Their sound has been likened to Granddaddy or The Cure with its synths; the vocals landing somewhere between Thom Yorke and David Bowie. As Chicago Reader's Monica Kendrick put it "romatic-80's-pop sense of melody into familiar Chicago art-rock". Lacona showcases the ability to carry the listener along by giving them a mixture they haven't heard before.

Pantomime was completed over nine months at the now historic Truckstop studio where so many essential 90's indie records were produced. Geoffrey Dolce (vocals, guitar) describes the common thread that spans the record; "Maybe it's the sound of the room, or just the spirit that haunts the 4th floor on that corner of Michigan Ave." Perhaps that vibe inspired "Ghost" a standout track featuring an oddly captivating rhythm during the bridge and outro.

The politically charged "President's Day" contains a tumultuous transition where two opposed styles collide leaving a hazy wilting acoustic strumming in the aftermath. A contemplative modern-day topical folk protest song, the lyrics don't reach the listener as being too obvious - still managing to strike out against the apathetic with the refrain "Can't stop these wheels, can't stand up." Curiously, the song is book ended with a return to the intro this time featuring a jazz ensemble horn arrangement.

"Prayer for the Working Class" branches out in a new direction with a melody that skips around - never resting. The mood of the song reflects this: a sort of anxious yet sad discontent. The frustration of the dead-end jobs we've all worked. Sob story stings "cry me a river" over the top of the churning dark keys.

The pressure was on after the Pittsburgh City Paper wrote of their first E.P. that "another album's worth of experimentation - Lacona could well be on its way to creating something worth shouting about." Internet leaks and promo copies of the CD have been spreading like wild fire proof they 're causing a stir in the music scene.