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The best kept secret in music


"The Chills"

The ChiLLs
as reviewed by Valery Gore of Absolute Divas Independent Music

With the creeping opening words and trance-like waltz of ‘The Girl Upstairs”, Lazy Lane shyly but candidly invites you into the creeking floorboards, rustling front yard oak trees, thunder and lightning evening surrounding this attic-like collection of songs. On the band’s debut full length album “The Chills”, it’s as though the secret to every uncanny mystery you have pondered in your waking nightmares is about to be told through a dark-haired, dark-eyed young woman who carries the wisdom of an old soul.

Settled in Pittsburgh, PA, this murky ensemble creates a desperation and longing sound that is reminiscent of Mazzy Star. There’s something to be said about the value of simplicity if it is presented in a dramatic way. For Lazy Lane the simplicity lies in the songs’ lyrical dynamics, rhyming patterns and thematics. The very relevant is coated in the sultry and calming vocals and the complexity of the band’s overall musicianship.

Once invited into this stratum of spooks, the track “Sleepyville Creepshow” takes you back to your high school dance, only now everyone’s been in that “Car Accident Where The Road Bends” and have returned as zombies, shifting from one foot to the other. With methodic interludes and eerie Halloween synthesizer muses, this track definitely meets the expectations that track one sets.

“Eraser” is a catchy track with a sing-a-long hook and a memorable chorus. The vocal layers on the entire album are incredible, as though you are coming back from the world of amnesia. Such a traumatic experience would beg the Doors influenced track “Waking Up Buttercup” as theme music. The hospital room comes to light with Lily Lane, chirping birds, and a warm toned guitar, encouraging you to “Wake up”. The clever assembling of the album leads you into the next track, lyrics venturing, “I open my eyes to the sky”.

Creating a sound familiar yet original, Greg Ballato (guitars, turntables), Aaron Richardson (bass), Nathan Ballato (drums) and Lily Lane (also on synthesizers) branch out to many demographics. It is obvious that the same broadness goes for their influences.

In my favour, the second highlight of the album is the end track “Malaysian Dream Doll”. The playful melodies and dreamy landscape would be the sound escaping the teary-eyed funeral of Mazzy Star’s death. It is much like Hope Sandoval’s “Suzanne” off Bavarian Fruit Bread, but I don’t mind this time. It’s simply the ears receiving more of a very good thing.
- Absolute Divas/Valerie Gore

"The ONION: Pick of the Week"

8/13/03 The Onion

***Editor's Pick of the Week***

Lazy Lane has the look of a semi-scary goth outfit, but the Pittsburgh band delivers a vibe more akin to Edward Scissorhands than the Exorcist. The group's debut album, The ChiLLs, has earned favorable comparisions to Mazzy Star: Singer Lily Lane has the same languid, smoky feel to her voice as Hope Sandoval, though Lane shoots for something spookier.
- The Onion

"Venus Zine"

The ChiLLs (self-released)
by Andrea Benvenuto
Taking a stroll down Lazy Lane is like casually cutting through your friendly neighborhood cemetery. The landscaping is quietly pretty, the headstones are majestic yet sad, and oh yeah, you're just a little freaked out. Could it be that black cat lurking nearby? Their debut 7-inch was called Sea Witch and now, for its first full-length album, the Pittsburgh-based band gives us The ChiLLs. Literally.

Song titles like "Sleepyville Creepshow" and "Poltergeist" seal the deal -- the Lane is a spooky place to be. Even "Waking Up Buttercup" is a downer. Then again, the facetiously optimistic "Always Tomorrow" is one of their best tracks. And even at her most tragically heartbroken, singer Lily Lane's voice is so very lovely. Just try not to melt when she sings the chorus to "Eraser."

Lane sounds a lot like Hope Sandoval, but Mazzy Star hasn't had an album since 1996, and besides, Lazy Lane is more suitable for darker moods. Some of The ChiLLs is so somber and dreamy it sounds like it belongs on the Virgin Suicides soundtrack. Credit Lane's band mates with skillfully complementing her keyboards, vocals and lyrics. On the album's opener, she touts herself as "the girl upstairs/ inviting you into her lair." She's definitely not the girl next door. But you might find yourself with a new crush. And if you pay her a visit, she promises to get out her Ouija board. No joke.
- Venuz Zine

"Grave Concerns"

CD Title: The Chills
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich

Somewhere in the musical universe, around the intersection of Mazzy Star, The Cranes, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Lydia Lunch, and Elysian Fields, you'll find Lazy Lane. Their self-released full-length debut, The Chills, is a diverse yet cohesive collection of songs that go far beyond the album's title, ranging from slow-paced goth numbers to lo-fi indie rock to moody late-night lounge rock.

The band's sound is centered around Lily Lane's haunting, reverb-drenched vocals with inflections reminiscent of Mazzy Star vocalist Hope Sandoval and occasional moments that warrant comparisons to the eerie child-like voice of The Cranes' Alison Shaw. Her synth skills also create the great atmospheric elements that are central to some of the album's moodier numbers. The music is largely anchored by Aaron Richardson's bass and fleshed out by the proficient rhythm and lead guitar work of Greg Ballato. The lineup is completed by drummer Nathan Ballato, who creates an excellent rhythmic background that is somewhat under-mixed and underplayed on the album, providing ample backing while giving things something of a lo-fi live vibe.

The album gets off to a moody start with "The Girl Upstairs". It's a slow number anchored by a plodding bass line and backed by organ with a bridge that features a cascading synth piano part that adds something of a surreal dreamlike quality to the song. The eerie vibe continues into the next track, the aptly titled "Sleepyville Creepshow", another great moody number complete with rain samples and synth organ that falls somewhere between a cheesy late-night b-horror special and some kind of twisted circus sideshow.

From there, the album takes a somewhat different tone, dropping the quirky horror vibe of the opening songs for the laid back rock and catchy chorus of "Eraser". The trend continues with the more upbeat, rhythmic, riff-based indie rocker "Nepenthe", followed by the funkier rock sound and turntable scratching of "Black Cat". "Always Tomorrow", a faster rocker with driving bass, a great vocal melody on the bridge, and a crunchy distorted chorus, is perhaps the most straightforward rocker on the album and is somewhat similar vocally and musically to Population Four era Cranes.

The sinister bass of "Waking Up Buttercup" ushers in a return to the creepy organ and eastern flute sound of the first track, combining with some great processed guitar to give the song something of an 80s post-punk vibe a la The Banshees or Skeletal Family. It then takes a break from the gloom with "Madame Ruby", a slow, jazzy lounge rock track complete with horn bursts, bluesy guitar solos, and processed breathy vocals, before turning dark once again with the two track tour de force of "Poltergeist" and "Soul Thief". Basically blending together seamlessly into one piece, they form something of hybrid between standard indie rock and old-school post-punk centered around crunchy distorted guitar riffs and eerie synth accents. Then comes the somewhat unexpected album closer, "Malaysian Dream Doll", a mellow, uplifting, tender track centered around synth bleeps.

The Chills is a great collection of songs that are very well performed and produced while maintaining something of a lo-fi, laid back sound. The songwriting is generally quite strong and the lyrics, while at times seeming overly simplistic, work well by creating something of a fairytale-like simplicity that seems to fit the band's overall sound. While probably a bit too exotic to achieve much in the way of mainstream recognition, the band's great sound and cross-genre appeal will surely net them a formidable loyal fan base in the independent music scene. If this album is any indication of what's to come, I predict big things for Lazy Lane.
- Grave Concers Zine

"Best Female Musicians"

Review by: Dennis Halsey
The Best Female

If you miss Mazzy Star as much as I do, you've now found a band to replace the void left by their demise. Lazy Lane is no clone or copy band but has a sound very similar to that found on Mazzy Star's masterpiece "So Tonight That I Might See." Lily Lane on vocals and keyboards has a sound very much like Hope Sondoval's. While there are similarities between the two bands, Lazy Lane is their own band. The music sometimes tends more towards Rock and Punk than Mazzy Star ever ventured. This music is haunting, mysterious, and beautiful.

"The Girl Upstairs" starts the CD by showcasing Lily's vocal and keyboard talent. Greg Ballato's guitar work is masterful and fitting to the mood of the music throughout the entire release.

Lazy Lane's music is not going to suit everyone's taste, but that is their loss. Fans of Indie, Trip Hop, Psychedelic, Rock n' Roll, and even some Punk fans will be right at home with this disc. And certainly fans of Goth will fall instantly in love. The guitar solo on 'Sleepville Creepshow' is thoughtful and well placed. 'Eraser' almost fools you into thinking it is going to be an acoustic song, and it is one of the more upbeat songs, despite the lyrics. It is a real chance for Lily to shine and show the warmth in her voice, unfortunately, she is sometimes slightly overpowered by the guitar, but this does not take away from the overall effect of the music.

'Nepenthe' has an obvious punk influence, but fits well on the disc. 'Black Cat' strays toward more traditional rock beats, but Lily's haunting voice makes it distinct again. Where Lazy Lane really differ from Mazzy Star is that they are not afraid to test the waters and meld musical styles into a cohesive whole, like on the punk tinged 'Always Tomorrow.'

'Madame Ruby' is as sexy and sultry as the CD gets. Lily prowls through the vocals and sucks you into her world. 'Poltergeist' could easily make your Halloween party mix tape. It's sure to get the crowd started. It has a dancable beat and more great guitar work. Lazy Lane will now become part of the regular rotation in my disc player, and if you give it a chance, you're not likely to be disappointed.


"Pittsburgh City Paper"

7/2/2003 Pittsburgh City Paper

Lazy Lane
The Chills


Sometimes I've heard complaints that Pittsburgh rock doesn't have a certain "sound" like Detroit or Seattle. But I think that's great, because it makes standing out from the pack of generic pop-punk, college rock and hippie-jam so much easier. Morgantown-to-'Burgh band Lazy Lane's debut CD The Chills reminds me of the revelation I had upon first discovering unexpected local dark-rock gems such as Underflowers and Lowsunday.

First coming on the scene with a 7-inch EP on Spanish label Butterfly Records (entirely ignored here), Lazy Lane play a very distinctive style drawing on both the more ethereal aspects of the goth scene and classic melancholic psychedelia a la Nico, Pink Floyd and The Doors. Vocalist Lily Lane's spectral, come-hither whisper is reminiscent of Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval and The Cranes' Alison Shaw, while the song arrangements point to the only current U.S. band pulling off this exact aesthetic combination -- L.A.'s Babylonian Tiles. For an earlier reference, check the Bunnymen and "Dear Prudence"-period Banshees.

The aspects which goth and psych have in common are vivid, visual elements and lush, hallucinogenic effects (ingest your drug of choice and put on some Legendary Pink Dots), evidenced clearly by the CD's first three songs. Spooky lyrics to "The Girl Upstairs" and "Sleepyville Creepshow" ("we hang around / sleeping upside down / in a cavern where we can't be found") could almost be the theme to a horror marathon on the Sci-Fi Channel.

A few other songs strongly link the band to classic Led Zep and modern alterna-grunge, albeit with minor-key tinges, and Lily's voice becomes somewhat buried in the rock bombast, not having the projection of an operatic goth songstress a la Siouxsie. But near-perfect psych tune "Waking Up Buttercup," with its haunting organ and belly-dancer flute solo, and the mellow finale "Malaysian Dream Doll," which drifts away dream-like at the end like a Windy & Carl drone epic, more than make up for those mainstream shortcomings. On the slinky, Bad Seeds-y cabaret blues number "Madame Ruby," Lily (in the sky with diamonds) croons, "Come with me into my ruby dream." And you most gladly will.

Lazy Lane's CD-release party is at 10 p.m. Fri., July 4, at the Rex Theater, South Side. 412-381-6811.

- Pittsbugh Paper by Manny Theiner

"Starvox Review"

"I am a total sucker for bands that take seemingly disparate genres and blend them together. In the case of Lazy Lane, a small indie group that lurks on the fringes of Pittsburgh's scene, the elements of psychedelia, folk, shoegaze, and Goth collide beautifully. This debut CD definitely stands out when compared to the stacks of promos I have received so far this year.

Lead by the smoky vocals of Lily Lane, her voice resembles that of Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star) and Alison Shaw (Cranes). Her playful yet wry vocals elicit a slight waywardness and veiled sensuality. The lyrics read like stark, demented faerie tales, the mood further accentuated by the dreamlike voice that delivers them. This kind of nursery rhyme vibe usually turns me off (Switchblade Symphony springs to mind!) but the mood of Lazy Lane is a surreal and mature kind of dementia and I was easily drawn into their murky world of mischief.

The music is a seething blend of The Doors and The Bad Seeds; the Cranes and Mazzy Star. A nice variety of guitar work is used, ranging from strummed acoustics, watery leads, and swelling ebow wails. The bass lines are at times, under cut with a free form jazz technique as well as a straightforward post punk strum. The production is damn good for an independent band, and the entire disc is awash with a feverish and fuzzy reverb that only further enhances it's vintage feel.

"Waking Up Buttercup" is probably my favourite track, (Hah! You guessed it; it is the darkest one!), the song swirls around a brooding bass line, bluesy guitars, an ominous church organ drone, with Lily's pouty vocals capping it all off. Tribal drums and an eerie flute passage provide a stark break between the verses, and then back to the plodding gloom reminiscent of the darkest moments of The Doors and Syd Barret era Floyd. The only contemporary band I could even think of comparing these guys to are Babylonian Tiles, but even that is a bit of an injustice as Lazy Lane holds their own wonderfully.

Another track that stands out especially is the thoroughly amusing "Black Cat," with its swinging rhythmic strut and frisky vocals. Kind of like if "Love Cats" wasn't so overtly manic, this is like the Munster's Halloween psychedelic jazz party! Again, I am not too easily sold on this kind of tongue-in-cheek stuff, but this is just so irresistibly catchy, and it features an awesome explosion of guitar work worthy of Robby Krieger himself toward the end of the song. Perky Goths® will dig this immensely, but this particular gloomy Goth liked it just fine.

This is definitely a band to watch. Check out their Mp3 site at the link below, especially if you are a fan of stuff like Mazzy Star, Mojave 3, the Cranes, and other forms of dark psychedelia.
- Matthew -

- Starvox :Matthew Hileman

"The Global Muse"

Michael Allison - The Global "Lazy Lane delivers a moody pop style that possesses a psychedelic aura. The music is like a drug induced psychedelic trip laced with strange imagery and feeling. The vocals are the fuel that feeds the mood here. The vocals have that haunting and sad quality that gives the music it's flavoring." - The Global Muse: Michael Allison

"LOSING TODAY" - "The Lazy Lane ‘Sea Witch’. And while you are adding the name Little Bare Big Bear to the shopping list you may as well include this 4-track gem. A wickedly skewed release that’ll haunt you with it’s hypnotic mastery. Formed in 1999, the bands background is the stuff of legends. Setting up a band page on in 2001, the duo Greg Ballato and Lily Lane quickly found their music speeding up the mp3 Top 40 due in the main to word of mouth and the growing trend of file sharing programs. Enlisting the services of Aaron Richardson and Nathan Ballato they speedily recorded their debut album ‘The Chills’ (an album I will personally see goes on my shopping list). Now pops up this sinister / sensual 4 track EP. ‘Sea Witch’ opens up the set starting out with a dreamy collage before the vocals of Lily Lane kick in, her matter of fact deadpan delivery recalling in some ways Nico, it’s harshness and sense of loveless ness rubbing in contrast against the pastoral psyche of the melodies, giving the overall effect an out of sync tarnish. ‘The girl upstairs’ is awesome if only for it’s ominous air of haunting atmospherics that in part recall the icy soundscapes of Goldfrapp; the subtle swirl of the synths creates a macabre gloss with the addition of Lily’s vocals being fed in to add to the ghostly tension. ‘Wake up buttercup’ continues the out of focus psyche patchwork, a backdrop scenery that reveals an eerie playground charm harking to the Banshees edginess on ‘Kaleidoscope’ while impinging on the darker elements of Barrett era Floyd. ‘Time warp’ closes the set in short and sweet fashion, Greg Ballato takes up the vocal duties to preside over something of a preening pop track when compared to what’s gone before. 500 pressings only, buy or risk ridicule."
- losing today

"Collected Sounds"

Review by Amy - Producer of Collected Sounds 7/26/2003

Lazy Lane's debut recording gives the listener a lovely eerie feeling and I think that's the intent judging by the front page of their website. It shows skeletons sitting around a dinner table. The art is beautiful and so is the music. Lily Lane has a gorgeous soft sultry voice that you want to just melt into. The music is a blend of electronica, goth, shoe-gazer, and psychedelic dream pop. The first song, "The Girl Upstairs" grabs onto you in a second and keeps you enwrapped for the rest of the CD. Lily sings:

"Come and meet the girl upstairs
If you dare
You must beware
into her stare It's haunted there
at first sight what dooming fright
is living in her eyes at night
the wind brings chills like graveyard thrills
her mother knows the black rose
kills and thrill the girl upstairs…"

…and you can't wait to hear more.

"Nepenthe" and "Black Cat" give the guitars a chance to shine. I also love "Waking up Buttercup" which, by the title, sounds like it would be a 60s pop tune, but…well it's not. Those who like Hannah Fury and Jill Tracy's gothic spooky style and will no doubt love Lazy Lane.

- Collected Sounds


7" vinyl EP Lazy Lane/Sea Witch 2002 released on Butterfly Records, Barcelona Spain
CD LP Lazy Lane/The Chills 2003
CD LP Lazy Lane/Keepers of the Gloom 2004

top 40 in Brit pop and shoegazer genres at reaching number 2


Feeling a bit camera shy


Lurking in the underground music scene of Pittsburgh Pa, Lazy Lane's fresh visionary eyes are set for the groundbreaking of their very own brand new edge of music. The once unknown band slowly cooked up a myriad of dark, eerie, spellbinding songs that would haunt the airwaves of Internet radio and begin to snowball a devoted cult following around the world.

Quickly after posting their demos, Lazy Lane's streams and downloads totaling over 53,000 rocketed all of their tracks into's top 40 charts. Following the buzz, Barcelona, Spain's Butterfly Records released a limited edition 7" vinyl that debuted their first EP in June 2002. Their first full-length album "The ChiLLs" was released on the 4th of July 2003, followed by "Keepers of the Gloom" in December 2004. In addition, lead singer Lily Lane contributed guest vocals on the upcoming Midnight Syndicate CD "The 13th Hour" to be released in Summer 2005.

Armed with Aaron Richardson on electric bass and Aaron Simmons on drums,
Lily Lane (vocalist/keyboardist) unveils a diary of demented fairytales and frightening synthesizer sounds. The accompaniment of the guitar mastermind Greg Ballato fused with Lily's haunting vocals and synths creates an aura that will seize the your mind and take you on a psychotic trip through worlds of darkness and illusion.

Masters of improvisation and psychedelic mayhem, Lazy Lane mesmerizes the audience and captivates the listener, while vintage guitars, turntables & synthesizers illustrate Lazy Lane has…no boundaries.