Los Hijos Unicos
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Los Hijos Unicos

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Band Americana Country

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Nov
08
Los Hijos Unicos @ Sierra Grille

Northampton, Massachusetts, USA

Northampton, Massachusetts, USA

Oct
06
Los Hijos Unicos @ Cantab Lounge

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

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Music

Press


By John E. Mitchell, North Adams Transcript
Thursday, June 15, 2006

NORTH ADAMS — Local band Los Hijos Unicos are busy walking the line from Johnny Cash to Radiohead on their new CD.

The band's first recording "...and the lights go out" shows off a tight, unified band vision, with a sound and craft far more realized than their time together hints at — a mere five months as a unit.

With a line-up made up of recent Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts graduates, Los Hijos Unicos approach their sound with an eclectic mix of instruments, styles and influences — Ryan Quinn tackles a variety of string instruments, including lap steel guitar and fiddle, and Tyler Rousseau plays guitar and mellotron (both are the chief singer/songwriters for the band), with Isaac Sussman on piano, synths, and accordion and Alison Thomas on bass and vocals.

"We came at the project with a lot of ideas but no idea of how we wanted it to end up," said Sussman. "We experimented and tried a lot of things we had thought of and felt out if they sounded right and kept them if they did and threw them away if they didn't. We all had a similar aesthetic for music — or at least one common one — so we all clicked in that way."

The band had known and had worked together in various configurations — Quinn and Sussman had been in the punk band Karate Kid Death Squad, whose recordings were produced by Rousseau. Meanwhile, Sussman had worked with Thomas in a not quite all-girl band.

"We couldn't find a girl drummer, so I filled in," said Quinn, "and Alison was playing bass in that. That was called The Body Electric, it was robot-themed. Its only show was the MCLA Battle of the Bands last year."

All things converged this year when they joined together to devise a long-term musical project. The decision kicked off a period of experimentation in order to center in on a sound for the band, a process achieved through a few live shows to get the songs down and, then, going into the studio to act on what they had learned.

"We wound up looking at the songs and saying 'This one would be good to do a straight Hank Williams pick,' 'this one we should try to make it as much like Johnny Cash as we can,' this we should try to do like the Beach Boys,'" said Quinn. "The way it stays cohesive as a record is the fact that maybe we're not all that good at doing Hank Williams or Johnny Cash or the Beach Boys and we wind up sounding like ourselves anyway. That's probably how all those things got brought in, just trying to emulate the sounds that we love.

Country music is at the core of the band's sound, a springboard into other ideas. Its role as a centerpiece has very much to do with Quinn's history with the genre.

"That was the first music I ever listened to," said Quinn, "and that was what my father listened to. He started listening to it when disco was being played on the rock stations and he gave up on them."

When writing songs for the album, Quinn was listening exclusively to Johnny Cash's Sun recordings. For Sussman, country music marked the beginning of a musical journey.

"Ryan brought it to me and I like country a lot," said Sussman. It's not really what I grew up on, but I was excited to step away from the punk band for a little bit and try something where you could be a more intricate, it was a nice change. I was ready to go in any direction and the country direction took us and I went with it."

Added to the mix were Thomas' rock steady rhythms and percussion ideas and Rousseau's penchant for psychedelia, which saw more non-conventional keyboard work entering into the music.

Alien sounds

"We tried a lot of stuff out and I got into that idea of adding alien sounds to it so it wouldn't sound like straightforward country," said Sussman. "As alien as some synths are on it, they all work in a very strange way."

As they finish up work on the CD, the band is pursuing more live shows. One recent appearance in Newburgh, N.Y. — where they were booked with a bunch of punk, ska, and hardcore bands — has Los Hijos Unicos approaching live shows with the same sense of experimentation as they do their recordings.

"The first few songs we played were just totally lost on everybody, they just stared at us really blankly," said Quinn. "We were playing a slow country song, I was playing lap steel, Isaac was playing accordion. By the third song, there was this mosh pit as we were playing and people were dancing into each other and everybody was going. I just love that and I'm just hoping to play anywhere with anybody, because I feel like if we can play that then playing any show should be fun."

Los Hijos Unicos can be found online at deadearthrecords.tripod.com. - North Adams Transcript


TARA MOYNA, A&E Staff, MCLA Beacon
Thursday, February 2, 2006

NORTH ADAMS — A crowd of approximately 50 people braved the weather and showed up in Sullivan Lounge to see the self- described "Blues/Alternative/Country/Folk-ish band" Los Hijos Unicos. Los Hijos Unicos gave the music box some "toe-tapping fun" according to Larissa Huda, a freshman Biology major and audience member last Saturday, Feb. 25.

Los Hijos Unicos, literally meaning God's only children or the only sons, has been together for about three months now and the music box was only their second performance under their current group name.

Before they were Los Hijos Unicos, Ryan Quinn, a senior Philosophy major, Chris Cleveland, a senior FPA major, and Isaac Sussman also a senior majoring in FPA called themselves The Karate Kid Death Squad. Then Tyler Rousseau, a senior Philosophy major and Alison Thomas, a young lady who is not from the College, joined the crew and Los Hijos Unicos was born. "You know I was thinking about that the other night," Thomas said, "and I realized I'm the only one in the band that's actually an only child."

"We chose the name because it was the title of a poem I once read on a red line subway car seat in Boston. Not knowing Spanish I copied it down and had Isaac translate it later," said Quinn. Quinn then went on to describe a dream Isaac and himself shared that following night about an animal, different in each man's dream, telling the two men, "that the band were only sons, standing apart from the bland commercial contemporary rock of the radio and orphaned by the creeping fascism of our current government. We took this as an omen and have not considered changing the name since then, despite the trouble some have pronouncing it."

Rousseau and Thomas joined up with the other three by just being friends. "Well I'm friends with most of the guys and I was hangin' around the house that most of them live in a lot," Rousseau said. "I recorded them for awhile when they were the Karate Kid Death Squad, just a sort 'out of the basement deal' and then they just stopped playin' together." They stopped playing just because they did. It wasn't for any rift in the band or any sort of clash. "And then when they wanted to start playing again they knew I played guitar and asked me if I wanted to be in the band so I said yeah," said Rousseau, "and I told them they should ask Alison to be in it too because I knew they didn't have a bass player and I know she's good." With no aspirations of 'hitting it big' the band just seems to enjoy jamming together and is satisfied with being just as they are.

Los Hijos Unicos started off the night with a little carnival style musical introduction of the band members which sent a quiet giggle through the crowd. Quinn introduced himself and Rousseau on guitar and vocals, Sussman on the keys, Cleveland on percussion and Thomas on bass. Then the hard rockin' country/blues began. They played a set of about 20 songs Saturday night and the crowd was loving it.

A few girls even got up and started dancing a couple times. Annie Kirkpatrick and Erin Good, both senior English majors, and Carissa Everett, a junior English major, were the first of the gals to get up and boogie to the sounds of the band. "C'mon people, get up and dance, it's a concert," said Good in encouragement of the audience. They didn't get much of a response, but that doesn't mean the crowd wasn't enjoying themselves. "I've heard them before and I like them. They remind me of like an artsy-country-Bob Dylan," said Patrick Harris, a sophomore FPA major.

All in all the night was a success and Los Hijos Unicos said they hope to come back and play for the College again. They just recently played at the Cup and Saucer over in town before they played at Sullivan, and performed at Gideon's Luncheon and Nightery on Wednesday, March 3. For more information on Los Hijos Unicos, go to http://loshijosunicos.tripod.com, and look forward to their upcoming album being recorded on Death Earth Records. - MCLA Beacon


TEDDY BOURGEOUIS, Co- A&E Editor, MCLA Beacon
Thursday, September 21, 2006

I went to a show in North Adams last weekend, and it was awesome.

All but one part-time member of the funk, electronic-infused, trucker-rock band Los Hijos Unicos graduated from the College last year. Ryan Quinn, Ally [sic; "Ali"] Thomas, Tyler Russo [sic; "Rousseau"], and Isaac Sussman returned to play a concert at Gideon's Nightery on Eagle Street.

I arrived early, along with a house packed with students. The night began with a few drinks and an opening set by Christie Leigh, a singer-songwriter from Boston making North Adams her first stop on a six-day tour. She kept the crowd mellow, strumming coffee house style acoustic numbers with a curled upper lip country influence. The casually confident vocals on songs like "Come Untied" and "Strange Little Story," the title track off her new release, featured soft, toe-tapping rhythms and the kind of emotions you can only sing about through the corner of your mouth and tightly shut eyes.

Leigh finished with a huge smile and huge applause. While the headliners set up, I ordered another drink and had a look around. The Nightery has a very urban chic feel. Dark walls, dark floors, dark furniture, and expensive food.

Los Hijos Unicos, with their thrift store suits, sweaty hair and stubble might have clashed with the upscale décor had the room not been full of college kids. I was watching my housemate, Nick [sic; "Nik"] Rebholz, hit on the opening act when Los Hijos started their set. Nick would later call the show, "A shining example of a good time in North Adams."

Los Hijos Unicos is southern twang with a mohawk, complete with echoing slide guitar by Ryan Quinn and soulful harmonica licks by part-time member, Andy Goulet. They fought through technical difficulties in the first half, stomping on faulty effects pedals and singing over some piercing feedback. The crowd danced anyway, and, by this point, I was a little loose, so I danced, too.

Night highlight songs included "Blue Highway" and "Nebraska," tracks you can get into even if you don't regularly get behind the wheel of a semi. I was nervous for the band, wondering how the establishment would take this loud, raw, country crew, but, by mid-set, even the only two adults in the joint were making out in the corner.

Towards the end of the set, the crowd started shrinking, but like any candle, Los Hijos kept burning until all the wax was gone. They finished up the set with a few twangy, arm-around-your-girl-in-a-roadhouse numbers and a song from their former band, Karate Kid Death Squad. After a few handshakes, I left contented and a bit sweaty. Los Hijos Unicos is a young band worth watching grow.

For information about these bands check out www.myspace.com/christieleigh, www.christieleigh.com, http://loshijosunicos.tripod.com, and for a complete list of upcoming events at Gideon's Luncheon and Nightery check out www.nightery.com. - MCLA Beacon


Discography

LP: "...and the lights go out", 2006

Photos

Bio

Los Hijos Unicos was formed in early 2006 in North Adams, Massachusetts. We are influenced by Buck Owens, Johnny Cash, Muddy Waters, Gram Parsons, and The Byrds, amongst others.