Lost Armada
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Lost Armada


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"It’s a mature blend of country, rock and a small dash of punk."

I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, or a band by its press photo. The band pic that accompanied Lost Armada’s EP Empty Houses (Floyd’s Bark Records), showed four young, sardonic-looking dudes posing in their Sunday best in front of a fireplace. It’s a jab at the American family Christmakuh photo, and I thought one more group of pop-punksters vying for a side stage on the Warped Tour–one of them even had hair like that guy in Coheed and Cambria.

I was wrong. Chicago’s Lost Armada is not another emo whine-house. They’re Windy City kids who like distorted basement guitars probably just as much as a cold can of Honker’s Ale and a warm Neil Young record. “Feel Nothing Soon” is a slow moving bar closer and their ode to self-medication. A harmonica and a low-fi electric guitar accompany the country crooning on loneliness and bloody fights breaking out over a cheap shot of booze. “When the Backdrop Falls” is a rocker that lifts the single note guitar line from The Clash’s “Tommy Gun.” The vocal highlight is “Raton,” a slow melody backed by brush drumsticks that you should make out to, even by yourself.

The production is basic, but the vocals are right up front where they should be. I’ve never heard anyone’s hoarse cries sound more like Jawbreaker’s Blake Schwartzenbach than this guy. Now I’ve either jinxed these guys, or I’ve given them a whole new following via the Cult of Blake. And before those rad kids slag me on their Live Journal pages, Empty Houses is no 24 Hour Revenge Therapy, because it’s not trying to be. It’s a mature blend of country, rock and a small dash of punk. With no unnecessary guitar solos and drum fills, the songs are straight and to the point, and give reason to look to a full-length from these guys.
by GALEN WADE - Pulse of the Twin Cities

"Lost Armada has hit the ground running with its first release"

Lost Armada has hit the ground running with its first release, a five-track bar-rock-filled E.P. called Empty Houses.

The Chicago-based band is an energy-filled quartet with Kyle Casey as the frontman on guitars and vocals. He’s backed up by Ian Johnson on drums, Joel O’Brien on guitar and vocals, and Paul Duda on bass.

The whole album has a charming, home-spun feel to it: Mixing values are a little off in places, Casey’s voice is off in places, and there’s even the occasional goof in playing, but the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The album has the feel of going to a friend’s basement for a jam.

In terms of musicianship and lyrics, the album’s third track, “Raton,” is far and away the most beautiful on the disc. It’s a gorgeous mix of sensitive melody and strong lyrical flow, reminiscent of Greg Brown and Neil Young. The other tracks are more straight-forward rock with the exception of “Feel Nothing Soon” which definitely falls squarely into Country.

With Lost Armada’s next album, I’d really like to hear a full-scale effort. I’d like a solid forty-five minutes to an hour of music, and I’d like to hear either higher production values throughout, or a live album where all the session interaction is there.

Bottom line: While Empty Houses is not bad for a first album, Lost Armada sounds like it’d really be a lot of fun to hear live; check out their website to find their next gig.
- Indie Music

"Old-time country storytelling with a rockin' sound"

Christian Czerwinski | NOISE

In the melting pot that is rock music, lots of bands like to juxtapose distinctly different influences.

Lost Armada is the band that introduces the storytelling of Johnny Cash to the brash do-it-yourself attitude of punk rock.

The Chicago-based foursome formed about a year ago and has already started touring and just released their debut EP, Empty Houses.


Singer Kyle Casey, 26, said when he writes a song, he channels Merle Haggard and Cash to create a short story of sorts.

"I'm very interested in common people. Their stories are interesting and important," he said from a cell phone while taking a walk through downtown Chicago.

"I love the whole American experience from playing music to being a union worker. I think everyone can relate to that because everyone is trying to figure out where they're going and why."

A former literature major, Casey not only writes some of his songs with a short-story feel, but also culled the band's name from James Joyce's "Ulysses."

Casey and his bandmates all cut their teeth in "crappy little punk" bands and learned how to play more than one instrument, market themselves and cut a record.

"All the guys just grew up in a great scene and made something out of nothing. That says more than buying into a certain trend or being with a major label," Casey said.

"The whole record we made ourselves. We engineered it and played every instrument. Basically, we bought five cases of beer and worked through a couple weekends and that was that."

The first cut on the EP, "When the Backdrop Falls," is pure rock, but other tracks like "Raton," burn slowly with a tight mix of rock, punk and old-time country.

"Raton" is actually about a ghost Casey says he encountered. He was at a hotel in New Mexico and woke up in the middle of the night staring at a figure at the end of his bed.

He says he wasn't scared (of course, we might believe otherwise) but he asked the figure to leave and it did.

"The song is about the feeling of seeing a ghost or seeing something horrifying and where that leads," Casey said.

Casey said the band doesn't feel lost playing in the Windy City and has carved out its own niche.

Maybe because it doesn't sound like any of the ethereal or cookie-cutter rock on the radio.

If anything, it conjures an almost Aerosmith circa 1977 feel.

Casey admits the band has a guilty pleasure for arena rock and that Guns N' Roses is a huge influence. One of their tracks closes out with a two-minute guitar solo.

"We don't have a problem letting the guitars rip. Being mainstream is not something we think about in a reactionary way," Casey said.

"It's more important to stick to what we think are good records from the decades."

- Lansing Noise

"Lost Armada plug in and bust out high-octane anthems"

Lost Armada plug in and bust out high-octane anthems on the gleefully sloppy Empty Houses. - Illinois Entertainer


Empty Houses EP



Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Lost Armada's sound is as polarizing as the weather in the city they call Home. From raucous four-on-the-floor rock to boot-stomping swagger to bar room sentiment, their live show and latest E.P., Empty Houses, is not to be missed.