LUSTER
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LUSTER

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
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I will be honest, before this week luster was simply a word describing the reflection of light off a rock. I found this band the way I truly love to discover new music, through a friend. I can read every blog, peruse my Twitter feed all day long, and sift through PR email after PR email, but nothing compares to a recommendation from someone you trust. I first took a listen to LUSTER’s album Run From Dogs last week and it’s been on heavy rotation since.
LUSTER has the ability to hook you with their catchy melodies and build up a song to a fever pitch. Having quit their jobs to tour and make sure their music is heard by as many people as possible, this is a band that doesn’t take a night off. I’ve been searching for music that’s authentic and for bands that are winning fans over through their shows and passion for the music they are making. LUSTER is one of those bands. - 5 SCORE PACHYDERM


After struggling to find their sound for nearly a decade, Chicago's Luster has found their niche and begun their climb to fame. Composed of two brothers, Jeremy and Bryan Mederich (vocals/bass and drums, respectively), and their close friend Jonathan Brubaker (guitar), they have traversed the country from ocean to ocean promoting a sound they can call their own.
Self-described as an indie/alternative band, the brothers hail from Chicago and Jonathan from Seattle. While their influences are somewhat typical for that generation, drummer Bryan spoke for the band and said many of their heroes were from the ‘80s and ‘90s, with some classics — Oasis, Nirvana, Pink Floyd and Green Day. The Daily Nebraskan sat down with Luster at the Watering Hole in downtown Lincoln to have them tell a little about themselves to the world.
Daily Nebraskan: So are you guys pretty comfortable in the sound you've created for yourselves?
Bryan Mederich: We're pretty comfortable right now. We just kind of do whatever is available to us, and it usually fits.
Jonathan Brubaker: But each of our records is different in its own way, though. Our first album was more like acoustic rock, with just an acoustic and electric guitar, a riff or a hook, with drums and bass, and that was it.
BM: Keyboards became more affordable in the mid-2000s thanks to MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) and stuff like that, so we started messing around with that.
JB: A huge difference, too, is that the EP we just released, Bryan went from lead guitar to drums, so that changed it a little too.
Jeremy Mederich: We've been a five-piece, a four-piece. Now we're a three-piece.
JB: And if everything goes as planned we'll soon be a two-piece (laughs).
BM: Anyway, our father was a full-time professional musician so we grew up surrounded by all the classic rock. We've constantly been around good music our whole lives.
JB: I was raised in Seattle in the ‘90s as well, so I got pretty into the whole ‘grunge' thing when I was in high school. Alice in Chains is one of my favorite groups, all that stuff. Nirvana, like I said.
DN: Sounds like you know your music pretty well then. I myself once attempted the drums throughout high school but eventually fizzled out. I wish I could change it though; I'm always left out whenever my friends decide to jam out.
JM: Wanna be in a band? (laughs) Apparently a spot just opened up.
DN: So can you tell me a little more about yourselves, besides the band?
JM: Well we've known Jonathan for a number of years, and Bryan is my older brother.
JB: If you come to one of our shows and you're there when we're setting up, you'll find that out real quick (laughs).
JM: I've had to live with Bryan for the last 10 years. In a van, even.
DN: So where's your favorite place that you've played?
JM: New York is definitely one of my favorites, but I know that's Jon's least favorite place.
JB and BM: San Francisco! That place was pretty awesome, they're all pretty cool.
JB: I think if I never went to New York again, I wouldn't be too upset.
JM: It's a pretty cool place but we struggle in New York … it's not like college towns like here in Lincoln where you come to town and everybody knows who you are, just because there's only one act playing in town.
DN: Exactly. I can imagine being in a much larger city and seeing a band play but have a hard time to remember what their name was. Unlike Lincoln, where everybody sees your name on the marquee and as soon as you say who you are, at least somebody will recognize you.
JM: We're still trying to break in to the New York market; we've played there quite a bit. I still love going there. It's the hardest place to park, everything about it sucks, but I love it for some reason.
DN: What didn't you like about New York?
JB: (laughs) I'm not sure where to begin. I've just never had a good time there. I feel like I have AIDS every time I leave there.
JM: Every time we go out there my girlfriend flies out to meet us, maybe that's why I love it so much. She actually just booked her ticket.
BM: Maybe that's why Jonathan hates it so much (laughs).
DN: So would you say your name fits your band?
JB: It's funny because people always try to put weird connotations with it, while all it means is ‘smooth and shiny surface.' In any and every review we've had, they always try to spin the name to say that we either do or don't ‘have luster.' They try to take it in almost any way they can. For example, we've had some reviewers put a sexual spin on it, which we're still trying to figure out why or how.
JM: I remember that one, it felt like I had just got done reading a porn after reading that. I have no idea why the reporter felt that he needed to review us that way. He even went as far as to say that our music was good music to get intimate to. People are always doing weird things.
DN: Too bad Valentine's Day is over, huh?
All: (laugh)
JB: Really though, any name will fit as long as the music's good. Take Pink Floyd — what the hell does that mean?
JM: Or Smashing Pumpkins. People had no idea what to expect from the name but they made a name for themselves.
BM: Whenever I tell someone my band name, they always think it's ‘mustard.'
JM: Or people always mistake us for ‘Guster' as well. I don't mind the publicity, though.
huntermccall@dailynebraskan.com - Daily Nebraskan


With a finely tuned, melodramatic, rock hard feeling, the local Chicago
band, Luster, has set their hopes high for the future. Listening to them
perform live recently, I was fully impressed by their natural ability to
entertain the crowd and perform a diverse, smooth sounding set.
Luster, started two years ago by two brothers, has grown into a band with a sort of Indie-rock feel to it. Listening to their music sets the mood in many different ways.
Whether that mood is one of a mellow understanding of what lead singer, Jeremy Mederich, is singing about, or more of a head-banging gritty mood, this band has definitely got their act together.
With an uncanny ability to grab the crowd and invite them in to hear their feelings and share in their experiences, the songs are well written and performed even better by this talented band. An upcoming show at the Hard Rock Cafe proves their commitment to succeed in the mainstream music scene as it is seen today in Chicago.
A national tour to spread their unique sound is planned, starting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where they will be playing alongside Switchfoot. The show will be at the Eagle Ballroom/The Rave.
To hear some of Luster's music, go to www.lusterofficial.com. Also on the website are pictures of the bandmembers as well as upcoming tour dates. With an aim to impress and share their sound, Luster is sure to be an
amazing show, wherever you see them. With a strong, feel good attitude, this band is sure to go far and will quickly succeed, overpowering the pop culture of 2008 and coming out on top!
- Jamie Regan-Senior Writer at Axischicago.com


Luster - Run From Dogs (Independently released CD, Pop)
Slick and accessible catchy pop. Chicago's Luster is driven by the songwriting skills of brothers Jeremy Mederich and Bryan Mederich. The band is rounded out by Jonathan Brubaker (guitar, vocals) and Robbie Senti (keys, guitar, vocals). After releasing this album, the guys quit their jobs and went out on the road to promote themselves...so they're obvious serious about what they're doing. Our guess is that the songs on this album will appeal to the vast majority of listeners out there. Smooth hummable pop cuts include "These Animals," "Here Is A Call," "Sold Out," and "The Ending." - Babysue.com


It was a cold January night when Luster happened to find themselves playing at Stagger Inn last, during open-mic night. The group, who themselves are admittedly hard to pigeon hole into just one genre, made their way onto the stage by happenstance and left with a horde of new fans.

They really rocked the crowd that night. By the time they had finished their set people were suffocating them, trying to get a word or two in with the band. A just about broke or nearly broke college student was more than happy to shell out 10 bucks to take Luster home with them. I, too, was eager to go home with something fresh to listen to.

After most of the newly-minted Luster fans chatted with the band, I got a few words in with Jeremy Mederich, lead vocals & bassist, and Robbie Senti who dabbles in keyboards, guitars and vocals, who I had the pleasure of sharing bottles of Stag with. A few weeks later we were able to meet at Sacred Grounds, as they were passing through town between gigs.

Robbie, as just mentioned, is somewhat of a jack of all trades. As it turns out, they all are multi-facetted and multi-talented musicians. For a time, the members of Luster were frequently seen switching instruments during live performances, says Bryan, the drummer who is also Jeremy’s brother.

Jonathan Brubaker, guitars and backing vocals, agrees that Luster is still settling into their groove. He also pointed out that Luster is somewhat of twisted system when is comes to their family tree of members. Not only are Jeremy and Bryan brothers, the two along with Jonathan referred to Robbie as their incestual grandchild because he was originally just a fan.

The Luster lineup has been in flux over the past decade. Jeremy and Bryan were around in the beginning, but with a different bassist and drummer. Former drummer Luke left the band back in 2005 after Jonathan joined near the end of 2004. Luke’s departure left the band cycling through various drummers for awhile. Eventually Bryan switched from playing guitar to banging on the toms and crashing the symbols, and still does to this day.

Between 2006 and 2009 Robbie started to fill in on bass when needed, but he wasn’t officially a member of the band. Also around that time Jeremy started to focus more on bass guitar, while still maintain his role as lead vocalist. Somewhat oddly, Robbie began to play more keys, but so did Jonathan and Bryan.

After much hullabaloo, Luster finally solidified their lineup in 2009. Bryan, who is a natural drummer, easily filled that role. Jeremy now picks of his bass and leaves the guitar to Jonathan. Around that time Robbie became and official member of the band, rounding out their ‘final lineup,’ as Jeremy calls it.

Luster may have seen a lot of change of the last decade, but one thing is certain, they all agree that it was for the best. Now that they have settled into their current incarnation it’s obvious that there are only great things to come.

Luster is constantly touring and growing their fan-base. If you were unlucky enough to miss their first show, clear your calendar now because they are sure to blow you away just as they did back in January. Oh, and by the way, bring 10 bucks because I’m sure you’ll want a copy of their album, Run from Dogs. - Ryan Balfanz - Edwardsvillescene.com


I have the distinct advantage of getting to discover bands before other people. Sure, I run a magazine, so there’s that. But I’m talking even beyond well-publicized releases. I also run a venue where I book bands both known and unknown.
Such was the case in January when a Chicago band called Luster played the club. I only caught the end of their set but I was smitten. These four guys know their shit.
(And here’s the part where you play along. Open another browser window, type in www.myspace.com/luster, and give “High Class Beat” a spin. Utterly addictive, isn’t it? Now where were we...)
Luster’s got an inviting rock-on-the-indie-side sound; it’s a pleasing listen, and one easily enjoyed. Live, they’ve got a palpable energy, electric and catchy. Their brand-new release, Run From Dogs, has been on my frequently played list since I got it.
I e-chatted with singer/bassist Jeremy Mederich (the band also includes Jeremy’s brother Bryan on drums, Jonathan Brubaker on guitar/backing vocals, and Robbie Senti on keyboards/guitar/backing vocals) about what drives Luster.

How long has Luster been around?
My brother Bryan and I started writing songs together in 2001. There have been numerous lineup changes, but what we have now is what we really always wanted for Luster to be.
You’ve just released Run From Dogs. Is it your first album?
We did release a self-titled album in 2004 which we still market, but Run From Dogs is definitely our first real effort at a professional, full-length studio album. We are plugging away at trying to get more and more industry exposure with this release.
You’re from Chicago. Do you feel you fit into any sort of “scene” up there? Speaking of said scene, how is it in Chicago?
Although we have been very well received among the music listeners and people in Chicago, I wouldn’t say that we fit in with any specific scene back home; if we do, it’s more of the indie crowd. Chicago is very clique-y, too, but I don't think it’s so much among the bands as it is among the people buying the tickets.
Is music something you currently do full-time? Is it a reasonable goal, do you think, for you to do so?
Yes, this is a full-time deal for us now. Reasonable? Yeah, why not.
How much touring does Luster do? What are your strong markets? What do you like best/least about touring?
As of now we are on tour indefinitely. Our strongest market outside of Chicago would have to be Kansas City; L.A. and Seattle are looking pretty good as well as far as fan base. What I like best about touring is obviously the shows, but more specifically connecting with new people in all these new places. Worst part about touring is doubling as Luster’s front man and vehicle maintenance technician. Outside of Chicago we don’t mind playing in Florida…but Cicero’s is definitely up there on the list. (Editor’s note: Awwwww…)
If you weren't doing music, what would each of you be doing?
I don’t think I would have trouble getting a job as a mechanic at an RV shop, thanks to life on the road. Bryan would probably go back his old standby, dancing; Jonathan would maybe become a nun or something; and Robbie would be in Mexico at a meeting. | Laura Hamlett

Luster plays Cicero's March 23, 2009. Doors 8/show 8:30, $7/10 under 21.
www.lusteronline.com
- Laura Hamlett - Playbackstl.com


Discography

luster - Self Titled (2004)
It's All About The Subject EP (2006)
Run From Dogs (2010)

Photos

Bio

Spending the better part of a year on the road teaches you a thing or two. Chicago rock-indie-pop-younameit trio Luster wishes to share the following:
• Get a vehicle that you can live in.
• Keep in contact with everyone you meet.
• Life is pretty much the same wherever you are.
• When you're at the bottom, things can only get better.
• There's freedom in having little.
Earlier this year, following the release of what is soon to be your new favorite album, Run From Dogs, the band decided to take it on the road. They quit their jobs, bought an RV and spent far too much time staring at maps. Their mission? To perform for as many people as possible, to share their music in cities all across the country, to build a career one venue at a time.
You see, Luster’s been there and done that…and they’re not afraid to do it some more. They’ve written and recorded everywhere from a flooding basement to one of the top studios in Nashville or Chicago. They’ve gone from engineering their own early material to working with Greg Calbi (John Lennon, MGMT) for the mastering of Run From Dogs.
At its heart, Luster is two brothers, Jeremy (lead vocals, bass) and Bryan Mederich (drums). The two write all of the band’s music and lyrics and record most of the instrumentation. With an eye to the future, the two view their biggest strength as songwriters as something called “potential.” The brothers find inspiration in continuing to hone their craft and grow as songwriters, claiming “we have so much more to learn.”
The band also includes guitarist/vocalist Jonathan Brubaker, himself equally committed to living for life on the road and performing for a living. The three are a self-professed group of best friends, always in each other’s company whether on the road or at home.
And yes, it’s true: Luster’s music is difficult to pigeonhole. “We don't fall into any specific genre,” says Jeremy.” Everything comes straight from the heart. You might want to get up and move your feet, sit down and watch, light up a smoke and stare at the floor, or leave and go tell someone how much you love or hate them.”
Luster says they draw inspiration from “anyone who's been able to who's been able to make life a little better for themselves and others, doing what it is they love and do best—musically or otherwise.” If the guys aren’t careful, they’ll soon be inspiring others in the same way.

"Soaring, Killers-raiding-Springsteen arena anthems" -- Illinois Entertaine

"Luster’s got an inviting rock-on-the-indie-side sound; it’s a pleasing listen, and one easily enjoyed. Live, they’ve got a palpable energy, electric and catchy. Their brand-new release, Run From Dogs, has been on my frequently played list since I got it." -- PLAYBACK:stl

"Slick and accessible catchy pop." -- BabySue

"Heartbreaking balladry." -- WindyCityRockr

"LUSTER has the ability to hook you with their catchy melodies and build up a song to a fever pitch.  After a first listen to Run From Dogs, it’s been on heavy rotation since." -- 5scorepachyderm

"They have traversed the country from ocean to ocean promoting a sound they can call their own." -- The Daily Nebraskan

"Heartfelt vocals, modern intellect and the curious optimism of self-discovery through the love of another – all with a hint of glamorous 70s influence." -- DUclarion.com