Make Moon
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Make Moon

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Dolphin City doesn’t try to be a flashy firecracker band, but instead grabs listeners’ attention in their own way. Made up of Tyler Ellis, Kevin Bleitz, Eric Scullin and Drew Morgan, the young four-piece outfit from Newport Beach, California surprises with a developed, lush sound that bands usually only find after years of playing together.

The band’s newly released album, “Discretion,” has a polished sound that often seems out of reach for independently produced records. With a soft kaleidoscope of bubbling electronica backing a Radiohead-influenced songwriting style, Dolphin City joins the fast-growing experimental-pop genre. Lead singer Eric Scullin’s voice carries each track on “Discretion” a delightful distance into the ether, leaving listeners with a curious desire for more.

The album kicks off with “Old Romance.” As with many of the “Discretion” tracks, “Old Romance” seems to have been the hodge-podge mix of several song ideas strung together. Don’t get the wrong idea, though. The opener track really moves, kicks the stereo in the teeth and says, “Hey, we’re here.”

“Wine and Grapes” is the album’s third track and was once featured on singleoftheday.com. The line “We can’t be contained/ Can’t be controlled” is a pretty solid description of “Discretion” and Dolphin City as a whole. Like the opening track, “Wine and Grapes” moves through several different grooves, and any listeners that don’t bob their head to the refrain “I bet you think you’ve got it made,” might need to get their ears checked.

Scullin calls out “We’re making plans for San Francisco” on the next track, “I Am Love You.” Again, Dolphin City constructs this one with the usual start: a slow groove that Michael Franks could have written if he had effects pedals that eventually turns into a serious fusion jam. It’s songs like these that can give the feeling that if Dolphin City wanted to, they could be a post-modern fusion band. But the band’s growing fan-base is glad they took a different route.

“It Will (Don’t Worry)” is another example of Dolphin City’s unbridled potential to be a completely rock-fusion band. “Lady V” is the closest thing to piano-rock “Discretion” has. That’s a good thing, since nobody listening to this album would really want an Andrew McMahon number anyway, and Dolphin City dutifully avoids the overly poppy cliché.

“Presque Vu” comes in with a gypsy mischief that isn’t found anywhere else in the album. Scullin can be nearly heard smirking when he sings, “I fall asleep at the wheel and hit the gas.” Morgan’s pedal-wizard guitar work on this track is particularly notable.

Dolphin City invites listeners to let the sound seep out of the stereo and not be concerned with categories or labels. In fact, labeling the band would take away some of what makes “Discretion” a great album: A lot of its sounds have not been heard before. It takes something special to cut a record like this without the aid of a major label.

The band has the musicianship, creativity and drive that is standard with any moderately successful group, but the reason they’re making waves while other bands get lost in the fog is that Dolphin City has a spark of nouveau genius, daring to experiment before establishing its own sound. “Discretion” has found a synergy that begs to be loved. - Tufts University


December, I made a little fun of the band name "Dolphin City" while writing about them in a (positive!) Locals Only column. "The name 'Dolphin City' sounds like a Lisa Frank-folder-sporting 8-year-old girl's dream," I wrote. (Not necessarily a bad thing, really.)

Still, that probably doesn't have anything to do with the fact that the band has changed their name to Make Moon. Their MySpace reflects the shift, with their URL now /makemoon and even their album cover changing to the new name. It's like they somehow went back in time and rewrote history so they were never even called Dolphin City!

I've reached out to the band to find out what exactly prompted the name change, so keep reading and all that. - OC Weekly


The name “Dolphin City” sounds like a Lisa Frank-folder-sporting 8-year-old girl’s dream, but thankfully, the Newport Beach band is considerably more mature than that. In fact, with a record titled Discretion, minimalist album art that recalls such highbrow releases as The Decline of British Sea Power, and songs named “I Am Love You” and “Presque Vu,” it’s almost as if they’re pleading, “Take us seriously!” And why not? The music merits as much. Dolphin City cite predictably lofty sources of inspiration (Brian Eno, Talking Heads), but on opener “Old Romance,” they sound more like recent anthemic British band Starsailor; the passionate croons of “I Am Love You” recall fellow Orange County band Cold War Kids. Bouncier tunes “Wine and Grapes” and “It Will (Don’t Worry)” sound a bit out-of-place, given the sterner tone of much of the record (they also have thinner vocals) but hold up well enough on their own. Piano is used skillfully throughout—avoiding the clichés of current piano rock (see OC expat Andrew McMahon’s Jack’s Mannequin), perhaps taking subtle cues from another influence, Tom Waits. The instrument complements rather than overwhelms on tracks such as “Do What is Right,” a passionate paean on, y’know, doing what’s right.Given the area’s preponderance of feather-light surf rock and that so much of current pop seems to almost pride itself on being stupid, the more thoughtful approach of Dolphin City doesn’t feel pretentious. Rather, it’s refreshing. - OC Weekly


Make Moon is a band of guys who know how to follow instructions--going so far as to tell us what they sound like, dropping a CD in the mail, and then following up with an e-mail. Bands everywhere take note: this is how you get a review.

Food for thought.

Thankfully, Make Moon also makes particularly enjoyable music. A solid rock band, their sound is accented with unexpected elements of jazz, psychedelia, new wave and good 'ol fashioned pop.

Their self-titled EP is a slippery thing--just when you think you've got them pegged, just when you begin to worry that they'd be easily pigeon-holed, the music takes an abrupt about-face. "Wine and Grapes" could easily slip into now-defunct The Golden Republic's catalog. "Lady V" interrupts the song for a brief jazz piano interlude that would give the members of Menomena pause. I'm not sure who I have to sweet talk to get these guys on a triple bill with local favorites I Make This Sound and New York New Wavers French Kicks--but dang it, this is the sort of music that makes me want to try. - Would Be Hipster [Blog]


Discography

"EP" - EP - 2009 (LIMITED UK)
AVAILABLE IN CD - ROUGHTRADE RECORDS, SOUND TROLLEY RECORDS - DIGITAL - ITUNES, AMAZON.COM

"DISCRETION" - DEMO - 2008 (LIMITED USA)
AVAILABLE: CD, (OUT OF PRESS)

TV:
FOX Australia - Seven Beers of Separation

US Radio:
{California}
88.9 KUCI
89.9 KCRW
90.7 KALX
101.5 KOCI

UK RADIO:
{LONDON}
98.0 PhoenixFM
1134 ICR Radio AM

Photos

Bio

In Brief:

Make Moon is an experimental-pop band based in Newport Beach, CA.
The sound is unique and features sophisticated songwriting which draws influences from a wide breadth of genres including punk, experimental electronic music, glam, psychedelic, and pop. Make Moon creates environments that are real, melodic, and modern.

Members:

The members of Make Moon are Drew Morgan (Guitar, Vocals), Eric Scullin (Guitar, Piano, Vocals), Tyler Ellis (Bass Guitar), and Kevin Bleitz (Drums and Percussion). The band regularly features auxiliary musicians and visual performance artists Ryan Sorensen, Erica Gibson, and Brian
Brinkerhoff among others. The individual personalities who make up Make Moon are multifaceted and very different from one another but there is a palpable comradery on and off stage.

Formation:

Make Moon was formed in late 2007 by Drew Morgan with childhood friend Tyler Ellis and local musician Eric Scullin. Tyler and Drew previously played together in various punk rock and noise rock bands. About a year after meeting at a show where both their earlier bands played
together, Eric and Drew ran into one another at a local caFe. Kevin Bleitz was introduced to the band by a friend at a party. Soon after becoming a fan, and briefly their manager, Kevin asked for an audition to replace the drummer who had been slated for the project.

Recordings:

Rehearsals and a series of live recording sessions began in January '08 and were experimented with, refined, and developed over the year. These recordings derive their unique sonic texture in part from the 2,400 square foot metal hangar in which the sessions were held. Natural ambient noise such as rain, sirens, dogs barking, trains passing, and other subliminal sounds can be heard at points throughout the recordings. In May 2009, selected songs from these sessions were briefly circulated on a demo featuring the band's working title, Dolphin city, and the cover of each disc reading, "Discretion." Soon after, the band decided to rename itself and release a limited five song EP in the UK appropriately entitled, EP, which became available from makemoonrecords.com, itunes, roughtraderecords.com, and Rough trade Records' two London locations.

FAN-BASE AND LIVE SHOWS:

Make Moon’s live sound and raucous on-stage behavior has built them a strong reputation as a band that should be experienced. Their widely varied and cultish fan-base was initially garnered through performances at film festivals, house parties, college campuses, art-houses, and in the underground-warehouse-party-scene while growing into the mainstream playing venues like the Troubadour in Hollywood as well as appearing on FOX Australia during a prime-time slot. Make Moon recently returned from an independent self-booked, self-funded tour of the UK to deliver its debut EP. London
received the band with open arms and a series of live shows at clubs like the Dublin Castle and Barfly in Camden provided them exposure and the opportunity to make friends with notable figures in the London music scene/industry. Their arresting live performances have a reliable tendency to create fans out of first-time attendees where the blend of sound, music, atmosphere, live
projection, and film art creates a captivating and exciting ambiance.

Next Moves:

Make Moon is planning an international release of a mini album consisting of a different selection of songs from their live sessions with supporting media exposure and international touring. A new full-length is slated to be recorded while the band continues to experiment with other material for following releases. Make Moon is seeking to partner its DIY work ethic and creativity with experienced team members who will support the band in reaching the largest audience possible.

They're music has been called:

"Intelligent and melodic" - Russell Warby, William Morris Agency (London, UK)

"It takes something special to cut a record like this without [a] major label" - Ben Anshutz, Tufts Daily - Tufts University

"Inspiring" - singleoftheday.com

"Stella pop songs" - roughtraderecords.com (UK)

"Refreshing... thoughtful" - Albert Ching, OC Weekly

"Pop music that's outside the box" - Richard Engler, Autonomy/V2/Universal (London, UK)