Midnight Salvage Co.
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Midnight Salvage Co.

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF
Band Rock Folk


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Midnight Salvage Co. is an emerging band in the muddied Americana music scene of the Pacific Northwest; not based in ultra-hip Seattle, but in the metal-soaked scene of Tacoma. Lead singer and songwriter, Brason Alexander’s vocals will either draw you into their music, or immediately drive your hand to the skip button, but their music is worth a second listen (and after all, vocals in music are polarizing by nature). Something about their debut record reminds me of their huge influence of Bruce Springsteen’s The River album, but I also hear an element of what I initially thought might be Lou Reed’s vocal contrast with some of the early Velvet Underground music. After listening to my VU records again, I cannot pinpoint a song and maybe it’s something else entirely, but something is swirling in some of the musical phrases that brings me to that reference. Whatever it is, is what kept me returning to this debut and deciding to listen again.
After a homemade EP, Midnight Salvage Co. knew that their first “real” record needed a studio and the guidance of a trusted producer. They chose Conrad Uno, known for his work with Young Fresh Fellows, Mudhoney, Sonic Youth, and Too Slim and the Taildraggers. Uno guided their sound into a more pointed and selective use of their instrumentation, rather than just having every sound cranked to its fullest. By pulling out different sounds to be featured and letting others be subtly moved to the background, the songs themselves were much more itneresting than the band had originally been able to do on their own. The guys in Midnight Salvage Co. trusted Uno’s expertise to improve what they had already created, without changing their sound or who they are. This partnership led to them tweaking their live shows, for more intertesting ins and outs with solos instead of a cacophony of sound.
While Mignight Salvage Co.’s record is still fresh, the band feels that they grew immensely this year, with some lineup changes and waht they learned in recording. Alexander and crew are already thinking about their next record, having written approximately half of the songs already, and thinking about how to feature instrumentation in a more strategic manner to create a fuller sound, not just din. With an increasing number of dates in the Pacific Northwest, Midnight Salvage Co. is not ready to break out of regional band status, but they are commited to becoming one of the noted bands in their part of the country. - Country Fried Rock.org

The local rock press has at various times described Midnight Salvage Co.’s sound as part E Street Band, part Modern Lovers, and part Bob Dylan, with a little Johnny Cash thrown in for good measure. While it’s true that singer-lyricist Brason Alexander does at time sound eerily like an early Springsteen (and Dylan in all his off-key glory), and drummer Michael Haley’s metronomic power can be decidedly Max Weinbergesque, it might make more sense to say that in this band we witness the evolution of the Tacoma Sound. From the hourly-wage garage beat of The Wailers and The Sonics to the country-punk of Neko Case, Tacoma is a town that knows how to work, and Midnight Salvage Co. is a band that punches the clock on the factory floor of rock ‘n’ roll.

We caught the group’s CD release party at sold-out Jazzbones in Tacoma the first week of April. Sixth Avenue isn’t exactly the Jersey shore, but there’s plenty in this album’s slam and story line that’ll remind you of The Wild, the Innocent & the E-Street Shuffle.

What You Hope For fires off with “Rock & Roll Baby,” with Kiehl’s lead guitar and Lau’s bass making it impossible not to thump your feet, a condition that comes up often with these all-original compositions. Courtney Shelton’s fiddle on “21st Street” is transcendent. Husband Aubrey Shelton’s piano adds a lovely textured layer throughout the album.

MSCo. may evidence a T-Town garage heritage, but the sound quality on this album is a far cry from basement tapes. It was recorded at Egg Studios in Seattle and produced and engineered by Conrad Uno (Sonic Youth, The Presidents of the United States of America, Mudhoney), and there’s a nice separation of the instruments and a deep sound stage.

-Chuck Luce, Arches, Spring 2012
- Arches Magazine

With influences including The Heartbreakers, Pete Yorn, The Hold Steady, and Pearl Jam, one can get a strong sense of what Midnight Salvage Co.'s music is all about. The band consists of Brason Alexander on vocals and guitar, David Easley on bass and vocals, Bryan Kiehl on guitar, and James Marquardt on drums. The group takes pride in their roots across America; Washington, Idaho, California, Arizona and Louisiana, coming across in an Americana form of alternative rock.

Stylistically the vocals of Alexander are reminiscint of Bob Dylan at times, emphasizing the lyrical direction and message as opposed to melody. Usually an acoustic guitar acts as the structure of the tunes, layered with a thick overdriven lead guitar filling in the space with catchy leads and solos, working nicely off the other elements. The rhythm section of Easley and Marquart typically sit back in an understated fashion; relentlessly driving the tempo and feel.

Having recently formed late in 2008, the band is off to a quick start with upcoming shows on April 11th at The New Frontier in Tacoma, and May 16th at the High Dive in Seattle. They plan on releasing their self-titled EP on May 12th, which was recorded entirely by the band. The duties of mixing and mastering were left to Rob Piotrowski. The EP is a collection of 7 tracks "packed with strong hooks and just the right amount of small town charm." Here is a line from the band's biography, "With powerful lyrics that lead the listener down a long, dark, dusty road to either judgement or redemption, the music of MSCo. is full of story telling. However, it’s up to the listener to determine if the truth lies in the boastful exaggerations or the sobering confessions (or maybe somewhere in between….)."

- Seattle Examiner

Laying down roots
by Matt Driscoll
Apr 09, 2009

Sometimes you’ve just got to go with your gut — whether faced with a decision at the bar, buffet or at work. There’s usually a good reason that little voice inside your head is telling you things — especially things like “burn that house down.” Little whispers like that mean you’re crazy.

This week the tiny voice in my head directed me toward The New Frontier Lounge and a band by the name of Midnight Salvage Co. So I went out on a limb and checked out the 4-month-old dusty, wandering and — even though Mark Thomas Deming is going to think significantly less of me for using this term, dare I say — rocking alt-country posse that’s staking a claim in this town.

Saturday, Midnight Salvage Co., along with A Room Called Remember and Lucky Suns, will plug in at The New Frontier in Tacoma, and the unassuming band’s slow climb toward T-town notoriety will trudge forward, one familiar and lonely, open-road guitar solo at a time.

Guided by the musical stewardship of vocalist and guitarist Brason Alexander and guitarist Bryan Kiehl — longtime friends and co-creative forces responsible for the still-developing picture that is Midnight Salvage Co. — the fledgling act is picking up speed and new ears with gigs like the one at The New Frontier on Saturday. The band also plans to release its first, self-produced and self-released EP May 12.

“Bryan and I have been friends for a long time,” explains Alexander, during a conference call that also included his friend and bandmate. “Like anything, we started playing cover songs, it picked up pace, and we started hashing it out a little.

“Then it was, like, let’s see how far we can take this.”

“We’ve always kind of had that same love for music,” adds Kiehl. “And our differences compliment each other.”

Despite the band’s relative anonymity in these early stages, Kiehl and Alexander both consider Tacoma to be fertile grounds for Midnight Salvage Co.’s eventual roots.

“Everywhere we’ve played the response has been really positive,” says Alexander. “It’s a cool time to be a smaller band in Tacoma.”


- Weekly Volcano

Midnight Salvage Co. - What You Hope For

by Kevin Wierzbicki

Midnight Salvage Co. kicks off What You Hope For with "Rock & Roll Baby," a blue collar rocker that at once brings to mind the work of Tom Petty and to a lesser degree Dire Straits. "Every Girl" finds the Tacoma-based quintet turning to a Jersey Shore sound, a little like early Springsteen where Brason Alexander's wise-man-on-the-streets singing style begs for comparison to The Boss. "Los Angeles" on the other hand sounds uncannily like the Counting Crows and Alexander could probably fill in for Adam Duritz if the need arose. About half way through the album though the listener gets comfortable with the band's sound as being their own, just in time to rock out to the outstanding "Nobody Told You," dig Alexander's drawling vocals and the fuzzed-out guitars of "New Dress" and mellow out a bit to perhaps the most emotional piece on the record, the sadness-evoking "21st Street" where violin is used to enhance the song's sense of loss. These are not happy-happy songs; rather they are songs about the slightly dark side of everyday life where Alexander sings like he's resigned to the fact that this is reality but he's not beaten, surely there's a little joy around the corner. There's plenty of room to empathize here if you want to; otherwise just crank it up. Either way this album delivers on its title. - antiMusic.com

Head to Jazzbones this Friday night to catch Tacoma rock/folk band Midnight Salvage Co. launching their debut CD “What You Hope For”, along with guest artists James Coates and China Davis to open.

With all five members Tacoma natives and three out of five graduates of the University of Puget Sound, MSCo is truly a Tacoma band, making a name for itself around the region with a gritty, guitar-heavy rock that’s like a grunged-up Johnny Cash. Since the CD they’ve added in some more lines for violinist Courtney Shelton (whose hubby Aubrey plays keyboards), which softens Brason Alexander’s harsh, slightly-out-of-tune vocals with a Nashville sweetness, such as “21st Street”. They credit influences from Tom Petty, The Hold Steady and Lucinda Williams to Jesse Malin and Lucero.

The release show starts 7:30 p.m. April 6. $6 advance/$8 door. Jazzbones, 2803 6th Ave., Tacoma. 253-396-9169,
- Tacoma News Tribune

by Darrell Fortune / NWCZ Radio

Midnight Salvage Co. is one the classic bands that adds flavor, depth, and variety to the South Sound musical landscape. Their new CD, “What You Hope For,” captures their sound exquisitely.

MSCo.’s brand of rock and roll lies solidly between red dirt Americana and rootsy, country rock. It would be easy to make comparisons to Petty and Dylan and the like, but lead singer Brason Alexander has his own unique, gravelly voice that he uses to paint lyrical pictures of life, love, and loss.

Each song is a snapshot of a place in life most of us have gone through, solidly offering up a full sound that creates the mood and soundtrack to the story.

Lyrically, Midnight Salvage Co. is masterful in telling simple stories, along with depth and conviction that draws you in and holds you tight.

This is an album of diverse sound, which compliments the lyrical prose. From the lonely violin in 21st St. to the driving guitars and pounding drums in Dull Knife, there’s really something for everyone. With Bryan Kiehl on guitar, Michael Haley on drums, Dustin Lau on Bass and Aubrey Shelton on the keyboard, MSCo. can rock you or play a sad song, both with conviction and skill.

Leaning on Conrad Uno at Egg Studio to bring his expertise and experience to this project was a great move. What You Hope For is a solid representation of MSCo. that we’ve been hearing from their live shows around these parts for the last few years. It’s their first release since 2009, and this is the album is definitely worth the wait.

Go ahead, grab yourself a cold one. Stick ‘What You Hope For’ in the player, and experience a band that’ll walk you down a dusty gravel road on a sunny day and remind you of the simple pleasures in life - and rock you right.

Their new release is available on iTunes. - Seattle Music Insider

Artist: Midnight Salvage Co

Title: What You Hope For

Released: April 2012

Label: Self released via CD Baby and iTunes

Format: Digital. CD

Genre: rock, alt rock, folk rock

Produced by legendary guru Conrad Uno (Presidents of the USA, Mudhoney, Young Fresh Fellows, etc…) this album packs one hell of a punch. This is sort of a mix of hard driving rock and folk, something I could drink to by a campfire but also blast while trying to get through traffic.

Some tracks are heavy and harken back to the grunge infused rock of the early 90s while other tracks are on the mellow side, taking on a life of their own. And yet, at times, some tracks lean on classic rock elements, reminding me a little of Tom Petty. That all in mind, it’s hard not to like this album. Sweet guitar workings, piano riffs, occasional harmonica (which I love), folk styled lyrics, wild yet strong vocals and a compelling sound… Seriously, this is something to be heard.

Tracks like “Nobody Told You,” and “Rock & Roll Baby” are real stand outs for me. However, I would have to say “New Dress” is by far my favorite. It’s different from what I’ve heard on here, blending a certain woefulness in using blues, folk and grunge elements. It’s unprecedented but it pulls me in, and before the song is over, I’ve found myself singing along with the chorus.

All in all, this album surprised me. The production is spot on and the music in every respect is as well. The blending of genres and the finely tuned precision of the musical elements is impressive. Fans of the folky side of rock with a heavier edge will enjoy this.

Check out their webpage and purchase the album here!

4.5 out of 5. - Tuningintoobscure.com

Tacoma based five-piece rock crew Midnight Salvage Co. are a beer drinking sort. Their first album, What You Hope For, produced by the veteran ear of Conrad Uno (Young Fresh Fellows, Gashuffer, Fastbacks, Mudhoney), is straight-up beer-drinking, whiskey-shooting heartland rock, a gritty, stripped down rock panorama somewhere between Asbury Park Springsteen and The Hold Steady. Brason Alexander's gravelly, sputtered vocals set the tone for these 10 Friday-night-at-the-bar-hanging-round-the-jukebox blue collar flavored tunes.

Midnight Salvage Co. will release their CD Friday, April 6 with a show starting at 7:30 p.m. at Jazzbones in Tacoma. With China Davis and James Coates.

-Gwendolyn Elliott - Seattle Weekly

"Midnight Salvage Company brings the sort of rock that should still be on the radio. It’s good solid rebel rock with just a bit of asshole" - Jack Cameron - Tacoma Stories

"Midnight Salvage Co. is a band that is rooted deep in American rock and knows how to make you feel good. With songs that beg to be heard as you travel down the highway on a hot sunny day, be sure to stop and see their live show.
Rootsy, gutsy, heartfelt rock. Tacoma loves Midnight Salvage Co. and so will you." - Darrell Fortune - NWCZ Radio

CD REVIEW: Midnight Salvage Co - Midnight Salvage Co EP
By Chip Withrow - 07/20/2009 - 06:05 PM EDT
Artist: Band: Midnight Salvage Co
Album: Midnight Salvage Co EP
Website: http://www.myspace.com/midnightsalvageco
Genre: Americana rock
Sounds Like: Springsteen, Dylan, Clash, Marah
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: Lost Lane, Light Out, Cyclone Fighter
CD Review: The other night, I was having a heck of a time opening the wrap for this CD, so I got out some scissors. In the process of slicing the plastic, I gouged my finger, too. This had better be good for all this trouble, I thought.

Well, Midnight Salvage Co’s EP is a whole lot better than good. It is an operatic and intense blast of rock and roll, calling to mind the punk attitude of the Clash and the Pogues as well as the purposeful, gritty anthems of early Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty.

The opening salvo, “What You Hope For,” careens off the disc. Drummer James Marquart and bassist David Easley rock the bottom end in Ramones-like fashion, while Bryan Kiehl fires off anthemic guitar leads. “Lost Lane” follows, and it is a dose of bittersweet punky folk. Brason Alexander’s impassioned lead vocal is poetic like Hurricane-era Dylan, Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott or, more recently, Marah’s Dave Bielanko.

Marquardt’s thrashing catapults the shout-along “Light Out” into a fist-pumping anthem. “Cyclone Fighter” is a cool change of pace, gritty guitars and spirited harmonica over bouncy doo-wop chord changes.

“Dope Man” is an urgent, string-shredding tour de force, and the closing “#7” thunders Soundgarden duking it out with Neil Young and Crazy Horse.

I wish I had a lyric sheet to go along with this release, because the snippets I can pick up in songs such as “Bloodwine Battleship” reveal cinematic images. Maybe I’ll get those words on the full-length album these guys must make. - Muse's Muse


What You Hope For (2012)



Formed in Tacoma, Washington, Midnight Salvage Co. (MSCo.) has been steadily building a following all over the Northwest with their high energy live performances. Playing venues from Seattle to Missoula (and everywhere in between), MSCo. continues to impress with their brand of timeless rock & roll – part E Street Band, part Johnny Cash, mixed with just the right amount of The Hold Steady.

After a series of late night acoustic guitar jams back in 2008, Brason Alexander (Vocals/Guitar) and Bryan Kiehl (Guitar) began ditching the Wilco and Tom Petty cover songs and started writing original music. Once seven or eight songs had been penned and after a couple of open mic performances, Alexander and Kiehl began looking for bandmates. In Aubrey Shelton (Piano), Dustin Lau (Bass), and Michael Haley (Drums), they were lucky enough to find guys who shared a similar rock and roll vision.

As the band has grown, so has the song writing. The additions of Shelton, Lau and Haley have moved the band's music in to an exciting new direction. What was once a two man writing partnership is now a complete five person collaboration. You can definitely hear all of the individual contributions being made.

Recorded at the legendary Egg Studios in Seattle, WA with Conrad Uno (Sonic Youth, Presidents of the United States of America, Mudhoney), Midnight Salvage Co.’s much anticipated debut album is slated for a spring 2012 release.