Nothing Rhymes with Orange
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Nothing Rhymes with Orange

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The best kept secret in music


"They want nothing to do with restrictive labels"

Nothing Rhymes with Orange is a homegrown band whose sound is anything but South Florida.

Though they've never hawked spit at each other on stage like the famously vicious Oasis brothers, Rich Coccaro and Carl Almasy have been known to exchange a few choice expletives in front of fans.

''I'll tell him to get off his [butt] and he'll tell me to shut up between songs,'' says Almasy, brushing aside his dark mod bangs and crisscrossing his black cowboy boots. ``But there isn't a better songwriting duo out there. He's my other half artistically.''

The siblings, who grew up in Fort Lauderdale, could come at each other with hack saws if they wanted. Latin-obsessed, techno-humping Miami is a one-trick city, many complain, so any act without a deejay in its name gets automatic credit for taking a risk.

It's just fortunate that garage rockers Nothing Rhymes with Orange actually have some talent. And they've made it a point to distance themselves from the land of oranges, by copping a London/New York indie sound that's a cross between Jet and Blur.

''We never wanted to see ourselves as the alternative band,'' Coccaro says. ``We do our thing and if that makes us the indie guys -- whatever you want to call us -- then we'll take it.''

After several years of playing South Florida's few live music venues -- Tobacco Road, Churchill's, Fort Lauderdale's Culture Room -- the brothers, drummer Zack Eldridge, and bass player Travis Rosen, could finally be on the cusp of a record deal.

This fall they'll record new tracks with a producer pre-approved by Atlantic Records. If the suits like what emerges, they could offer a contract.

And it is a good time to bet on a band like Nothing Rhymes with Orange. They've proven they can play in the big leagues by opening for the Raveonettes and John Mayer. And similar-sounding mod hipsters like Jet and the Killers have shown it's possible to break the Kelly Clarkson sound barrier on the Billboard Top 10.

For the brothers, graduating from local indie outfit couldn't come sooner. Both are in their late 20s, a fact they don't like to discuss.

After two albums -- Soho and Polite Gothic -- the siblings have held unflinchingly to the belief that they deserve rock accolades. They've survived more member turnover than Menudo, spent their own dime on albums and national touring, and been whiplashed by the local alternative weekly critic for being too alternative and too pop. How's that for a hometown thank you?

''I can't figure it out,'' Almasy says. ``We've just been writing forever. Whatever style has come out of that, I'm not sure we've tried to consciously steer it.''

Coccaro got his first guitar at 9, and holed up in his bedroom playing it for days on end. In their teens and obsessed with U2 and the Police, the brothers tried to imitate their idols on a very rough demo tape. They managed to sell several hundred copies to friends.

''We were trying so hard to sound like Bono,'' Coccaro laughs. ``We took ourselves pretty seriously.''

By their late teens, they were part of Exit. The garage rock outfit eroded when various members bailed to pursue milder ambitions like college. Coccaro and Almasy staved off college -- Coccaro is still taking classes; Almasy graduated with a communications degree from Florida International University and now teaches literature at a West Palm middle school.

The day job has informed one of Almasy's latest songs, Billy the Kid, an enduring observation of a teenager who is equal parts snot and insecurity.

A singer of impressive range who can swiftly swoop from a falsetto to tenor, Almasy is a different personality on each song. The good news is he can sound and brood like INXS's Michael Hutchence. The bad news is that he can get a bit too high on himself, coming off like Jim Morrison or Neil Diamond.

Almasy's best attribute is his writing. He's not polluting the world with more ''it cuts like a knife'' lyrics. A fan of Edgar Allan Poe, his lyrics are heavy with internal rhyme and bounceably catchy. He's at his best when he lets his Tim Burton side show with indecipherable metaphors.

Consider, for example, Technicolor off Polite Gothic. 'Take the time in London city/ that could have been my last day/ back in time/ in Technicolor/ Look at us the `Modern Crusaders'/ giant jaws like two alligators/ we served it up like Manhattan waiters.''

Nothing Rhymes with Orange's lyrics are available on their website, With a navigation bar that looks like a map for New York's subway and London's underground, the site stresses that this is a band that either doesn't need or doesn't want to tout its hometown roots.

And for potential fans, that may make Nothing Rhymes with Orange all the more appealing. - Ashley Fantz - The Miami Herald

"Polite Gothic by Nothing Rhymes With Orange"

Polite Gothic
by Nothing Rhymes With Orange:

You gotta love any album that includes a song titled “Absinthe Minded”. Nice job, guys.

(Live Review)
Talented lead singer Carl "Almasy" Coccaro displayed a working knowledge of all the proper frontman maneuvers, pointing toward audience members in time with the drumbeats, swinging his mike around by the cord, prancing precariously on the edge of the stage and so on. But more important, NRWO's moment may have arrived. The band has that sound that's all the rage right now, what with acts such as The Killers and Interpol getting so much press. When I first listened to NRWO's latest album, Polite Gothic, I heard a heavy Cure influence, but the band's live show proved much more varied and far catchier. With a whole lot of luck, NRWO will blow up while the wind still blows in its direction. It closed its act with two standout numbers, "Absinthe Minded" and "Trainspotting."

Dan Sweeney, City Link - Dan Sweeney - Sun Sentinel (City Link Magazine)

"Polite Gothic"

Nothing Rhymes With Orange have always delivered music of a faraway dreamlike escape. From style to sound to attitude – there has never been anything Average Joe about these guys. They capture an untouchable, larger-than-life rock-star aura.

With their third LP, Polite Gothic, NRWO stretch and distort the familiar dimensions of their sound into something even bigger. The title captures the yin and yang of this work: Polite because it’s approachable, passionate pop-rock bliss; Gothic because it’s mysterious, evocative and enthralling.

From the first track, “Absinthe Minded,” we’re transported to not just Paris, but somewhere else in time – and this is the band’s specialty. They They create the romantic illusion of timelessness – ancient drama with futuristic contemplations. While the lyrics are provocative poetry, you need not be Shakespeare to appreciate the addictive guitar riffs and dynamic crescendos.

“Sell Out” sounds like it could have been swiped from U2’s “Vertigo” (But that just isn’t so, considering NRWO have been playing “Sell Out” live for at least two years). This U2-resemblance is the level of bold power to expect from Polite Gothic. Other standout tracks like “Better Than Me” and “Intellectual Thief” have been set-list favorites, and finally get their turn on a disc. These album versions are loaded with the same depth and energy of their live experience.

On the final track, “Fly Like a Ghost”, leadman Carl Almasy Coccaro references a “mental oasis”. With Polite Gothic, that is exactly what we find.

- Monica Cady, RAG Magazine - Monica Candy - RAG Magazine

"Nothing Rhymes with Orange"

Although blood brothers will be eternally infamous for numerous disagreements and quarrels (just think of Biblical legends Cain and Abel or Oasis' feuding Noel and Liam Gallagher), siblings Carl (vocals) and Rich Coccaro (guitar)...might live up to that theory. The melodic band has developed a tight sound laced with poetic lyrics that takes into account childhood influences such as U2, The Church, The Cure, etc. Recorded at Cowtown Studios in Ft. Lauderdale, Polite Gothic has received airplay on Radio2XS in Sheffield, England. In addition to numerous benefit concerts, and a number of shows from UM in Miami to UF in Gainesville, NRWO has supported a variety of National Recording Artists such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Matchbox 20, John Mayer and The Raveonettes. - Brian Hyman. New Times


Nothing Rhymes with Orange. Really. For the Fort Lauderdale-based band, founded by brothers Carl and Rich Coccaro, Nothing Rhymes with Orange is about finding a place in the music universe. With their new release, that search might be over. Called Polite Gothic, the CD is a darkly penned album where new wave meets arena rock, sucking in the influences of U2 and other '80s rock monsters. And, following in U2's footsteps, the band plays the political and social card; the title track ''Polite Gothic'' and ''Intellectual Thief'' both feel like a veiled criticism of the political minefield that plagues us in the U.S. Though at times too lyrically self-indulgent, Polite Gothic is NRWO's honest take on a world and an industry that can overwhelm us all. - RENE ALVAREZ - Miami Street Weekly

"Subtropical Spin"

One of the worst crimes a local band can commit is to sound "too local." After a listen to Nothing Rhymes with Orange's latest effort, Polite Gothic, it's clear the band doesn't need to be concerned about that particular offense. The album has more of a European (synths, dark lyrics, etc.) sound. Most notably, the lyrics sound as if they came from across the pond -- they read more like a poetry major's journal than the wall of a men's room. Check out this line from "Trainspotting": "Meet me for a bevy or a sweet Nescafé/We'll trip our way into a more exciting country/Then we'll go trainspotting/Trainspotting." Nothing more poetic than Nescafé.

As for the music backing the lyrics, the swells and fades are all there, and the production is quite slick. "Sell Out," with its resemblance to Stone Temple Pilots' "Sex Type Thing," is the most straight-up rock number. But NRWO uses so much reverb, it really makes you want to hear how great the band would sound without it -- like pulling the extra-large hoodie off a girl who may or may not be a hot babe. Maybe we'll have to wait for Nothing Rhymes with Orange to make its way onto an MTV Unplugged special to find out.
- Maggie-Margret / New Times


Miami band Nothing Rhymes With Orange is touring the East Coast (played at clubs in Atlanta this week); has opened for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Psychedelic Furs and John Mayer, and just released its fourth CD, Polite Gothic.

The quartet's diverse influences range from American (REM) to British (Radiohead) to Australian (INXS), but the prevailing feel is that of Irish pop stars U2. Polite Gothic is thusly divided into early U2 (the hungry, inventive rock band) and the pseudo-techno act of more recent vintage (which released a CD titled Pop, with its hit song Discotheque).

Brothers Carl Coccaro (vocals) and Rich Coccaro (guitars, keyboards) lead bassist Travis Rosen and drummer Zack Eldridge play through acid-penned rockers (Sell Out, Intellectual Thief) that are probably raucous when performed live. Conversely, flaccid pop tunes like Better Than Me and Trainspotting sound influenced more by the forgettable bands Nothing Rhymes With Orange has opened for, like Sugar Ray and Sister Hazel.

Near disc's end, the group nears the last stellar U2 album, 1991's Achtung Baby, through mod-rock tracks like The Super Pill. But the closing number, Don't Fly Like a Ghost, nears retro-1980s dance music. To U2's credit, it never sounded like a band from the MTV decade, even though it rose to stardom right in the thick of it. If Nothing Rhymes With Orange is as good a live act as U2, it's talent will carry the band through where it counts — on stage.
- Bill Meredith / Palm Beach Post


Soho (11/2000)
Under A Spell (2/2002)
Polite Gothic (9/2004)
Hello Mysterious (4/2006)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Coccaro brothers, Carl Almasy on vocals and Rich on guitar, have always had a knack for writing great music. Growing up on a regimen of mostly UK influences, Rich, a self-proclaimed introvert, was introduced to the guitar by a dear friend who suffered a tragic accident that took his life at an early age. Conversely, Carl always taunted his counterpart by crooning to the tune of modernists like The Church and Echo And The Bunnymen.

However, it would not be until years later that the feuding brothers would make amends to join with friend of Almasy, Travis Rosen on bass.

A Miami transient from Delaware by the name of Zack Eldridge permanently filled a revolving drum seat, locking in instantly with the unlikely trio.

Nothing Rhymes With Orange’s first release, Soho, was a collection of infectious tunes that introduced the group to the eclectic South Florida music scene. Their catchy melodies and foreign sound began turning heads of avid music fans who clamored for something different than the local music scene had to offer...songs.

Now writing enough music to debut one or two new songs at each show, the group eleased an EP, Under a Spell, to showcase some of the new material.
The CD sold quickly and they soon began collaborating and recording selected tracks from their roster with the likes of Grammy winning producers, Charles Dye and Bob Rosa.

Released independently in 2004, Polite Gothic took the group to a national audience by virtue of college radio. The CD achieved medium to heavy rotation and charted in various markets during the year of 2005. Armed with Carl’s on-stage charisma and wicked sense of humor coupled with Rich’s larger than life guitar-scapes, the group hit key U.S. cities where a new audience began to take hold.

2006 Rings in the release of the group’s newest work, Hello Mysterious. Eleven rich tracks that are a signature of what has been referred to as the Nothing Rhymes With Orange “sound”. Their cross-over appeal has garnered the group bills supporting contemporary heavyweights such as Matchbox 20, Red Hot Chili Peppers and John Mayer to cutting-edge modernists like Ravonettes and Louis XIV; all the while converting unsuspecting listeners into loyal fans.