pale blue dot
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pale blue dot

Charlottesville, Virginia, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2016 | INDIE

Charlottesville, Virginia, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2016
Band Rock Alternative





This modern rock group comes to us from Charlottesville, Virginia, but let us not hold that against them. This six-song EP has nothing in common with the jam-bandy tendencies of the Dave Matthews Band, and Tony LaRocco‘s vocals don’t give me the shingles. The songs fall halfway between meat ‘n’ potatoes rock and a kind of soaring, impassioned, uptempo rock. The songs are mostly built around LaRocco’s vocals and some tasty melodic lines, but every now and then, the band hits the metaphorical gas pedal and rocks out just a bit more. Let’s see what they do with a full-length. - hundred word reviews

"Pale Blue Dot - Anatomy (Rockfish Music)"

20 June 2018
by Cody Conard
Anatomy, the long-awaited new album from Charlottesville’s Pale Blue Dot, follows through on many of the promises made with the band’s debut EP, Telescopes. With clear influences from Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters, there is a heaviness of conscience that bubbles close to the surface, and it stems from the fact that the band lives in an area which lately has been famous to the rest of the country for its plague of white nationalism. Singer and songwriter Tony LaRocco addresses this and his own concerns for the future of the country in many of the songs, but his is not an entirely pessimistic viewpoint. In fact, one is electrified after listening to the album with a distinct feeling of hope.

Chief among them, “Only Love” is specifically an anthem for optimism and the prospect of affecting change. LaRocco augments this as well with songs like “Stained Glass Window” that are more personal and about his love for the people in his own life. It’s this pathos which grounds the entirety of Anatomy, and it gives his voice a further credibility when he approaches more societal and political issues as on “Yesterday’s News.” Many asked what kind of music would come out of the Trump era, and without a doubt Anatomy is an injection of compassion which we so desperately need. - The Big Takeover

"Pale Blue Dot makes the unknown beautiful"

Pale Blue Dot makes the unknown beautiful

Dan Goff
8/01/18 at 6:00 AM
Ever since he was a kid, Tony LaRocco has been enamored with cosmos—both the Carl Sagan show and the concept powering it, seeing the universe as a “well-ordered whole.” It’s an obsession that permeates his musical life, from lyrics to sound choices to the name of his band, Pale Blue Dot, a reference to a 1990 photo of Earth taken by a space probe.

LaRocco and his mother bonded over their love of the final frontier. “She raised me on the old Carl Sagan videotapes,” he says. “We plowed through a big box set. When The Daily Progress ran the pale blue dot story, my mom cut out the picture and stuck it to our fridge. It’s something that’s always been very poignant to our family.”

Though LaRocco founded Pale Blue Dot, he calls it a “socialist” group in which every member has equal say. Drummer Darby Wootten and bassist Drew Pompano huddle with LaRocco around a tiny table at C’ville Coffee. Guitarist Peter Balogh is absent, but there wouldn’t have been room for him anyway. The tight setting feels even more intimate thanks to LaRocco’s sudden, infectious laugh, and his passion when talking about his music.

Just a few years ago, LaRocco thought he was done with writing and recording. In 2011 Charlottesville, he says there wasn’t an audience for his type of music. “Rock was dead, and I was still writing these rockish tunes.” But then, creative inspiration struck in the way it often does, without source, explanation or timing, and LaRocco got back to making music.

As is the case with many bands, the guys who make up Pale Blue Dot all have separate day jobs. LaRocco and Pompano are music teachers, while Wootten works at several local businesses. Balogh is a stem cell researcher.

This level of maturity is reflected in the band’s music. Its most recent album, Anatomy, released in May, is a tour de force with lyrics centering around turmoil and stress, both personal and political, and powered by a clean style of rock rarely heard in modern music. Cosmology is at its center, giving the LP a timeless, existential twist that’s both uncomfortable and somehow comforting.

As with many bands based in Charlottesville, PBD spends time contemplating August 11 and 12, and the group’s impressively uplifting single, “Only Love,” takes a direct look at the topic. LaRocco attributes the hopeful mood to Yolonda Jones, a local photographer, musician and activist (described by LaRocco as the “bee’s knees”), who provides some of the vocals and influenced the songwriting.

LaRocco says that a few of the original words were “get out of my town and don’t come back,” but Jones found the message too aggressive. “So I asked her what she would want to do and she said she would want to talk to them. I said, ‘Come on inside and let’s find a path?’ Boom. Perfect.”

Other tracks on Anatomy are political on a larger scale, with the moody, guitar-heavy “Stained Glass Window” referring to the 2016 election, and “Yesterday’s News” in direct response to the rise of fake news.

As for the sound of the album itself, Pompano explains that the songs were recorded in three different studios—in Nashville, Washington, D.C., and Nelson County—and that this resulted in a distinct sound for each set of songs, attributing “emotionally draining tunes,” “angsty” ones and “pensive, technically ambitious” songs to each respective studio.

Wootten emphasizes that songs can change from day to day, defining it as a strength. “In the recording studio, we just make a picture of that song at that moment,” he says. “The songs will warp down the road.”

While LaRocco stresses that Pale Blue Dot isn’t a political or protest band, he acknowledges that some of the songs on Anatomy skirt these themes—he even admits that the style of the band’s music is tailored to these ideas. “I don’t feel like you can get angry and scream at someone like Donald Trump without an overdriven guitar and drums,” he says. “I love Joan Baez and I love Bob Dylan, but I don’t think an acoustic guitar has the same effect. Sometimes, you just gotta yell.” - C-ville weekly

"Pale Blue Dot Touches On Issues That Hit Charlottesville With “Anatomy”"

Orella Chichester
Alternative rock band Pale Blue Dot recently released their latest album “Anatomy” and it’s astounding to the say the least.

The sounds and styles of the album are not only effortlessly dynamic but also address important current events issues.

Front person Tony LaRocco drew inspiration for the band’s new album from his role as a father, husband, and resident of Charlottesville, Virginia.

During the summer of 2017, Charlottesville, Virginia was terrorized by white nationalists during a racist and violent rally.

In the midst of racism and hatred, LaRocco found the motivation and inspiration to create and spread positivity through the band’s music.

Although each song on the nine-track album is unique, they all send an important message of hope, unity, and love in a time of chaos and divisiveness.

In an effort to expand their creative and musical horizons, the Charlottesville based band went all the way to Blackbird Studios in Nashville and Bias Studios in Washington, D.C. to produce some of the tracks on the album.

The innovative rhythmic and lyrical talent of the group is echoed throughout each song on the album. - Audible Addixion

"Pale Blue Dot’s Anatomy Is Monster Of An Album For Pearl Jam And Hall & Oates Fans"

Pale Blue Dot’s Anatomy Is Monster Of An Album For Pearl Jam And Hall & Oates Fans
By Joe Hughes - Jun 14, 2018 0
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Hailing from Charlottesville, Virginia, comes Pale Blue Dot. And good god almighty do they make an impression. Homing in on a refreshing, in your face blend of classic alternative rock of the 90’s mixed with swift guitar work and some bombastic drumming to boot, Pale Blue Dot just may be your new favorite band.

The band’s latest offering, Anatomy contains nine tracks that burrow their way deep into your subconscious with their aggitatingly infectious brand of rock. “Only Love”, the second track off the album contains an insanely exciting, upbeat rhythm reminiscent of classic pop rock legends Hall & Oates. The song takes a number of unexpected left turns with occasional horns setting the mood along with the poeticly driven lyrics carrying you along for the ride. “Dust and Light” is the kind of guttural, down and dirty rock song fans of straight up 90’s rock will not only appreciate but find themselves going back to over and over. The simple yet effective snare- fantastic. Well done.

The instrumentation and unexpected bursts of utter pop-bliss take Pale Blue Dot from run of the mill rockers to a truly unique musical juggernaut. The jeckyl and hide approach of “Yesterday’s News” kicks absolute ass. Talk about kicking in into the next gear, my god. The song literally made me jump out of my chair when it kicked into its epic final act. Not only is that the best song on a stacked album, it’s one of the best songs I’ve heard in 2018.

Anatomy shows Pale Blue Dot in full control of their artistic and creative mission- hellbent on rock and roll domination without sacrificing their integrity to fit into a predefined mold of what others may think rock should sound like nowadays. An easy task it is not- but Pale Blue Dot stand proud to the fact that they have produced an absolute monster of an album. Fans of Foo Fighters or Pearl Jam- or actually, just fans of good music, you gotta check these guys out! - Alternative Nation

"Pale Blue Dot hone in on a solid sound for ‘Anatomy’ LP"

On their new studio album, Anatomy, Virginia rockers Pale Blue Dot have channeled only the best in Americana and grunge rock to craft a solid, nine-track full-length packed with raw soul and accessible familiarity.

Fans of everything from The National to Pearl Jam will find moments of comfort in Anatomy as frontman Tony LaRocco’s vocals soar over driving rock efforts nuanced with dynamic instrumentals and a variety of directions that keep the album interesting. A track like “Only Love,” which features horns and a perfect guest vocal accompaniment, is a great example of what this band is capable of in terms of pushing their own boundaries and expanding their sound — something they’ve done wonderfully since 2016’s Telescopes EP. - Substream Magazine


Still working on that hot first release.



Pale Blue Dot is the brainchild of Charlottesville, Virginia native Tony LaRocco, who has assembled a group of musicians committed to exploring the possibilities presented by his songwriting. Left turns abound in the band’s approach to arranging, which invokes the members’ influences, ranging from progressive rock to bebop jazz. Pale Blue Dot is an emergent entity founded on robust, educated, and communicative musicianship. But first and foremost, the ensemble is steadfast in its focus on the power of LaRocco’s songwriting.

Inspired to push his craft after the success of Pale Blue Dot’s 2016 debut EP, Telescopes, LaRocco penned a new set of tunes that reflect his inner growth as a father and husband, as well as a citizen horrified by the recent emboldening of hate and corruption around his country…and the world over. Especially as a member of the tight-knit arts community in white nationalist-terrorized Charlottesville, LaRocco’s latest compositions express grief and anger, but a call for hope soars through the band’s interpretations. 

Recording for Pale Blue Dot’s upcoming studio release began in the summer of 2017 at Monkeyclaus Studios, a space forged from sustainable materials in the picturesque shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains. With local producer Dave Stipe (Crystal Phonic alumnus, Travis Elliott, Lord Nelson) at the console, Pale Blue Dot made Monkeyclaus its home, and went to work bringing life LaRocco’s most intimate collection of songs yet. 

Recognizing the need to break out of comfort zones, the band has also been tracking at Blackbird Studios in Nashville and Bias Studios in Washington, D.C. In these illustrious spaces, an invigorated Pale Blue Dot is developing each song from the inside out, as a united group of deep listeners who left their egos at the door. Now in its final stages of production, the recordings demonstrate new possibilities for the rock band format, all without losing sight of the emotionally dense songs at the core of the band’s sound.

The alumni of Pale Blue Dot’s development have included several of Charlottesville’s most creative musicians. The current lineup consists of LaRocco on vocals and guitar, along with Charlottesville scene haunts Peter Balogh (Congenial Crime) on guitar, Will Reed Thomas (Will Thomas Band) on guitar, Drew Pompano (Jenny Dragon), and Darby Wootten (Tyler Dick Band) on drums. Another local luminary, Johnny Stubblefield (Parachute) provided drums and percussion throughout the recent recording sessions. Guest musicians include keyboardist Butch Taylor, guitarist Sam Wilson, and John D’Earth.

Stay tuned for updates on gigs and the Spring 2018 release of Pale Blue Dot’s highly anticipated new studio LP. 

Band Members