Paper Route
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Paper Route

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | MAJOR

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | MAJOR
Band Rock Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"4 to Watch: Paper Route Electro-fying Nashville"

Stereotypical early-morning Nashville: Music Row marquees slowly flicker out as Western-shirt-wearing troubadours carry battered Martins down side streets as the last echoes of steel guitar dissipate into the fading night. But there’s another side to Music City, a side where Chad Howat battles insomnia with his laptop and programmed beats.

The sound of Howat’s semi-electronic trio, Paper Route , is caught between the tired excesses of this saturated music town and a sleep that just won’t come. Think of a less computerized Postal Service—more organic, fewer ones and zeroes. The members of Paper Route moved to Nashville from the Midwest as part of a more traditional rock band, but when that group dissolved, there was a desire for something new. “I was depressed because I wasn’t playing music,” Howat says, “so I bought a laptop, and I had fallen in love with Björk at the time, and wanted to get into the production side.”

Excited by the new music he was working on, he called former bandmates JT Daly and Andy Smith to put together songs for a project, which resulted in Paper Route’s self-titled EP. The record’s six tracks create a mood more reminiscent of the band’s Midwestern roots than its current Tennessee home; more snow falling on a sprawling landscape than rote twang.

Some lyrics reference cold and lonely winters and some just reflect the cold and the lonely. The starkness in these songs is striking; the hurt palpable—electronic or not. “We try to write songs that could stand on their own on piano and guitar,” Howat says, “but we also like to have it where you can listen to the music on its own, too.”

Hometown: Nashville, Tenn.

Members [L-R]: JT Daly (vocals, keyboards, drums/percussion); Andy Smith: (vocals, guitars, harmonica); Chad Howat: (programming, piano, bass)

Fun Fact: Howat posed as a Belmont University student so he could sneak into the school’s music labs to record piano parts for the group’s self-titled EP.

Why They’re Worth Watching: The group produces a refreshing mix of the organic and the electronic, with quality songwriting to match.

For Fans Of: The Postal Service , Air, The Album Leaf - Paste Magazine

"New Artist Profile: Paper Route"

There's something in the water in Nashville, TN. Whether Gavin McDonald from the electronica band called Paper Route, seems to agree with me is another story, though. Safety Suit and Kings of Leon are two other bands sprouting up from there as of late and most recently. Could this be the new "Seattle"? Maybe. Nashville has always been a music town, though.

Paper Route, who has been around the rock scene since 2004, is steadily getting their stuff together. After releasing several EPs, the band released their first ever major label debut called, Absence. Touring relentlessly is one key to get your name out there, but having being compared to a little band like Snow Patrol, could easily be a safe bet too. talked to drummer Gavin McDonald and he had this to say.

What's going on with the Nashville scene these days?
I would just say Nashville has a great music scene. It's just finally coming to the surface. As far as alternative bands, though, there's really a handful. It's starting to show now.

I can't help but make the Snow Patrol comparison when I listen to Paper Route. Is that a band you look up to?
There is a brit-rock influence, but to be honest Snow Patrol is not a band I listened to. We grew up on a lot of Oasis and the Verve.
Absence is your major label debut.
It's been a long time coming. It took a lot of work on it and we're very proud of it. Universal came around and they liked it.

One Tree Hill featured some of your songs as well.
I don't think it hurt that they featured our songs, but then again anything to get the word out there definitely works.

You will be playing Buffalo, NY Friday July 10. Any thoughts on Buffalo, NY?
We have been to Buffalo twice now---I'm looking forward to when it's warm. Every time we played there, it really hasn't been, so we can actually walk around and see it. -

"Paper Route plugs 'Absence' on road trip"

Synth-pop act Paper Route [ tickets ] has mapped a busy July on the road supporting the band's debut full-length album, "Absence," which surfaced in April.
The tour gets underway with a July 4 appearance at the 80/35 Music Festival in Des Moines, IA, before moving on to the trek's first headlining show, July 6 in Newport, KY. The 22-city outing concludes July 27 in Salt Lake City, UT. Dates are below.

"Absence," which hit stores April 28, is the band's major-label debut following a trio of EPs, including last year's digital-only "A Thrill of Hope." Several songs from the set can be heard streaming at the band's MySpace page.
"We produced it ourselves because the production is so much of our sound," singer/keyboardist JT Daly told LiveDaily. "The songwriting process is kind of the production. We try and a lot of times the sound is what we end up writing everything around. That is the production. It kind of just happened naturally for us. It's not even really something that we think about. It just happens."

The band--which features Daly, Chad Howat (bass, piano), Andy Smith (vocals, guitar), and Gavin McDonald (drums)--formed in Nashville in 2004. The group has toured with Paramore and Copeland, among others, and a pair of the band's songs--"Life is Short" and "Cryin' Won't Help You"--were featured on the CW Network TV show "One Tree Hill" last year. -

"Absence Album Review"

‘Absence’ is an album that begs to be turned up and felt rather than just merely “heard”. The crunchy guitars and layered percussion demand that you be swept away in the music with the vocals filling the final piece in a puzzle that fits intricately together. ‘Absence’ is a huge step for the band giving them a presence in the mainstream, which in my option is, where they should be.

Paper Route is able to stand on their own and shouldn’t be cast in other band’s shadows but they do possess similar qualities to other huge successes such as Athlete, Coldplay, Mute Math and (only vaguely, but still mentionable) The Killers. Mostly consisting of heart pounding beats which is still deeply rooted in rock ‘n roll, Paper Route makes little reference to the past with the exception of Aerosmith-esque familiarity in “Lovers’ Anthem”.

“Last Time” is a track which busts out a digital distortion/static of sorts during its bridge marking the bands overall direction. “Gutter” mirrors, or rather, exploits the thick encompassing distortion and rawness making it a signature sound. Often the electronic programing on the songs help the ‘daydream effect’ which is creates a whirlwind of sound.

“Dance On Our Graves” is two distinctive songs, connected by the lyrics which describe being held captive by the flesh but still hoping for a better day. Echoed throughout the entire album but actually spoken in “Are We All Forgotten” the line “I still believe that change can happen, though it’s hard and it happens slowly” pretty much sums up what ‘Absence’ is about lyrically. The song which was redone for this album is still relevant since the band introduced it on an EP back in 2006 and fits strangely well in the current context. - The Album

"Absence Album Review"

The lushness and sprawl of Coldplay, the experimental electronica of later period Radiohead and the neo-nu wave of The Postal Service is adequately reinterpreted by Nashville's Paper Route on Absence, their major label debut. Paper Route represent the new crest of college rock, which saw its zenith in the 1990s, but a band like Paper Route reminds musicologists of the period when indie bands were the norm more often than the exception.

The richness of Absence cannot be underscored. Simple rock n' roll isn't what Paper Route is looking to achieve. The band invites the listener to sift through a multitude of ambient layers and sounds, all of which congeal in a dense yet gorgeous selection of songs. It’s all kicked off by “Enemy Among Us,” which is dangerously dream haunting. There’s somewhat of a somber tone and mood on Absence, and it's as though the band was reared in the gray industrial towns deep in England and inspired by a bleak environment. While Nashville is the very capitol of Americana and country music, not much of that influence is detectable on Absence; but it's not like Paper Route are betraying their roots. There's no rule that says bands from Nashville need to dabble solely in country.

Rather, there’s an appreciation for Brit pop and Brit rock, along with an appreciation for fertile instrumentation and sample-driven extras. Texture is the keyset of key elements on “Wish,” the stunning “Carousel” and “Tiger Teeth,” all of which you could cycle through forty times and still walk away discovering something you hadn't noticed or quite comprehended the previous thirty nine times. It’s a constantly renewable source of sonic enjoyment and there’s so many parts on Absence that it begs an unanswerable question: How the hell do Paper Route remember how to play these songs live? There’s that much occurring on the space of the record, but it’s so neatly packaged that you’ll never become lost in the maze of melodic opulence.

Absence is painfully pretty, tugging at those oh-so-delicate heart strings with strong fingers. There’s a ripple of gentle heartache that comes and goes throughout the album.

— Amy Sciarretto
04.29.09 - Artist

"Paper Route - Artist Profile"

There's little twang in the beautiful electro atmospheres of this Nashville three-piece.

In our DIY age of homegrown talent, Paper Route has, in a mere two years, emerged from their living room studio to create a sound that has much of Nashville buzzing with anticipation for their first LP and an upcoming spring tour.

With their inspirations firmly woven into their sleeves—think Björk meeting Massive Attack on an Mbox—the trio (JT Daly, Chad Howat, Andy Smith) has emerged from near-obscurity to create songs that flood with electronics, emotions, and regular bouts with insomnia. Each track's cavernous layering begs for repeated listens due to the precise sampling and heartfelt inspirations that hide and reappear upon each playback. "It usually begins with something that one of us has turned in and the rest of us sense some magic or mystery to it," says Daly of their songwriting process. "We listen, we daydream, we deconstruct and reconstruct things until we've found a moment. It's a long process, but in the end it's something that none of us could have done on our own. That's the best part about being in a band."

Even though their newest album remains incomplete, one can visit their MySpace page and taste the ’80s synths, haunting melodies, and heartfelt lyricism that have much of the Nashville music community stirring in their boots. Heavy topics run rampant throughout their productions. It's earnest but not overbearing, soaring but grounded, majestic but manageable. The compositions are in a word: divine. "Almost all the songs on the new album are about either love or God," admits Daly. "It's thematically a very resilient album for us. Where we started out singing of failed relationships, falling in and out of love, and spiritual unrest, the most recent songs carry much hope."

Tracks like "Are We All Forgotten" and "Enemy Among Us" swirl with shadows of disappointment illuminated with the hope found in Howat's thick programming and Daly's ascending vocals. The obvious standout, however, may be the near-ethereal "Carousel," which builds with digital grandeur to a soaring finale of epic proportions.

Despite their unquestionable talents, what really separates Paper Route from the rest of the DIY chaff is a commitment to their craft and their willingness to dump anything hindering the integrity of their music. "Nothing is sacred in our writing process, " admits Smith. "We will abandon anything that is not the best we can offer."

ADAM SHERRETT - Nylon Magazine

"Breaking:Paper Route"

Who: Electro-rock quartet Paper Route, who caught the eye of fellow Nashville band Paramore and the music directors at One Tree Hill and are making their major-label debut this week with Absence. With their heart-wrenching, lush and moody arrangements, Paper Route don’t exactly define the sound of their city: “We tend to be the black sheep in Nashville,” programmer/keyboardist Chad Howat says, “but we love it here.”

Sounds Like: Melodic, emotional synth-rock that pulses with an ambient undercurrent reminiscent of vintage Boards of Canada or Aphex Twin. Paper Route are America’s answer to symphonic-pop artists like Elbow, M83 and Air, especially on Absence tracks like the propulsive “Tiger Teeth” and anthemic, Doves-like “Last Time.”

Vital Stats:

• Howat, who has spied fellow Nashville resident Jack White everywhere from the Home Depot to cheeseburger joints, had an almost-fatal run-in with another of the city’s biggest stars. “I almost hit Keith Urban with my car once. I was driving to get some burritos with friends and he stepped out of this huge SUV in the parking lot and I was going too fast so I had to slam on the brakes,” Howat says. “I yelled out the window ‘Sorry, Keith,’ thinking that it was just a Keith Urban wanna-be. But it was actually Keith Urban. He just waved at me at kept walking. Now I see him and Nicole Kidman at the movies all the time.”

• After being in a string of rock bands, Howat decided he was finished with that scene and — after discovering Boards of Canada’s seminal IDM album Music Has the Right of Children — plunked down money for a laptop to teach himself how to program beats. “I wrestled with insomnia, so once I got a laptop, instead of laying there awake in the middle of night, I’d record little song ideas,” Howat says. After amassing a bunch of song ideas, Howat invited his friends and current bandmates singer/multi-instrumentalist J.T. Daly and singer-guitarist Andy Smith to flesh out the tracks and Paper Route was born. Originally conceived as a studio-only project, when drummer Gavin McDonald was recruited the band decided to take their music to the stage.

• Last year Paper Route toured with a seemingly unlikely Nashville band: Paramore. “I’d go this Italian restaurant every week, and the place was owned by the parents of [Paramore guitarist] Josh Farro, who was making sandwiches at that restaurant when he was 16. So we became friends through that,” Howat explains. “Paramore actually shot their last video at my house.”

Hear It Now: Absence hit stores and digital music service yesterday, April 28th. For more from the band, check out their MySpace page.

Daniel Kreps - Rolling Stone

"Paper Route, Empty House MP3"

Hailing from Nashville, Paper Route are not quite the hometown alt-country boys you might expect from such an act with their native land and moniker. Rather, they’ve combined a great sense of melody and soaring guitar pop with electronic trimmings to create their recently-released 5-track EP, Are We All Forgotten.

Appealing to fans of acts like The Postal Service, Travis and Keane, they’re using electronic touches in new ways to compliment the pop stylings without overpowering them. Take a listen to “Empty House” and note the understated elegance that drives it forward. Always finding ways to further their art, the guys have created video shorts to accompany their music. Find the footage for "Empty House" here and download the track below! - Filter Magazine

"Absence Album Review"

Kids these days. Here their parents have been trying to shut out the ’80s for the better part of 20 years, but now all these little upstart bands are embracing Reagan-era rock with open arms. It’s not so surprising, since we’re all getting a little tired of these bearded folksters from Wisconsin or wherever (we still love you though, Fleet Foxes et al), and there’s just something so fun about synth beats and drum tracks and more synth beats. Even indie kids gotta dance now and again.

So, we have Nashville’s Paper Route, a pristine example of ’80s synth rock re-packaged for the twenty-first century. Their influences are many and easy to pick out. A little Boards of Canada here, a little Air there, and Duran Duran everywhere. The songs are multitudes of synth over jangling guitars and, in a pleasant surprise, an actual drummer. That drummer, plus J.T. Daly’s emotive vocal stylings save the band from veering into an unattainable realm of overproduction. Paper Route is all about keyboards, samples and Macs, but they leave enough humanity in their finished product to retain the semblance of an actual band. That’s one of many smart decisions Paper Route made for their debut album, Absence.

The full-length debut is a winsome collection of catchy, bumping songs. Paper Route is begging to be liked and it’s hard to resist their considerable melodic charms. “Wish” has a largeness of sound that’s rarely attained by electro-bands – it sounds like Postal Service playing a halftime show. The infectious energy on “Last Time” gets better with each added beat, cascading into a hypnotic finale of sonic introspection (yeah, you read that right). It’s track three, “Carousel,” that really showcases Paper Route’s best points. On the surface, it’s a standard crowd-pleasing first single, but repeated listenings reveal a thin line of foreboding at the bottom – a nervy, jittery tension. It’s what separates Paper Route from any number of synth-pop clones glutting the up-and-coming scene right now, and it’s addictive.

This is one of the most promising debuts so far this year. It’ll be an uphill battle for Paper Route to keep from being deemed members of a short-lived nu-wave revival and dismissed just as easily, but if their follow-ups are as good as Absence then they’ve got a shot. Also, I’ve not seen it, but unless a thousand gushing bloggers are all wrong, they have a killer live show. - Stereo Subversion

"Live at the Mercury Lounge"

Paper Route- Live at The Mercury Lounge 7/14/09

I've been following the Nashville band, Paper Route for awhile now, dating back to their first EP in '06, but for some reason have never caught the bands live show before. With a heavy dose of synth and electronics on their Ep's and debut album I was curious what the band would bring to their live performance at The Mercury Lounge last night. Where some electronic based acts can falter in the live setting, Paper Route dispelled any worries early on in the proceedings, as they hit the stage running, ripping through the first two songs of the set, "American Clouds", and "Wish", proving that not only are they gifted musicians, but they know how to flat out rock. The rhythm section was particularly on point all night, as drummer Gavin McDonald was a monster behind the kit, along side Chad Howat effortlessly switching between bass & synth, as the pair were particularly strong on 'Tiger Teeth", and "Last Time." The two headed monster on vocals of J.T Daly and Andy Smith traded lead and harmonies all night, not missing a step in either case, highlighted by "Empty House" and "You Kill Me" off their "Are We All Forgotten' EP and "Last Time" off their new debut LP, Absence, which showcased the bands tight playing, with it's start and stop break.

If your familiar with Paper Route's music, then you know the band make big ambitious music, with soaring choruses that could easily take to a larger arena or stage, but in the intimate setting at Mercury Lounge the bands music never seemed cramped or lost. The band put on one of the most energetic and intense sets I've seen this year, and if you haven't checked them out yet, you still have some time as the group have select dates left across the US. - Burn the Bowery


Absence - 2009 (Universal)
Are We All Forgotten - 2008
A Thrill of Hope - 2006
Paper Route - 2006



"A great sense of melody and soaring guitar pop with electronic trimmings." - Filter

"The compositions are in a word: divine." - Nylon

"Melodic, emotional synth-rock…Paper Route are American’s answer to symphonic-pop artists like elbow, M83, and Air…" - Rolling Stone

"…Unless a thousand gushing bloggers are all wrong, they have a killer live show." - Stereo Subversion

- toured with Paramore and Copeland
- "Life is Short" and "Cryin' Won't Help You" were featured on the CW Network TV show "One Tree Hill"

PAPER ROUTE:://:: (as told by Chad Howat)

I was tired. There was just this lingering sense of exhaustion in the summer of 2004. I was tired of false starts. Tired of dreaming. Tired of being jaded. Tired of being tired. So it seems fitting that this story begins underneath my bed. You may picture me crawling below my mattress, but in reality my bed is about 6 feet above the ground-enough space for a small iBook and some cheap monitors. When I couldn't sleep, I'd descend my steps and make music all night. Some bands have LSD, others have cocaine, and our drug of choice seemed to be insomnia. I programmed, played bass, synths and even snuck into an undisclosed location masquerading as a music student to record piano. JT Daly, a close friend and old band mate, started coming over to sing, sample, and play toy keyboards. We had always wanted to do a project together and finally it was becoming a reality. After a month or so went by, Andy Smith, another close friend and ex-band mate who lives above me, started coming downstairs and contributing vocals, guitar, harmonica, and some synths. A band had naturally formed between the three of us and we were making music together, once again.

After releasing two EP’s, we began preparing to perform the songs live. Long time friend and drummer Gavin McDonald joined us and we played shows across the North East and Mid-Western states. We recorded bits and pieces and released what we thought was the best. We spent far too much time working and not enough time with our loved ones. We read as much as we could and wrote more.

A handful of EP’s and our first full length record are what we have to show for the sleepless nights. We hope that you enjoy them as much as we’ve enjoyed creating them.