Renton Cannon
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Renton Cannon


Band Rock Alternative


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Editor's Pick (6/06)"


Renton Cannon - Even the King Withers

Annapolis, Maryland is the capital of Maryland and also the home to indie art rock group Renton Cannon. The album opens with a wailing vocal that reminds me of Led Zeppelin and an organ that sounds ripped from a Doors album. But push all of that 60s and 70s era classic rock sound out of your head. Those are merely small components that bottle up the terrific art rock and progressive rock sounds of Renton Cannon which also can scream out vocals and juggle angular post-punk guitar wailings with the best of them. Lyrically its a great listen with cerebral post-it notes that youll remember for a lifetime. Post-rock this dynamic and emotional deserves to be experienced by all who love great music. -

"Renton Cannon"

With a name like Renton Cannon, what does any music-loving audience expect? "An inbreeding of previous local bands," Nic Johnson, their bassist, said.

The band, whose name is the genius of lead singer and guitarist, Chris Howard, says that Renton Cannon is "just something I put together, something I saw, something I felt." Actually, its inspiration came from the same place Howard finds is a good way to take a step back and look at the world: movies. Renton being the name of Ewan McGregor's character in "Trainspotting" and "cannon", from the Nintendo character, Mega Man, whose arm was a cannon.

Hailing from various local bands, the foursome of Chris Howard, Nic Johnson, Russell Kelbaugh, and Matt Hammond, has united to create what they call "rock and roll with hums, buzzes, and feedback." Presently, the song lyrics are solely composed by Howard, as he deals with a variety of relationships between people and their surroundings. Musically, however, songs may originate with anyone, but once brought to practice "we all have our own input," Johnson said.

Renton Cannon employs quite the dynamic of differing personalities but it's obvious there is an immense amount of respect for each other. "I have always enjoyed Matt's calling to the drums. He knows when to keep it simple and when to kick it up." Howard said. "We really connect on a level that's indescribable," Johnson elaborates.

So what is Renton Cannon's goal, to take the music world by storm? "You can't start with stars in your eyes saying, 'WE GONNA MAKE IT BIG'," Howard says with the last phrase sounding like so many bands I have talked to. "You just have to take it in strides."

Johnson says that the current plan is "writing songs that people can feel and enjoy. We're honest, we don't have a facade." In a musical era that seems to take any band to the top of a gold pedestal, no matter how musically inept they may be (think Good Charlotte and Fall Out Boy), Renton Cannon is not only offering a humble mentality, but also exceptional music. Still, the band says the ideal place for their music could be an independent label that will foster work with creative bands.

As far as competition on the local circuit goes, such is hard to come by. "Before it was kind of a cut throat competition, but now I think it's grown into a brotherhood," Howard said of the local circuit. - AACC Campus Crier (Erika Crable)

"Review of the Emergenza Show at Flecthers Feb 16 (excerpt)"

Renton Cannon was last to take the stage with an eclectic set. They would be well suited to the college art scene, very interesting and capped off the night by smashing a guitar to splinters. -


The Four-Sided Circle Single (2007) - available now via mail-order and iTunes. visit for info. all songs currently playing on WVAU, and coming soon on WRNR, WHFS2, WUMD, 98 ROCK, and DC101.

Even the King Withers EP (2006) - available via mail order, itunes, cdbaby. visit for info. all songs currently playing on WRNR, WVAU, and WUMD.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Renton Cannon is the alternative to contemporary indie-rock. Preferring heartfelt emotion to flare and melodramatics, Annapolis’ Renton Cannon provides an outlet for its audience and its members. With a sound reminiscent of Cursive or Sonic Youth, Renton Cannon can surprise and invigorate, and with the release of their EP, "Even the King Withers,” the band is expanding its loyal audience.

The group has produced a potent and dynamic rock CD filled with furious releases of distortion, melodic choruses and lyrics that delve deep into the human psyche. From the single, "Elaeis," which battles the concept of religion, to confronting your individuality in "King," Renton Cannon writes songs of inner struggle and the desire for freedom. Musically there's a range, from the eerie beginning of “Oh, the Man,” with its droning organ and distant drums, to the borderline art-rock of "Roberto," with its sweeping moods and dynamic changes, to more straight ahead rockers such as "Oak on the Kitchen Floor."

The band was founded by Chris Howard (vocal & guitar), Nic Johnson (bass, keys, & vocal), Russell Kelbaugh (guitar), and Matt Hammond (drums) in 2005. A result of the notoriously incestuous nature of local music, Renton Cannon’s members had known and played music with each other for years before its current incarnation. The wide range of the band’s music comes from its member’s experiences in stylistically diverse groups, ranging from funk to art-rock.

Utilizing the DIY approach to publicizing and gigging Renton Cannon has already taken the stage at such prominent Baltimore venues as Fletchers, the 8x10, and Sonar. Also, they have received continuous airplay and given interviews on radio stations throughout the Baltimore area such as 103.1 WRNR and 88.1 WMBC. From playing shows consistently, Renton Cannon has sold out the original pressing of "Even the King Withers", and now with the addition of a fifth member, multi-instrumentalist Stephan Kaplan, the band eagerly awaits the release of their four-sided single recorded earlier this year.