River Oaks
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River Oaks

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The best kept secret in music

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"Donkey Punch Radio"

Band: River Oaks
Album: S/T
Label: WCRecords

With their new self-titled album released on WCRecords, River Oaks seems to have saved the local Chicago rock scene from dying. The band have found their niche and are sticking with it. Songs like 21 Guns and Murder Me are sure to be appealing to a large audience - loud, fast and with strong melodies and vocals. The skillful guitar work of Danny Giorgi and powerful vocals of Ben Molin blend well together. Pick up the new record, now!

Jemo Dalipovic


- www.donkeypunchradio.com


"River Oaks ready to rock"

River Oaks ready to rock

Thursday, May 26, 2005

By Jessi Virtusio
Gig of the Week

Being self-sufficient is something many people strive to achieve.

In the case of local band River Oaks, having four equally responsible members means an even stronger unit of like-minded musicians.

"We record and produce our own records. We do our own artwork," lead vocalist and saxophonist Ben Mollin said.

"(Bassist) Mike (Balsie) is the Web designer, and (drummer) Tim (Cronin) works at Midwest Percussion.

"We're very self-sufficient. This band does not cost us a lot of money. It's very resourceful, in that way."

Guitarist Danny Giorgi added, "We're so Midwestern. We know how to save a buck. I do recording, so it doesn't cost us anything."

Even though River Oaks has been together only for a year-and-a-half, the group already has a label, Windy City Records, and a manager, Billy Giannopoulos.

"We've got a lot of people who believe in us," Mollin, 30, said.

"We're getting big shows and mild radio play, and there's tons of hype because people just like it."

River Oaks' style of music is a melting pot of influences, from the Pixies and Queen to Ween and Guns N' Roses.

There's also more than a dash of humor thrown in, right down to the band's moniker.

"I am River Oaks. It's in my blood," Mollin, of Calumet City, said.

"I live off River Oaks Drive, by River Oaks Ford. When I was a kid, I went to River Oaks summer camp. I went to River Oaks medical center to get my teeth cleaned.

"Everything in my life involves River Oaks and having a sense of humor."

That flair for fun is also apparent on the group's WC Records' self-titled debut, which features 13 songs that span about 40 minutes.

River Oaks is hosting a record release show Friday at Gunther Murphy's.

"It's a very nice room, and they have a nice sound system," Giorgi said of the intimate Chicago venue.

"One hundred people would make that place look packed."

According to Giorgi, being on stage is such an emotional release.

"It's awesome to actually get up there and display your own creation in front of people and express yourself," he said.

"You don't even think about it. You get up on stage and just snap into character."

In addition to songs recorded in Giorgi's basement, the band's new CD features the "21 Guns" music video, which Bret August Tanzer, of Chicago, filmed in Mollin's back yard.

"To see something visual is just completely different than hearing it," Mollin said.

"People who will actually pop it in and watch it will get a better understanding, and take it for what it is.

"People can see that we're lighthearted and having fun, as opposed to squeezing into tight pants and looking cool."

Mollin does know a thing or two about looking cool, thanks to working as a hairdresser at his girlfriend Michelle Heath's Salon Voltaire in Lansing.

But like many of his musical peers, he said he would rather make music his full-time gig.

"We've proven to ourselves we can write good songs. Everybody's got a really good work ethic, and we're all in it to possibly do it for a living," Mollin said.

Giorgi, of Hobart, Ind., said River Oaks has the talent to transcend.

"I believe this band has a huge chance. If it was put in the right hands, it would be huge," he said.

"The talent is there. We just need to polish it. We need to play for a year and get our stage show down.

"It's like creating your own thing, perfecting it like a painting or a sculpture."

One way River Oaks is trying to up its profile is through a June mini-tour that will take the band out of state.

"It will definitely test our ability to go out and perform in strange places," Giorgi said.

"I actually like playing in front of strangers. That way you get a true response."

- The Star Newspaper


"BEST CHICAGO LOCAL RELEASES OF 2004!"

01-11-05

****CONGRATULATIONS****
HOSTAGE RADIO'S LIST OF THE BEST CHICAGO LOCAL RELEASES OF 2004! THE ARTISTS WERE SELECTED BY THE HOSTAGE RADIO STAFF AND BY VOTES THAT WERE CONDUCTED ANNONAMSLY... YOU CAN VISIT WWW.HOSTAGERADIO.COM FOR THE FULL LIST AND ALSO
STREAM THE SHOW THAT WAS PLAYED LIVE ON 01-11-05 ... AGAIN CONGRATULATIONS AND WE HOPE TO HEAR YOU EVEN MORE IN 2005!

ARTIST / ALBUM / SONG
20) Umphreys McGee / anchor drops / wife soup
19) Cosmic Haze / paradise / hear it
18) My Left Arm / departure / chinese checkers
17) The Changes / The Changes / such a scene
16) The M's / The M's / dirty old dog
15) 90 Day Men / panda park / too late of too dead
14) Saraphine / random life / random life
13) Duenow / if you could only see what they are doing to you / six packs
12) The Indoor Kids / a half step from salvation / human
11) Punsapaya / prepare to qualify / better than this
10) Local H / whatever happened to p.j. soles / california songs
09) Vessel / living lavishly in the public eye / my enemy
08) Penthouse Sweets / p.s. i love you / gettin out
07) Light FM / this is the begining of my golden age / stormtroppers
06) The Redwalls / universal blues / it's alright
05) Musical Outfits / left here / madison
04) RIVER OAKS / promo / 21 guns
03) Rise Against / siren song of the counter culture / state of the union
02) Plane / hello more / western ave.
01) Oh My God / you're too straight to love me / you're too straight to love me
- www.hostageradio.com


Discography

River Oaks - S/T
Release: May 3, 2005 - WCRecords
Credits: Ben Mollin, Mike Balsie,
Danny Giorgi, Stephen Fields, Shane from Portage

Tracks:
1 • Pinocchio
2 • Pieces of Velvet
3 • 21 Guns
4 • Hottest Day of the Year
5 • Infatuated
6 • Murder Me
7 • Ladies Man
8 • 4" 9"
9 • Hell Yeah
10 • All Night Long
11 • Sittin' On Top of the World
12 • Cosmetics
13 • Shay

River Oaks - Roberts - E.P.
Release: December 2003
Credits: Ben Mollin, Evan Roberts

Tracks:
1 • Johnny's Tap
2 • Suicide

River Oaks - Kinda Sounds Like Christian Rock - E.P.
Release: April 2003
Credits: Ben Mollin, Mike Balsie, Danny Giorgi,
Shane Jenkins, Dan Dominiak

Tracks:
1 • Teenage Pop Sensation
2 • Wipe
3 • Amen

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Every band reaches a point in its career when the priorities shift and what’s most important – the music – takes center stage. River Oaks is one band that isn’t afraid to speak from the heart and then pour it out all over the stage. Combining the technical ability of Guns ‘n’ Roses with the melodic intricacy of Queen, the DIY attitude of the Pixies and the twisted humor of Ween, River Oaks is a band poised to make an impact on the Chicago music scene.

River Oaks have only been playing together since 2004, but each is able to bring his unique style and talent to the forefront in this band.

Singer and saxophonist Ben Mollin has been fronting Chicago bands since his youth, and delivers his vocals with a playful, sultry edge.

Band co-founder Mike Balsie handles the bass duties, bringing his experience with bands such as She Is Fine & National Jet Set to River Oaks.

Rounding out the rhythm section is drummer Tim Cronin, who brings a hard-hitting, rock-based creativity honed in such projects as Heart Break Speed, KilSwitch and Enamor.

Michael Young completes the group with his sizzling guitar work.

River Oaks is a band, a project, and a study in how far a group can go when the baggage of egos and attitudes are checked at the door and the music and performance are pushed to the forefront. Rock music is meant to have a little edge, a little snarl, and a lot of heart…and River Oaks is about to prove that combination to be the recipe for success.