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"New Music Reviews: 3 Unsigned Artists Worth Listening To"

Seismogenic is an excellent debut from the jam-band Seismic. The quartet culls material from the rich musical well explored and replenished by american masters like the Grateful Dead, Frank Zappa and Phish to create a familiar but pleasing sound. Lush piano and sizzling guitar solos provide soul while drumbeats and basslines are handled with aplomb. Featuring two singers, guitarist James Lake and keyboardist Paul Barone, Seismic's vocals make up in heart any rough edges in the execution. Key tracks include the instrumental "Sixth Avenue," which begins with a swirling musical waterfall of keys and guitar, the soulful storytelling, tension and release of "The Killer" and "Guess I'll Stay," a west coast anthem that springs to life and captures a time and place with authentic soul. - Crazewire

"Seismic Pushes the Envelope"

Seismic has been doing the jam band thing now for just over a year. The Los Angeles-based quartet cites jazz, funk and blues music as heavy inspirations for their brand of jam rock, but also believes in the equity behind the jam as opposed to the soloist nature of the aforementioned styles. After solidifying a line-up through the services of classified web boards such as Craigslist, the band recorded their first full length entitled Seismogenic.

Seismic's uniqueness comes from their ability to combine crisp guitar melodies, filtered through different delays and starry effects, with glistening piano work. The band also features three vocalists, with guitarist James Lake, bassist Jason Rappaport and keyboardist Paul Barone all sharing lead duties. "Guess I'll Stay" from Seismogenic, possesses an extremely bright, poppy flair with vocal harmonies and keyboard melodies giving it a Ben Folds type of sound.

The highlight of the group's sound has to be the keyboard work of Paul Barone who plays in a style truly reminiscent of a young Bruce Hornsby or Billy Joel. Barone cycles through electric keyboard, clavinet and rhodes, illuminating the pop sound behind Seismic's extended jams. - Eugene Weekly

"Review of Seismogenic"

Get Richter Records
By Dave Terpeny

There are a lot of bands that make reviewers pull names out of their asses. You will hear a funk band from Colorado being compared to the Allmans or a folk band out of Michigan being compared to Led Zeppelin and so on. While some of those comparisons may ring true, are they really helpful to you as a listener? I mean, you already like Led Zeppelin. Do you need a copy of them to come along? I didn’t think so.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I myself have done such comparisons when reviewing an album but the first step to fixing a problem is to admitting you have it, right?

With that in mind, what can I tell you about Seismic? Sure there are comparisons that are relevant. They even use some in their own biography but, again, I want to avoid doing that.

The main reason is the fact that these 4 Californians stand on there own easily.

They have a slightly muddy sound I find charming and informality to their fresh and funky music that is refreshing. A bar band done good, Seismic takes their music very seriously while seeming not to take themselves so. And they can jam.

Most of the nine songs on the album average 7+ minutes and consist of what feels like hours of impeccable and transcendent jamming. Instrumentally they don’t miss a beat, especially the lava-like guitar of James Lake and chameleon keyboards of Paul Barone. I could listen to the two of them exchange musical high fives (thanks Fadel) all night.

My only complaint is that they cut short a few songs. The unfortunately short “Sixth Avenue” is a prime example. This rollicking instrumental would go on for hours if it were up to me. Lake’s bagpipe guitars and Barone’s tumbling piano weave, duck and jab all over the place on this one and I don’t want it to end, much like the CD overall.

So check Seismic out. Ignore the slightly off singing in the first song and run alongside this talented quartet. They’ll take you on a quite journey.


" Interview 2006"

Greg Lake July 7th, 2006

Seismic are an LA-based band just getting their feet wet in the jam music scene. In barely over two years they have put a debut album and played over 100 live shows. KyndMusic interviewed the whole band so sit back find out what it is like for a band just starting out in LA and hear about them before most everyone else does.
KyndMusic - First off, how are things going for Seismic?

Seismic - Great! Thanks for asking!

KM - I read that Seismic formed in early 2004 through Craigslist. Can you tell me about the experience of coming together in a band over the Internet? What were your past musical experiences, education, previous bands, etc.?

S - Regarding our formation, the word that really comes to mind is fortunate. We feel amazingly lucky to have had all the pieces fall into place immediately and without the hit-or-miss drama the ‘Net can sometimes offer up.

Our backgrounds are diverse, but the common bond is the significant length of time we’ve all spent learning both musical instruments and theory.

Laker’s musical journey began with piano in 2nd grade, switching to guitar in 10th grade—we’re pretty sure he hasn’t let go of his guitar since. We’ve all found him to be a quick study and very talented artist and songwriter.

Photographic evidence links Paul to the piano at age 1, though he started studying piano at five—a year before he could tie his own shoes, he reluctantly admits. Thirty-plus years later he’s still honing his craft—but says he rarely needs help with his shoes.

Jason is the third Seismic player to start his musical experience with piano, starting at age five before finding a love for French horn a few years later. He ended up studying and playing a broad range of musical instruments through high school, and only as an adult decided to learn the bass—a decision the rest of the band applauds.

Perry took up drums in his early teens, and has spent many years holding down the beat in a wide range of acts, from Celtic tunes and world beat to rock, jam, and jazz. He even had a stint as a circus musician—so to say that nothing the band encounters surprises him is really an understatement. We really can’t say enough about how beneficial that experience is to the band.

KM - Let’s talk about the songwriting process of original songs. Who are the primary songwriters and are there any themes that come about as related to being from Los Angeles? When can fans expect a sophomore album to be released?

S - Our primary songwriters are Laker and Paul, but all band members make significant contributions to help the creative process. Sometimes we’re working with a completed song and other times only a riff in need of development. As for themes, “Guess I’ll Stay” (off our debut CD, seismogenic) and its carefree protagonist has a definite ‘SoCal’ inspiration to it, but overall, Seismic originals are still a mix of themes, reflecting our range of ages, as well as our diverse musical and personal experiences.

Our second album should be out early next year. We’re really looking forward to it! We have a large amount of material ready and just need to make time to get back into the studio.

KM - You have toured the West Coast from Seattle to Phoenix. What has this road experience been like for the band and what have the reactions been in the different markets? Where have the best regions been for Seismic and what have been some memorable gigs? What is life like on the road for Seismic?

S - For the most part, life on the road has been pretty fun, pretty fantastic, minus a couple of minor SNAFUs. We travel up and down the West coast, playing live music, meeting cool people, and seeing mountains, forests, deserts, and beaches—there are much worse ways to spend your time. We cross our fingers when we say this, but so far things have gone very well on the road for Seismic.

Some of our more memorable shows have been all four of our Lake Tahoe shows, our opening for Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe at Flagstaff’s historic Orpheum Theatre, and our ’05/’06 New Years’ show in Sedona, Arizona.

KM - You have some upcoming Southern California shows in June, a date in July and a show in September in Arizona. Can you tell me about what you are looking forward to at these gigs? What does preparing for a gig constitute in terms of practice and also in preparing yourself? Do you have any other plans for additional shows in the fall? Why so few summer gigs?

S - Regarding our shows this summer, we’re honestly looking forward to seeing old friends and hopefully making a bunch of new ones. As we mentioned earlier, the cool people we’ve met over the last two years have made our road experience one to savor.

Preparing for a gig is usually less about preparing for a specific gig and more about working on our ever-expanding musical catalog. With over 70 songs in regular circulation and nearly 100 in our catalog, we practice both new material and also old gems to keep them f - Greg Lake


Full-length debut CD 'seismogenic', released January 2005, Get Richter Records



Hailing from a region that experiences about 30 earthquakes a day, Los Angeles-based Seismic couldn't have nabbed a more appropriate moniker. But the seismicity of the band's hometown is only the half of it. Part of an emerging jam-based music scene in L.A., Seismic is living up to its powerful name, quickly converting fans with its funky grooves, seamless changes and driving rhythms, and regularly packing dance floors and shaking rafters and booties with its own potent version of "Seismic activity."

Comprised of band members James "Laker" Lake, Jason Rappaport and Perry Ostrin, Seismic formed in early 2004, finding each other the way most Angelinos find things—on Craigslist. However, the music that resulted was far less conventional. The band quickly found its groove and knew right away that they had found something special. "From day one, everything seemed to fit," says Lake. "The way we all feel the jams is very similar. Even from the first jam session, we could just tell."

The members of Seismic weren't the only ones to notice that something about the band clicked. Since its inception, the band's explosive live shows have grown exponentially. Starting with a scant, 20-song repertoire comprised largely of cover tunes, Seismic has since been busy crafting original songs, snowballing its catalog into the near three-digit region, keeping its audiences on its toes, providing widely rotating setlists and ensuring a unique experience at every show.

Combining rock, jazz, blues, country, funk, bluegrass and even classical influences, Seismic has a sound all its own—and one that is more than worthy of its earthshaking namesake, which has become a metaphor for its music. "In a lot of ways, I feel like it has taken on new meaning as we've grown as a band," states Rappaport. "It's almost become a central theme of the way in which we feel the jams. We have a very big sound, and then we get some crescendos and then it kind of comes down…and then sometimes there's an aftershock."

Following the release of its first album, seismogenic," in December 2004, Seismic toured the West Coast from Seattle to Phoenix throughout the summer and fall of 2005, promoting the album and building on its grassroots following. The exposure paid off. The band was named one of Music Connection Magazine's "Hot 100 Unsigned Artists" for 2005. Seismic has also managed to turn the heads of some well-respected musicians who have joined the band onstage—Stanton Moore of Galactic, Jerry Joseph, Brian Jordan of Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Particle, to name a few. Seismic has also shared the stage with such bands as Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, New Monsoon, Jerry Joseph, Porter-Batiste-Stoltz of the Funky Meters, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Particle, Eric McFadden Trio, Melvin Seals & JGB, The Big Wu, Spoonfed Tribe and Meltone from Japan.

Clearly gaining momentum at a rapid pace, seismic's strong reviews, impressive sit-ins, larger venues and growing fan base are just the initial indicators of something special on the horizon. Brace yourself for when Seismic visits a town near you. The band will knock your socks off…even if
you're standing in a doorway.