Seize Them!
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Seize Them!

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"Seize Them!"

It's roughly ten o'clock on a bitterly cold night in late December at The Quays, one of Astoria's most beloved taprooms, a rumored hangout for Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan and the second stop on Astoria Music & Arts' first ever Rock n' Crawl, a one night, live music venue crawl spotlighting some of Astoria's local sounds at three separate shows a three separate venues along 30th Avenue. As a gathering of locals stands shoulder-to-shoulder, buzzing about in a spirited vivacity, local band Seize Them! take the stage, backdropped by a faint light, a proper jukebox and the proprietor's copious book collection.
Grappling a few, fairly unavoidable sound issues, Seize Them! opened their wide-ranging set with the jaunty "Hey, Golden", a harmonious cut drenched in the sound of a late 70s and early 80s post-punk variety. They quickly move into the triple time sweetness of "Dead Letter" and the country-tinged "Knoxville". At the set's midpoint, they ease into the instrumentals "Orbit", a track tha swells into a clamoring of propulsive drums, squealing synths and distorted guitars, and the dance-floor frenzy of "Cleoporchcat" - reminiscent of the Philly Sound mold - albeit in its drive alone. But it's the mellifluously tender jaunt, "Shimmery" - that ranks with a similarity to Ween - where Seize Them! owns the audience, myself included.
Seize Them! are a remarkably charming bunch, both on stage and off. Their sound isn't that trendy angular kind; they don't wear skinny jeans or don modish hairdos and they aren't afraid to extemporize with their instruments. Formed in May of '01, minus Andy Schneider who joined later, ST! spent their earliest days rehearsing at Picanso's East Williamsburg apartment but in March of '02 they band converged upon Astoria, renting a house large enough to live, rehearse and use as a makeshift venue for shows. Since then, they've kept regular appearances at bars and clubs throughout New York City. In April of 2008, they released a self-titled, five song EP, off of the High Water Media label, that according to their web site was the product of a year's worth of "dedication and creativity catalyzed by Andy's absorption into the band the previous winter". Clocking in at a refreshing eighteen minutes, this loose collection brims with pop, rock, indie-dance and sometimes, even neo-psychedelia, though there is little allegiance to any one genre. They release a large portion of their live shows via digital download on their web site and all of the five songs found on their debut have been released to the public under a Creative Commons license, allowing and encouraging fans to reuse the music with very few conditions. Standouts include the aforementioned "Shimmery" and "Drinking Song", which rises into a sing-along of the folk-rock kind. With each piece sweeping with a charming variety, Seize Them! has found their aesthetic.
Noting influences from Ween (they do a raucous cover version of "Voodoo Lady"), the Flaming Lips and Ted Leo + Pharmacists, to name just a few, Seize Them!'s sound is all their own. "Of course, the influence works its way in subconsciously; I'll be listening to something like "Black Country Rock" and realize that I'd copped some flourish from it in my head, and manifest it so many years later in what I currently play," Schneider opined. "It's something we've talked about a lot - we want to have several different styles and moods in the same set; we don't want to play the same song eight times. We want to surprise people, and not be pigeonholed," Picanso added.
The December 27th Rock 'n Crawl was Seize Them!'s first show with Astoria Music & Arts and they seem encouraged to be part of something that's working to nourish the local music community. "It's really nice to be part of a local music scene. As much as I love the city, it's nice to be able to play with bands from the area, at venues in the area. It builds a mutual respect and appreciation for what others near and like you are doing," Andy Schneider observed.
Seize Them! are a pure example of a diplomatic musical collective. Employing multiple songwriters, several different styles and influences is bound to get tricky, but the band does it with a flawless ease. There is nothing ostentatious about this band, rather, just a pastiche of sound that reverberates by straddling genres and building an environment of well written, pure-spun rock and roll from a basement in Astoria. -KRISTOPHER YODICE - Ins&Outs Magazine


Discography

Seize Them! - EP

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Bio

Seize Them! crafts top-quality rock and roll music to exacting industry standards at their subterranean laboratory in New York City.

The current lineup of the band played its first public show in May of 2007 at the Last Resort Art Space, in Astoria, Queens, and went on to shake the megalopolis with monthly gigs around town, each show bringing more and more minions under their thrall. Current projections estimate that 75% of humanity, at minimum, will fall to Seize Them!'s control by 2009.

Seize Them!'s self-titled five song EP, released in April of 2008, was the product of a year's worth of dedication and creativity catalyzed by Andy's absorption into the band the previous winter. The band has fitted and polished their memetic weapons, and is now poised to conquer the hearts, minds and shake the rumps of innocent audiences everywhere.