The April Skies
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The April Skies

Hershey, PA | Established. Jan 01, 1989 | INDIE

Hershey, PA | INDIE
Established on Jan, 1989
Band Alternative Indie

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After a long hiatus, The April Skies returns to Lancaster's nightclub scene

By Carla Di Fonzo
Intelligencer Journal
Published: Jul 09, 2004 9:24 AM EST

LANCASTER COUNTY, PA - DETAILS
The April Skies, AJ & Altercana, Sat. Blue Star, 602 W.
King St. 509-5095

After a long hiatus, The April Skies returns to Lancaster's nightclub scene

The phrase is a rock 'n' roll cliche:

"We're getting the band back together, man!"

But it's prefaced a lot of positive comeback stories, as Hershey band The April Skies can tell you.

Jake Crawford (singer, songwriter and guitarist) said when it was time for the band to come out of its five-year hiatus, things just fell into place - kind of like a movie.

"It was like 'The Blues Brothers'," he said. "We called around to the other guys, told them what we wanted to do, and they were all for it and ready to go."

If you club-hopped in the late '80s or early '90s, The April Skies should sound familiar.

The guys formed the band in 1988, and played the club circuits throughout Harrisburg, Hershey and Lancaster - and everywhere in between.

They sounded good - real good. Over a short period of time, The April Skies developed a guitar-driven sound and matched it with moody keyboard washes and poppy hooks. There were instant comparisons to alternative bands like The Cure and REM.

They played a lot of shows, even going as far as CBGB in New York City and D.C.'s 9:30 Club. They self-produced "A Strange Western Mood," a four-song EP, and "The Drive-In EP" with producer Mitch Easter (Dinosaur Jr., Mary Prankster, REM). Then, April Skies played its share of label showcases - but no major record deals were forthcoming.

The bandmates lives continued to unfold, nonetheless, putting their musical careers on hold.

"I started having kids," Crawford, 34, said. "I got the house in the 'burbs with my wife, Dena, went back to college to become a software developer. I never stopped writing material, but we didn't play together."

Ironically, Crawford's move to suburbia led to the band's revival.

One of the guitarist's new neighbors happened to be Mark Mazick, a bass player looking for a kindred spirit.

"Dena met Mark and his wife first," Crawford said. "Then we were introduced and he already knew I was a musician and so he started ribbing me about playing a few with him.

"I kept warning him that it was like opening Pandora's Box," he said. "If I start playing, I may never stop."

Crawford wasn't kidding.

By 2002, The April Skies was resuscitated. The new lineup became Crawford, Mazick and returning members Mark Tritico (drums) and Mark Higgins (keyboards, vocals).

They returned to the club scene and put together "The Breathe EP," a CD of five songs released December 2003.

"Things haven't changed much," Crawford said. "Getting back onstage was easy."

Others things have changed. The April Skies wore the "alternative" label comfortably in the '90s, when the designation encompassed various musical styles. These days, the guys might be considered new wave or an updated shoegazer band, like San Francisco's Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

"It's hard to say what we sound like to people," Crawford said. "We did this show in New York at CBGB and it was like this goth show. We're not really goth, but it was a good night anyway."

He fondly remembers Lancaster as part of the band's old stomping grounds, citing cool college radio stations and the support of The Chameleon Club's former owners.

"The Chameleon Club was good at taking new bands and nurturing them," he said. "I remember we were billed as an all-ages band and sometimes we'd get, like, 300 to 400 people on the floor. It was incredible."

This Saturday, when the band returns to Lancaster, the venue will be The Historic Blue Star, where April Skies will appear with local favorites AJ & Altercana.

Crawford and his crew also are gearing up to begin the recording of a new CD that's scheduled for release this October.

"Jeff Feltenberger (of the Badlees) is acting as producer on this CD," he said. "He's been a friend for a long time. I even took vocal lessons from him once. With Jeff, we're trying to make our sound tighter."

Now that the guys in The April Skies are all in their 30s, Crawford said, the band's attitude has improved.

"We're smarter with the business," he said. "We're also more organized. We're not concerned with record contracts right now, just getting our name back out there."

In the meantime, audience feedback has been good, and Crawford said he enjoys talking to concertgoers after shows.

"When we were in New York, this young English kid in a Cure T-shirt was really complimentary, I remembered him," he said. "A girl who went to one of our shows at the Hardware Bar in Maine said we sounded like The Sharks - which made me totally happy.

"She also suggested I don't keep my eyes closed," Crawford said, chuckling. "Hey, I didn't mind, she was right."

The most important thing, he said, is that The April Skies is playing again.

"We can't wait to hit Lancaster our first time in a few years," Crawford said. "We look forward to getting to know the audiences there again." - By Carla Di Fonzo, Intelligencer Journal


Published: May 2005
Story: Patrick Kirchner
Photo: press photo

If you love something …

Jake Crawford set his beloved rock and roll free.

“It was a clean break,” he mumbles. “I didn’t even listen to music for a couple of years.”

After a decade of playing the local circuit and a brief regional run, Crawford decided to put his band, Hershey’s resident new wavesters, The April Skies, on an indefinite hiatus in 1998. His musical partner-in-crime had quit the band and moved to France. His sure-fire hit record never materialized. He met a beautiful girl. Got married. Had kids.

“I think I just overdosed on chasing the record deal, traveling and everything we were doing. I just really burned out,” Crawford sighs. “I was looking to get some normalcy, the whole ‘settling down’ thing.” Alas, it was time to let rock and roll go.

… But it came back. It may have taken a bit, but rock and roll came back.

One summer morning in mid-2001, Crawford awoke to a slight tapping at his bedroom window. And behind a tall bar of sunlight, there it was, pining for his attention.

“It just seemed right, so we decided to go back at it,” Crawford shrugs. The adage was completed. Rock and roll would be his evermore.

Now, four years since regrouping and 15 years since jangling out their first jagged chords in ’88, The April Skies’ priorities have shifted a bit. A hit record? Thanks but … tried that one before. Traveling? That’s why the internet was invented. Rock stardom? Not unless it offers a good daycare package.

“There’s no way we’re looking for a record deal,” Crawford admits. “What would they want with a bunch of 30-year-old guys who are still stuck in new wave music?” Here’s what: A catchy new album that’s a few years overdue. The band’s fourth full-length, Flood, released in February, is an intoxicating mix of somber washes and clever synth pop lollygaggers that would leave any Smiths fan wanting more.

But who needs a record label anyway? The band is doing just fine without one, releasing Flood on its own label, WIAB Records, striking a national distribution deal with Portland’s Burnside Distributors and launching a national radio promotion campaign with Boston’s Rainmaker Publicity – all on their own terms.

“It’s real D.I.Y., what we’re doing,” Crawford explains. “But we’ve been able to work with some people to help us put ourselves in a position where we’re not doing things as a local band – we’re able to do it on a national level.”

On Flood, Crawford and company stick to their strict diet of British new wave and obsequious mid-’80s American pop: Echo and the Bunnymen for breakfast, R.E.M. for lunch, The Cure for dinner. And if theyfinish all their Joy Division, they can have some Stone Roses for dessert. And thanks to sultans-of-sulk fashionistas like The Killers, Franz Ferdinand and Interpol in the limelight these days, melancholy is cool again, not to mention synthesizers.

So voila! Seems like rock and roll came back just at the right time. But this time around, “I’m doing it for the right reasons,” Crawford beams. “We’ve moved on in the right direction. People understand that we’re not just trying to relive something from 1992 or ’93. I think they realize we’re just all about making music now.”

For more info or to purchase Flood, check out www.theaprilskies.com. - Fly Magazine


By John Train

I'm no pop monger. My tastes often lean toward the annoying, or twangy, or disjointed, or offbeat, or just plain loud. So when Dewey Beach, Delaware, throws a pop festival every spring; I'm not there. My tastes lean more toward the raucous bands that show up for Harrisburg's annual Millennium Music Conference or Dewey Beach's Fall Music Conference. Bizarre thing is, just how much good pop is sneaking into the back alleys of non-pop music venues.

A perfect example: The April Skies. Electric, they've got all this music going on and you can't actually hear it in detail but it moves you. That's the classic and perfect pop formulation. But I'm wanting to deconstruct all that layered music and harmony and lyrical depth and see what's underneath the band's material. Wanted to see them acoustically at Dewey Beach and see how it all gets put together. I was looking for those separate elements of rhythm and contradictory complicated simplicity that they ratchet up then divine into some sort of production that is complex yet awesomely underwhelming.

Sadly, I was waylaid in Philly traffic and never caught them. Did run into the band at a pizza joint but didn't get any eternal answers. The April Skies share the stage at the Whitaker Underground in Harrisburg with the local power-pop group Milkshake Jones on November 5. I'm not sure if it's acoustic - likely not. If you want a quick chance at being enthralled, catch them there or somewhere else locally see www.theaprilskies.com. Myself, I'll still be wanting to dissect them and will be looking for an acoustic show. - The Train Zone


Local rock band The April Skies is headlining an evening of music tomorrow at the Whitaker Center's Underground at Stage Two.

"It's going to be a mix of Brit-pop, power pop and an acoustic artist. If people like The Cure and Coldplay that's what we sound like," vocalist/guitarist Jake Crawford said.

The show also features openings by power pop band Milkshake Jones and solo artist Sara B. Simpson at 8 p.m.

April Skies is celebrating the conclusion of its tour in support of "The Breathe" a five-song EP it released this year to mark its return after a six-year hiatus from the independent music world.

"This show is sort of saying goodbye to that whole chapter of our career and opening up a new chapter," Crawford said.

The musical pages started turning for the group in the early '90s, when the band recorded with Mitch Easter, a producer for R.E.M. Easter produced and remixed the April Skies' demo tape.

The relationship with Easter evolved after one of the Skies' managers met him and asked Easter to listen to the band's independently released nine-song tape "A Strange Western Mood."

Easter then contacted the group and said he was interested in arranging a recording session at his home studio in North Carolina.

While April Skies has fewer club gigs than it once did, the band is busy in the recording studio. Since August, April Skies has been recording at Scott Wray Studios in New Cumberland with Jeff Feltenberger, formerly of The Badlees, serving as producer. At the Whitaker show, April Skies plans to debut new material due out in January.

The band has backing from a European label in place and it is talking to small U.S. indie labels, too.

"Things are going awesome for us. We're getting ready to start playing all over the East Coast again. We're planning a small minitour to the West Coast, and even a 10-day tour to Europe next year," Crawford said.

JENNIFER SHOLLY: jsholly@paonline.com - The Patriot News


Delusions of Adequacy
The April Skies
Flood
WiAB Records
www.adequacy.net/

The April Skies have been plugging away since all the way back in 1988, when they almost rode the coattails of the college-pop of the era to big-label success. It never really panned out for them, despite a deal from Sire, and the Hershey, PA natives knocked around ever since then on the bar circuit, taking occasional breaks along the way. Flood is their latest album, and it shows that this group of musicians is a resilient one. In fact, they’re downright stubborn.

The band’s power-pop songs, with their Replacements/Smiths/New Order bloodlines, sound like they could just as easily have been recorded back when the band formed in 1988 as this year. You have to admire their persistence, sincerely, in an era where bands try on styles only to shrug them off again when the next trend hits. Unfortunately, this makes the April Skies out to be musical conservatives. Did nothing that happened in the last 17 years inspire them at all? You can get KCRW’s web stream in Hershey, right?

On the plus side, they’ve got their brand of rock down pat. Every song on Flood has a killer hook, inspired playing, and pro’s pro quality, but all with a charming bar band’s innocence. They flash a little melancholy, pull some heartstrings, then seal the deal with a rousing chorus and an occasional, tight guitar solo. They didn’t write the playbook, but they’ve committed it to memory, and they execute. You can file Flood in comfortably next to your Big Star albums.

- George Ford, 7/21/05

http://www.adequacy.net/review.php?reviewid=5720 - Delusions of Adequacy


The April Skies
Origivation Magazine
By Katie Strzeszewski
MarriedtotheMusic.com
September 2005 Issue

Nobody ever said that a band needs a major label in order to get around in the music industry. Actually, that's a lie. Plenty of people say that a band needs major-label support in order to get anywhere. But for The April Skies, experience shows that signing with a major label is not a step that all bands need to take.

It's not like the band hasn't shot for major-label success. "Back in the early 90s," says frontman Jake Crawford, "when we were first starting the band, we ended up taking time off from college. We were out playing three or four nights per week, up in New York every other week. We started doing a lot of showcasing for record labels."

With some help from their manager at that time, The April Skies shopped themselves to a few different labels and recorded a demo with Mitch Easton. But in one way or another, the right opportunity managed to evade the band. "There were a lot of 'should've-would've's, and a lot of missed opportunities and blown opportunities," says Crawford.

Despite these lost chances, The April Skies pushed on until 1998, when the band members decided to take an extended break.

But a love of creating and playing music was a powerful enough force to put an end to the band's four-year hiatus. In 2002, Crawford sought to reunite with the other members of The April Skies: Mark Higgins, keys and vocals; Andy Book, guitar; Mark Tritico, drums; and Mark Mazick, bass and vocals.

Since putting The April Skies back together, the band has reorganized, refocused, and done everything in their power to keep making music for whomever wants to listen, including playing shows throughout central Pennsylvania and into Delaware and New York, as well as releasing two CDs-2003's The Breathe EP and this year's full-length album, Flood, which presented the band with several unique challenges.

"With the current CD, Flood, we got a national distribution deal and wound up starting our own label," explains Crawford. The full-length album was released in June, and is carried in "Borders Books and Barnes & Noble and in music stores from Boston to California."

"This year in particular, we've been out promoting the new record, playing a lot of songs off it, still playing older material from our last EP. Primarily, we're out doing shows and playing a full set of original material."

So what goes into assembling the signature sound of The April Skies? Their part-retro, part-contemporary, new-wavey style comes from what Crawford describes as a "true band environment."

"I'm really into the chemistry thing," he says. "I like the idea of everybody bringing something to the table and trying to get something original. Everybody bringing their influences and mixing them to get true originality."

And "true originality" is slightly different now than it was when the band first started 17 years ago. "The songs we wrote back in the early 90s, lyrically, we tried to write with that abstract vagueness and leave it up to listeners' interpretations," says Crawford. "Lyrically, there's more depth to what we do now, just from ten to fifteen years of living and growing and maturing. The lyrics right now have multiple themes; I'll switch point of view or even switch gender just to get more ideas."

Now, after a 17-year career, a nationally distributed album, and decent regional success, are the members of The April Skies still looking for major-label support? Not really.

"We're in our early thirties now. We have other priorities like jobs and families," says Crawford. Naturally, music is a priority as well, and The April Skies landed national distribution and tentative west coast tour plans without having the added pressures of a record contract.
So is the band happy with the accomplishments they've earned on their own?

Says Crawford, "We're actually pretty content." - Origivation Magazine


Although vocalist and chief songwriter Jake Crawford's pipes are somewhat lost in the impressive opener "X," the band's fine musicianship and nifty axe playing are definitely worth the slight annoyance. Crawford and Andy Book weave some Midwestern roots rock magic on this track which brings to mind Soul Asylum and the Replacements if both still had something to prove. And my how they prove it, opening up the track two-thirds of the way in with all guitars blazing. This is also shown later on during the slightly tamer but equally enjoyable "My Love Is in This House." From there, April Skies take the album down a slight notch with the mid-tempo power pop of "Shots" which features some fine harmonies in the tight radio-friendly chorus and foot-stomping closing. However, they perhaps move into a mellow territory far too quickly with the soft "Amnesia," which could be mistaken for an Elvis Costello cover. Fortunately this is quickly forgotten when the powerful and appealing "Grace" soars from the onset. The band shows many different sides throughout the album, whether it's the electro-tinged ditty "Pure" or the slow-building pop nugget "Always Never Finished" which could be mistaken for a cross between the Psychedelic Furs and Snow Patrol. The fact that it's successful for the length of eight minutes is even more surprising. Perhaps the only drawback here is that with such a fine album, one or two more songs could have beefed up the album a smidgeon. But it's a small complaint and afterthought when April Skies kicks into "The Weight" which evokes images of Jimmy Eat World covering a song by the Beatles. ~ Jason MacNeil, All Music Guide - Billboard.com


With their first release in something like a decade, this re-constituted Hershey-based four piece features the vocals/guitars of Jake Crawford, Mark Higgins on keyboards/vocals, Mark Mazick on bass/vocals and Mark Tritico on drums/percussion/vocals. Playing a smooth amalgamation of English modern rock and alternative pop rock, the band provides a sort of steady cruising feel to the EP, that my wife calls "kick back" music. There is no risk of tranquilization here, though, Tritico's driving drums, and the bands periodic anthemic turns, like the chorus of "breathe" and the second half of "Here Comes the Rush" provide enough compelling teeth and still keeps the band true to its roots. For those that miss the Cure, Crawford has enough of that Robert Smith intonation and delivery to invoke the feel. The April Skies's revival and this EP are a welcome return in a musical environment where any remaining introspective modern rock influences are too often stepped on with the histrionics of what people, far cooler than me, call emo. In that vein, the band balances that material nicely between two poles of melancholia and optimism, between atmosphere and accessibility. The April Skies promises a full-length right around the corner and given this resurgence, it should be something to see and hear.

http://www.theaprilskies.com.
- PA Musician Magazine


By Todd Thatcher
Staff Writer

Rating: 7 out of 10

After an 11-year hiatus, Hershey modern
rockers The April Skies are finally back with their
first collection of new material, The Breathe EP,
and it’s likely to earn them a warm reception.
Opener “Breathe” sets the tone nicely, as
Cure-like clean-toned guitars and strong drum
work underpin the warm, lived-in vocals of
singer Jake Crawford. A solid chorus, fleshed
out with subtly-building strings, give the song an
added richness that make it one of the EP’s
strongest.
The April Skies’ ‘80s rock influence is even
more apparent on “Sleepyhead,” which pairs a
strong, insistent bass-line with ringing guitars
and soft keyboards.
Under-appreciated ‘90s pop-rockers Better
Than Ezra immediately spring to mind during
track three, the mini-epic “Here Comes the
Rush.” On it, strummy electrics and a strong
bass-line drive verses that lead to up to a big,
echo-laden chorus that finds Crawford
declaring, “Here comes the rush./ Help me
please./ I am only waiting for you to sense me./ I
am standing here.”
However, the band stumbles a bit on Breathe’s
last two tracks. The uptempo “Beautiful Girl”
shows The April Skies can still pick up the pace
and rock out a bit, and the mid-tempo
“Independence” is perfectly serviceable.
However, compared to the other songs here,
they lack a certain spark.
Perhaps it’s because most of the songs here
rely on a similar tempo, which becomes
somewhat monotonous. A strong ballad or a
hard rocker would have provided just the right
amount of variety, so hopefully the band will mix
it up more on future releases.
Still, taken as a whole, this is a solid return for
these ‘80s-bred modern rockers giving it
another go-round. Fans of R.E.M., The Cure,
Better Than Ezra, or just local music in general
should definitely give The Breathe EP a listen.
For more information, visit
www.theaprilskies.com. - The Hershey Chronicle


This is the most innovative and incendiary use of "yeah, yeah, yeah" since The Beatles took the word "yeah" out of slang and put it in the ears of the world. This would be the song "Crutch" and it's just one of the ten new tracks which appear on The April Skies soon-to-be-released CD, "Flood".
Don't expect to hear much recycled British Invasion pop or the trendy new Brit-pop on "Flood". But don't be shocked by a strain of those great musical sensibilities getting through either. The April Skies are comprehensively aware that great sounds are all over the place and that they are always subject to transformation and adaptation.
The legendary band, The Jesus and Mary Chain, once described as; 'Beach Boys melodies meet Velvet Underground blustery beats, all cranked up to ten and beyond, along with plenty of echo' —is not a bad place for understanding the musical sensibilities of The April Skies. (And if you ever caught the J&MC's album "Darklands", you might remember the song "April Skies"). Like the Chain, The April Skies revel in that world of songs that are pop and anti-pop at the same time. Songs with an easy-going melody but a panicky chorus, or things with ripping guitars and pleasant harmonies, or maybe some sheer sonic thunder with a gentle
lyrical theme. In short, songs with both guts and brains.

When The April Skies originally formed several years ago they had some concrete success being on the cutting edge of what some might call "alternative rock". They had Plenty of regional and even national shows (CBGB's, 9:30 Club), recordings, and some extensive (mostly college) airplay. Says original member, singer/guitarist Jake Crawford, "They were great [days] but sometimes crazy, maybe too crazy days." By the end of the 90's it was time to take a break for some members to catch their breath.
Which is what they did until 2002 when Crawford, re-inspired by working with local bassist Mark Mazick, put out the Blues Brothers' kind of feelers for "getting the band back together." Original drummer Mark Tritico, and long term keyboard player/singer Mark Higgins were fast to sign up. With the re-addition of Andy Book on electric and acoustic guitar, The April Skies were on a mission from —if not God, a musical place which is deep and driven by a nearly spiritual devotion.
The result was a five song compilation entitled, "The Breathe EP". Four of the five tracks on "The Breathe EP" fairly encapsulate the past of the band. Somewhat lush songs that trample along with the smooth power of a migrating herd of wild beast. But the fifth ("Here Comes the Rush") broke some new ground by throwing a little panic, and some breakout music, into The April Skies' musical repertoire.
"If there's anything different about "Here Comes the Rush", according to Crawford, it's just that it's not as planned out; it's more spontaneous and lets everyone have some space, rather than always seeking a blended level-ness."
It is that emotion, seeking a more pressing and vibrant urgency, which inspired putting together "Flood". Says keyboardist/ vocalist Mark Higgins (who mixed much of "The Breathe EP"), "We wanted to see the music come out of nowhere and just let the 'process' go. We wanted everyone to individually feel the work in creation— the flood of it —and not just with a pre-planned band mentality."
So how does a band with such an organic sound (they've often been compared to The Cure - with a few Depeche Mode or Coldplay references) get some of the levels of their density unwrapped?
First, according to Crawford, is you get a producer, in this case Jeff Feltenberger (of The Badlees, Echotown, Sweet Pea Felty fame), who is attuned to the elements that make a great song 'work'. "But never give Feltenberger too many great elements; at least not at one time," he laughs.
The humor comes from The April Skies bringing in their longer pieces, one over 8 minutes long, to Feltenberger at their first recording session last November at Scott Wray Studios in New Cumberland. "It's not that they weren't a great 8 minutes," says Feltenberger, "but it was e-i-g-h-t minutes."
Fortunately, most of the new material sketched out for the "Flood" CD had a more listener/radio-friendly time frame. The band and the producer were in fast accord as to which ten songs merited placement on "Flood".
And that eight minute mini-opera? (aptly titled "I Will Surround You") Well, it's still going to clock in at just under six minutes, thank you very much.
If you spent the winter dreaming of hitting the slopes, The April Skies spent theirs just dreaming of hitting the stage again. Although amazed and excited by what they were catching with Feltenberger and engineer Jason Shaffer (whose recent work includes the acclaimed "Central-Pa Christmas Compilation" and the Grantham Road "Desperate Times" CD), The April Skies were feverishly itching to wrap up the studio work at Wray's.
Besides, the four veterans in the band couldn't wait to introduce the stage to newly added bassist Bob Edris who replaces the departing Mazick. It will be Edris' first full-time live band commitment and he hasn't seen the world outside of the tiny universe of the studio. The major hurdle to dream fulfillment in January —mixing.
Enter Tom 'T-Bone' Edmonds who has credits with Meatloaf, The Cult, Jamiroquai, and is the primary live mixer for Lenny Kravitz. Watching Edmonds mix "You are the One" for "Flood" was like viewing an attack helicopter in a target rich environment. T-Bone takes a philosophic listen, then quick-fire directs the input from engineer Shaffer: up comes the drums, out goes the second organ, fade goes the vocal.
T-Bone knows how, when, where, and why to either bring out or bury a note or sound. You've heard Kravitz go from propeller blade sharp to prop wash Hendrix buzz; well that's Edmonds. Expect the same creative brilliance on "Flood".
By the time the band arrives in the early evening, "You are the One", a sonic quality/Oasis-feel little number, is ready for critical review. Some high level chit-chat, a few final visionary tweaks by the band, and "You are the One" is all but born. It's the first of four songs that are going to be substantially mixed in what turns out to be one hard day's night.
During a break, I get to hear "Crutch". There's this start which has the tribal feel of a downtown just coming to life for the night. Then this organ takes over and a breaking backup vocal by Mark Higgins makes the song as alive as tectonic plates skittering toward the sea. Crashing waves of drummer-boy drums and bass relentlessly face-smack the unsuspecting as lead-singer Crawford gushes with his "yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeahs!" The Beatles would be approvingly amazed.
In a fickle pop world, it's hard to say if college radio or alternative radio like Philadelphia's WXPN will immediately warm up to the adventurous melodic and hooky "Crutch". Supportive local stations like 97.3 (the River), and Q94 in Altoona will certainly find a spot in their rotations for this piece.
Or maybe some other song, something like "Shaking the Day", will prick up a programmer's ear. This is a number that could make a good woman cry while making a bad man feel as good as having one in the chamber with the safety off. Fully rockish, with hard flashes on the upbeats and downbeats, it's replete with textured counterpoints that are lambskin kid-glove smooth. Like any song that is infused with substantial originality, it may not be the sound for everyone, but it will certainly be the sound for many.
Working off that textured detail that The April Skies provides by virtue of five instruments (not counting two vocals), the "Flood" project excels at being able to catch and translate a multitude of sounds and feels. Crawford on lead vocals often slips into a range that is eerily Elvis Costello while it would not be hard to put vocalist Higgins somewhere on a Pink Floyd release. "Long Way Down" starts out with some heavy guitar riffage that could have been an original J&M Chain concept, while "3-2-2" often flashes some harmonious Tom Petty work. Frequently songs focus on that unbeatable three-guitar attack that is somehow mildly reminiscent of the reckless Drive By Truckers. And then there is always the good old ambient, which can be found on "I Will Surround You".
Whatever your favorite specific musical tastes, fear not that The April Skies won't have something for you. And that they will do it devastatingly well.
In a small room, heated by a couple kerosene heaters, rugs on the concrete floor, bassist Bob Edris waits for Andy Book to switch from acoustic guitar to electric. "We've got to get his right," says Edris. "No, we've got to get this perfect," says Book as he springs into guitar gunslinger stance and does his best 'on stage' first note. "No, let's get it perfectly right!" shouts veteran drummer Mark Tritico, as he lays full-on into the new drums recently acquired to showcase the "Flood" material. One-ups-men-ship in perfection seems to be pretty standard fare at The April Skies rehearsals.
Hearing "The Breathe EP" and the "Flood" songs live, it's hard to believe that the band has been distracted by anything but practice. Although they've only had one 'live' show during the recording season, at the Whitaker Underground in Harrisburg, both the old and new material flowed like they've never had a break. The April Skies should have no problem rubbing the great and powerful live show genie out of the rehearsal practice bottle.
So now its just the last few dubs, the artwork (nods from the band to Chile), the scheduling, the duplication and distribution, publicity, and those other endless minor details (and not so minor —like thanking their families for seemingly endless patience) and the band will get a shot at what makes the whole thing worthwhile... hitting the stage to play.
Check their website www.theaprilskies.com for a complete listing of The April Skies proposed regional and local shows. Although an "official" CD release party is not set in stone yet, the new tunes from the "Flood" eases in the Harrisburg area. are certain be on display in February at Appalachian Brewery Company on the 11th and The Whitaker Center Underground - Stage Two on the 25th.
If the gods of music are merciful, the "Flood" CD itself will appear by the time of the February 25th Whitaker show. But that's an iffy thing. When it finally is in hand, The April Skies project some high profile releases in the Harrisburg area. After that "Flood" will certainly be available in conjunction with shows partnered by the local music networking organization Roundtable Presents. As long-time supporters and members of the Roundtable, the band is anxious to hook up and perform varied shows with multiple other talented local bands.
Be ready to hear a lot of familiar sounds with a lot of new twists. Be ready to see a band getting back to where they come from, while going —they don't know where. Be ready for the "Flood". - PA Musician Magazine - Feb 2005 Cover Story


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Originally forming in Hershey, Pennsylvania during the late 80's and inspired by college/alternative music scene from that time, The April Skies came to life in the early 90's and quickly became one of the premiere bands-you-should-have-heard-of, landing gigs at NYC's infamous CBGB, DC's 930 club and so many other venues in between. Their debut release 1991's "A Strange Western Mood" was hailed by some music critics as the best indie release of 1991. The band then followed that release up with the Mitch Easter (Let's Active, REM) produced "Drive-In EP" in 1992 along with constant touring before burning out at the end of the year. 

After a few years away and numerous line-up changes, the band re-emerged in 2002, releasing The Breathe EP, then followed it up with 2005's "Flood", 2006's "How It All Played Out", 2009's self-titled "The April Skies" – all of which received favorable national press. During this time, the band continued to tour consistently throughout the northeast featuring at venues like NYC's Mercury Lounge and Lancaster, PA's Chameleon club, and featured year after year at music festivals in Dewey Beach, DE (Dewey Beach Popfest, Dewey Beach Music Conference).

In 2012, the band again re-tooled the lineup and released "Yet It Floats" EP.  The April Skies currently consist of founding member Jake Crawford (guitars, vocals), David Kemper (vocals, guitars), Jason Leidich (bass, vocals) and Mitch Curry (drums).

Currently, The April Skies are at work on a new full length release (slated for fall 2016 release) and is ramping up tour dates throughout the northeast US.

Throughout the years, The April Skies have shared the stage with high-profile artists such as Ride, The Ocean Blue, The Lemonheads, Don Peris (The Innocence Mission), Tommy Stinson (The Replacements), Eve’s Plumb, Riverside, Jason Isbell, The Hold Steady and so many more.