The Demos
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The Demos

Rochester, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2004 | SELF

Rochester, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2004
Band Rock Indie

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Nov
09
The Demos @ Silver Line Tap

Trumansburg, New York, United States

Trumansburg, New York, United States

Nov
08
The Demos @ Bug Jar

Rochester, New York, United States

Rochester, New York, United States

Oct
23
The Demos @ Alphabet Lounge

Manhattan, New York, United States

Manhattan, New York, United States

Oct
21
The Demos @ Bug Jar

Rochester, New York, United States

Rochester, New York, United States

Sep
23
The Demos @ The Bowery Electric

New York, New York, United States

New York, New York, United States

Sep
19
The Demos @ Rusty Rudder

Dewey Beach, Delaware, United States

Dewey Beach, Delaware, United States

Sep
09
The Demos @ The Montage Music Hall

Rochester, New York, United States

Rochester, New York, United States

Sep
05
The Demos @ Waiting Room

Buffalo, New York, United States

Buffalo, New York, United States

Jun
19
The Demos @ The Hideout

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Music

Press


"The Best and Worst of New York's Inaugural Catalpa Festival"

Weirdest Stage Banter: The Demos
From "This is a song about fucking," for a funky indie rock number to "We have cool new shirts… they have clouds on them," the Demos' gnarly idea of rapport actually did a disservice to their set, which had people dancing. It all culminated with their biggest "huh?!" moment, when frontman Jason Milton announced, "This next song is a cover by what I consider to be the greatest living poet." The song was "Dance With Me," the poet was erstwhile Moldy Peach Adam Green, and said poetry consisted of lines like, "Feel my love, coming from the heavens above." Screw you, Maya Angelou! - SPIN.com


"Interview: The Demos"

In the music video for their song “Nervous,” The Demos’ frontman Jay Milton sports a Big Star T-shirt underneath a black leather jacket. It’s the perfect synecdoche for this young Rochester, New York band — they’re a throwback to a simpler time when pop-rock radio ruled, with Alex Chilton as its king.

It’s February 2012, and The Demos are playing Rochester’s Bug Jar venue. Jay’s belts out “Nervous” behind the curtain of his long black hair, which matches his black Rickenbacker six-string. His counterpart, bassist, and band co-founder Cal Saunders furiously plucks his red bass (also a Rickenbacker) while he yells background “ahhs” into a vintage mic. Their stage demeanor is serious and determined, quite the opposite of what their music suggests. But Jay, Cal, and the rest of their band are committed to rocking the hell out of whatever back room they happen to be playing that particular night. Right now, they’re focused.

The Demos’ official MySpace, PureVolume, and ReverbNation pages label them as a power-pop act, and it’s true. Their songs pair poppy guitar arrangements with sunny melodies that take days to leave your head, but there’s a benevolent bite, too. Take the furious guitar strikes that open “Nervous,” one of the lead singles from their debut LP, Lovely, which dropped last May. They act as a nice foil to the dreamy repeated chorus lines: “If you want her/You shouldn’t tell her to leave!”

The smashing power-pop of “Nervous” brought the band some interesting attention in an email received one night last year. Japanese label Thistime Records contacted The Demos after listening to Lovely on their Bandcamp page and told them it would be a huge hit overseas — especially thanks to the impossibly catchy “Nervous.”

At home, Lovely came out on Rochester’s Young Lion of the West Recording Company, an independent label founded by the band and their producer. But after a few months of contract negotiations and talk with Thistime, Lovely was officially released in Japan, too, making The Demos international power-pop stars. In January, Thistime built a huge press kit for the release, including planting massive in-store displays and listening stations at Tower Records in Tokyo.

Then, three weeks later, Lovely sold out on its initial run.

“We kind of knew that it happened, but it was only from translating Japanese tweets and social network stuff into English,” Jay told me in the grungy basement of the Bug Jar the night of the show. When he talks, Jay looks down at this hands and talks through his thoughts. Cal, on the other hand, stays quiet, giving him some time to formulate exactly what he wants to say.

“It’s hard to tell what’s going on a lot of times because of the language difference,” Jay said. “The guy we talk to at our label speaks English pretty all right, but every once in a while, it’s like, ‘What the fuck are you trying to say?’”

That’s been the biggest issue about The Demos being “big” in Japan — the vast language barrier. The overseas release also contains an eight-page insert for the jewel case with Japanese liner notes, as well as lyrics for the entire tracklist in Japanese and English. From the little research Jay and Cal have done using Google to translate the tweets, it’s all praise. To make it less complicated, they’ve also made an effort to start learning the basics of the language.

“Neither of us can speak any yet,” Cal told me as we sit on a ladder. “I’ve been writing down different words, kind of the basics. I figure if I can learn like 21 words in any language that are the basics like ‘bathroom,’ ‘hotel,’ ‘cigarette,’ ‘marijuana’…then I can accomplish anything I want, and that’ll be good.”

Cal said he’s been having dreams about Japan, as if the only way he can even fathom what’s happening to The Demos overseas is to discover crumbs of meaning in his sleep. It’s a wild experience for a local band to remain lukewarm in the States while simultaneously exploding in Japan, so Jay and Cal are sometimes left dumbfounded.

“There’s no way to even gauge it because you don’t see it in front of you all the time,” Jay said. “Nobody recognizes you here, so who knows if you went to Tokyo, maybe people would flock to you.”

With the two of them, another guitarist, a drummer, a keyboardist, and sometimes a backup vocalist-slash-tambourineer, The Demos are quite the crew on stage. They’d like to play in Japan, but right now, it’s a matter of money. Still, if events keep unfolding in their favor, Jay said the band will definitely make the 14-hour trek to play some gigs.

In the meantime, they’re recording more music, playing more shows, and saving up for the big flight across the sea. They’ve released two videos for Lovely’s singles and hope to keep riding the wave of positive feedback they’ve received since the album dropped.

“I think if I could say one thing that I really think about the record,” Cal said, “is that it finally fills a niche that could manage to be fille - Verbicide Magazine


"Interview: The Demos"

In the music video for their song “Nervous,” The Demos’ frontman Jay Milton sports a Big Star T-shirt underneath a black leather jacket. It’s the perfect synecdoche for this young Rochester, New York band — they’re a throwback to a simpler time when pop-rock radio ruled, with Alex Chilton as its king.

It’s February 2012, and The Demos are playing Rochester’s Bug Jar venue. Jay’s belts out “Nervous” behind the curtain of his long black hair, which matches his black Rickenbacker six-string. His counterpart, bassist, and band co-founder Cal Saunders furiously plucks his red bass (also a Rickenbacker) while he yells background “ahhs” into a vintage mic. Their stage demeanor is serious and determined, quite the opposite of what their music suggests. But Jay, Cal, and the rest of their band are committed to rocking the hell out of whatever back room they happen to be playing that particular night. Right now, they’re focused.

The Demos’ official MySpace, PureVolume, and ReverbNation pages label them as a power-pop act, and it’s true. Their songs pair poppy guitar arrangements with sunny melodies that take days to leave your head, but there’s a benevolent bite, too. Take the furious guitar strikes that open “Nervous,” one of the lead singles from their debut LP, Lovely, which dropped last May. They act as a nice foil to the dreamy repeated chorus lines: “If you want her/You shouldn’t tell her to leave!”

The smashing power-pop of “Nervous” brought the band some interesting attention in an email received one night last year. Japanese label Thistime Records contacted The Demos after listening to Lovely on their Bandcamp page and told them it would be a huge hit overseas — especially thanks to the impossibly catchy “Nervous.”

At home, Lovely came out on Rochester’s Young Lion of the West Recording Company, an independent label founded by the band and their producer. But after a few months of contract negotiations and talk with Thistime, Lovely was officially released in Japan, too, making The Demos international power-pop stars. In January, Thistime built a huge press kit for the release, including planting massive in-store displays and listening stations at Tower Records in Tokyo.

Then, three weeks later, Lovely sold out on its initial run.

“We kind of knew that it happened, but it was only from translating Japanese tweets and social network stuff into English,” Jay told me in the grungy basement of the Bug Jar the night of the show. When he talks, Jay looks down at this hands and talks through his thoughts. Cal, on the other hand, stays quiet, giving him some time to formulate exactly what he wants to say.

“It’s hard to tell what’s going on a lot of times because of the language difference,” Jay said. “The guy we talk to at our label speaks English pretty all right, but every once in a while, it’s like, ‘What the fuck are you trying to say?’”

That’s been the biggest issue about The Demos being “big” in Japan — the vast language barrier. The overseas release also contains an eight-page insert for the jewel case with Japanese liner notes, as well as lyrics for the entire tracklist in Japanese and English. From the little research Jay and Cal have done using Google to translate the tweets, it’s all praise. To make it less complicated, they’ve also made an effort to start learning the basics of the language.

“Neither of us can speak any yet,” Cal told me as we sit on a ladder. “I’ve been writing down different words, kind of the basics. I figure if I can learn like 21 words in any language that are the basics like ‘bathroom,’ ‘hotel,’ ‘cigarette,’ ‘marijuana’…then I can accomplish anything I want, and that’ll be good.”

Cal said he’s been having dreams about Japan, as if the only way he can even fathom what’s happening to The Demos overseas is to discover crumbs of meaning in his sleep. It’s a wild experience for a local band to remain lukewarm in the States while simultaneously exploding in Japan, so Jay and Ca - Verbicide Magazine


"Lovely Demos"

Lovely Demos

Posted by Mike Mineo on 6/16/11 • Categorized as Features

The fleeting guitar-pop of The Demos presents itself like a smörgåsbord of indie-rock influences. Pop pioneers like The Beatles and Brian Wilson can be heard in much of today’s music, but the prevalence of contrived imitation over infused creativity now prevents listeners from fully grasping their impact on a variety of pop/rock styles. The Demos’ breezy and bright sound puts throwback components like surf-pop harmonizing and chugging British Invasion guitar-rock on full display. They are able to do so within an intelligent blending of influenced genres that emerged later in time – like power-pop and indie-rock – and this makes listening to the New York-based duo is a titillating stylistic journey.

Although their most succinct comparison is to the evolutionary power-pop of Teenage Fanclub and Spoon, The Demos’ willingness to embrace an endless chain of influences is what makes their music so immediately accessible and memorable. So what separates The Demos from other recent groups bound by similar influences, like Rooney or Hot Hot Heat? Most importantly, The Demos are able to pay tribute to their influences without ripping them off. So while this may prevent them from ever reaching the Top 40, their album boasts a hell of a lot more creativity and replay value.

A local duo from Rochester, The Demos are bound to get some attention with their debut full-length, Lovely. Highlight “Meet at Night” immediately reeks of nostalgia; the first quarter of the verse – “I always wait while for the bus to pick me up” – recalls high-pitched ‘60s pop groups like The Zombies And The Left Banke. The transition to a more power-pop feel, like that of The Replacements and Teenage Fanclub, is prompted by both a cleverly infused jangle and a more somber vocal turn – “and take me downtown.” At 03:19 long, it is the second-longest track on Lovely, which does a stellar job of hosting twelve songs, nine of which are under two minutes. The duo recognize that if they are going to wear a bevy of renowned influences on their sleeves, there is no need to be overly ambitious by unnecessarily stretching out ideas. Lovely avoids any awkward moments whatsoever because of this commitment.

click the cover for 44% off

The infectiously upbeat “Impossible” resembles underrated British rockers Moose, who produced classics like “The Only Man in Town”. “Impossible” is a generally acoustic song during its verses, but expands dramatically during the hook-laden chorus. “But your eyes burn bright and it feels so right to be loved,” they sing, paving the way for a successfully dramatic bridge featuring string-synths and a trickling guitar riff; transitions like this throughout the album are generally concise and always memorable. The next track, “Don’t Wake Me Up Again”, follows a very similar formula; its chorus is backed by a whimpering string-synth, with a choral-like vocal accompaniment complementing a twangy guitar progression. While “Impossible” is more likely to earn new fans, its follow-up is more expansive than its two-minute length could possibly foretell.

With other gems – like the affably twee-like “I Might Have You” and the swiftly infectious “Can’t Win Me Over” (it’s easy to hear a little bit of Blur’s “Coffee and TV” in there) – rounding out Lovely, it is highly recommended for any fans of immediately accessible power-pop. And who isn’t a fan of that? Lovely is only $5 (a 44% discount) on GroopEase for a limited time, so be sure to pick it up.

- Obscure Sound


"Sound Check: The Demos INTERVIEW"

Fake Plastic's very own Fr. Jones shoots the breeze with Jason Milton and Callan Saunders from The Demos about fan interaction, ideal vacations, and enjoying what you create.

Here is the link to my review of Lovely.




FR: The first time I listened to Lovely, I asked a friend of mine, "Where do I know this song from?" The answer of course is- nowhere. Lovely happens to be an extraordinarily catchy, infectious collection of music. What were your goals with this album?

JAY: We just wanted to make a record that we could be proud of. We have always tried to make records in which every song on it could be a single. I think we accomplished that goal with "Lovely." We would feel comfortable putting out any of the songs as a single.


FR: How long was the recording process? Will you be going back into the studio anytime soon?

JAY: We spent about a year recording "Lovely." We weren't in the studio every day. We worked on it bit by bit over the course of a year or so. We tracked the majority of the record ourselves in a studio that we built. Prior to this we had only worked in professional studios which ended up costing to much plus we were not always satisfied with the results. We were much more relaxed in the studio this time around which allowed us the ability to let the songs develop honestly.

CAL: We should be heading back into the studio in the next few months. Our follow up is mostly written and we are anxious to start working on it. We are still planning on supporting "Lovely" during the time that we are in the process of recording our next record. However, I think our live presence is important and I don't want to be that band that just locks themselves away in the studio for way to long.


FR: Lovely boasts a variety of sounds- from Britpop to surf rock. Who are your main influences as artists?

JAY: We grew up listening to the Beach Boys and the Beatles, and I've always adored Brian Wilson's harmonies. When we discovered The Strokes in 2002 it inspired us both to form the band. While writing tracks for "Lovey," I (Jay) was listening almost exclusively to Big Star. I had known about them for years but for some reason #1 Record just hit me the right way at that time. That's the reason we took the record to Memphis, TN to mix at Ardent Studios with John Hapmton (The White Stripes, Raconteurs). Big Star did all their records there and we felt like we needed to spend some time with "Lovely" there.


FR: What’s the story behind the Demos? How did you guys first get together?

JAY: We met in high school and discovered our similar musical interests. I'm a huge fan of Saturday Night Live and in 2002 I rarely paid attention to the musical guest. One night The Strokes were the guest and I was drawn in from the first note of "Last Nite." I bought "Is This It" the next day and a week later I formed the band that would end up being The Demos. I just knew at that moment that was what I wanted to do.


FR: I mentioned in my review that the Demos are worthy contenders to Cults as far as Quintessential Sounds of Summer 2011 go. Have you listened to the new Cults album? If so, what did you think?

JAY: Cults' record is actually in my car right now. It's an incredible record. I remember a few months ago when I first heard "You Know What I Mean" I showed it to Cal and told him it was the best song I had heard in a while. I was anxiously waiting for the whole record to come out.

CAL: Jay showed it to me a while ago, it sounded cool. I think their record cover is pretty memorable which is a good thing.


FR: Do you plan on touring Lovely anytime soon?

JAY: We are currently booking and shooting for the fall.


FR: How important is fanbase interaction to the Demos?

JAY: We have great fans and we sincerely appreciate all the love and kisses they dish out. Thank you so much. Please direct all questions/love-notes to: thedemosmusic@gmail.com


FR: Is there a song on Lovely that the band favors most?

JAY: I like "My City".
CAL: I like the sound of "Daydream".


FR: Back to the whole Summertime thing, what’s the Demos idea of a great summer vacation?

JAY: Being surrounded by things that make the world great. For instance, beautiful women and alcohol.


FR: Any advice to up-and-coming artists struggling to make it in the 21st century music industry?

JAY: I would say whatever you do, just make sure that you make a record that you, yourself, would listen to if you didn't make it. It might be easier to latch on to a trending genre, but what's the point if you don't enjoy the music you create?

CAL: What music industry? - Fake Plastic Tunes


"Introducing // The Demos"

Joywave played at Bug Jar again this past weekend, packing the venue like they did at their 77777 mixtape show earlier in the month. They brought different bands to open for them this time; being the procrastinator that I am, however, I ended up missing the first two acts – Josh Netsky and Doctors – but I was able to catch the opening set from The Demos, another Rochester based band.

On their recently released album Lovely, the band is listed as two members – Jason Milton and Callan Saunders. Live, however, the band swelled to a five-piece, with former Longwave member and current Mikey Jukebox architect Mike James on drums for this show. Musically, it’s easy to compare them to The Strokes and other bands of similar ilk. But Lovely doesn’t have the same constant fuzz; instead, The Demos tend more to be less punk than pop, although they seem comfortable in either genre. In the end, they seem more reminiscent of Supergrass, more Brit-pop than post-punk.

The band doesn’t have much lined up in terms of shows at this point, although they will be opening up for The Trews at Water Street later on in June. You can head over to their Bandcamp page to stream Lovely in its entirety and grab another free track, and head to their website to get your hands on their previous EPs. - Tympanogram


"Record Review: The Demos"

The Demos
Lovely
Rochester, NY

“The soundtrack for a sunny summer afternoon”

Lovely is certainly an appropriate title for The Demos’ latest album. This collection of light and breezy power-pop songs is perfect for dancing down the street on a warm summer day. Thanks to influences like the Beach Boys and the Strokes, these are feel-good tunes that you don’t have to feel guilty about loving.
LISTEN NOW: “Meet at Night”

The opening song, “Daydream,” starts the album off with an upbeat attitude, and things only gain momentum from there. Key tracks such as “Nervous” and “Veronica” will have listeners bouncing around in no time. Female harmonies and catchy hooks add texture and personality throughout the record. Mix those characteristics with the DIY production quality, and somehow, the album manages to feel retro and modern at the same time. The songs sound like polished demos – once again the band lives up to its name.

After a while, a few of the songs start to sound a little similar, particularly during a few of the less-than-memorable middle tracks. But on the whole, The Demos have created a bunch of energetic songs that would all fit perfectly on the soundtrack to the next Zach Braff film. (Young Lion of the West Recording Company)

Produced by Mike James and The Demos // Recorded in Rochester, NY // Mastered by Kevin Nix in Memphis, TN - Performer Magazine


"Record Review: The Demos"

The Demos
Lovely
Rochester, NY

“The soundtrack for a sunny summer afternoon”

Lovely is certainly an appropriate title for The Demos’ latest album. This collection of light and breezy power-pop songs is perfect for dancing down the street on a warm summer day. Thanks to influences like the Beach Boys and the Strokes, these are feel-good tunes that you don’t have to feel guilty about loving.
LISTEN NOW: “Meet at Night”

The opening song, “Daydream,” starts the album off with an upbeat attitude, and things only gain momentum from there. Key tracks such as “Nervous” and “Veronica” will have listeners bouncing around in no time. Female harmonies and catchy hooks add texture and personality throughout the record. Mix those characteristics with the DIY production quality, and somehow, the album manages to feel retro and modern at the same time. The songs sound like polished demos – once again the band lives up to its name.

After a while, a few of the songs start to sound a little similar, particularly during a few of the less-than-memorable middle tracks. But on the whole, The Demos have created a bunch of energetic songs that would all fit perfectly on the soundtrack to the next Zach Braff film. (Young Lion of the West Recording Company)

Produced by Mike James and The Demos // Recorded in Rochester, NY // Mastered by Kevin Nix in Memphis, TN - Performer Magazine


"The Demos: Lovely"

One of our friends told us that The Demos “aren’t for rockers.” We decided against another afternoon Ian Dury binge and we listened to their album anyway. We liked it. Their sound is unabashedly commercial—surprising as it might sound that is one of the best compliments that can come from the world of Rochester’s loud and harsh underground music scene. As a pop group, The Demos have evolved into a formidable band. In our opinion, few of Rochester’s mainstream-oriented acts have matched their ability to craft a polished product that is poised to please the masses with catchy melodic currents and lyrical hooks. Their 2011 release Lovely is part retro rock, part Big Star, part Strokes with a good dose of hipster sensibilities.

The original lineup consisted of Jason Milton, Alex Nothrup, Callan Saunders, Alicia Messenger, and Matt McMahon. Over several years the permanent lineup has been reduced to two core members Jason and Callan. Lovely is their first full length release with Milton and Saunders at the helm.

Besides occasional upbeat stomps like “Nervous,” the mellow mood of the album remains unaltered. Despite the mellow instrumentation, The Demos with the help of Mike James use crafted arrangements to create a diverse set of textures. The track “Veronica,” an otherwise acoustic ballad is transformed into a slow pop stomp with the help of a hypnotic percussion track. Lovely is a pure studio album, a rarity from the Rochester scene.

Lyrically the songs take on a very simple “boy meets girl, boys loses girl” progression. There’s an apparent vagueness that can be occasionally troublesome. Then again it’s the melodies that count and at times the vagueness works in their favor. The closing track “My City” bears few markings of Rochester, but as a result attains universal qualities few have in the underground scene. Between the music and the lyrics they have achieved a sound both retro and current.

It is easy to see that High schoolers and house wives can equally dig Lovely’s style. The Demos are a side of Rochester few get to see, a suburbanites vision of this city. Their melodies create a summertime escape that brings up memories of East End Fest, Park Ave Fest, and the Lilac Festival, captured immaculately on Kodak Kodachrome.

You can download a free copy of their single “Veronica” via The Demos Facebook Page. It is definitely worth a few listens.

Review by The Bad Kids.

Lovely was recorded at Young Lion of the West Recording Company, Rochester NY

Mixed by John Hampton and Adam Hill at Ardent Studios, Nashville Tennessee

Mastered by Kevin Nix at L. Nix Mastering, Memphis Tennessee - The Bad Kids


"The Demos - Lovely Review"

Every summer has its sound. Up until now, with the release of their breezy self-titled LP, Cults have cornered that market. A challenger finally arrives on Lovely, the debut album from The Demos. With a poppy blend of Britpop and surf rock, the stylish Rochester duo glide through ten tracks of tasty bubblegum that somehow avoids the prophesied treacle usually associated with such endeavors. Are we in profound territory? Well, no- but Lovely never chooses to venture beyond its whip-smart aspirations. Like the best seasonal mixes, it’s hooky, genuinely memorable, and boasts an immense replay value. And for these reasons, it can safely make a solid case against Cults as to who rightly deserves the Sound of Summer title- the blatant irrelevancy of such a title not withstanding.

The replay value comes from a strange place. The music feels familiar albeit fresh- a mellow mix of straightforward guitar riffs, catchy choruses, and string synths. We’ve heard all this before, but usually much, much worse. Many of the artists who influence The Demos are evident on Lovely. Yet the duo never panders to a particular genre, instead opting for a calculated palette of sounds and references. This allows the listener to reside in their comfort zone while simultaneously never finding the album predictable. Songs like “Meet at Night” and “Impossible”, dynamic homages briefly offering the source material a glimpse into newer places, are solid examples of this technique. While tunes such as "Nervous" are almost intimidating in yesteryear's uptempo catchiness. The Demos never stray far from these influences, with the end result being a dignified, reserved irony. If Mark McGrath possessed any integrity, Sugar Ray would have been more like The Demos- an efficient, undeniably fun band that doesn’t make the listener hate their self for participating. More often than not, the listener only wants to participate again. - Fake Plastic Tunes


"HEAR THIS: The Demos"

Indie pop duo, Jason Milton and Callan Saunders, better known as The Demos, deliver one challenge with their latest release, Lovely: try to not bob your head while you listen. Appropriately titled, Lovely is filled with classic catchy, versatile, and well-formulated sounds like that of a cousin of The Shins or Rooney, the perfect addition to your summer-road trip soundtrack. Favorite tracks from the twelve-song album include Strokes reminiscent “Nervous” and “Meet At Night,” which combines that familiar MGMT-style voice layering over infectious melodies. As they profess in “Don’t Wake Me Up Again,” let their love, or music rather, into your heart. Really, it’ll likely stay there for a while. - The Owl Mag


"The Demos - Lovely"

The Demos are a New York indie pop/power pop duo whose work, in principle, should be very appealing. They often know their way around a three minute song and have some great 70s/80s power pop influences, but from early listens, it’s obvious where their work is deficient: in keeping with their name, the songs here have a slightly DIY feel as opposed to a finished, lavish work. We’re not talking the Robert Pollard/Guided By Voices “amps and a tape-deck” approach here, obviously, but for a power pop band, The Demos lack the necessary professional shine. This has a great deal to do with the presence of elements which sound pre-programmed (particularly on lots of drum parts), which, in the long run, tends to make everything feel a bit flat.

Audio issues aside, there are a few songs featured on ‘Lovely’ which really stand out. ‘Can’t Win Me Over’ has a strong Ben Kweller influence and simple chiming guitar chords, but within its power pop grooves there’s something a little more indie rock at play. Similarly, ‘Tell Me How It Feels’ is potentially great, with its melodic guitar lines, kitschy keyboards and a tune which, in places, is reminiscent of Boston band The Russians. It provides a great insight into what The Demos can do when completely focused; it’s just a shame about the biscuit tin drum sound, which naturally provides a weak element. It’s a number begging to be spruced up by the superb Justin Kline.

‘My City’ features some solid harmonies and a mid-paced arrangement, which overall provides another example of The Demos at their best. While the rhythm guitars are simple, beneath the jangle, there are occasional hints of a ringing lead and twin vocals which are given an extra boost by a female backing. The track barely breaks from its original riff, but doesn’t need any embellishment or anything complex added; at just over two-and-a-half minutes, it’s holds the attention well enough. Another mid-paced number, ‘I Need It’, has a strong 70s vibe which, with a tweak here and there, could be really great. As it stands, it already has a strong vocal line and the tinkling bell keyboard moments are a nice touch. Like other good moments on this album, though, the song is well written but let down by the small budget at The Demos’ disposal.

As mentioned, most of the songs featured on ‘Lovely’ have the necessary hooks needed to make them stand up. There’s little here that sounds like essential listening, but repeated listens show a couple of songs to be great. With regards to the best material here, it’s a shame The Demos didn’t have the huge budget to give those tunes the kind of send off they deserved. - Real Gone


"The Demos - Lovely"

We like this album very much so we visited the band's web site (link above) to find out more information...but we could find very little factual info other than photographs and blurbs about the new album. Since we couldn't find any pertinent facts to include here...we're forced to concentrate on the music itself. That can be difficult at times...but in this case it's rather simple. The appropriately titled Lovely is a super satisfying slice of modern pop with fresh energy and cool breezy melodies. True, there are thousands upon thousands of bands using this same basic formula: guitars, bass, drums, vocals... But the folks in The Demos combine 'em in just the right way and they have the right attitude about what they're doing. As a result, what might be average ordinary pop...is transformed into wonderfully magnetic music with integrity and style. The more we spin this album...the better these tracks sound. Just over 32 minutes of pure pop bliss. Our favorite cuts include "Daydream," "Tell Me How It Feels," "I Might Have You," and "My City." Highly recommended. TOP PICK. - BabySue


"Spotlight: The Demos"

Mixing in the Shadows of Big Star

Hailing from Rochester, NY, the Demos have been making music for over 10 years, a melodically driven force, dubbed as a well-oiled machine, churning out Beatle-esque melodies.

Founding members Jay Milton and Cal Saunders feel grateful for a sense of rebirth, a new chapter in the Demos legacy. With the release of their latest album, Lovely, produced by friend Mike James, from Long Wave fame, the Demos hope to captivate listeners old and new.

Milton and Saunders met in school at Webster Schroeder in a Rochester suburb, where they shared similar tastes in all varieties of music. As the Demos, their creative influences were always The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, and classic ’70s rock, including the mysterious legendary group, Big Star. “We started playing music together in high school,” says Milton. After watching The Strokes perform on Saturday Night Live, Jay was inspired to form a band. “Cal was a founding member of the group and both of us have shared similar music interests from the band’s conception. Our taste in music greatly differed from our peers, allowing us to be a very unique band in Rochester.”

The group recorded Lovely at their home studio in Rochester, billing it as their first major touring release, eager to shed its light on a new fan base this fall. From the sound and style of the record, to the songwriting and mood – they believe this album accurately represents what they’re about. A key ingredient to the success and strong potential of Lovely is that this was the first time the Demos had full creative control over songwriting. While working on the arrangements in the studio, they had few worries over time and money constraints.

After recording the tracks at home, the two key members traveled south to the famed Ardent studios in Memphis, eager to get the CD in the hands of John Hampton, who had worked previously with the White Stripes. They were genuinely thrilled that the record was mastered and mixed by Hampton, once the drummer of the famed ’70s classic rock band, Big Star.

“While I was writing material for Lovely I was listening almost exclusively to Big Star,” says Milton. “This led to our decision to have the record mixed at Ardent Studios in Memphis, where Big Star recorded all of their records. While that was a big influence, I have always been influenced by Brian Wilson’s harmonies, and more recently The Strokes.”

The Demos are truly a veteran band, and what makes them unique in style and character is their approach to songwriting, composition, and the ability to fuse their influences into rich melodies and instrumentally dynamic pop songs.

Milton mentions being unemployed in the summer of 2010, and sitting down each morning with a cup of coffee and clearing his mind, just thinking of creating music. It was a long, hot summer in Rochester, though Milton prevailed, coming up with nearly 30 songs. He was proud of his work, his newfound sense of adventure and the spark to find a new purpose. It was the music that helped propel the Demos’ rebirth.

Love is the theme that radiates most in Lovely, and the Demos feel that with that intact, the record will continue to impact people. “My songs are about love and loss,” says Milton. “I’m often inspired by the people I meet or know. Love is such a beautiful and general concept that everyone can relate to, yet people have such a tough time understanding it.”

The Demos’ drive is apparent as they express themselves through compelling, viable music. Their sense of romanticism is vital. Certainly to the Demos, with a fall tour approaching, the project’s completion was well worth the work, and worth the wait. - Performer Magazine


"POP: The Demos by Frank De Blase on Aug. 22nd, 2007"

Blame it on the scruffy, boyish good looks. Blame it on the beat. Or blame it on singer Jason Milton's uncanny knack to write harmonies that simultaneously straddle heartbreak and bliss.

"I don't even know how this happened," Milton says. "Just one day I learned to pick out harmonies. Whenever I write a melody, I just hear it." And just wait until you hear it.

With a gift for melody, simple yet poignant songs, sweet harmonies, and a guitar sound that is as much today as it is the '60s, The Demos is one of the best pop bands playing today. And the little bastards are barely out of their teens.

Bassist Cal Saunders carries himself with a cocksure nonchalance. He's quick-witted and sarcastic, but you can still hear the genuine thrill in his voice recalling the band's first gig. It was February 2004, a shared performance with the comedy impov team at Webster-Schroeder High School, which the band members all attended. Two-hundred kids crowded in to see the band. Everyone loved it - almost everybody.

"The improv team really didn't like us after that 'cause it seemed that more people wanted to see us play than see them do improv," says Milton.

"'Cause they weren't that funny," Saunders adds.

The band came together when most members were in the 10th grade, and bored out of their minds.

Peering through aviator shades beneath his shaggy mop, Milton looks more than a little bit like Gram Parsons. "We were, like, ‘Well, we got nothing better to do with our Friday nights," Milton says. "'So let's start a band.' I couldn't play anything, so they told me to sing."

The teens goofed around with a four-track, making up silly songs and routines. Milton cites Adam Sandler as an influence in this period.

"Then we saw a local band, November Code, perform at this community center," Milton says. "Musically it wasn't anything we were into; it was just what was surrounding them."

"Women," drummer Ryan Farnung says.

"We were like, ‘We could never do this, 'cause our stuff is too stupid and ridiculous,'" Milton says. "So at that point we were like, ‘Let's start writing songs that actually make sense.'"

Saunders saw the light in an early basement rehearsal when the band first made it all the way through "House of the Rising Sun."

"It felt awesome," he says. "I was just so happy to be in a band. It just felt natural. It was, like, instead of ‘Yeah, I'm gonna be in a band,' it was more like, ‘Yeah, I'm in a band that actually has the potential to make music.'"

The band started writing its own material. Milton had played trumpet as a kid and later spent study hall time in the school's music room picking out tunes on the piano. Farnung has been classically trained in percussion since the fourth grade. Saunders is more of a rock 'n' roll charlatan.

"I pretended to play bass in jazz band," he says. "I didn't really know how to play. I didn't teach myself how to play 'till I joined The Demos."

It's the band members' musical education, or rather lack thereof, that allows for an unchained, unimpeded magic to flow.

"When I write," Milton says, "I hear things in my head and know where I want things to go. I feel that if I were technically trained the places I'd want things to go would remain the same. I've always liked the way chords change into one another, and things that aren't normal in chord changes - things that surprise you, that sound pretty or sound dirty - something you don't expect to hear."

The Demos' new CD, "Alone With You," is full of these harmonies; America-esque, Everly-esque, Beatles-esque beauties that just appear in Milton's head. Atop this foundation organist Nic Milton (the band's bow tied Rick Nielsen) and guitarist Tom Ruby add sweet fills and bites that are as much atmosphere as they are just really cool riffs. Cuts meander from melancholy moodiness to a poppy sunshine punch, but the vocals are always gorgeous and riveting

A lot of the songs are about girls, including Saunders' current squeeze and Milton's ex, who wasn't thrilled with being immortalized musically on "Truth and Lies."

"That didn't go over well," he says.

Farnung's honey didn't make the cut because "she doesn't cause much trouble."

Romantically, The Demos are living the rock musician's Catch 22.

"It's a turn-off for a girlfriend," Saunders says of being in a band. "But it's a turn-on for a girl."

"I've always thought being in a band was like having five girlfriends," Milton says, referring to his band mates.

Then who's the best kisser?

"Cal," Farnung and Milton say in unison. "Hands down." - Rochester City Newspaper


"ROCK: The Demos by Frank De Blase on June 20th, 2007"

Every cut on The Demos' new CD "Alone With You" is a gem. The harmonies are sensational as they bounce off the jangle and bop. I'm tempted to call this a kind of retro pop; these kids have apparently taken a dip in the Liverpool. Granted, the band members aren't as old as my sense of déjà vu, but this is the kind of music that crackled out of little transistor radios when I was a kid in a world of muscle cars and tube tops. I don't think there's another band in this town that just about every music fan could fall in love with. This is my new favorite band. Yours too, maybe --- you just don't know it yet. - Rochester City Newspaper


"Sixties Rock Suits The Demos by Jeff Spevak on June 21st, 2007"

At last, we have an environmental-science explanation as to how a band of 19- and 20-year-old guys can play rock music that sounds twice as old as they are.

"When my mom brought me home from the hospital, when I was a baby, there were two pictures hanging over my crib," says Cal Saunders. Mick Jagger and The Beatles. You can only assume from that that it's all our parents' doing. We just picked up on our parents' music, and it's awesome."

Lucky for us, that wasn't Wayne Newton greeting the newborn baby Saunders. Instead, The Demos celebrate the release of their new CD, Alone With You, with a 7 p.m. Friday show at The Club at Water Street.

Besides Saunders, the band includes drummer Ryan Farnung, Nic Milton on organs, guitarist Tom Ruby and guitarist and lead singer Jason Milton.

"We just write kinda whatever comes out, and that's always been what our band is all about," Saunders says. "I'm proud of this record. It sounds like a lot of things that we like, all kinda mixed together, and kinda autobiographical."

"It only seems natural that we would write stuff that we like. It might be oversimplifying, but we write a lot of songs about girls. Like there's always that girl you're trying to get , or trying to get back at. One or the other. And drugs, although none of us is really doing drugs, that often."

So while they're really not doing drugs and not that often, The Demos did come up with "The Dark Hour." Saunders describes it as, "if you're reaching that point where you're drunk or whatever, you lose perspective; that's what that's about."

But that makes The Demos sound a little too dark. The band does have a psychedelic edge to it, and the proper long hair, and it does know who The Strokes are. But the sound is kind of upbeat, in line with its own description as advocates of the British Invasion and "'50s and '60s coolness." The Demos also do a nice cover of "Love Potion No. 9, " an idea that Saunders and Milton came up with while listening to the soundtrack of American Graffiti.

"A lot of guys don't find our music maybe rocking enough," Saunders says. "Guy's who know about music like us. And girls. Girls like us a lot."

For more, go to www.myspace.com/thedemos
- Rochester Democrat & Chronicle


"ROCK: The Demos by Frank De Blase on June 25th, 2008"

The textured harmonies and pop sunshine on The Demos' new CD, "Your Girl Has Fun Without You," has the band officially at the top of my list. In the whole tug-o-war between melody and balls it's a tie, thanks to the band's Everly-esque harmonies and classic 1970's AM radio pop. Cool and casual, The Demos create a type of on-stage rock fervor that gets 'em squealin'. This is truly what pop music should sound like, and the new album seems more like a continuation than a progression or departure from the previous two. That's a good thing: it ain't broke, but it will definitely break hearts. - Rochester City Newspaper


"ROCK: The Demos by Frank De Blase on Dec 26th, 2007"

With an uncanny gift for melody, simple yet poignant songs, sweet harmonies, and a guitar sound that is as much today as it is the '60s, The Demos is one of the best pop bands playing anywhere today. And the little bastards that make it up are barely outta their teens. The music is simplified to the point that it works whether strummed electrically or acoustically. The hooks are simplified to the point that you'll find yourself whistling a chorus the next day. The live shows are all blown-out denim, sneakers, and boots, which gives the band a casual, sort of tempered Gram Parsons sweetness against the magnetic Fab Four pull it undoubtedly feels, and makes no effort to resist. Hell, would you? - Rochester City Newspaper


"The Demos - Alone With You by Christina Potamousis on March 1st, 2008"

When modern music is a many-headed monster of genre and sub-genre, the Demos could easily be labeled. Labels are convenient in order to categorize; however, categories only get so far.

The Rochester five-piece’s short debut is long awaited amongst its ardent local fan base, and a larger fan base growing by the day, via radio play and Internet. The band consists of Nic Milton, on keys and organ, Cal Saunders, on bass, Tom Ruby on guitar, Ryan Farnung on drums, and Jason Milton both on guitar and at the mic. Saunders, Ruby, and Farnung also contribute vocally, often making swooning, upbeat backing vocals.
Heavily influenced by legends of the past, the Demos credit themselves to 50’s pop, 60’s Beat music, 70’s New Wave, and today’s flow of modern indie, such as the Strokes and Arcade Fire. They are clearly fans of slick production; messiness is basically a forbidden in this tight five some.

Album ‘Alone with You’, released in June 2007, staunchly avoids allowing filler tracks to creep in, by keeping its length to a mere six tracks.The Demos write and perform songs that sound familiar; songs you can almost place, due to their layering of retro sounds from past decades. It makes them instantaneously enjoyable; their sugary pop hooks disguise cynicism in the visceral charm of the vocals.

‘The Dark Hour’ has Jay crooning in a casual but syrupy manner, “I can’t stand you anymore”, dragging out his words on delicious little howls. The vocal harmonies in the chorus come reminiscent of the Beach Boys, as a cool dispatch to a would-be lover. A high point comes in at around two minutes, a soft aside that could have been serenaded to you in your living room.

‘Wait’ is a claustrophobic song, and although simplistic and lyrically direct, very personal. It is as infectious as rabies and works towards a climax that stutters along in its chorus, certain of itself in its utter indifference. “I wont change my tone/I’d rather be alone/” comes the final conclusion of an evidently weary young man.

Faint Coral-esque backing vocals pervade the opening of ‘See You Again’, with upbeat du-wop and ‘oooh’s that are as nostalgic as poodle skirts and TV dinners. Jay’s vocals are sweet and clear, rising and standing against the music in what is undeniably instant aural pleasure. ‘For You’ includes happily angular guitar and a strong, almost-conversational tone. A toe-tapping sort of song, it’s a clear plea for her return, of which, this her seems inescapable.

The concluding track to ‘Alone with You’ is the Demos’ foundation song; ‘Truth & Lies’. This is the soda pop single – the stuck-in-your-head, hum-it-in-the-car song – with a surprisingly aching chorus. Jangly guitar gives way to a soaring melody, hitting like a sugar rush and quickly, like the toothache afterward in its bittersweet nature.
“Don’t give up on me/I’ll be there/I’ll be there”, it is reiterated, in a kind of wide-eyed desperation; an uncompromising loyalty despite abandonment. By the end, “I know that it will not be the same”, completes the pop perfection with this sad admission.

The Demos have the talent, the musical knowledge, and the perfect pop formula down pat. They will continue to fill venues; they are a hooky, upbeat band that are lovable to wide demographic.
- AmpedReviews.net


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

The Demos began as the indie pop duo, first formed by Jason Milton and Callan Saunders back in 2002. Now, the group has returned as a five-piece band to bring you their latest full-length release, Paramount Clouds. Their influences consist of indie rock essentials and the classics like The Strokes, The Beatles, and The Beach Boys, to name a few.

Although these guys will happily admit they love to chase their thrills, they take their music and art quite seriously. They write their own songs and live by the standard that everything they record must be real and performed by human hands. "We wont play to a backing track and we dont use auto-tune. The way the tracks sound are the way we played them," they explain.

After releasing their 2011 album Lovely to critical acclaim, The Demos immediately returned to the studio to develop their next LP Paramount Clouds through Young Lion of the West Recording Company. This time around, the once duo has now grown into a full six piece band, including Lovely producer Mike James, and musicians Caela Moore and Adam Ford.

Using their mantra of simplicity and clarity, The Demos insisted on exclusively using live instruments and steered away from all backing tracks in order to provide the audience with a true representation of their music.

The success of "Lovely" landed The Demos slots performing at CMJ 2012, New York City's inaugural Catalpa Festival, NxNE 2012, Midpoint Music Festival 2012, The International Pop Overthrow Festival 2012, CBGB Fest 2013 and CMJ 2013. In 2013, The Demos were chosen by CBGBs to perform on the headlining stage in Times Square for the festival in support of My Morning Jacket, Grizzly Bear, The Wallflowers, and Divine Fits. Their performance at Catalpa gave them a mention in SPIN Magazine's coverage of the event. The Demos have also toured with Jukebox The Ghost (Yep Roc) and Maps & Atlases (Barsuk).

For now, they have released the first single, Better, off the upcoming album. The song is filled with indie pop melodies that are matched seamlessly with their Beach Boy influenced harmonies, and all of this makes it a perfect summer song. The "Better" Single is available now, and Paramount Clouds will be released soon.

Band Members