The Everyday Visuals
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The Everyday Visuals

Band Alternative Rock

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Aug
08
The Everyday Visuals @ The Middle East (Downstairs)

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Jul
30
The Everyday Visuals @ DC9

D.C., District of Columbia, USA

D.C., District of Columbia, USA

Jul
29
The Everyday Visuals @ World Cafe Live

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

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The Everyday Visuals
Big Arrangements on Small Stages
By T. Blake Littwin
Photos by Gundi Fusson

Sometimes the distance between the front of the stage and the back wall at TT the Bear’s seems like mere inches. Sometimes being in the audience means enduring a sustained sonic assault that lacks definition, form or even a semblance of melody. This is not the case with Boston quintet The Everyday Visuals. Over the past three minutes, they’ve carefully unfolded “Her Breathing Is Music,” the opening song of their set. The stage is packed with a large Fender Rhodes e-piano, three guitar amps, a bass rig, a second keyboard and, of course, a drum set tucked in the back. Drummer Joe Seiders triggers the glitchy drumbeat on his laptop computer, cutting it just in time as singer/guitarist Chris Pappas breathes the opening verse into his microphone. The beat returns, backed now by a few ambient threads of noise courtesy of guitarists Kyle Fredrickson and Eli Scheer. Bassist Chris Zembower shifts from side to side as Pappas delivers another line. Then it happens — a sudden explosion as the song kicks in on a wave of guitars, drums, bass and a four-part harmony that pushes the sound into the realm of pure technicolor. It’s overwhelming in the best way imaginable.

With the advent of affordable, professional-quality recording gear, ambitious arrangements have become commonplace for bands looking to expand their sounds. The music industry has moved far beyond the early days of cramming full bands and backing tracks onto four analog tracks. Track space is no longer an issue (nor is studio time) for those who’ve learned industry standard recording programs such as Pro Tools, Digital Performer, Logic or even Apple’s free Garageband. A reasonable recording setup, a few microphones and understanding neighbors open the door for near limitless songwriting and production efforts. The only complication comes when bands attempt to adapt heir complex songs in a live setting. This translation from studio to stage has typically involved a great deal of paring down and simplification.

Not so much for The Everyday Visuals, however. The Bostonby- way-of-New-Hampshire group has elevated their live performances to a level that most bands only fantasize about. In the studio, the group draws on electronic flourishes and 1960s pop production techniques for their recordings. Electronic beats and synthesizer lines mix with traditional guitars and drums. There are quieter acoustic moments, songs with extra percussion and an abundance of layered harmonies. Not a surprising mix for a band that has been known to cover the Beach Boys’ 1966 production masterpiece Pet Sounds from time to time.The surprising thing is that all these recorded elements make it to the stage. The resulting sound brings the songs from 2004’s Media Crush and 2007’s Things Will Look Up into a whole new light, maintaining the complexity of the recordings while injecting them with the immediacy and volume of a live setting.

The songs in question generally trace their origins back to lead singer Chris Pappas. “What happens is I’ll bring the songs to the guys,” he explains. “I’ll more or less have at least a few ideas about where I want the song to end up. Sometimes I’ll know what I want for a drum parts, guitar riffs, etc. Other times, I’ll just have chords and lyrics and scattered ideas. They really focus the song — I always like to use the analogy that I bake the cake, they frost it. Not that its a great analogy, I just love cake.”

Knowing that the live version of a song will hold up to the expectations set by the recorded version allows for freer song writing. “While I’m writing I always picture how this would work live, or production notes for when we record it,” says Pappas. “I’m not sure if that affects the song in any way — I just plan ahead.”

The Everyday Visuals benefit from having a wide range of talents throughout their lineup. Pappas, Scheer and Fredrickson all play guitar and keys and everyone contributes on vocals. With so many options, their complicated arrangements are often shaped by whomever has the quickest tongue. “A lot of times people will ‘call’ parts,” says Fredrickson.” If Eli hears a harmony that he likes, he’ll say ‘I want that one’.”

“Sometimes it comes right down to who can play it,” Pappas continues. “I’m not lighting the world on fire with my guitar playing, so often guitar riffs that are a little tricky fall to Kyle.”

The duties within any given song are never set in stone. Over the course of a song’s life, roles may change. “We all love to change it up — that’s really where playing live is fun,” says Pappas. “I always picture our shows as if we were walking into a thrift store and there is a pile of instruments, we each rummage through, find something we want to play and see if we can make some music together.”

Delegating parts is clearly not the beginning and end of establishing a layered and powerful live presence. B - North East Performer (Cover Story)


Mentored by local hero Bleu, this NH spawned groups recently released second album "Things Will Look Up", sometimes serves as an encyclopedia of mid-tempo rock influences. Wilco and Aimee Mann loom large over the proceedings, as the delicate vocal harmonies and jangly acoustic guitar lines from singer-songwriter Christopher Pappas, slither around some elegant unexpected hooks.


- Improper Bostonian


By Jonathan Perry, Globe Correspondent | April 6, 2007

BROOKLINE -- The photo shoot was going splendidly. Sunny, early spring day, cool locations -- a brick-lined alley, an overgrown courtyard, a sandbox in a cozy park -- the band in loose, good spirits . "He's the centerpiece," said Chris Zembower , bassist for the Boston-by-way-of-Manchester, N.H. , band the Everyday Visuals , pointing helpfully to singer-songwriter Christopher Pappas as a photographer arranged the five band members. Pappas, looking every bit the part of a scruffily photogenic indie rocker, offered a small smile and remained still, thumbs hooked in pants pockets, legs spread stiffly apart, staring straight ahead.

To the casual observer, Pappas might have appeared uncomfortable in front of the camera. The fact is, as a guy who spends much of his time playing his music to audiences, Pappas is used to the attention. Before and after the photo shoot, he talks enthusiastically about tomorrow night's CD-release show at the Paradise, when the Everyday Visuals will officially unveil their self-produced sophomore disc, "Things Will Look Up." The disc's title hints at a resolutely optimistic outlook. Things will look up: It's something Pappas tries to remind himself of, even -- or especially -- on those days when it's difficult.

For most of his life, Pappas has been afflicted with a rheumatic disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis (commonly referred to as AS) that can cause severe arthritis of the spine and joints, and inflammation of the eyes, lungs, and heart valves. The cause of the disease is not known, and it is estimated to afflict 129 out of every 100,000 people in the United States, according to the American College of Rheumatology.

Early indicators of the disease first hit Pappas, now 27, in the fifth grade. By the time he was 15, he felt a stiffness in his hips that moved up his spine and into his neck. "It's painful, it's debilitating, and it restricts motion," says Pappas. "But I can't let it win." Remarkably, he's kept his affliction mostly to himself. Until now.

"I never want to be like, 'Oh, the Everyday Visuals -- that's the one with the crippled lead singer,' " explains Pappas over drinks at a local pub with his bandmates -- Zembower, drummer Joseph Seiders , and Eli Scheer and Kyle Fredrickson , who alternate between guitar and keyboards. "But on the other hand, I can't ignore it. When I get up in the morning, I need help putting my jacket on. For me, the disease is not the tough part -- it's walking that line of, how much do I let the disease into my life?"

Indeed, despite his predilection for writing wistful, bittersweet songs that hover at the edge of heartache, there are few clues about Pappas's condition to be found on either the Visuals' self-released 2004 debut, "Media Crush," or their new disc. It is his way, perhaps, of exerting a degree of control over something that otherwise infiltrates and permeates his daily routine. A rare exception, however, is an arresting new track, "Two Birds." "I am just a fading spark, hiding out and bending my straight lines," Pappas sings softly as a lean rumble of guitars, bass, and the crisp snap of drums propel the song. Despite the forward motion of melody, Pappas confides, "I'm the boy who can't get out of bed." The tune, he agrees, " is definitely an example of feeling overwhelmed about the disease and dealing with it."

Most of the time, though, Pappas would much rather think about the future of his band, which has certainly come a long way since its humble beginnings in New Hampshire, where, Pappas says, "we were getting nowhere fast."

But even back then, the Visuals caught the attention of local critics and earned loyal followers -- among them future bassist Zembower. "I was an über fan -- I never had heard a band that was so in line with what I wanted to be a part of," Zembower recalls. "I was everywhere they went and bugged Chris constantly about joining. One time, they showed up late for a show at Bill's Bar, and I just ran out and started helping them load in their gear."

The band also found a staunch supporter in veteran session drummer Billy Beard, who eventually became their manager and urged them to move to Boston. Beard had run into the Visuals a couple of times when they attended shows he played with his group Session Americana . Not long afterward, Beard was on tour, drumming for Melissa Ferrick , when the Everyday Visuals opened a Ferrick date in Exeter, N.H.

"That was the first time I saw them, and was completely floored by their maturity as players," Beard says in a separate interview. "They were such good instrumentalists and singers -- they can all sing like birds -- that I was stopped dead in my tracks. Everybody who's been doing this as long as I have knows a good band when they hear it." Beard says he marvels at Pappas's tenacity as a musician coping with AS. "His ability to press on is amazing, and I think he's done the best he can w - Boston Globe


AWARDS & NOMINATIONS:
"Best Band From NH" - The Phoenix
"Best Band" - Improper Bostonian
"Best Live Band" - Improper Bostonian
"Best Live Act" - Boston Music Awards (Nominated)
"Best Pop Act" - Boston Music Awards (Nominated)
"Best Album" - The Phoenix Reader's Choice (nominated)
"Best Local Act" - The Phoenix Reader's Choice (pending - 7/15/09)
"Best Male Vocalist" - The Phoenix Reader's Choice (pending - 7/15/09)
"F.Y.E. Reader's Choice" - The Phoenix Reader's Choice (pending - 7/15/09)
"Best album" - The Phoenix Reader's Choice (pending - 7/15/09)

"...rapture; pop ecstasy suspended in suddenly rarified air...melodic rock music as deceptively intricate as it is transparently accessible, stirred with just the right admixture of cheeky irreverence and soulful sincerity." - The Boston Globe

"Clearly, this band doesn’t manufacture song after song with the same pop formula – they allow the songs to go where they want…The record is full of songs born out of excitement and pure idea-driven joy." - Pen's Eye View

""The Everyday Visuals craft soothing, coffeehouse pop that would put a smile on even the most jaded of indie-snobs." - Drum! Magazine

"This album is one that shouldn't be passed on. It's a great example of classic pop music with meaning." - Performer Magazine

"Harmony rich Boston popsters with more hooks than a Gorton's Fish market." -CMJ

"Solid pop music with beautiful melodies over shimmering musical arrangements." -Consequence of Sound

"The band has seamlessly melded their airy harmonies while retaining their subtle pop songs into a S/T full-length perfect for a hazy summer drive." -Weekly Dig

"...a solid album of good, rich music." -The Aquarian [Grade: B]

""This band is quite adept at harmonies and crafting a wall of sound that would make Brian Wilson and Phil Spector quake in their boots." -Campus Circle

"The band combines indie, pop, heavy guitar, folk, Beach Boys-esque harmonies, effervescent vocals. ...the result of these different elements is indeed a sound that offers something for everyone without sounding contrived or unoriginal." - RocknRoll Boston

"We're addicted to this local band's hooked-filled tunes and glorious harmonies." -Boston Magazine

"...their breezy alt/pop is chorus-driven in the best way, catchy and never denying a satisfying release." - The Portland Phoenix

"The Everyday Visuals have the makings of serious rock gods among mere rock men...The band just clicks and you can’t help but want to join them, dance upon (read: worship) the very ground before them." - WERS (88.9 FM) - A bunch


Let’s see if we can’t get the hype machine thing up and running right here and now: This band, the Everyday Visuals, from Boston via Cow Hampshire and everywhere else in between, will be—by all accounts and all careful estimations—absolutely fucking huge.

Sound like a lofty enough proposition? It just might happen. After a two or so years of doing their due diligence playing to the local Saturday-night T.T.’s draw, and after 2004’s Media Crush got a thousand-odd MySpacers across the country attentively hooked on their melancholic folk-pop-acoustic-electric-alterna-stomp sound, the Visuals are slated to release their second outing, Things Will Look Up, sometime in early April. The title, according to Visuals vocalist/guitarist Christopher Pappas, could be interpreted as an expression of the band’s sanguinity re: their potential impending explosion (which we’re not even joking about).

“We feel very hopeful,” Pappas says. “Like we’re on the verge of something big.”

The band spent the better part of last year recording Things Will Look Up, taking a break only for their first national tour supporting the ineffable Bleu (who, incidentally, has become something of a mentor). Most of the album was tracked in a makeshift studio set up in their house—a process Pappas describes as “both a blessing and curse,” due to the requisite perfectionism and endless overdubs that go hand in hand with freedom from hourly rates.

The few unmastered cuts we’ve heard so far blend pretty, pitch-perfect vocals; breezy acoustic guitars; Rhodes-plinks; and occasional Moog blasts to produce a rounded, crafted, mature-but-poppy bounce with subtle, sophisticated hooks all over the place. It sounds like Death Cab and Wilco jamming on Pet Sounds with Aimee Mann at Jon Brion’s house: impressive, ambitious and replete with all the makings of a “next step” record—and next steps can be scary.

“Oh, it’s incredibly scary. Our fans that we talk to, there’s definitely this feeling of, ‘You guys are on your way. This is it.’ And, you know, hopefully, they’re right. And if they’re not, we’ll make another record. That’s just what we do.” - Weekly Dig


Five young, purple-hearted indie-pop stalwarts harmonize alongside big guitars and piano loops, and soak themselves in reverb for a punchy, promising record with an entendre-rich title. Media Crush has an appeal wide enough to satisfy just about everyone—the casual, hook-hungry BU partier, the dorky R.E.M. bootlegger at CD Spins, the horn-rimmed Ben Folds fans at Trident, tragic Emerson waifs and even jaded MFA patrons with asymmetrical haircuts. Media Crush is a gem simply because it’s so catchy, pretty and fun—with nary a trace of irony. [CHASE STAUFFER] - The Weekly Dig


THE EVERYDAY VISUALS
Things Will Look Up
12-song CD
It?s tough to be a musician and admit something like this, but The Everyday Visuals are probably the best band around. 2004?s Media Crush was enough of a collection of catchy songs and great instrumental passages to warrant such consideration, but this band is now on a completely different level than they were three years ago. Yes, it?s another collection of sweet sentiments and pretty melodies, lots of harmonies and the occasional electro beat like their previous effort, but it seems like the band spent three years intensely studying psychedelic Beach Boys/Pink Floyd production: Every song has a twist or three that will catch you completely off-guard without being jarring. The centerpiece of the album is ?I?ll Take It All In Stride,? an amazing collage of Fender Rhodes, Mellotron strings, spaced-out guitars and friggin? TIMPANI underscoring one of the best vocal melodies I?ve ever heard. Granted, if you?re not a fan of pop/rock songwriting you?ll hate it, but for my money it?ll take an absolutely mammoth record to knock this out of my playlist. - The Noise


Discography

Media Crush - 2004
Things Will Look Up - 2007
S/T - 2009

Photos

Bio

We're professional:
With an intrinsic knack for crafting a catchy tune, The Everyday Visuals accomplish what so many strive for- uniting instantly accessible pop hooks with the kind of meaningful songwriting that has the gravity and depth to stay with you long after you hear it. The success of their recent albums has earned The Everyday Visuals airplay on 200+ U.S. radio stations with live performances on WFNX, WBCN, and WERS.  Armed with a powerful and charismatic live show the band has won over audiences and critics alike.
Among the many jaw-dropping elements the band showcases it all comes back to the power of their voices. The cornerstone of every live act is the band’s impeccable harmony-rich vocals. (Case in point: what other band has the vocal prowess to make headlines for covering Pet Sounds in its entirety on the stage?)   The Everyday Visuals keep building on this momentum, selling out the legendary Paradise Rock Club in Boston and relentlessly touring venues nationally in 2008 and beyond.

We're endearing:
The Everyday Visuals is a group of five young gentlemen playing rock music with independent spirit. The current line up was formed in the spring of 2006:

Christopher Pappas (Vocals, guitar, keyboards) has an irrational fear of being a passenger in a fast moving car and cries every time he hears the Durufle Requiem.

Eli Scheer (Guitar, vocals, keyboards) has a family member in every U.S. time zone and likes to meet people with a good story to tell.

Joseph Seiders (Drums, vocals, keyboards) should eat more vegetables and panics when he feels his heart beating.

Chris Zembower (Bass, vocals) would rather read a textbook than a fiction novel and doesn't run when he gets caught in the rain.

Kyle Fredrickson (Guitar, keyboards) is frequently late and at age 16 hid the first electric guitar he bought from his mother for three months.