The Heavycoats
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The Heavycoats

| INDIE

| INDIE
Band Alternative Pop

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


If only local rockers The Heavycoats had a CD or an EP. If they did, it would be bought in bulk and handed out with each issue of this paper. That is how fun this five man band is. They have been together for six months, played three shows (two thirds of which I've been to), and yet they conduct themselves with the mannerisms of a band that has been around for years. On the eve of their third show at Fletcher's Bar and Grill, the night they are to debut their first collaborative effort at songwriting, The Heavycoats looks sublimely comfortable.

As they take the stage, lead singer Jesse Lyell announces to a room full of strangers who aren't familiar with their music that this is only their third show. Some snicker, but the laughs are immediately silenced however by the bell-like guitar and soft, crooning vocals of the first song.

When The Heavycoats played the Ottobar in early September they delivered a solid performance, proving themselves worthy of holding the highest spot on any bill. They commanded the room with complete confidence: Lyell strutted on stage, beer in hand, in true rock star form, grabbing the mic just in time to sing the first word. There were no traces whatsoever of it being their second show. Here at Fletcher's they seem to exude the same cool confidence.

With the second song "Where to Start" the band has already begun to take over the crowd. "That's awesome!" a teenager whispers to his friend as he admires the incredible connection the band has. The Heavycoats are complete professionals. Each of the five members, Paul Gier (bass), Nathan Lyttle (guitar), Jeff Martin (drums), Nathan Shriver (guitar), and Jesse Lyell (vocals), has his own individual style which complements the band as a whole. This, along with the fact that each person contributes their own ideas to every song, keeps the band from developing one distinguishing look or sound. A strong feeling of camaraderie between the members not only enhances their onstage antics, but it also makes the collaborative and creative process that much smoother.

By the time they introduce their new song "Dancing in Remote Places" they have won over most of the crowd and definitely all of the ladies. "Personally I am very, very proud of that song," says Lyell. "It defines our sound right now. It's definitely where we're at."

"It's us coming into our own," Lyttle agrees. They had set out to write a dark dance song and achieved just that. It is similar to their older pieces in that it has a high-pitched guitar and pointedly non-autobiographical lyrics, but the bass line is heavier making it easy to move to without the disposable sound of a pop tune. It is a beautiful piece of music that is both complicated and challenging.

As the set ends The Heavycoats has stolen not only the hearts of the crowd, but practically the entire show. They had come to conquer a new audience and, by the emptiness of their merchandise tables, they most certainly did.

Unfortunately The Heavycoats just began recording their first CD last Tuesday. As for now they have only live shows to introduce themselves to the people of Baltimore and only buttons and t-shirts for interested fans to remember them by. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. It is a great way to build a strong, dedicated fan base. They play at their favorite haunts like Fletcher's and the Ottobar and at the latter you can catch them (yes all of them, and usually together) on just about any night supporting both local and visiting acts. This gives them an opportunity not just to play for friends and peers in the Baltimore music scene, but it also makes them easily accessible to anyone who is interested in their music.

The Heavycoats have all the ingredients for success. They have an amazing sound that is just ahead of the curve in what's popular today. They have the right look and the right attitude in that they all agree that this is something they are going to stick with for as long as it will make them happy. As a band they are more collected and comfortable together than others who have been around for years. With this kind of record, after only three shows, one can only imagine how much better they will get with time. - Johns Hopkins Newsletter - Alex Begley


Discography

"Sea Song" single on Outafocus Records
due 2007

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Baltimore can be a hard and sometimes unglamourous place. But despite this sometimes bleak demeanor by the bay, the city remains full of dreamers, artists, and musicians; a revolving cast that keeps the city's scene alive and evolving. It can be a grind, but many find meaning in their Baltimore existence, with likeminded people, usually only a barstool away, all looking to create their own masterpieces.

Between all this time spent grinding, dreaming, and playing in Baltimore, four of the city's sons found themselves on the same page. And, as these pages began to turn, these four, The Heavycoats, found themselves in good company from day one - their pages aligned with the likes of The Bravery, Nightmare Of You, Longwave, Elefant, and Men Women and Children, all of whom they've had the good fortune of sharing the stage with. Guess all that bar hopping paid off.

While the band's hometown of Baltimore has been nothing but receptive to The Heavycoats' sound, the group has also found fans away from home, most notably overseas in Reykjavik, Iceland. Traveling to the country in 2005, the band was lucky, or should we say talented, enough to land a slot at the celebrated Iceland Airwaves festival during their Icelandic tour, where they were warmly received. In the process of their gigging through Iceland, the band met the owner of London indie label Outafocus, through which the band will release its first single, Sea Song. Recorded in NYC with Nic Hard (The Church, The Bravery), Sea Song looks to put the band on the map with its driving tempo and melodic, crashing chorus. And with a UK tour following their single release, the boys from Baltimore look forward to mucking about England, as they freshen up old songs and write new ones in preparation for a full-length release and a stateside tour.