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The best kept secret in music

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"Get Into The Act"

The House Lights is a new name in the Lehigh Valley, but the group's members are not new to the scene. Vocalist and guitarist Kyle Campbell, along with guitarist John Timko and bassist Leo Wasielewski, played together in the band Four Minute Mile for 31/2 years. The band changed its name when it added drummer Travis Turner and moved toward a more aggressive and upfront sound, or as Campbell puts it, ''towards the boundaries of what music can be.''

The group is already popular in Japan, having done a four-gig tour there in July. Their new 10-track CD, ''This Town Is Murder,'' is scheduled for release Oct. 5 on Fake Chapter Records and also will be on the Japanese-language Prismix Web site and the Japanese record label Orchard. Campbell says Japanese audiences ''are attentive and they listen. They love American music.''

Campbell does not readily classify the band's music. He settles on ''alternative rock,'' but the band's Web site calls it ''indie pop.'' Campbell says the group can get heavy, but its CD has some bright melodies and positive songs. Campbell is the group's lyric writer, with the music a collaborative effort.

''This CD is a reflection of the last 15 years of my life,'' he says. ''It's about trying to make something of yourself in a small town.''

Dave Howell
Copyright © 2004, The Morning Call

- The Morning Call


"Japanese Review"

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"Review of This Town is Murder"

While “This Town Is Murder” might be The House Lights’ debut album, they are by no means inexperienced. With members of the now defunct Four Minute Mile, The House Lights are well versed in their particular brand of rock and punk that is highly poppy and energetic. You can tell when a band is only going through the motions and that certainly is not the case here. Instead, it is like the beginning stages of a relationship: new and bright.

Melodic, full instrumentation lurks into view on “Proclamation,” fronted by distinct vocals and unnecessary background vocals. Guitar riffs drive “Best Intentions” as the instrumentation bounces, leading into album standout “Box Cutter.” With short quick notes, “Box Cutter” is catchy with a number of rhythms and a melodic, poppy chorus. Creating rough textures before slower verses, “The Shape I’m In” is a gentle power ballad. “Nobody here knows the shape I am in/Been broken and battered before we began,” singer Kyle Campbell croons on “The Shape I’m In.” Quickening their pace, “Beat the Dragon” stays active and interesting with energetic pop rock.

Crashing cymbals lead into the full bodied “Catch Me If You Can” with vocal harmonies blending for the song’s chorus. Campbell’s voice snarls gently on the chorus of the gentle “Shallow Season” as quick guitar keeps the otherwise slow tempo song moving. Purposely poppy with smooth vocals that catch your ear, “Radio On” has that certain feel good quality that attracts listeners. “Three Parts is more relaxed, with a natural sound that is both poppy and undemanding.

With a refreshing sound, The House Lights do not rely on overly repetitious phrases or ideas, keeping the ball going and the music playing. “This Town Is Murder” is a continual pop punk/rock assault that you will grab a hold on you. The House Lights avoid mindless pop pitfalls and stay on task with their debut.

Grade: B

-Corinne - pluginmusic.com


"Review of This Town is Murder"

10.27.04
The House Lights: This Town is Murder

Purchase this CD
They sound a lot like Graham Colton Band mixed with a little Creed, so it's no wonder I was grasped by their sound. "The Shape I'm In" was my favorite track, and in it lead singer, Kyle Campbell sings, "Nobody here knows the shape that I'm in/Been broken and battered before we began." I can't wait to hear him refine his vocals a bit, but overall — he's got a great lead tone. Some wonderful raging guitars and throaty drums give this album its professional edge. They get a good star rating for a well-thought album with a great sound and luring pop hooks sure to give them even more potential.
Favorite Tracks: The Shape I'm In
Rating: 4 stars

- discoveringartists.com


"the beat"

The Beat

By Jenny Poust, Staff Writer


Welcome Home
The House Lights make a habit of keeping the lights on and the music flowing in the houses of rock around the Lehigh Valley, so why not stop by for a visit?

Ever wonder what happened to the local band Four Minute Mile? You remember, the band that won WZZO’s Backyard Band Competition back in 2002? After FMM lost and then replaced its drummer and bass player, a San Francisco band of the same name cordially confronted the band. Instead of continuing to confuse the California FMM fans, our local boys decided to start from scratch as The House Lights.


It’s hard to believe that THL, as a band, is less than two years old. One reason could be that singer/songwriter Kyle Campbell returned from the ashes of FMM, and even though THL rarely plays FMM songs during its sets, the sound is eerily familiar. Another reason THL seems older is the fact that the group’s debut album, This Town Is Murder, was not only released locally just last month, but is available through an online distributor for all of the band’s Japanese fans as well.

Although Campbell, guitarist John Timko, bassist Leon Wasielewski and soon-to-be-retired drummer Travis Turner have only been involved in the local music scene for a short time, their understanding of the scene comes through in the aforementioned album title. No, THL is not saying specifically that Allentown is the equivalent to hell on earth, but rather acting as a voice for all local bands that know how frustrating it can be to deal with club owners and try to muster enough enthusiasm to get people to shows.

With the forthcoming departure of THL’s drummer (so he can spend more time with the fam), we thought it would be a good time for a little reminiscing with John Timko about the highs of being in The House Lights.

PULSE WEEKLY: Your old song Never Been To L.A. was recently featured on an episode of MTV’s Made. How’d you guys pull that off?

JOHN TIMKO: We’re on a small label called Fake Chapter Records, and [owner Mike Gilligan] had sent some music to MTV – I’m not sure what the purpose of him sending it was, but it ended up on Made. Nobody in the band had known about it until the episode aired. We were stuck in traffic on our way up to New York City for a show, and someone that I know called me on my cell phone and said, ‘I just heard your song on MTV,’ and I’m like, ‘No way.’ It wasn’t until the next day, Leon heard it, and he was like, ‘It really is on there.’

PW: So MTV sort of reintroduced you to the world, since The House Lights already did a short tour in Japan this past summer. Were you worried how your music might be received over there?

JT: We were all very anxious, but I think those fears were put to rest after the very first night, because the one thing we realized is that Western music is very, very popular there. In fact, the entire time we were there, whether we were in a store, restaurant, even on public transportation, all I heard was Western music. I didn’t hear any Japanese music. It was very strange.

Kyle and I were shopping in a guitar store; they played Billy Joel’s Allentown while we were there, and they also had a display up for Martin guitars with a poster of the factory in Nazareth, which is right down the street from where Kyle lives. To be halfway around the world and see bits of home like that, it was pretty neat.

PW: Whether you’re touring in Japan or around here, like this December’s We’ve Got A Van So We Can Tour mini tour, what’s one thing you absolutely have to have with you?

JT: It’s not anything spectacular, but I cannot do any traveling without my Les Paul guitar [that] I got when I was 13 years old. When we went to Japan I was so torn about taking that guitar, because I’ve had it so long and I was so afraid something would happen to it – in fact, I did break it while I was in Japan, so I guess my fears did come true. [laughs] But I fixed it, and I’m still playing it. Without it, I’d kind of feel lost.

PW: Speaking of losses, this week’s show at The Sterling will be the last for Travis. What’s the hardest part for you when someone leaves the band?

JT: You lose a camaraderie. When four people play together, there’s a chemistry there, and the scariest part about it is can you survive the change in that chemistry? When we were in the original Four Minute Mile, we had a really strong chemistry that I thought would never be [able to be] replaced if anyone left. When Travis came into the band, he brought something completely different to the table, and I was stunned how we evolved. You find that you can almost put your fears to rest if you take the time and pick the right person.

What?
Gutterluck, Stasis, The House Lights, Band With No Name

Where?
The Sterling Hotel (343 Hamilton St., Allentown)

When?
Friday, November 19

How much?
$5

Huh?
610.433.3480 or thesterlinghotel.com
- pulse weekly


"Review of This Town is Murder"

the house lights
the town is murder (chapter 11 records)
four out of five stars

Allentown’s House Lights have always turned heads with their unique blend of pop-infused guitar rock. Kyle Campbell, lead singer/guitarist/songwriter for the rock quartet, belts out songs of frustration, hope and everyday observation while bassist Leon Wasielewski, drummer Travis Turner and guitarist John Timko supply the strong backbone for the band’s blend of melodic indie pop.

Campbell, although nasal at times, has a great voice, which is complemented by his work with fellow string plucker Timko. On This Town Is Murder, the two illustrate how to successfully mix two styles of play into a cohesively fresh sonic package. Find a way to get your hands on a copy of This Town Is Murder. - pulse weekly (www.pulseweekly.com)


Discography

This Town is Murder - Fake Chapter Records
10 song full length. 2004

The Plastic Chapter - Fake Chapter Records
7 song EP. 2003

Never Been to LA - Independent
5 song EP. 2002

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

It's a small world after all. That's not a song often sung by today's contemporary artist but it's a tune that Allentown, PA's The House Lights must have been humming. What other band tours the US and Japan within just the first few months of its existence. Now after teasing fans around the world, The House Lights debut album This Town Is Murder will be released on Fake Chapter Records on October 5th, 2004. Simultaneously the album will be available online to Japan listeners through the new Prismix site (www.prismix.tv) and then released on the Orchard Japan label. With lasting melodies, airtight rhythm, and syncopated guitars, This Town Is Murder is filled with a smart indie pop sound as unique as it is instantly familiar.

Though perhaps this strong debut comes as no surprise when you know the band's history. From the ashes of the critically acclaimed Four Minute Mile, The House Lights continue down the creative path that was made. Four Minute Mile finished its run with two successful EPs, Never Been To LA (2002) and The Plastic Chapter (Fake Chapter, 2003), appearances at Dewey Beach Pop Festival, Rock Out Festival (Saratoga Springs, NY), Millennium Music Conference, and winners of a WZZO Backyard Band Competition and Pulse Weekly's best band poll.

The new line-up is the combustible combination of kindred creative spirits. Kyle Campbell contributes thoughtful lyrics, honest vocals, and steady rhythm guitar, while John Timko, the resident heartthrob, shreds on guitar and provides picturesque backing vocals. Bassist Leo Wasielewski flails, jumps and thrashes unlike any bass player alive and Travis Turner holds it all together with immensely creative, trigger precision drumming.

The House Lights debut album This Town Is Murder will be released on Fake Chapter Records on October 5th joining other such acts as Green To Think, The Trauma Queens, The Sixfifteens, and more. Pick up your own copy today and check the band out on tour in US throughout 2004 and a return trip to Japan in 2005.