The Lampshades
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The Lampshades

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Band Pop Rock

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"New Releases"

The Lampshades
Arena Punk
(My Idea of Fun)

EP from the local indie-rockers. It's hard not to like this band's lo-fi, '90s-ish tunes — they range from grunge ("Teenage Soul") to sounding a lot like Ben Folds Five ("Atlanta"). Guitars are at the center of this EP, but not at the expense of well-put-together vocals. The Lampshades portray small-town ennui with gusto, not an easy task. - Pittsburgh City Paper


"The Lampshades transition to a more laid-back sound"

By Kayla Hoskinson
for the Mirror

The Lampshades -- a band in its fourth year, on its third record and counting -- plays "music for the common man."

Members Jaren Love (guitar and vocals), Brady Lanzendorfer (guitar), Chris Kibler (bass and vocals) and Chris Leiden (drums) boast various influences from the Beach Boys to Weezer to the Pixies, giving them similar backgrounds that allow for the most relaxed of environments when rehearsing and recording.

With newest members Leiden and Lanzendorfer, the band has transitioned from the heavier sound of past years to being more laid-back, Kibler said.

"It is different. The music is calm, and I'm happy with it," he said.

The fact that they no longer are recording with a paid producer contributes to the lack of stress and pressure when in the studio.

They now can focus on the music without worrying about racking up charges, Love said. That isn't to say they don't enjoy themselves. While they still get their business done, they tend to not take themselves very seriously, joking and laughing between songs.

"Other members that were in the band...liked the same music, but we all had our different little areas that we liked more, which sometimes was not what we were playing," former member Scott Kessler said.

Dane Adelman, a longtime friend of the band, is working with them to produce their third album estimated to be completed in July.

"So far, we are very pleased and know that this record will at least equal up to, if not go above and beyond [the first two]," Love said.

Adelman has seen the Lampshades perform live on numerous occasions and remains willing to expand in the studio. Because he has spent so much time with the band, Adelman has developed an understanding of its music and the goals of its members.

"In retrospect, it is very great that we have accomplished what we have, but I see so many bands out there trying to make it, and for now, we really are just one in a huge shuffle," Love said.

Unconditional support from family, friends and fans have provided a life for the band since the beginning, following with them thus far and into the future.

A willingness to assist the band and their endeavors proved especially useful for its members when they were in their first couple years of performing.

"I could not have done it without them. So many times they drove me to practice before I got my license, helped with money and let me play shows in New Jersey on a school night," Kibler said.

A tight bond between Love and Kibler exists in their similar passion for their music, and that was --and is-- instrumental in the band's successes.

"We are really oftentimes on the same page musically. We like a lot of the same things...and we really agree on the direction we want to take the band in," Love said.

"They are pretty fun to watch live. It is really poppy, catchy music, and they are not afraid to do that, which a lot of bands are. They attract people," Kessler said. - Altoona Mirror


"Nightlife Agenda Update"

It's pretty shocking that guitarist Bobby Parker hasn't moved beyond the D.C. blues scene in the last four decades. The Louisiana native spent the 1950s touring and recording with Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and Jackie Wilson, then settled in D.C. in 1961. He almost took off once -- Jimmy Page tried to sign him to Led Zepplin's Swan Song label, which may have been payback for the way Page turned Parker's hit "You Got What It Takes" into the riff for "Moby Dick," but Parker never recorded a demo for Page. He still takes the stage at Madam's Organ on an occasional basis, but Parker turns 71 next month and his health isn't what it was -- hospital care has pushed his bills over $100,000. Madam's Organ owner Bill Duggan has organized a special fundraiser for Parker tonight, headlined by a band called the Coalition of the Willing. The dueling guitars belong to former Hungarian ambassador Andras Simonyi, whose love of rock made him a "Reliable Source" fixture during his tenure in Washington, and former Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, who's traded yacht rock for positions as a defense consultant working on missile defense. (Weird. We know.) Also on tonight's bill are the Johnny Artis Band and local burlesque starlet Miss Kitty Victorian. All you gotta do is pony up a minimum of $10 as a donation at the door, with all the money going to Bobby Parker -- who will take the stage himself at some point during the night. Doors open at 8 p.m.

Where's the best place to see some excellent underground music this weekend? Would you guess the third floor of University of Maryland's South Campus Dining Hall? It's true. The building that houses the Diamondback and WMUC -- and the place where Fritz, David and Rhome all spent far too much time during their formative college years -- has something good to offer each night this weekend. On Friday and Saturday that would be the first DNA Test Fest, which is being presented by DJs Sean Gray and Nicholas Szczepanik, who host the "DNA in the DNA" show on WMUC each Friday. The lineups are plenty obscure but not without some definite highlights. Friday features the stately outsider folk of Tall Firs (listen), throwback power-pop of the Lampshades (listen), a DJ set by True Vine Records co-owner and world music expert Ian Nagoski (listen) and the slapdash lo-fi indie rock of Home Blitz (listen). Saturday's lineup features naughty-named acts like Homostupids (listen) and Turboslut and Buckets of Bile (listen). You can expect all sorts of nasty noise from those acts. Music should start around 6 p.m. on both nights and everything's free.

Expect things to be more jangly and mopey, respectively, when Julie Ocean (listen) and the Antiques (listen) stop by WMUC to perform for Third Rail Radio on Sunday night. The station's weekly live music showcase is always free for anyone who wants to stop by and watch bands perform in a more relaxed setting than the usual club gig. We've talked about both bands plenty in this space -- Julie Ocean's "Long Gone and Nearly There" is indie-pop with some punch, the kind of stuff that would make the band's namesake (the Undertones) proud. David once described the Antiques as "the best moody British band from 1986 that's somehow making music in D.C. right now" and he liked it so much that he'll use it again.

-- Fritz Hahn and David Malitz - Washington Post


"Power-poppers The Lampshades are more than Alright"

DECEMBER 18, 2008
Power-poppers The Lampshades are more than Alright

BY MANNY THEINER


The Lampshades
Are Alright
(Soap Bar)



Hope springs eternal, and indie-rock nerds continue to believe that forming the next great power-pop outfit will eventually land them a steady girlfriend. But at least The Lampshades are trying. One of a few bands that splits its mojo between Pittsburgh and Johnstown, The Lampshades have been working at their three-minute pop ditties since 2005, making Are Alright their third disc.

You can tell they've studied the acknowledged '60s masters carefully -- many songs, such as "Girl From Another State" and "Best That I Can," feature Pet Sounds-styled multi-tracked vocals. Others pile on the occasional lapsteel (think Wilco), as well as trumpet, xylophone, squiggly New Wave synth patches and even a string quartet on "I Guess I'm Doing Just Fine."

But there's also an opposing tendency toward simplicity of expression on tracks such as "I'm So Different," which smacks of '90s indie rock from Weezer to Superchunk ("Business Card" even slouches a bit toward Nirvana). And vocalist Jaren Love has an off-kilter, bookish delivery more akin to a Stephen Malkmus or a J. Mascis than, say, any member of the Fab Four.

The CD's production prowess (it's mastered by Aloha drummer TJ Lipple) plus a bit of college-rock naïveté and a whimsical sense of humor could bode well for The Lampshades, offering a source of possible rivalry to the neo-psych-pop legacy of Athens, Ga.'s Elephant 6 collective. (I could see dudes from Elf Power, Of Montreal or Olivia Tremor Control grooving to a few of these songs.)

Onstage though, The Lampshades sound more like raw garage-pop than a group of guys who know their way around a smart melody and an ear-bending arrangement. If they can figure out how to translate more of the intricacy of what they've accomplished on Are Alright to a live setting, then there's a better chance that they'll get the response they're after -- and that girl. - Pittsburgh City Paper


"Xmas Albums Calendar, December 18: The Lampshades - Are Alright"



Just in time for Christmas, Pennsylvania-based The Lampshades release their third full-length called Are Alright with cute artwork. I'm not acquainted with their two previous albums but I do know that this is a treat for the holidays! Frontman, lead singer and guitarist Jaren Love has with love played with this band since forming it in April 2003. This time around, he and Dane Adelman, multiinstrumentalist and producer alike, have forged a charming album consisting of components such as delighted and delightful powerpop, laidback 70s softrock, gossamer 60s pop and messy 90s indie rock. Names such as The Pixies, Weezer, The Beatles, The Beach Boys are to be considered for namedropping.

But most of all it's the band's lo-fi sound that should connect them to early Pavement as in Slanted And Enchanted and Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. The Lampshades throws the listener directly into a cavalcade of jangling little pop anthems full of Californian harmonies, British blues melodies and hissing atmospheres of crappy recording technique.

It's easy to hear that The Lampshades are steady borrowing but not outright stealing from here and there and God knows where, not least melody-wise. But the young band have their college youth roots exposed in the lyrics of the darling songs, lending them a personal and genuine touch. In a total of 14 tracks but a mere 38 minutes, The Lampshades are riffing quickly and naively through short pieces often below the 3 minute mark. Highlights include the college dorm screamin' euphoric Weezer-y I'm So Different, the pleasant gentleman The-Beatles-meets-The-Beach-Boys-y Best That I Can, the short, confused and funny Mad Father's Got A Gun and the catchy My Boyfriend's Band whose release from the intermission between itself and the previous track Scotland is so simple yet effective I'm surprised you don't hear it more often in music in general.

Unfortunately I'm not completely satisfied with the ending of the album, featuring four less joyful tracks. Despite City Lights being an obvious but most certainly unaware borrow from somewhere, its mood is skilfully channeled by the band. I Guess I'm Doing Just Fine is an unexpected but personal strings-only song also able to express uncertainty and a dejected feeling. But I would've prepared the band spread out these tracks more than to put all the downs in the end of an otherwise joyous album.

But then there's this lo-fi thingy that is more hi-fi than Pavement but less than The Strokes. Yes, to me The Lampshades come across as the pop side of Pavement. Are Alright is, in sound and mood but certainly not in everlasting impact, to pop what Slanted And Enchanted was to indie rock. But whereas this true indie garage sound mantains a factor of romantic charm, it does also wake the thought what The Lampshades could've done to all their great influences and musical loan institutes if they would've had the ambition and most assuredly money to manage these better. Sometimes, I feel though as that just a slightly longer and more thorough songwriting style could've lifted lots of these great hooks to new heights for the band. However, on its own terms, Are Alright is a perfectly alright album. No by the way. It's better than that. It's a charming indie album find perfect for a USB drive/burned CD under the Christmas tree! - The Lemur Blog


"The Local Scratch 2"

BAND NOTE: This article features several bands, I have just added the segment about us.

<i>THE LAMPSHADES

Hailing from the unlikely music hotspot that is rural Pennsylvania, the Lampshades made their entrance onto the D.C. scene last fall, when frontman Jaren Love transferred to the University of Maryland. Since then, the powerpop quartet has expanded their performing horizons beyond the D.C. area, including a summer tour through the Midwest. With influences ranging from the Beach Boys to the Pixies, The Lampshades couple upbeat rhythms with catchy lyrics, sometimes masking surprisingly depressing boy-girl themes. The band recently released their third album, (The Lampshades) Are Alright, and will be bringing their dancey brand of melancholy to several shows in Baltimore this fall.
myspace.com/thelampshades or thelampshades.net </i> - College Magazine


Discography

Sunshine, 2005. (9 tracks, Prison Jazz Records, PRI-009)
Surprise!, 2006. (12 tracks, Soap Bar Records, SB-001)
Are Alright, 2008. (14 tracks, Soap Bar Records, SB-002)

Arena Punk, 2013. (4 tracks, Soap Bar Records, SB-004)
Numbskull Nothinghead, 2014. (13 tracks, Soap Bar Records, SB-005)



Photos

Bio

The Lampshades are a 3-piece indie rock/pop band based out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Formed in 2003 as teenagers in Altoona, Pennsylvania, their latest album Numbskull Nothinghead comes out on October 14.

www.thelampshades.net 

www.thelampshadespgh.bandcamp.com      

www.facebook.com/thelampshades
www.sonicbids.com/thelampshades

Band Members