The Lives of Famous Men
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The Lives of Famous Men

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It’s morning – early for me, 9ish – and I’m sitting in something of an artifact of retro ‘50s decor at a place called the “Flying M Coffee Garage” in the small college town of Nampa, Idaho. Last night we played on a makeshift stage to a handful of coffee drinkers in the adjoining room, the garage portion of the aptly named coffee garage. Despite novice efforts at running our own sound, the crowd seemed to enjoy themselves. We had a chance to talk to a few people after the show and the staff – who by the way were about as friendly and hospitable as could be - sent us off with three Styrofoam containers of day-old bakery goods, which are the modern-day equivalent of pirate booty when you’ve been living off of gas station food for the past eight weeks. Tomorrow we will play to a few hundred people at a reputable theater in Salt Lake City. This is more or less the ebb and flow of touring life as we have come to know it.

It is always an interesting experience when one (or in this case five) spends an extended period of time in what is, for all intensive purposes, an 18X6X6 ft. box. When traversing large sections of the country by van or what have you, there are a number of activities that help to pass the time and my assumption is that every touring band has its own unique set of on-the-road activities (that is, in addition to standard travel activities, listening to music, reading, watching films, etc.). At any given time Dylan will be immersed in a Philip K. Dick novel, Jason will be reading up on the various methods of lucid dreaming, Andrew will be working fastidiously on a crossword from the previous city’s local zine, Ari will be plugged into the internet as if it were an organic extension of his body like in The Matrix, and I will be, somewhat defeatedly, redialing a phone call that has already dropped six times as we careen though Mountain Standard Time.

We also have bonding time. When we Scrabble, we Scrabble for keeps. The only problem is that, even with the travel edition, pieces quickly become casualties to seat cushions and loose clothing. We also play our own brand of iPod shuffle where one is awarded one point for correctly naming the artist and an additional point for correctly naming the song title. If one makes an incorrect guess, points are not subtracted, but he is then subjected to mockery and ridicule until the song finishes. Since no two members of the band have the same taste in music, there is a sort of “home court advantage” for whomever the iPod belongs. If the owner ventures an incorrect guess, he is then subjected to an even more abrasive type of ridicule. When running low on creativity, we often resort to pastimes such as “How many people do think have ever been on that mountain?” which is exactly what it sounds like and therefore relatively short-lived.

Then there are movie nights. Movie nights usually take place on drives that can only be accomplished by driving overnight from one venue to the next. We would probably be considered amateur movie buffs in that we are able to hold semi-intellectual conversations about how film will never be taken as seriously as other art mediums despite merit in storytelling and presentation, and how Elephant created a new capacity for how much a film can suck.

We are about to leave the “Flying M Coffee Garage” and say our temporary goodbyes to the staff which, in addition to sending us off with our pirate booty, put us up in a house around the corner that sits atop a salon and an empty space seeking occupants. It is worth noting that this was not simply a second-story apartment without architectural variation, but a ranch house on top of a building. We literally walked across shingles to get to the front door.

To the readers of this essay that have little or no travel under their belts, I encourage you to take some personal time, get a few friends together, and get on the interstate. See a part of the country you’ve never seen before, meet the people that give new places their color and texture. We’ll see you out there.

Dan Hall
Vocals
The Lives of Famous Men
January 2008
- Revolt Media


Why these guys aren't signed yet is a mystery to me. With influences of Elvis Costello, Miles Davis, Michel Gondry and Federico Garcia Lorca, these guys have a superb 4 song E.P. Showing off a vibe of Head Automatica and National Product meets The Classic Crime. With awesome self-production with the Mastering help by Troy Glessner (Underoath, As Tall As Lions), these guys sound like they should have a full length on a major label.

Opening the E.P. is "You�re Everyone I Know Right Now" shows off a blaring piano keystrokes which turns into an almost happy emo song. Wait! Is there such a thing? I do believe so now. These guys use the emo vocals style with great happy upbeat music alongside which turns out to be great rocking tunes. "Kid, It's a Long Way Back To The Port Cities" is where I get the Head Automatica reference. The song shows off the resembling vocals of Daryl Palumbo (Head Automatica, Glassjaw) with an almost jazzy feel to the music. "Business as a Performing Art" is the more straightforward song on the effort. "After Party" is a great name for this track showing of the more moderate type of song this band can do.

This would make a great seller of a full album. I think these guys will get picked up soon and there's probably a lot more to come from this band so stay tuned.
Tracklist
1. Youre Everyone I Know Right Now
2. Kid, Its a Long Way Back To The Port Cities
3. Business As A Performance Art
4. After Party - melodic.net


Recently, I was reading some comments on word press, when I came across a user who had a blog linked to her comment. That day, I had open ears to listen to anything. Reading interviews, reviews, and everything, I stumbled across an interview with National Product. They recommended listening to a band named The Lives of Famous Men. After first listen, I was immediately hooked to my weakness of catchy/upbeat music. After doing some research, I stumbled across The Lives of Famous Men's debut EP Rehearsal.

Rehearsal shows how this band blends many different influences into a pop punk band. Or in this case piano/jazz band. Rehearsal opens with "You're Everyone I Know Right Now." Setting the tone for Rehearsal, this song mainly speaking about how you can tell who your friends are. "Kid, It's A Long Way Back To The Port Cities" brings acoustic riffs with soft drum beats to your ears. This song mainly showcases the bands influence in Elvis Costello. Ending Rehearsal is "After Party." A beautiful blend of piano beats, haunting whispers, and my weakness catchiness.

When I first read that interview, I didn't have any intention in finding a band from Alaska. Rehearsal is a stellar debut. "After Party" states where this band will be in a few years. "Tonight we're on the top of the world, and we're not coming down."

Score: 9.2 - Headphones Turned On


Who?

A quintet out of Portland, Oregon, playing dancey pop meets jazz.

How Is It?

My problem with EP's, along with many other people, is that they're always so damn short. But when you only get 4 songs instead of... 6 or 7, it feels similar to how it feels when you have a 9 or 10 song full length CD. These are usually the bands you scurry for b-sides and bootlegs. The Lives Of Famous Men could be that band someday soon, already announcing the release of a second 3 song EP. Rehearsal shows tons of promise. It has good hooks, fun instrumentals, and it leaves you with a nice dirty feeling after listening. Every track is different from the others, and that keeps the music fresh and easy to listen to over and over and over again. If this is only the beginning for this band, in five years, with the current state of the scene (but in a good way) they could be the next Panicatthefalloutboyslikealltime.... you get the picture.

P.S. This review got a Once Over Because of how short it is, but don't let that discourage you. - absolute punk


THE STORY SO FAR: Although The Lives of Famous Men reside in the Northwest, the band cut their teeth in the rugged terrain of Anchorage, Alaska. But according to vocalist Daniel Hall, it wasn’t the bitter cold or lack of sunlight that inspired the quintet to experiment with their emo-fused sound. “After playing shows together in a number of different genre bands for several years, the five of us got together and decided to write music without the borders we were used to having.�

WHY YOU SHOULD KNOW ‘EM: How many contemporary rockers cite classical composers and jazz musicians as influences? That’s reason enough to give TLOFM a listen. Plus their OCD kicks in when it comes to building a fanbase. “We try to be as one-on-one with people as possible whether that means a conversation or two after a show,� says Hall, “or spending hours a day writing people back on myspace.�
- Alternative Press Magazine


The Lives Of Famous Men!
Another one of my newest obsessions... This band is so addicting! Originating in Oregon, this band is labeled as ‘rock/jazz’. Their new EP, Modern Love The Wooden Vehicle, is now available on the itunes music store! I’d really recommend you buy this if you are into bands such as THE MAINE and COBRA STARSHIP. This band is unsigned, but not for long! I can guarantee that! Especially with a spot on this years’ SXSW festival in Texas and a recent tour with NATIONAL PRODUCT and YOUINSERIES- this band is going to be huge!
www.myspace.com/thelivesoffamousmen
Favourite: Business As A Performance Act - Hearts that Hate Zine


After SD adeptly broke down their equipment, The Lives of Famous Men quickly jumped on and really kept the audience enraptured throughout their shortish set. Their sound was all over the board, a bit of pop fueled emotional rock with a lot of different elements thrown into in the mix such as jazz, soul, and even flamenco.

Apparently TLoFM members are originally from Anchorage but made their way to Portland after previous incarnations in Alaska. Recently they toured with iMP band, National Product where they caught the attention of James Wisner (Paramore, New Found Glory), and recorded their newest EP, "Modern Love, The Wooden Vehicle"; released in December. A SXSW showcase in Austin is also upcoming in their immediate future.

I had initially heard this quintet on the Insomnia Chicago show recently and thought they sounded very familiar once they took the stage. It wasn't until I got home that I put two and two together. You can also check out their track, "Annie Taylor", courtesy of the band as well as Kara @ Insomnia Radio Chicago.
- Insomnia Radio - Los Angeles


If it's been a while since you've checked out what our Alaska boys from Subconscious have been up to, now is the time. The guys, now based out of Portland, have traded their post-hardcore rawness for a softer, pop sound with jazz influences. They show off the new sound in Anchorage this weekend.

Now known as The Lives of Famous Men, the band's promo shot landscapes have gone from bleak and industrial to dreamy and flowery. This drastic style change is reminiscent of the direction Daryl Palumbo has gone with Head Automatica, after fronting the alt-hardcore band Glassjaw. - Achorage Daily News


Discography

"Rehearsal" EP - release date: April, 24 2007

"Modern Love, the Wooden Vehicle" - release date: December 4th 2007

Photos

Bio

The Lives of Famous Men are the authors of music with soul; five friends who tired of music that glorified image above substance, and who had a desire to do something different. Each hailing from a unique musical background, singer Daniel Hall says this was an opportunity for them to “strive for something more meaningful.� The five, who include frontman Hall, guitarist Ari Katcher, drummer Dylan Mandel, bassist Andrew Totemoff, and keyboardist Jason Wahto, are passionate about what they do, but never take themselves too seriously.

In March of 2007, The Lives of Famous Men went into the studio with producer Stephan Hawkes to record their debut EP Rehearsal. Troy Glessner (Emery, As Tall as Lions) put the finishing touches on the record, delivering a punchy and powerful sound. Director Kurt Nishimura (The Decemberists) shot a video for the leadoff track “You’re Everyone I Know Right Now,� which recently aired on MTVU when The Lives of Famous Men were selected as the artist of the week by MTVU’s Best Music on Campus.

Following the release of Rehearsal, The Lives of Famous Men instantly garnered recognition as the #1 unsigned artist on purevolume.com and as a featured band in Alternative Press Magazine’s AP&R column (issue #232, Nov. 2007). They also earned a spot on the 6-week Triple Crown Clothing tour with Youinseries and National Product, which took them across the country. A brief run with Shiny Toy Guns capped off their summer touring and fall brought another cross-country outing including a stop in St. Cloud, Florida to record their follow-up EP Modern Love, The Wooden Vehicle with producer James Paul Wisner (Dashboard Confessional, Paramore).

Modern Love, The Wooden Vehicle showcases not only musical growth and a wealth of eclectic sounds ranging from jazz to Motown to flamenco to modern pop, but also James Paul Wisner’s masterful engineering. In the short time since it’s release, Modern Love, The Wooden Vehicle has already created a strong buzz among online publications with its debut on smartpunk.com as one of the top 5 best selling albums. With increasing press and strong momentum, the goals of The Lives of Famous Men remain the same: to write the music they love and to reach as many listeners as possible.