The Middle Eight
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The Middle Eight

New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Band Rock


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This indie-rock group has a lush sound filled with classical influences and catchy melodies. - AM New York

The Love EP is such a strange sound in the context of 2009 indie rock. It's not skuzzy, purposely camouflaged in lo-fidelity or derailed by gimmicks. In fact, it's all "la-la" choruses and straightforward melodies (occasionally with full brass accompaniment, as is the case with "Ain't No Compromise"). The most recognizable comparison I could make would be Sloan at their most playful, but even then I'm selling them short. The Love EP is a hard, refreshing kick in the mind grapes. - 75 or Less

"Very few bands have put Queens, New York on the rock ‘n’ roll road map, but the rock quartet The Middle Eight are hoping to change that in the way that The Beatles made Liverpool, England a hub for musicians to congregate, and U2 did the same for Dublin, Ireland."

"Unwind shows a connection with the folksy stylized musings of Wilco..." -

In honor of The Middle Eight’s own comparison of themselves to a “London bridge”, You is Awesome has written them a song, sung to the tune of London Bridge is Falling Down:

The Middle Eight is really great
Really great, really great.
The Middle Eight is really great
Those fair laddies.

…OK, don’t all applaud at once now. We know, we know, we should leave the songwriting to the pros, but our song can’t be faulted for dishonesty; after all, The Middle Eight is pretty darn great. With a new EP dropping in 2009 and two songs featured in The Rebound, an upcoming movie starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Justin Bartha, the rest of the world will soon agree.

But wait! I LOVE Your Clothes will give you even more Middle Eight greatness, including a truly inspired haiku about jeans. The world of denim will never be the same again.

YouIsAwesome: What’s your least favorite curse word?
Steve: I hate all curse words except sucka. Is that a curse? I like to call people that. Sucka sucka!
Tallin: Cursing is bad, unless it’s funny, then anything is allowed.
Jason: I’ll leave that to Steve.

YIA: What’s the best middle eight you guys have ever heard?
Matt: One of my favorite middle eights is in Hanging By a Thread by Nickel Creek. It’s a complete harmonic departure from anything relatively close to normal, all woven together perfectly by a beautiful understated melody. Not to toot our own horn (which ironically typically precedes the tooting of one’s own horn), but I really, really, enjoy the way we perform the middle eight to our own Not I in live shows.
Steve: Any bridge by The Beatles. They define middle eights. Stevie Wonder wrote great bridges too. And Miles Davis’ B section on So What. It’s just a half step up but oh so beautiful to improvise over that Coltrane sped it up and would solo over it for maybe 40 choruses. I like to think that all of our “middle eights” in our songs are kind of unique and probably one of our defining features. We don’t write bridges the same way every time. Every time they are different.
Dave: Yeah, and I think that’s one of the things that makes our music great is that not only are our middle eights different from one another, but each song has its own distinct sound and mood. We keep things interesting for the audience. I think especially the mid and later Beatles’ albums like Revolver and Sgt. Pepper are some of our biggest influences in this area.
Tallin: I like the Brooklyn Bridge the best because you can see the Statue of Liberty from it rather well.
Jason: I prefer longer bridges than your typical 8 bar bridge. I also like songs with unconventional structures as well. I don’t know if it’s a self fulfilling prophecy with our name and all but there is definitely a lot of focus on the middle sections of all our songs. It always ends up being an area of experimentation.

Editor’s Note: It’s OK Tallin, we like the Brooklyn Bridge, too!

YIA: What’s cooler: shooting your music for a movie or shooting a music video?
Steve: Probably a movie because there are literally hundreds of people standing around cheering for you even when you don’t play a note. We must be really hot! The music videos are more fun because we get to be actors playing addicts or lovers in parallel worlds. I can’t wait for the next two coming out. They will rock your worlds.
Dave: Definitely a movie, I’d say. It’s not so often that we get a chance to be part of something so large-scale. Not to mention all the new fans we can get!
Tallin: Playing live.
Jason: The movie was a surreal experience. The videos are really fun to make as well.

YIA:If Catherine Zeta-Jones moved in next door, would you be her rebound?
Steve: Only if I was single then she would be MY rebound. Shooooot.
Dave: I really see no problem with age difference…
Tallin: I heard she likes the younger men…

YIA: Barack Obama or Joe Biden: Who would be more likely to buy a copy of your new EP, dropping in early 2009?
Tallin: We have a new EP?
Matt: FACT: Sarah Palin made an unsuccessful attempt to ban the mere thought of our new EP because of the powerful emotions that it elicits. But to answer the question, Biden will buy the hardcopy, and Barack will buy the digital download. He’s hip like that.
Jason: I think they’ll both be at the release party so If anyone is interested they should come down as well…

Editor’s Note: OK folks, you heard it here from Jason first: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will be at The Middle Eight’s EP release party in oh nine. Ha! This is how rumors start.

YIA: Do you guys think Jason looks like Ben Edgar, Missy Higgins’s guitarist?

Steve: No he looks like Mick Jagger with a beard, an honest smile, and awkward walk.
Tallin: Who?
Jason: I get Jim Morrison or Mick Jagger.
Matt: I think if Teddy Roosevelt would have worn a top hat, he would have looked exactly like Mr. Peanut.
Dave: Mr. Peanut doesn’t have a mustache…but Jason does.

YIA: There’s five of you. Does that make your music 5x better?
Steve:It’s the combination of us five that makes our music infinitely better. It is however, 5X sexier. Instead of XXX it’s like XXXXX. Watch out ladies!
Tallin: As a math major I must tell you that 5 times XXX is XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.
Matt: We are exponential morons. Therefore, we are 3125 times more awesome than ourselves.

The Middle Eight is comprised of lead singer Jason, guitarist Matt, drummer Tallin, bassist Steve, and keyboardist David. Really, their names actually include the instruments they play.

Err…Oh wow, we’re feeling really lame today–from the incredibly feeble song we wrote as an ode to The Middle Eight to this last joke, You is Awesome and I LOVE Your Clothes just aren’t in the groove today. But that’ll all change as soon as we start listening to The Middle Eight, and even more so when we get our hands on their new EP, scheduled to drop in early 2009. And if that’s not enough for you, they’re featured in an upcoming major motion picture, The Rebound, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Justin Bartha. But we all know that nothing can beat a live show and they have a few coming up.

In the meantime, for your instant Middle Eight fix, head over to You is Awesome and read why Barack Obama is hip like that.

I LOVE collared shirts:
David: Collared shirts are the everyman shirt. Fancy? Casual? They’ve got you covered. My personal favorite is the sweater over the collared shirt. Hey, I’m wearing that right now.
Tallin: No shirts allowed!

I LOVE wearing t-shirts over long sleeves:
David: No, no, it’s sweaters over collared shirts…
Steve: No, no, it’s super-low v-necks under cardigans. This way my chest is fully exposed and I can breathe with the music in the world.
Tallin: Refer to previous answer.
Matt: Watch out for Steve’s chest hair. It’s a registered sex offender in 51 states. It’s so stimulating, it actually created the state of arousal.
Jason: I don’t know if I’ve committed such an act.

Editor’s Note: Hey, guess what state we’re in right now. Ohh, some of you have a dirrrty mind!

I LOVE glasses:
Matt: I had glasses when I was about 6 years old. My memory lapses at this point, but when I was 7, I didn’t need them anymore. I am probably Spiderman.
Steve: Yeah, I love the look of glasses, just hate the feel. I have contacts but wear the geek glasses due to popular demand. I feel bad hiding my eyes but feel better when I don’t bump into things like when I’m not wearing them.
Tallin: Glasses block my baby blues.
Jason: No glasses I used to have 20/15 vision which was a great mark of pride for me. I could have joined the Air Force. Speaking of which, before I got into music I had an obsession with West Point. I really wanted to go. Fancy that.
Matt: I know I already commented, but what is 20/15 vision? Does that mean you can see 1.33333 times what someone with perfect vision can see? Maybe you are Spiderman.

Editor’s Note: In the spirit of always learning, we’ve done some research. Jason may or may not be Spiderman, but 20/15 vision means he can see things at 20 feet that the normal eyes need to see from 15 feet away. Of course, this doesn’t solve why Matt suddenly no longer needed glasses…

I LOVE comfortable sneakers:
Steve: I love my personalized Plekan Converse in many crazy colors. I also love those comfortable ugly shoes that I wear all the time which just slip right on. Better for rocking out in.
Tallin: Can I get a pair of Plekans?
David: That’s what she said.
Jason: I usually get sneakers that are a little small for me which means I’m usually not comfortable in them.

I LOVE jeans:
Steve: Yeah jeans pretty much rule. Especially skinny jeans on my skinny butt.
Matt: What can I saw about jeans that hasn’t already been said? I will write a haiku:

Comforting denim.
Great as pants, awful as shirts,
worst as underwear. -


Unwind - 2006
Love EP - 2009
Strange Loop - May 20, 2011



The Middle Eight makes music for your brain and your ears. The New York-based outfit brings classical sensibilities to an indie rock context, building textured, even orchestral layers of sound. STRANGE LOOP, their newest release, is an exploration of sonic combinations that is at once catchy and unpredictable, drawing on influences ranging from Romantic sonatas to 1970s art-rock. Members: Jason Olshan - Lead Vocals & Rhythm Guitar Steve Plekan - Bass & Backing Vocals David McTiernan - Keyboards & Backing Vocals Tallin Lamonaca - Drums & Percussion

AM New York: "this indie-rock group has a lush sound filled with classical influences and catchy melodies."

Nick Sansano (Producer of Sonic Youth, Public Enemy and others) said this: "In the musically pre fab short attention span world of pop music, The Middle Eight stands out as fearless musical renegades. They are not afraid to actually write a song, explore sonic places, and skillfully play their instruments. New music from real novel."