the normans
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the normans

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"Extremely unique... a pop smorgasbord... lovers of good pop music will surely appreciate what Normans frontman Brent Baldwin has created here"
- Indieville


"Combining catchy pop melodies and carefully crafted vocal harmonies has made The Normans a steady fixture in the Austin indie scene. Songwriter Brent Baldwin delivers intelligent, sometimes brooding lyrics but doesn't mire the band in a sea of self-loathing. The 2007 release, 'Stereo Savant', showcases the band's ability to deliver fuzzed out pop tunes that still respect the band's reserved, thoughtful sound" - austin360.com


"The latest 5-song EP from Austin quartet, The Normans, is like an aural 50/50 Bar – half of it is driving, droning, exquisitely dissonant pop-rock (Well Well Hey Hey, Heavens to Betsy, and the middle section of Lowell); while the other half is beautifully arranged and orchestrated, modern ballads that are poignant but never saccharin (Emily, Windowsill Dust and the beginning and end of Lowell). Instead of pulling apart, the two halves meld together to form a sublimely tasteful whole.

"Band leader, Brent Baldwin, also known for conducting the symphonic works of Graham Reynolds and Peter Stopschinski (The Golden Hornet Project), handles the writing, lead vocals and rhythm guitar on all of the songs, as well as keys and drums on a couple more. Corey Butler (from God Drives a Galaxy) plays lead guitar and pedal steel and is responsible for much of the undulating drones and dissonance.

"Together, Brent and Corey achieve what is considered to be that rarest of rock moments – the unpredictable chord change…it can give you a whole new perspective on things! Byrne Rock does a solid job with back-up vocals and bass; Patrick Montgomery (who was recently replaced by Nina Singh) plays drums on three of the tracks; and the orchestrated parts are beautifully performed by the Tosca String Quartet (who has worked with David Byrne and Sufjan Stevens). The CD was produced & engineered by Erik Wofford (The Octopus Project and My Morning Jacket).

"Brent’s poetic lyrics often get lost in the mix, but they’re worth straining to hear. In fact, the whole album begs to be cranked as loud as possible, to get the full effect of the multi-layered sound and expanding guitar overtones. I also wanted the last cut to keep going for at least another minute or two…don’t be shy, guys! Guess they just wanted to leave us wanting more. Until The Normans next record comes out, this one will be getting played over and over." (A-) - Insite


"...intelligent witty lyrics... graceful folk-rock with spacey intentions... a pop masterpiece..."
- Smother


"'Writing' stands out because its melody is simple and tough... transforms empty-headedness into a bold Beach Boy strut-and-swagger worthy of Frank Black. It'll satiate your thirst for drink, initiate your interest in posing, and become a quick crowd favorite."
- Splendid


"'Heavens to Betsy' is stark, resonant, almost monotonous... it has a dirgelike appeal, but it's addictive. You want to hear it rise and rise...
the only moment of disappointment is when it ends." - South of Mainstream


"Dreams of Autocrashes, the debut CD from India Records darling The Normans, prove indie rock doesn't have to be a one-dimensional diatribe of misery. Brent Baldwin crafts deeply layered songs of quiet intensity that incorporate gentle, Brian Wilson-like harmonies over intricately woven guitar melodies. His transparent, ethereal vocals conjure the spirit of Elliott Smith, leaving the listener craving more. This is the genius of Baldwin's songwriting; he is able to craft interesting musical ideas but doesn't have to beat you over the head with them."
- University Star


"This album has a beautiful dreamy quality to it, yet it neither puts you to sleep nor lets you drift too far away. It has a nice control over you, and the dreams, even if they are of autocrashes, are never nightmares. Instead they are from that nice, comfortable place which makes you feel good to be alive.

This a great album which you will be listening to time and time again.
- Guitar Noise


"When you are in the mood to plug in an album and relax, but ending your life is not in your foreseeable future, Dreams of Autocrashes provides a musically similar but lyrically pleasant alternative to the morose Death Cab for Cutie or oft-melancholy Elliott Smith...an excellent debut album."
- CD Reviews


Discography

dreams of autocrashes (2004)
stereo savant (2007)

Photos

Bio

The Normans were formed in Austin in 2003 by guitarist Corey Butler (God Drives a Galaxy) and Brent Baldwin (best known around town as the conductor of Golden Hornet project symphonies and Stephen Barber's Barbwire Music Project). The tunes are poppy, but The Normans are not a simple three-chord-and-chorus rock band. Baldwin and Butler orchestrate intricate layers of sound and space. Bassist Byrne Rock and drummer Nina Singh lay down a rhythmic pulse in the tradition of T-Rex. The resulting blend of textures has earned The Normans favorable comparisons to Yo La Tengo, Frank Black, Elliott Smith, and the Kinks.