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Perhaps Austin, Texas is the aural equivalent of that place? Self proclaimed "Live Music Capital", I half expect to hear, "we have BOTH kinds of music, Country AND Western!" So while most local acts are dispatched to the appropriate pigeonhole, some remain doomed never to find their intended audience. Of course, Austin has enjoyed breakthrough Indie acts. Lift To Experience, SPOON and Explosions In The Sky all hailed from these parts with only the faintest steel pedal twang to associate them with alt-country.

Now Austin has The Onlys and not the faintest idea what to do with them! Had they been a Montreal or Toronto band I'll wager it'd be a different story. EVERYBODY would have heard of Limbic System and the album would sit, rightfully, alongside Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene in every review of the year.

Limbic System is majestic. A rich collection of off-kilter, lo-fi songs that reward repeated listening. Across sixteen tracks, The Onlys offer gentle acoustics, eerie synth-modulated melodies and harsher, textured guitars, enveloping Limbic System with true personality.

The Lights on Black Hills Street gives an early indication of the band's power and potential. A Yo La Tengo waltz with a nod to American Music Club dynamics and the sensitivity of Low. Yet The Onlys defy genre comparison. While they bring other bands to mind, they somehow never sound like anyone else. This is notable again on the ghostly Tulsa and even with Attica, the album's only real dalliance with US college rock. Here, there's a strong road-movie feel, sonically in the Pixies/Husker Du mould (pun intentional).

Limbic System reaches its creative peak with the trio of Slide Song, Shine and Reborn. A curvaceous slide-guitar moan transports the former, while a lonely harmonica cries out on the exceptional Shine. Reborn plays homage to a Pavement-fixated Blur before Sinking Stones reprises Slide Song with a beautiful new arrangement.

And it all works perfectly with diverse vocals (shared duties with the brothers Chenoweth and Femme Fatal keyboardist Rachel Romo) and exceptional bass playing to the fore, driving the songs and lending real thematic narrative. A handful of experimental tracks leads us finally to ah Happiness, which is simultaneously soft yet resentful. (Think Go-Betweens) It closes the album nicely leaving such a bittersweet taste that there is only one place to truly find solace.

Press Play.

Limbic System is a triumph. This collection of fuzzy, off-kilter alt rock fully merits top marks and HAS to be a contender, surely, for album of the year, despite being released in 2005? I don't recall Arcade Fire protesting too loudly over their (posthumous) 2005 awards for 2004's Funeral. I only hope Limbic System can make a similar breakthrough to its Canadian spiritual sibling and find its intended audience.

Who exactly? Oh, I'd say music lovers, simply.
- Evilsponge.com


Hailing from the new-music capitol of Austin, TX indie-rockers The Onlys have just released their third full-length debut entitled Limbic System. On it the trio, consisting of Rachel Romo and brother Jason and Joel Chenoweth, have created a sweeping, atmospheric effort that is, at times, hypnotic and engaging, while at others also a bit lethargic and self-absorbed.
The breathy, ethereal whine that floats over the sleepy rhythm on the opening track "Walk Through Walls," sets the tone for this sixteen-track collection of shoe-gazing, indie-rock for closet-goths. Further explorations into the stratosphere, such as "Frequencies in the Dial," featuring a haunting reverb guitar behind Romo's sensual voice, as well as the eerie instrumental balladry of "Turn" and the weariness of "Ah Happiness" add a sense of otherworldliness to the record.
The collection is not without an energy source, however, as witnessed on the punchier numbers "Attica" and the heavily distorted beauty of the instrumental "Swan," which is more than reminiscent of the early psychedelic Gish-era Smashing Pumpkins. The band further injects the shimmering, hypnotic guitar tones of The Cure along with a little Eno-esque knob-twiddling into "Sinking Stones."
While a rather pleasant offering, The Only's main drawback is their one-dimensionality. Maybe if they're able to stimulate and broaden their own limbic systems (the part of the brain which is thought to control emotions and behavior) then their next effort will be even more memorable.

- concertlivewire.com


The Onlys are an acquired taste, said Jason Chenoweth, lead singer and guitarist of the band.

"We're not writing formulaic music," he said. "We capture the energy of art and then go back and rearrange it."

This indie rock band from Austin, Texas, will be in Albuquerque Friday to promote their album Limbic System.

Everyone in the band is strong-headed about what they want in the music, Jason said. Although things can be bittersweet, he said band members have learned to balance their musical sensibilities so that everybody can bring something to the music.

"Everyone has something they're working on," said Rachel Romo, keyboardist for the band. "Everyone adds their own touch and then a song comes out of it."

Jason said Romo was originally a classical pianist, and she brings that classical element to the band.

"She's very diversified," he said. "She can be anything from Chopin to Sex Pistols."

Members have their own way of creating music, he said.

"I'm a television junkie," Romo said. "I listen to background music in shows. It's fun for me to figure out what the advertising agencies do to get you to watch it. It's in the music."

She said every time she reads or watches something, she can take it and incorporate it into her music.

"I'm not a prolific writer," she said. "But I have a bad habit of writing everything in my head and not being able to get it all out."

Jason said he thinks up tunes while he's driving.

"I don't listen to the radio," he said. "The radio in my head kicks in. A lot of melodies get lost in the wind. The recurring ones are the ones I try to capture."

Joel Chenoweth, Jason's brother and the bass player, said he became a musician because he needed to express himself.

"I needed a creative outlet, and I wasn't good at painting," he said.

Jason said the album is their best work to date and shows their growth in lyrical arrangement and composition. But he said it was a difficult album to make because they lost their drummer halfway through.

"It became more of a mission to finish it because we were feeling like the record would finish us," he said.

Jason said he and Joel started playing guitar when they were teenagers. But he said music has always been a part of their lives. Their mother was adamant about getting them to be creative.

"It's the way we were raised," Jason said.

When asked what it's like being in a band with his brother, Joel said they fight all the time.

"We're always at each other's throats," he said. "But in the end we find a way to make a good song out of it."

The Onlys are also inspired by Asian cultures, Jason said. Romo is studying Japanese and has brought the Asian influence into the band.

"Studying Japanese opens up the door to an easier appreciation and understanding of world music," Romo said.

Jason said the band creates music for music's sake now. He said when they first started the band they wanted to be rock star millionaires.

"We were naive," he said. "It's not about money anymore."

- DailyLobo.com


The Onlys (no apostrophe, please) have been playing guitar-based rock in Austin since 1994 in moods ranging from gently melancholy to boisterously strident…and still melancholy. Since their Local Live performance and their previous record, 2000’s Tune the Blue Screen, brothers Jason and Joel Chenowith have added classically-trained pianist Rachel Romo and her impressive array of keyboards and keyboard effects to the roster. Limbic System is surprisingly enough only The Onlys’s third album--a little fact that might explain its rather daunting 16-track length. The album was recorded at Austin’s Music Lane with producer Andy Sharp (Kissinger) and mastered by KVRX alum Eric Wofford. “Walk Through Walls” (1) has a distortion effect on the vocal that makes this stalker-song very scary indeed.

All Clean. Recommended Tracks: 2, 5, 6, 1, 9, 13 - A sides


The limbic system is a
group of nerves in the brain
that govern instinct, moods,
fear, pleasure, anger,
hunger, sex and dominance.
The Onlys’ Limbic System is
aptly titled. The third album
by the Onlys is bittersweet,
melancholy and drips with
subtle retrospection. This
is a listening album, cerebral
and intelligent, without
being overdone or trite.
Ten years ago, Jason
and Joel Chenoweth formed
The Onlys in Austin, Texas.
The brothers are originally
from Albuquerque. Their
musicianship is outstanding,
especially the Robert
Fripp-style guitar work,
which creates a dreamlike
ethereal feeling. The keyboard
work is hypnotic and
the vocals ache and yearn.
Rachel Romo, a classically
trained musician,
joined the band in 2003.
Romo’s keyboard work and
haunting vocals cement
The Onlys’ signature sound.
Tommy Browning drives
the bass with a solid groove.
Armando Reyes keeps the
beats lively and thick on the
sticks.
During a phone interview,
Chenoweth said, “It
took us four years to write
and record [the album]. We
had some lineup changes
– it was a heavy time.” The
album has 16 songs. The
Onlys actually chopped it
down and eliminated 10
songs. “We wanted to do an
epic album, a completion
of the past, and let it go out
into the world,” said Chenoweth.
The Onlys’ Limbic System: A Bittersweet Emotional
Journey - TVI Albuquerque NM


The third album by the Austin trio claiming to be of the British Mod persuasion is a hypnotic trip. Limbic System features Arcade Fire like song titles (tulsa part 1 and tulsa part 2). With Ambulance LTD like vocals. The Onlys delay satisfaction until 16th and final track "Ah happiness," on which jason chenoweth woos listeners with the line "Ah happiness/ you're so pretty/ you're so pretty." Indeed.
www.DetachRecords.com - Magnet Magazine


The Onlys
Limbic System (Detach)

You can hear every red cent of the missing budget on the Onlys' third album, Limbic System. Cut corners on every slightly off-key melody emanating from Rachel Romo's keyboards, pennies pinched off Jason Lavalle's centerpiece beat, which should have been sanded down further in the mix. Joel Chenoweth's guitars and lap steel guitar beg extra layers of lacquering, while brother Jason Chenoweth's sad vocals need swaddling. When the punch-in comes on "Tulsa Part II," there's no million-dollar wallop. Fortunately, the Austin quartet isn't Coldplay. Neither do they enjoy 4AD production values, though Damon & Naomi does comes to mind, as does Low, especially on the warm swirl of both parts of "Tulsa," or the building, grounded "Central." Romo's harmonies are all the grounding Jason Chenoweth needs in his wounded limp to the brain's emotional cortex. Together they mirror the simple manner in which harp and bassline curl around each other on "Shine." These are simple melodies feeling complex emotions, and fuzz is everything to Limbic System. The electro embellishment on Ramos' "Frequencies in the Dial" plays like $1.98, but it's paid in cash. The elegant wavelength of Joel Chenoweth's guitar also picks up the tab on the longing "Take the Apartment" and "Slide Song," giving change even on the upbeat pulse of "Sinking Stones" and rocking flare-up of instrumental "Swan." Who needs love when there's cigarettes, and if you've got enough for them, who needs cash for anything else?



- Raoul Hernandez


Independent recording artists everywhere! Go get this album because its pure genius in the recording and mixing department. Even if the music isn’t your taste or up your alley you have to appreciate how incredibly great the studio work is throughout this album. So honestly it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that it was recorded in the music Mecca of Austin, Texas should it? Call it Brit-pop if you want to but the album shines with clever indie rock facets that are shined up bright so that we can appreciate each and every note and every noise manipulation.

- smother


The Onlys
Limbic System (Detach Records)

Limbic System is a sprawling record from the Austin-based band The Onlys, and it seems to show that the band is not fully aware of its strengths and weaknesses. There are some real standout songs among these sixteen tracks, but much of the record lacks enough melodic hooks and dynamics to hold interest. The track order is also a bit puzzling, as a listener has to wade through five very similar sounding songs before getting to "Tulsa part II" on which the band's sound starts to become compelling. The next track "Attica" is the best on the record and shows what the Onlys are capable of when they awaken from their down-tempo dreams. Later on come "Central" and the closer "ah Happiness" which find the band utilizing their best melodies and showing that when everything comes together, their potential is quite apparent. (Andy Smith - Pop Culture Press


The Onlys third record "limbic System" offers some excellent hypnotic songs like tulsa 1 and tulsa 2, but track 6 "Attica" is the makings of a new rock anthem. - Paul Familitie


Discography

1997 "1300" (LP 12 songs)
2000 "Tune the Blue Screen" (LP 11 songs)
2005 "Limbic System" (LP 16 songs)
2008 "A little blood never bothered me"

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

The Onlys have released three records,on Albuquerque label, "Detach Records.” Magnet Magazine has described the Limbic System as a “Hypnotic Trip”. A description that conveys an evolution of sound that was born 10 years ago.

In Recent years, the Onlys have performed at SXSW 2004-2007, and have shared the stage with bands Like Supergrass, and Starlight Mints.

Residing in Austin, TX, the band became a national act when their 2000 indie release, titled "Tune the Blue Screen", charted on national alternative radio charts. The Onlys first formed in the mid nineties. And during that time, the band worked tirelessly on sculpting their sound. They have always romanced the experimental side, and continue to deliver fragile sound-scapes accompanied with their signature wall of sound.
“The Onlys wear their influences on their sleave, the only problem is that the sweat and energy have smeared the lines, and you can't guess what planet they’re from.” Austin Chronicle

The Onlys have three songwriters, and at times, this can bring out many different influences on a record.

Rachel Romo is a classically trained musician, with music influences ranging from Chopin to Sex Pistols. She provides her unique element to the band's layering, and arrangements. Rachel joined the Onlys in 2003.
Jason Chenoweth is from the heavier side of music, and the founding member of the group. While growing up, he spent his afternoons playing guitar to Pink Floyd, and Led Zepplin records. In recent years, he has been experimenting with samplers and synth modulating.
Joel Chenoweth started his musical ventures as a drummer in high school. He started playing in rock bands at thirteen. At sixteen, he began song writing to broaden his spectrum, and since then has become the Onlys lead guitarist, and a contributing lyricist. The Onlys have just released their 2005 record, Limbic System on Albuquerque label, "Detach Records.” Magnet Magazine has described the Limbic System as a “Hypnotic Trip”. A description that conveys an evolution of sound that was born 10 years ago.

In Recent years, the Onlys have shared the stage with Supergrass, Starlight Mints, Dressy Bessy, Bloodthirsty Lovers, Drums & Tuba, Low Frequency in Stereo, and Explosions in the Sky to name a few.

Residing in Austin, TX, the band became a national act when their 2000 indie release, titled "Tune the Blue Screen", charted on national alternative radio charts. The Onlys first formed in the mid nineties. And during that time, the band worked tirelessly on sculpting their sound. They have always romanced the experimental side, and continue to deliver fragile sound-scapes accompanied with their signature wall of sound.
“The Onlys wear their influences on their sleave, the only problem is that the sweat and energy have smeared the lines, and you can't guess what planet they’re from.” Austin Chronicle

The Onlys have three songwriters, and at times, this can bring out many different influences on a record.

Rachel Romo is a classically trained musician, with music influences ranging from Chopin to Sex Pistols. She provides her unique element to the band's layering, and arrangements. Rachel joined the Onlys in 2003.
Jason Chenoweth is from the heavier side of music, and the founding member of the group. While growing up, he spent his afternoons playing guitar to Pink Floyd, and Led Zepplin records. In recent years, he has been experimenting with samplers and synth modulating.
Joel Chenoweth started his musical ventures as a drummer in high school. He started playing in rock bands at thirteen. At sixteen, he began song writing to broaden his spectrum, and since then has become the Onlys lead guitarist, and a contributing lyricist.