The Paper Shapes
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The Paper Shapes

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Band Rock Alternative

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Even the first second of the Paper Shapes’ debut, Shape Invasion, is a full-force wall of sound. Without warning or introduction guitars and bass sweep in for a non-stop frenzy for the entirety of the short EP, which falls under 15 minutes. Jaw-dropping, swift bass and guitar lines tangle together for an unrelenting solidity. The band’s talent is undeniable, it takes deft fingers to keep pace of the Paper Shapes’ guitar and bass, even if a lack of fresh elements give the EP a déjà vu feel.

“Summerguns” begins with gusto and a serious bass jam that remains the driving force of the song, overshadowing comparably slow guitar lines. The frantic tempo set by an instrument that usually functions as rhythm produces a bizarre feel for the song. It is when the guitar and bass share duties and work together at the same speed that the song picks up. The chorus also provides release from the crawling bass lines that get a little ambitious at points.

The bass line leads off again with “Crumbs,” but is slightly more subtle with its movements. Ambient guitar glides over the heavy bass lines, and finally erupts into a clean, hammered chorus. “Crumbs” is, overall, a more dynamic song that still manages to showcase talent but without anything being the overt showcase.

“Sunglasses” switches the spastic lines to the guitar. This consistency through the songs gives the EP an overall nervous quality. All of the songs seem to come together at the chorus, where simple guitar chords are used in place of skilled but showy twitches. The vocals start to fall into a pattern at this point, as well. Swooping elements on the lead singer’s tenor add a nice touch to songs, but in the case of “Sunglasses” and the next song “Snacks and Crackers”, there is a reoccurring vocal trope that loses its effectiveness. The speaking-style vocals of the quintet is also susceptible to repetition.

The final song “Glue” is the best compromise between the bass-guitar tirade throughout the majority of Shape Invasion. There is finally a sense of collaboration rather than the instrument competition. “Glue” shows what Paper Shapes could be if the playground type of rivalry ended between the instruments.

The Paper Shapes are undeniably talented and, when working in collaboration rather than a feature in their own song, obviously well assembled. If the band could pull together and show the cohesive qualities of their choruses, their overall sound would be much more accessible. Shape Invasion has bright moments, but risks overshadowing itself with flashy elements. - Austin Sound


Influences: The Clash, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, Led Zeppelin, Fugazi
What’s the meaning of your band name? I think it had something to do with an evil race of origami aliens. Haha! It was between “The Paper Shapes” and “Vendetta Marshmallow”, which is now a cartoon movie trilogy we are currently working on. Vendetta Marshmallow 1: Attack of the Graham , Vendetta Marshmallow 2: Back for Smore, and Vendetta Marshmallow 3: Roasted.
Describe your nominated work: Be Vigilant is our sophomore E.P. release. We feel that this second release captured a more harnessed sound not present on our debut E.P.
Why did you choose to submit this work to The 10th IMA’s? Why not? Also, we felt it would be a great way to get our music to fans that would not otherwise hear what we are doing.
Did you use any unusual effects or instruments in this recording? Banging on metal pipes and recycling bins full of bottles and cans.
Were there any happy accidents while in the studio, or did everything go as planned? We still don’t know who played some of the key parts.
Did fans help you fund this project? No
Who’s sitting in your audience? Austin’s finest rock and roll connoisseurs.
What makes your fans unique? Being that Austin is the “live music capital of the world” our fans are exposed to a copious amount of diverse music. They expect a unique show or your band gets tossed in the background with the other thousands of Austin bands. Not that any other fan in another city expects an ordinary band, it’s just that Austin fans expect something more and we try our best to deliver that.
Are there any songs you wish you wrote:? The TV Show Friends theme song……cha ching.
What artists are you listening to that would surprise your fans? The Cars, Cindy Lauper, Queen
What is your dream show lineup? Glassjaw, NIN, The Mars Volta, The Strokes
What is your guilty pleasure on the road? Convenient store sandwiches.
Any close calls or mishaps while on tour? Not yet.
Do you have any rituals before you go on stage? Beer and hugs
Should music be free? Occasionally free, but definitely cheap all the time.
How has digital affected your career? At this point it remains to be seen.
Are digital singles vs. full albums the future of music? Yes
Finish this sentence: The music industry is… choking on the ashes of bubblegum pop. - Independent Music Awards


The sounds of experimental post punk will fill the Downtown Bar & Grill on Saturday as the Paper Shapes take center stage.

This will be the Austin-based band's second time performing in Victoria.

"Anyone who comes to see us won't be disappointed," said the band's singer Aaron Pearson, who is a Victoria native.

Paper Shapes, whose name was derived from the concept of an evil race of origami aliens, is comprised of Pearson, the band's singer; Jason Bearden, bass player; Hector Guerra, guitarist; and Alex Brown, drummer.

Victoria native Matt Skoog is the band's light technician and graphic designer.

The band's Victoria's performance comes on the heels of the band's recent nominations with The Independent Music Awards (IMAs), an international awards program in which nominees and winners are hand-chosen by more than 60 talented and accomplished musicians and industry professionals including Seal, Gavin Rossdale, Tom Waits, Ozzy Osbourne and Kevin Lyman, owner of the Warped Tour.

The band was nominated for their latest EP "Be Vigilant," which was released in October 2010, while Skoog, Paper Shapes light technician and graphic designer, was nominated for best album design and show poster.

As nominees, the band will play showcases in New York City, as well as get its music placed on 30,000 Internet jukeboxes and college radio stations.

"We're definitely going in a good direction," said Pearson, who is working to rally Victorians to vote for the band in the IMAs. "This is the most promising opportunity of getting our music out there."

For Pearson, Paper Shapes' new-found success is the culmination of years of hard work.

Pearson started his first professional band, Prom Night, in 2005.

The band, which played in Victoria a few times, eventually disbanded.

By happenstance, Pearson met his current band mates through mutual friends and resurrected Prom Night.

But with the band being comprised of all new members and going in a totally new direction, the group changed their name to The Paper Shapes in late 2009.

The band released their debut EP, "Shape Invasion," as well as played their first show in Victoria in late 2009.

Although the band has its own unique sound, Pearson said the band's musical influences include At the Drive-in, Fugazi, Led Zeppelin and Nirvana.

The band's popular song, "Castles" can most often be heard on Austin-area radio stations.

The Paper Shapes remain excited about the opportunity to play some of their older songs and their award-nominated new songs during their upcoming performance in The Crossroads.

"It's cool playing in small towns," said Bearden. "Everyone is a lot more willing to check out the music and give it a chance." - The Victoria Advocate


Discography

2009 - Shape Invasion
2010 - Be Viglant

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Bio

The Paper Shapes is an experimental post-punk band from Austin, TX. Formed in 2009, the Paper Shapes are quickly gaining the reputation as one of Austin’s best live progressive punk rock bands. According to Abby Johnston of Austin Sounds, the Paper Shapes are “a full force wall of sound” that include “jaw-dropping, swift bass and guitar lines tangle[ed] together for an unrelenting solidity”. Their distinct and unique style was born not only from the spontaneity of the bands creation but also from their deliberate devotion to the music.

After a five year stint with local electro pop-punk band Prom Nite, Aaron Jordan (vox) and Alex Brown (drums) were faced with a dilemma after their guitarist and keyboardist decided to go their separate ways. Left to pick up the pieces, Jordan and Brown began recruiting for what was to be the new revision of Prom Nite. Through a random web of friends, friends of girlfriends, and acquaintances, Jordan and Brown recruited bassist Jason Bearden (formally of Consider the Source), guitarist Hector Guerra, and keyboardist Austin Haines. With a fresh line up, a fresh energy, and fresh sound, the boys felt confident enough to start from the beginning with a fresh name.