The Passenger
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The Passenger

Winter Park, Florida, United States | INDIE

Winter Park, Florida, United States | INDIE
Band Alternative Rock





The 90’s produced some of the best guitar rock bands that seem all too seldom in this day and age. Bands like Weezer (at least early Weezer), The Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana provided us with three-four minute power pop guitar rock that sounds just as good today as it did 20 years ago! Like these bands, The Passenger is a like-minded band whose roots align with the 90’s mentality. On their latest album entitled A Dog Named Bear they showcase seven songs that, while not quite up to par with the best bands of the 90’s, have a solid foundation of good songwriting, infectious hooks and anthemic choruses that get implanted in your brain.

Forming in the summer of 2011 they sound as if they have been together much longer than that. The Passenger is a five-piece band with Nick Kussack (vocals, guitar), Bennett Newsome (guitar, vocals), Will Brotz III (bass), Manny Monteagudo (keys) and Beau Rothman (drums). It should also be noted that the album sounds professionally polished thanks to Ed Rose and his mixing abilities.

The album starts with “Pile of Bones” which is a meditation on our temporary existence and that despite its rather bleak subject matter has a ridiculously catchy chorus that is as anthemic as it is infectious. “Down and Out” could be a Weezer outtake if you didn’t know any better with it’s vocals harmonizing, Kussack’s Rivers Cuomo type tone and inviting, warm guitar sounds. Possibly the most modern sounding and commercially viable song is “When It All Went Down” a decent song that while a bit predictable and sticks to the soft verse/loud chorus mentality shows us again that these guys know how to write a pop song. “Killer Fashion” while sticking to their preferred format seems to have some more emotional resonance than some of their other tunes. I also thoroughly enjoyed the playful little synth on this one – nice touch.

The album closes with “Favors & Questions” which seemed to encapsulate what these guys were good at; anthemic chorus, solid guitar riffs and a tip of the hat to the guitar bands of the 90’s While this band sometimes veers a little to the side of music I might want to forget this is a seldom occurrence. Overall, A Dog Named Bear should satisfy those who have a thirst for solid 90’s inspired power pop with a modern twist. - THE EQUAL GROUND

"Review - The Passenger - A Dog Named Bear"

A Dog Named Bear is the latest release from the Orlando, Florida based band The Passenger. Describing a band's sound is always a hard thing to do when they have their own style, but for reference purposes just mix some Green Day, Weezer, Oasis, and The Barenaked Ladies together with a splash of originality and you might be somewhere close. The seven track album starts off with the upbeat track "Pile Of Bones". This is sure to be a favorite off the album as well as a crowd pleaser at live shows due to its high energy nature. Things slow down a bit on "Down and Out", but it gives the band a chance to showcase their songwriting ability. This song is full of great lines that will stick in your head long after it's over. The album features plenty of variety with songs like "Gift Horse" and the current state of rock hating song "Killer Fashion". Overall it's a solid release with plenty of catchy songs to hold your interest and encourage repeat listens. A nice blend of old school grunge with good instrumentals make this worthy of checking out. Catch up with The Passenger on Facebook and check out the lyric video below for "Pile Of Bones". - See more at: - THE GRID

"The Passenger impresses with ‘A Dog Named Bear'"

Orlando band The Passenger’s sophomore release “A Dog Named Bear” is packed with catchy up-tempo songs guaranteed to catch a listener’s attention. The seven songs have such an ever-present, contagious musical energy; even the sad song doesn’t seem quite so sad – even though it really is.


Musically, the songs on “A Dog Named Bear” feature steady beats, a crisp delivery and soaring momentum from the abruptly starting first song, “Pile of Bones” straight through to the last song, “Favors and Questions.” Each song has its own personality highlighted by varying degrees of featured music from bold guitar riffs, warm throbbing basslines, thumping drums and vibrant keyboard play. The band also skillfully uses la la las and ooh ooh oohs in their songs as if they were an additional instrument.

The Passenger 'A Dog Named Bear'
Photo credit: CD cover
The band’s songs have honest, reflective lyrics while maintaining a universal quality making them easily relatable to listeners. “Down and Out” has a cool, relaxed vibe as lead vocalist Noah Kussack sings “I don’t mind the sun sometimes/and I can stand the rain/it’s easy livin’.” The opening lyric for Killer Fashion” unveils a common opinion of music today “watch out the radio is taking the sparkle out of rock and roll.” Then comes the sad song, “A Toast to Mr. Carson.” No one can disagree with lyrics that say “there’s never a good day/to bury a friend.” (The CD is dedicated to the loving memory of John Carson and Joshua Stern, two young men gone way too soon.)

From first song to last this CD is impressive from its quality songs, sharp musicianship and talented producer. The CD was produced by well-known Orlando based producer (also engineer, musician and songwriter) Justin Beckler.

Digital copies of “A Dog Named Bear” are already available on iTunes. Hard copies will be available at the band’s CD release show May 25 at The Social in Orlando.

The band, Noah Kussack (lead singer/guitar), Beau Rothman (drums), Bennett Newsome (guitar/vocals), Manny Monteagudo (keys) and Will Brotz (bass), formed in 2011. Music fans can check out the local Orlando band on their official site, Facebook, Twitter and You Tube. - The Examiner

"PureHoney Benefit Party with The Passenger"

Click URL link and check top right article on page 3. Thx!! - PureHoney


Debut Album "Here Today. Gone To Maui." mixed by Ed Rose.
Released January 1, 2012

Sophmore Album "A Dog Named Bear" mixed by Justin Beckler
Released April 20, 2013



Formed in the summer of 2011, The Passenger, is an alternative rock band hailing from the state where old people go to die: Florida. Mentally rooted in the mid-nineties Saturday Night Live/”Grunge” Era, The Passenger, and their music, intend to inspire you to dust off your Doc Martens and tie a flannel around your waist. Their latest release "A Dog Named Bear" EP has seen the band grow musically and in members. Original members Noah Kussack, and Beau Rothman added some new faces to the mix with the additions of Bennett Newsome, Manny Monteagudo. Prior to recording ADNB bassist Steven Palmer parted ways with the band to pursue other interest. The addition of Will Brotz on the bass completed the missing puzzle piece of what is The Passenger. ADNB was produced by Justin Beckler (Andy Matchett & The Minks, Matt butcher, The Dropa Stone), and was recorded in our homes. Truly making it a homemade record. ADNB was mastered by ledged Tony Battaglia(Puddle of mudd, Shinedown, Mandy Moore).
Their self-produced debut album, “Here Today. Gone To Maui.,” mixed by Ed Rose(Get Up Kids, Motion City Soundtrack, Appleseed Cast…), embodies a well-rounded, full bodied, super catchy rock sound reminiscent of bands like Jimmy Eat World, The Get Up Kids, Foo Fighters, Weezer, etc…