The PF Flyers
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The PF Flyers

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What began as a fusion of two bands from Oxford High School
in late 2004 has rapidly become a driving force behind fresh
material on the local music landscape. But these aren’t
just kids we’re talking about. No remnants of youthful
fundamentals make their way onto the PF Flyers debut “Sort Out the Mischief,” which follows on the heels of a 2005 live release from Two Stick and the stripped down, self-produced EP Stay.

These guys share many similarities with independent artists
making strides in the industry, but also draw more striking
resemblances to other regional bands like Colour Revoult
(among others). Personal influences include Sonic Youth,
Interpol, and Islands (formerly the Unicorns) and, according
to their website, their music sounds like “lightning in your face.”
What’s reassuring is that no clear, direct parallels can
be heard to any of those bands. The PF Flyers inflicts
their own style to that subgenre that can’t really be
called indie any longer without offending someone,
somewhere.

They move somewhere beyond their archetypal cohorts when
the band makes a U-turn from the danceable, spicy
“Mexico” into an alt-country poise on “Perfect Home”
that is unlike any other material on the record. The closer
“Open Window” then proceeds to capture that soft-to-loud
approach. All three songs—hell, the entire album--signify
a diversity not generally found in emerging bands. It’s a
bit short to call it a full-length release, but eight
concise songs with innovative moments are better than ten or
twelve bland ones that drag on with no emotion.

“Sort Out the Mischief” is electronic-laced rock with a
backbone. The amount of creativity is quite mature and
impressive for a younger crew. Only their developing voices
lack the head-on nature on the rest of the album, but it’s
nothing that a few more gigs screaming on the mike can’t
put right. The Flyers take remarkable detours, musically
speaking, and will hopefully have enough tenacity to keep
pressing for something new and bold in the future. The debut
is in its final stages of mastering and is slotted for
release sometime this fall, when the band is scheduled for a
regional tour that carries them through Jackson, Birmingham
and numerous stops in Oxford.

The PF Flyers will appear at Proud Larry’s Thursday,
July 20 with special guests Terror of the Sea.

- Mitch Morgan, Oxford Town


By now, most have probably caught wind of the best new local act to grace Oxford. Although its members are half the age of bands producing similar, impressive material, rock outfit the PF Flyers aren't just kids tooling around with their dads' instruments in the garage. Since their inception a few years back, the PF Flyers already have an album under their belt, have encountered legal battles from shoe companies over their moniker, and have been the opening act for big names like Heartless Bastards (among others). The band will be headlining Proud Larry's on Thursday, Jan. 25, along with opening Austin pop act, Moonlight Towers. Frontman John Barrett was on hand earlier in the week to fill me in on all the latest news from Oxford's youngest - and perhaps best - rock band on the scene.

Mitch Morgan - For those who aren't familiar with the band, can you provide a little background on how and when you guys formed? I know you were briefly under the moniker the Parliament Kings; how has the lineup changed since your old name, and what's on the agenda for 2007?

John Barrett - We formed in late 2004/early 2005 while all students at Oxford High School, with our original lineup consisting of Tim Burkhead on drums, Parker Depriest on guitar, keys, and vocals, Alan Khunle on bass, and myself on guitar and vocals. After Alan left for college in the fall of 2005, Capel Howorth filled his spot on bass and has been with us ever since. We changed our name to the Parliament Kings for
2 weeks in the summer of 2006 because we thought we might have had copyright issues with the shoe company PF Flyers, but after talking to a lawyer we found out that we could legally keep The PF Flyers as our name. In 2007, we are planning on finally releasing our 12 track debut LP entitled Sort Out The Mischief, which is now in the final stages of mixing and mastering. Also, we plan to do some weekend
touring in the spring (including a show at the Double Decker
Arts Festival in April), followed by more extensive touring
throughout the southeast in the summer.

MM - You guys recieved an explosive response when you opened for Heartless Bastards at Proud Larry's a few weeks ago. Have you gotten as warm a reception elsewhere?

JB - Thankfully, we have. Our only out-of-town shows so far
have been in Jackson MS, Birmingham AL, and Nashville, but
at all three shows we have gotten a very good response. Its
a lot of fun to go play in a different town and see people
enjoying your music.

MM - What aspects of the music you're producing have changed or been altered since you guys first formed? Is this a different sound than we heard from the Parliament Kings?

JB - When we first started, most of our songs were songs that
Parker and I had written by ourselves, and we would bring
those songs in to rehearsal and learn them with the band.
Since then, our songwriting process has become more and more
collaborative, with the whole band getting involved and
making suggestions and changes as we write. It sometimes
makes things difficult, but overall I would say we all are
very pleased at how we are progressing.

MM - I reviewed one of your releases awhile back, but please recap me on what you guys have done/are currently doing in the studio. Any plans for a formal release this year? Tour plans?

JB - The CD you reviewed was an early copy of Sort Out The
Mischief with only 8 songs on it. Since then, we have
rerecorded 2 of the songs that were on that copy in addition
to recording 4 newer songs, making the album 12 tracks
total. We are now in the midst of the mixing and mastering
process, and we are planning to have a release party
sometime in the near future. We are also releasing the
album by ourselves, so we have to get out on the road and
sell it! We are planning to do some weekend touring this
spring, and, if things go as planned, a LOT of summer
touring.

MM - Your band apparently jumped the gun and formed while most of us were still worrying about teenage angst. How is it that you guys are still so young yet already producing quality, really mature music?

JB - One thing that has helped us is the fact that Oxford has
so many great bands that play music we like, and watching
and learning from bands like Goodmorning Powerheart and
Colour Revolt has really pushed us and made us work hard.
Also, we have been together for about 2 years, so we are
very comfortable making music with each other and that has
made it easy.

MM - What are your combined/individual influences, and which of those can you hear in your own material (which group(s) would you immediately draw a comparison to)?

JB - Within our band, our influences are all over the place.
I know it sounds cliche, but it really is true; we listen
to everything from electronica to blues. Right now, I would
say we are leaning to more of a post-punk/rock sound,
similar to the Arctic Monkeys or the Strokes. - Mitch Morgan, Oxford Town


The PF Flyers
Sort Out the Mischief
Independent Release
originally published June 6, 2007
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There are touches of the White Stripes, OK Go, The Unicorns and the Plain White T's, but Mississippi's PF Flyers fail to settle well into any of these comparisons. Formed from the merging of two high-school bands in 2005, this four-piece ensemble makes being very young sound very good on its first LP Sort Out the Mischief. Songs like "Money Buys Time" and "Put Up the Flair" contrast the sounds of quick clicking drums, and cooing voices with electronica beats and beeps. However, the catchiest songs, "Open the Door" and "Stay," stick to more traditional instruments and rely heavily on guitar. Tying the album together, every track is indelibly marked with John Barrett's brave, fresh voice, both brash and crisp at once.

The guys have released two EPs, and they're supporting the spring release of the debut full-length with touring around the Southeast. The PF Flyers give off that intangible vibe that this could be a band that someone will introduce you to in six months or a year, and you'll kick yourself for being a lazy bum and not checking it out earlier. These boys are young, but if this is where they're starting, we have a lot of good music to look forward to.

Lia Brunelle

The PF Flyers are playing at Tasty World on Friday, June 8. - Flagpole (Athens, GA)


The PF Flyers land at the Boom Boom Room
by Stan Anderson

When I first heard the tracks by the PF Flyers, I could have sworn they were already a signed band based on the quality of the recordings. They describe themselves as Electro/Indie/Rock coming on strong with a catchy mellowness that has an underlying hardness. They are comprised of a drummer, a bassist, a guitarist, who does backup and plays with a synthesizer, while the lead singer also plays guitar.

They play off the "less is more" truth with great ideas that are well put together. If they had videos to their songs, I could picture them in my head: Grungy apartments, the aftermath of a block party with flashbacks to the actual throw down, etc. Even the cover to their self-produced album is a perfect snapshot description of their slice of life music edged with youthful courage and in-your-face tenacity.
The vocals remind me of the popular alternative style I'm hearing a lot lately. They claim they are influenced by bands like Interpol, Sonic Youth, and The Strokes, yet I give props to a band who can do a genre right and not mimic other bands. They have an easily accessible melodic flare supported greatly by the synthesizers that sometime take center stage. At times, I labeled the synthesizers under a sound that I think a lot of garage bands are trying to bring back. It's kind of a 70's feel but done in the 80's style while grunged up like the early 90's. Yeah, it made me think of those years of playing video games in the early 90's.

But, PF Flyers show they are versatile in their chosen genre, and in that same spirit, I wouldn't limit them to a certain style. A good band like this tends to surprise its fans by stepping in another direction and pulling it off well. They have attitude, but it's not too obnoxious, and I'm certain Hattiesburg will welcome this band from Oxford. If the strength behind their recording is any indication, I'd imagine their live shows are well performed. So, come out to the Boom Boom Room, June 2nd, at 10 PM. They'll be playing with the Del Mar Boys.

I had the chance to ask the Flyers a few questions. Here's what they had to say:

Describe the recording process behind the album.
Our drummer Tim's dad is a percussion professor at Ole Miss, and he has a home studio where we recorded the album. It was frustrating at times, because we had to work around everyone's schedules to find time to do it. We started the whole process last June with only seven songs, and it took so long to finalize that by the end of it all we had 12 (which is a good thing- there aren't too many 7 song albums out there!). It was a lot of hard work because we not only had to record the music, but we had to oversee artwork, packaging, mastering, etc. ourselves. In the end it was definitely worth it, just having it out there after so much work.

What goes into the process of writing songs?
When we started, our songwriting was very individual, with myself and Parker [Depriest] writing songs on our own and then bringing them into the band. Lately, it has been a lot more collaborative, with one person coming up with a riff and everyone else expanding on it and adding their own touch. It's frustrating sometimes because it can be hard to find common ground, but overall I would say that we are very pleased at how we have been progressing.

What are some of your future plans?
We have two separate tours going on this summer, with the first carrying us through MS, AL, TN, and GA in early June. Our second one is going to go through LA, TX, and AR in late July. In between those we'll be recording some new stuff and we have a couple of rogue shows as well, like the City Stages festival in Birmingham.
- The 'Burger (Hattiesburg, MS)


Although the PF Flyers are fairly new to the Oxford music scene (mostly because of age, not talent), they still they bring the rock as hard as anybody else. With a CD release recorded at Fastrax Studios here in Oxford on the way, they are already one step into the grown-up world of rock.

With layered synthesizers and keys, played by Parker Depriest, thumping bass by Capel Howorth and drums by Tim Burkhead, the rhythms are tight, melodic and definitely danceable.
John Barrett, with Depriest and Burkhead, belts out catchy lyrics with good harmonies.

With influences from '80s New Wave to Hip-Hop, their talent for blending their influences began somewhere around junior high in someone's garage and transcended into what they give us now. Plain and simple, it's good music.

The PF Flyers play with Go Fiction from Jackson, Miss. tonight at Proud Larry's. Show starts at 10 p.m. - The Daily Mississippian


With youthfulness comes indecision, but the young guys in The PF Flyers are using that indecisiveness to their advantage.
Lead vocalist and guitarist John Barrett, drummer Tim Burkhead, bassist Capel Howorth and Parker Depriest on synth, piano, and guitars, are all about 17 to 19 years old. They've gone through one name change, they're a little reluctant to name exactly what kind of music they play, and their debut album, "Sort Out the Mischief", has been a long time coming because they took a while in the recording studio.
Youthful extravagance? Maybe, but it's probably closer to artistic license.
"We're not a one-sound band", Howorth said. The PF Flyers combine rock, country, synth, and a touch of metal to create a unique sound that recalls a little bit of the Unicorns, Interpol, and the Strokes. Howorth breaks it down simply: "We're a band that plays music".
Even the guys' live show can be a mixed bag. "It's definitely not crazy and it's not laid back," Barrett said. "The audience is what makes it what it is." The guys can't even decide on what instruments to play on stage. They all know how to play each other's instruments, so they switch on stage quite a bit, DePriest said.
The guys in the band started seriously playing music when they entered high school. In their last few years at Oxford High School, The PF Flyers were born. The band played the first show or two as the Parliament Kings, but then switched over to The PF Flyers. DePriest will graduate from OHS soon, and the remaining members are students at the University of Mississippi.
No matter where they end up, the guys say they want to play music. "It's not about money or fame. We just want to make a living playing music. That's the ultimate goal", Burkhead said. "And not having to work a real job", Barrett joked, "because real jobs are scary." - Sheena Barnett, Scene


Discography

Stay EP - Spring 2005
Live at Two Stick LP - December 2005

Photos

Bio

The PF Flyers began as a union of two bands at Oxford High School in early 2005. Within a month of forming, they self-recorded the Stay EP, which was distributed around the Oxford area. After various shows around Oxford, they followed the release of their EP with a live album recorded at Two Stick in December 2005. Their style is a frantic mix of power-pop and rock with a little dash of disco just for fun, and their influences range from hill-country blues to electronica. They are also in the midst of recording their debut LP entitled Sort Out The Mischief, set to be released independently in the spring of 2007. Go see this band; you will not be disappointed.

They have shared the stage with:
Heartless Bastards (Fat Possum)
Colour Revolt (Tiny Evil/Interscope)
Jetpack UK (Heatstroke/Wizzard in Vinyl)
Rocco Deluca and the Burden (Ironworks/Polydor)

Also, the PF Flyers have been asked to appear at both the 2007 Double Decker Arts Festival in Oxford MS and the 2007 City Stages Music Festival in Birmingham, AL