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"Review from Performer Magazine"

"As Above, So Below" is a haunting and emotional CD, with mild touches of emo and post-hardcore, made almost unnecessary by the band’s mastery of atmosphere. “Design the Fight” begins the brief CD with a build-up of pummeling doom with softly angst-ridden vocals that eventually give way to a snarling and growling chorus, melting into a stuttering guitar line that leads the song deep into the mist.
“Echoes for a Voice” evokes New Order in its opening riffs before a hard punk guitar line ups the emotional ante. The Poles are clearly influenced by this band, as well as Joy Division and numerous other post-punk staples. Like other recent North Carolina bands such as Schooner, the Poles have a matter-of-fact knowledge of where noisily emotional music has been and where it’s going. The expected shoegazer touches are present, but unlike most revivalist bands, the Poles’ identity shines through each and every one of these songs.
However, despite their many strengths, the Poles could work more on developing some hooks or a standard pop song structure, even if only to subvert it. The band is content to let the tension build up around them without guiding the music in any specific direction, and that suits them well, for the most part. However, a ballad like the mildly Interpol-esque “Amaze” could be just a tad catchier to make more of an impact. Still, what the Poles accomplish in the course of these five songs is more than enough for several careers for many bands. The band’s ingenuity may be its cross to bear, but the members have enough ability and talent to really do something with their next recorded work. - Performer Magazine

"Review from Lollipop Magazine"

An odd mix of light indie rock and dirty, noisy indie rock (well, the song's called "Metal," it shouldn't be sparce and thoughtful, now should it?). I'm too high-strung to sit through the quiet songs, but opener "Design the Fight" and "Metal" are intriging. Just a five-song EP, for now. Get a track on the mp3 CD from this sucker and the follow up with the full-length, see if it has the legs it looks like it has. - Lollipop Magazine

"Profile from Knoxville New Sentinel"

In modest cities, some bands take years to snag the attention of a decent label, while others acquire it with their very formation. Many question what is more valuable -- connections or elbow grease -- but for Asheville, N.C., rock quartet The Poles it is a little of both.

Having just celebrated their first anniversary on Oct. 7, The Poles are also celebrating having just been signed to Doubleplusgood Records. While the group is deserving and has paid its dues on the road, something can still be said for the band's relationship with Mike Siddall (formerly of noise-rock label Amphetamine Reptile), who toured with The Poles as a road manager.

"He told us he was 'watching us' while on the road," says drummer Jon McDuffie, "which at first was kind of weird. He said he liked the way we got along, that we took care of ourselves and took our music serious. So not only was he totally into the music, but he also liked the fact that we didn't get wasted before every show."

"It's all about getting your music out there to people and playing shows everywhere you can," adds guitarist/vocalist Todd Lemiesz. "It's not easy, but it's for the sake of your art. It starts with your invention and getting behind it and promoting ... it."

Another key to The Poles' success is their originality. Pulling nearly unrecognizable bits and pieces from a slew of influences, as opposed to large slices from a select few, the band creates a sound with few major similarities to anything already produced. Blurry, grinding guitar parts reminiscent of Chavez and low, gritty vocals are two of a very few consistent aspects of the group's diverse playlist, but even those can go missing on occasion.

"Our sound can't be pinpointed as a specific genre because the songs aren't written to be a part of any style or brand of music," says Lemiesz. "It's more of a pure thing, I'd say. Each song develops its own identity, so to speak. It's about doing what it takes to make that piece of music the best it can be."

"I think a lot of musicians focus way too much on what they play as an individual versus making choices to benefit the song," McDuffie says.

The Poles will be playing their first-ever show in Knoxville tonight at Pilot Light. Coming from a scene comparable to Knoxville's, the band has experienced similar detriments, but insists perseverance is the heart and soul of any worthy outfit.

"I've heard that there's a good music scene in Knoxville, but I've never been there," says Lemiesz. "I look forward to it. The scene in Asheville is kind of weird. It's not a real easy town to play in. There's very few venues that have bands like us, generally speaking, and there's a little bit of that fashion-hype 'scenester' thing going on here like anywhere else, I guess. ... So we just did what we did and made a name for ourselves on our own. We're not doing this to be cool anyways. It takes persistence and time and a lot of 'pay to play' trips."

Right now The Poles are focusing on their first Doubleplusgood release, expected out by early next year, and networking with "good bands" throughout the region. Tonight at 10, The Poles will share the Pilot Light stage with good bands Twinkiebots and Cold Hands. Admission is $5

- Knoxville News Sentinel

"Review from Babysue"

The Poles - As Above, So Below (CD EP, Doubleplusgood, Pop/rock)

Sounding something like a modern underground version of Thin White Rope, the fellows in Asheville, North Carolina's The Poles have a truly unique sound. The band's music is driven by the exceptionally remarkable vocal talents of Todd Lemiesz. The man has a raspy intense voice that you have to hear to believe. Add to this the fact that the band has some killer tunes...and you have a great little EP that is simultaneously melodic and intense. The only that there are only five tracks here (!). But fear not...a full-length is due Fall 2006. (Rating: 5+)
 - Babysue

"Review from Wilmington Star"

In a time when crossover seems to be the way to gain an audience, the Poles are taking risks and keeping it simple. On their tour stop in Wilmington on Friday at the Soapbox, they will provide a chance to see a rare thing in this day and age: pure rock and roll without a pop cliché or country melody in sight.
Hailing from Asheville, the Poles (pictured at right) formed in 2004. Their latest EP, As Above, So Below, plays like a storyboard for a hard rock road trip: Design the Flight has tight, pounding guitar riffs that relinquish attention only for Todd Lemiesz’s ethereal vocals. The unhurried pace of Echoes for a Voice sets up the ideal crescendos, tremendously guitar-heavy with sparse but soaring lyrics. Amaze is one of the Poles’ best; it grinds and moves through the quieter moments, creeping up on the heavy rock chorus with astonishing calculation. With their promising new EP, The Poles are well on their way to reinstating a lost art: keeping rock in its truest form.

- Wilmington Star

"Review from Encore"

A night entailing heavy guitar riffing, molasses voices, and a crowd of rowdy teenagers will be the protocol for Soapbox’s February 10th show, welcoming Asheville natives the Poles, who will be performing with Stars Turn Cold, Campaign 1984 and Damana Waits.

With their third release coming in March 2006, As Above, So Below, it’s safe to say Todd Lemiesz (baritone guitar, vocals, keyboard), Bruce Rogers (guitars), Eli Wengerd (bass), and Jon McDuffie (drums) are well-versed on staying busy, having formed only in 2004. They sent their five-track promotional CD to the encore office, and my editor handed me the press pack, and pretty much said nothing more than, “Go.” What I found is there’s a lot going on for it to only be made up of five tracks.
Track one, “Design the Fight” is dark, gestural and haunting. It’s the type of music kids would blare as they ride though empty streets, throwing beer cans at mailboxes, endlessly smoking cigarettes. There is youthfulness about it, peppered with mischief.

It’s Saturday-night music, based on the fundamental themes that circulates basement parties—yet, it alternately has a cleaner edge. Track four exemplifies this mien with synthesizers, symbols and symbiosis. It’s an appealing whine.

As for the CD as a whole, the boys chose to end it with an unbelievably slow song. There’s a three-minute setup for the introduction of lyrics that drip just as slowly as the music. It’s not that the music or singing was out of key, rather this last track was too on it, too meticulous. (On the press release, the band actually denote “recommended tracks”; five wasn’t include, so even they seem to believe it’s not their strongest.) It felt like an attempt at the ‘80s rocker ballad, but because it never materializes or shatters suddenly into raucous shambles of sound fury, as they did in track four, it’s easy to fast forward.
Luckily, it being such a short CD, one can stand to listen to it more than once and return to the band’s greatest achievements: track two and three. The meat of the musical talent of the Poles is sandwiched between bookend songs. “Echoes for a Voice” and “Amaze” showcase their strongest points. Lead singer Todd Lemiesz’s voice is impossible to miss. Perhaps the band’s best attribute, his voice is melodious and heavy. He easily dominates track two, the music taking a backstage.

As it is, track three highlights The Poles musical talents. There is an automatic nature about it, as if the boys are doing bar exercises as apposed to playing their own music. It comes quickly and precisely with calculated timing and resonance. There’s even a nice guitar riff—Jimi-esque, if you wil—that detaches and shreds the song.

These guys are definitely a new band, but their freshness is inviting. You get the idea that they’re four friends really into their music, stoked about touring for eight days and just shredding.

The Poles will be touring the Southeast for the month of February promoting their new album. From the music, I would assume this live show will not be your sit-down, feet-tapping show. The music would do well in an open setting, the lyrics bouncing off walls and echoing though the venue, as you bounce around like bobble heads on crack. Check out the Poles for an experience with new music and styles.

- Encore

"Review from Asheville-Citizen Times"

In the world of music, most of the people who have anything to do with making it rarely want to label it. However, that's not the case for Asheville's The Poles, who according to drummer Jon McDuffie, are completely comfortable being called a full-on rock band - no subtitles needed.

"We're hear a lot from people that it's nice to come see a rock band in Asheville," said McDuffie. "This town has a well-nurtured bluegrass and jam band scene and that's cool but we're very different from that. Our influences are driving us."
At the wheel
Songwriter Todd Lemiesz writes and sings most of what The Poles play. "We're pretty moody," said McDuffie of the sometimes hard-edged, sometimes melancholic elements that The Poles have embraced. "The lyrics take interpretation and we like that the listener can do that. A lot of what we're singing comes from Todd's mind and we don't spend a lot of time on what they mean. We trust him with that."
It's all in the name
What the band calls itself is also slightly up to interpretation but McDuffie has some specific theories. "The meaning of The Poles has to do with light and dark, positive and negative. The opposite of two sides."
Not locals only
Though the band cites Asheville as their headquarters, the four members come from various parts of the country and, according to McDuffie, the band - as much as the city - feels like home.
"As far as I'm concerned, we're four guys lucky enough to have found one another. This band is easy, there's no tension or turmoil and I think we have the momentum and longevity behind us to go the distance. Really, it's the emotional resonance of this music that's getting us excited."
CD please
Saturday's gig marks the release of The Poles first recording together. The EP "As Above, So Below," marks the start of what McDuffie sees as the band's bright future. "We can't wait to get into the studio and do a full length album. We haven't really seen what we can do yet."

- Asheville Citizen Times

"Review from PopMatters"

The Poles, As Above, So Below (doubleplusgood) 
This EP begins and one can't help think of Girls Against Boys, Blonde Redhead, and a shot of whiskey. The dynamics on opener "Design the Fight" are predictable in their quirky way but that doesn't stop the song from being a great one. The next track, "Echoes for a Voice" follows a similar road but slows the song down, creating a powerful indie-ballad of sorts (well, the kind the Archers of Loaf would compose). From there it gets a tad confusing. "Amaze" is decent, but breaks into a Metallica thing, minus the power that makes Metallica listenable. Likewise, the next track wanders into the metal arena. This isn't so terrible (metal is cool again, right?) but it does make for an uneven release. The closer is a lovely, plaintive rock song. Perhaps as the Poles work on their forthcoming full-length, they'll find one cohesive voice to channel their songs through. - PopMatters


As Above, So Below EP (2006)
Twelve Winds LP (street date April 28, 2009)



A random guy once labeled tHE POLES as “tectonic-rock.” Hell knows exactly what that means but the imagery is nice and it seems to fit. One thing is for certain; tHE POLES play subtly intricate rock that is that is moody, visceral, and heady in a slow-burn kinda way. As the name implies tHE POLES exude a multi-faceted aesthetic. They are simultaneously complex and minimalist, intricate and straightforward. tHE POLES will release their full length debut Twelve Winds on doubleplusgood records this Winter and embark of tours of the Midwest and Southeast. Twelve Winds was recorded in 12 days in a cabin in remote Appalachia and was engineered and mixed by Dropsonic’s Dan Dixon.

The Poles hail from the hollers and hills Asheville NC. They emerged on the Asheville rock scene in 2004 and quickly galvanized a steady regional following with a focused and defined sound. Elements of multiple genres merge and detach, a volatile crock-pot of emotion, invention, and restraint. Compared to bands as diverse as Pink Floyd and the Jesus Lizard they are a band of both breadth and depth, a rarity is this day of pre-packaged rock clichés. Signed to Minneapolis based label DoublePlusGood records in 2005 the band joined an already diverse roster including Self-Evident, Happy, The Means and The Willis. The Poles released their DoublePlusGood Records debut EP “As Above, So Below” in 2006. The Poles have toured extensively in the Southeast, Midwest and all points in between. They have raked in favorable press and have been featured on podcasts from Brooklyn to Barcelona.

Todd Lemiesz (guitarist/lead vox/songwriter) is the former drummer/bass player of H. Chinaski, a Wisconsin based art/math rock outfit. Once in Asheville Lemiesz spent the next four years writing and recording for local films (Ether, The Nudger) and performing with local heavyweights Lube Royale and Sex Patriates. Bruce Rogers (guitar/synth/vox) supplies the texture and tension. Todd and Bruce met while auditioning for another band and they basically ran off together. They went through a few incarnations, and they went through a lot of drummers. Drummer Jon McDuffie cut his teeth with the Athens, GA experimental/post-hardcore trio SciFu. He enjoys matching socks and awkward silences. Recent addition Matt Gentling (Band of Horses, Archers of Loaf, Manband) has allowed tHE POLES to expand their dynamics and sound to new heights