The Round
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The Round

Flint, Michigan, United States | SELF

Flint, Michigan, United States | SELF
Band Rock Alternative

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"The Round: Toadies-inspired band creates fairy tale songs"

Published January 9, 2008



Mike Roland owes a lot to the '90s.

The singer of The Round honed his singing skills by locking himself in his bedroom and listening to Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam. It's only natural then that Roland, 25, credits Pearl Jam and other '90s bands like The Toadies and the venerable Nirvana for shaping the foundation of his band from Owosso.

Despite the influences, Roland doesn't consider his band a throwback. They sound too modern for that.


"We used to have an At The Drive-in sound. It used to be as lot screamier and heavier, but now it's somewhere between Nirvana, The Toadies and Muse," Roland said.

"I thought the Toadies vocalist, Todd Lewis, was the best around. I got a lot of influence from that guy. We get a lot of people saying we sound like the Toadies or have that sort of feel to it."

Formed in late 2003, the band has self-produced two albums (Capital in 2005 and Fear of a Round Planet in 2007) and toured throughout Michigan.

Instead of throwing a bunch of average songs on their records, The Round included just five well-arranged and catchy rock gems on their latest effort. Their songs are filled with charging guitars, driving choruses and somewhat excitable vocals.

Although some of it might be wasted on fans that hanker for cover bands, Roland and the boys have found success toward the Grand Rapids area.

"It's been hard to get people into us in the Flint area. When we go toward Grand Rapids or Kalamazoo those people love us. We have to drive two hours to find people who like us, but our appeal is mostly for college kids," Roland said.

"I think they're looking for something new. I think it's catchy and I've heard a lot of people think it's really strange."

Sticking with a theme of seclusion, Roland says he's created some of his best songs sitting at the kitchen table at 3 a.m. with a guitar.

He's written the obligatory songs about relationships and maybe a few about a girl, but he calls most of the songs "modern-day fairy tales."

That means you'll hear songs about having sex with Martians, alcoholic "My Pet Monster" dolls from the 1980s, and girls living in snow globes.

Roland is a typical rocker as far as creativeness goes, but he doesn't party. He said he'd have to wake-up to make an 11 a.m. interview, but it's not because of a hangover.

"I'm more of an insomniac. I don't really do any of the party stuff. I just never got into it, he said. "I've known too many people that got into it and it gets them into trouble."

- Christian Czerwinski | NOISE


"The Round"

"The Round

There’s not a lot I can say about The Round. The proofs in the pudding. Great songs played by great musicians. The Round manages to always stay original but never gets so wrapped up in originality that the music suffers. One thing I truly hate is innovation for the sake of itself. It usually only spoils a song. The drum work of Roy Miller is exceptional. Roy uses a lot of kick drum to hold down the beat, then sizzles all over the high hat. To call him impressive is an understatement. The front man, Mike Roland, is an outstanding live performer as well. You wouldn’t think it talking to him. He comes off as quite and very mild mannered. On stage, however, the man explodes with energy. You can feel his passion for the songs he’s written. I can totally understand that passion because they're all good songs. There’s something really special about Mike Roland’s turn of phrase and the way he delivers his lyrics in a unique and well sung voice. All in all The Round is as good a band as you’re going to find on planet earth. I’m always eager to see them when they come to town". - Jason Chester/Brimstoneradio.com


Discography

Capital - 2005

1. Something about birds
2. Clean
3. Left Behind on the Moon
4. Cenotaph
5. Cenotaph 2
6. Right Here
7. Six Gun and the Round
8. Along the Crease
9. Pride
10. We've got an awful lot to do this weekend

Fear of a Round Planet - 2007

1. I've Fallen Short
2. Girls can Swim
3. Frogs and Plates
4. Tracker
5. Snowstorm Globe (white-out)

Walk off the Bomb - 2010

1. Yes Song
2. Good Grief
3. No Harm in Asking
4. Shaky O Dance
5. Gravital
6. Sister Song
7. The Once and Future King
8. My Pet Monster
9. Peppermint Rock
10. Walk off the Bomb

Photos

Bio

The Round is an all original, all American alternative-rock band making waves everywhere they're seen and heard. Based out of Michigan, the group formed in late 2003 in a severe fit of genius or boredom that has since overtaken each member's lives for better or worse. Fans of the group early on coined a term for The Round's style calling it “Hypnorock”, based on the hypnotic lead guitar work of the first dozen songs. The music now ranges from up-tempo straight ahead rock to spaced out, heavy tunes written around themes of real life situations of coping with grief, long distance relationships, feeling conflicted between tough decisions, among other every day situations. These themes are sunk into modern day fairy tale settings to give a more visual effect for the listener. But the music itself is kept interesting by the layering and unique chord voicing, and how the melodies interweave with the vocal turn of phrase. Diversity in the sound is key to keeping the group going. As for the band's live performance: it’s real. No posturing or acting like rock stars. Just genuine hard rock performances from genuine people who care very much about sharing their creative ideas.

The Round has played hundreds of shows throughout Michigan at venues such as The Machine Shop, The Prime Event Center, The Lebowski Center, Kettering University in Flint, The Shelter, Benny's Bike Rally, The Gate, Sazerac's, as well as multiple venues in Toledo, OH (Frankie's, Longhorn, Woodchuck's, Liquor Box), Bowling Green, OH (Howard's Club H), and Chicago, IL (Cal's Bar). They've opened for nationals such as Future Leaders of the World and have shared the stage with many smaller national touring bands as well. Recent play on regional radio and touring have gained the band more notoriety. The Round's catalog of three original albums have sold several thousand copies from word of mouth and performance based sales. In September of 2009 The Round performed as Richard  Pryor Jr's house-band for 6 show dates, playing R&B and soul tunes, including Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" and James Brown's "I Feel Good", while Mr. Pryor sang.

The Round's musical influence stem from: Nirvana, toadies, The Pixies, The Beatles, Karp, Incubus, Queens of the Stone Age, Marty Robbins, Roy Orbison, Shellac, Scratch Acid, At the Drive-In, Muse, The Police, Radiohead, Explosions in the Sky