the vanguard
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the vanguard

Band Alternative Pop


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"The Vanguard : A Punchy Unique Sound"

Right after I posted the article on RethinkPopMusic late last week, I was able to catch one of their bands live. I ended up running late (and I was literally running to catch them play) but it was well worth it. The Vanguard were a tight outfit, and they clearly enjoyed playing together. Speaking of outfits, each member (other than the drummer) wore a black button-down shirt. They each rocked this garment in their own style, making the totality of their looks quite a harmonious ensemble. Lead singer, Aaron Barr, blasted and crooned in his black shirt with a skinny pale blue tie. The bassist and guitarist kept it simple and clean (short sleeves and long being the main point of departure). The drummer had a V-neck white T showing how drummers are true the sweat and work behind any successful band. All members wore black pants to keep things unified. I love it when a band shows their bond with a unified fashion appeal. Good work guys! It's hard enough to be in a band, and keep it going, let alone agree upon what to rock on stage! (Trust, this comes from personal experience. No one else in my bands wanted to wear chicken suits, I never got it! Ha! I kid... and I digress, back to the music).

The song seen here is very punchy, and has those head bopping percussion and guitar combination that make many a fan follow their bands with a fit of frenzy. Definitely check them out live when you can! - My Daily Thread

"Catch the Buzz: the Vanguard"

By William Goodman 07.18.08

Up-and-coming New York quartet flaunt ethereal alt-rock and Britpop influences on just-released debut, The Vanguard EP.

Who? Like the four-piece's New York City stomping grounds, the Vanguard are a bubbling melting pot of sounds, influences, and ethnic backgrounds -- yet exude an air distinctly their own. Formed by eastern European immigrants David Zawadzki (guitars) and Rasko Ristic (bass), and rounded out by Argentinean Luciano Rovner, the trio soon meet their frontman -- a Virginian named Aaron Barr -- and hit the Big Apple's well-tread live circuit. And now, after a steady regiment of gigs, the quartet are culling buzz with both their live sets and The Vanguard EP, their recently released debut, which spouts ethereal guitars, haunting vocals, and spare yet complementary rhythms.

Their latest: The Vanguard EP, which was released June 28. Currently, the quartet are prepping material for a debut full-length.

Recommended if you like… U2, New Order, French Kicks -

"NYC band on the rise: The Vanguard"

"Three immigrants and a Virginian come together in NYC to make some alt/rock happen - or maybe we should call it 80s influenced alt/pop? Ther name is The Vanguard and they are promoting their new self titled EP, next show on 04.24.2008 08:30 PM - Sullivan Hall - NYC 214 Sullivan St., and then again a few weeks later at The Annex, May 10. Published on Mon, 14 Apr 2008 09:43:14" -

"A Long Way Home: The Vanguard"

A Long Way Home: The Vanguard
by Luiza Oleszczuk

There was a time when all the real music occurred in Brooklyn—the capital of obscure post-industrial buildings, low rent and cool sneakers. It seems that there are three kinds of alternative music groups on the New York scene today—Brooklyn bands who made it, sold their souls (and beats) to the Moloch of music corporations and moved to the East Village, Brooklyn bands who languished in dim Park Slope bars because they suck, and bands who have refused to allow success to affect their music. And more and more frequently, the third category of bands have been driven out of an increasingly expensive Brooklyn and into the cheaper borough of Queens. Thus far, The Vanguard fall into the latter category. This eclectic Astoria-based combo (two Eastern Europeans, an Argentinean and a Virginian-cum-Brooklynite) classify themselves as pop / indie / alternative, and distilled through the mechanics of computerized technology; but, as the drummer Luke Rovner laments, compartmentalizing music kills the aura.

There are not many bands that willingly assume the pop-music label; most prefer to be considered indie. And as soon as they weave in a trace of electro (in addition to old-school instruments), they’re christened “experimental.� Only the real insiders know it’s not so simple. The Vanguard draw from everything from The Beatles to Kanye West, and they don’t care about labels, whether it’s jeans, MySpace or music moguls. That policy includes their latest EP.

“So many bands are about clothing, or style, or the lifestyle,� says Rovner. “When you’re going to the studio with people it should be music that matters, not what you’re wearing. You know that expression: jack of all trades, master of none? Excel at something. There is so many bands that you go to see, and you can tell they spent so much more time putting their hair in the right place than practicing their instruments.�

Rovner looks skeptical saying this. He’s wearing a t-shirt and capri pants.

“Obviously you can look at me and tell that fashion’s not my thing,� he laughs. “But then again, I’m a drummer, so I can hide behind the percussion.�

Rovner has been playing since high school with several bands, and after a failed tour with one of them (for which he almost quit school) he found Rasko Ristic (bass & piano) and David Zawadzki (guitar), and, as Rovner says, “it wasn’t an audition, it was just like meeting some really good friends.�

While I’m talking to Rovner, Ristic brags about how badly he needs a haircut (but it’s evident he hardly needs one). At 12-year-old Ristic emigrated from Belgrade to the States, where he met Zawadzki (fellow first-generation Pole) in junior high.
“Actually in the gym, playing basketball,� Ristic remembers. “I remember he had a Led Zeppelin shirt. And long hair. He looked bad with long hair. We started jamming. David told me to play bass. At first I didn’t want to; I didn’t know how. We became friends and we went to the same high school, where we got the idea that we want to have a band. We got into all this hip-hop stuff and computer stuff. And we found Luke. Craigslist—it works. I love craigslist.�

That gang named themselves the Vanguard, and began playing shows. Meanwhile, Aaron Barr moved to NYC with dreams of music in his head. He met the trio, signed on to be the lead singer, and seven days later the boys performed their first show together at Bar Sputnik in Brooklyn.

Since that first show, the Vanguard have carried on with a democratic work ethic: everybody writes songs and anyone can add something.

“Somebody has a piece, something that’s a hook. And we jam it up,� says Ristic.

“And when we have pieces,� adds Rovner, “we record them, mix them, master them and eventually come up with a song. For example, when playing one song, the rhythm reminded me of Rio de Janeiro. So the song is called Rio.�

Three years, dozens of shows, and several local hit songs later, this U2- and Radiohead-inspired band reminded us that pop is not a synonym of kitsch. They hit a major draw at the Universal Motown ROCK NYC showcase on 4.11.2008 and put together an EP that comes out this Saturday.

“We're definitely excited and proud of it,� says Barr. “We have lots of cool things going on to coincide with the release – the party, shows all over the east coast, new video directed by Patryk Rebisz, and we have been getting a great response and support.�

Two days ago the guys all went to see Coldplay at Madison Square Garden. Now they’re brewing their EP release soiree in a riverside loft in Long Island City. The party is completely open (since, as the boys say, “the more the merrier�) and will feature a short music set.

It seems that the balance is shifting north, from Brooklyn to Queens, as creative people are populating the old warehouses in Astoria. Ho -


2008 - Self Titled EP
2009 - Mow Crew Soundtrack
2009 - "Both Sides" chosen for
RethinkPopMusic Vol. 1
2009 - Playtime!



In order to create the Vanguard, Zeus pinned a gigantic map of the world to the wall in his office. He picked up four golden darts. Blindfolded, he reached for the first dart, drew his hand back and flung it to the map. "Ah I see, the singer shall be from the mountains of Virginia," and so, Aaron Barr was born. Flying through the air, the second dart dropped down in Przemysl, Poland. "How cute, a potato baby will be the guitarist." The next was raised and thrown, descending upon the spot of earth called Serbia. "This little guy will witness the partition of his country. This will make him very good on the keys and bass guitar." The creator reached for the final dart, but stopped before throwing it." I need someone steady and dependable, unlike those other kookie kids. A drummer to hold the beat to the music." He let it fly and it touched down in Buenos Aires, Argentina. "Young man you will be the drummer," the creator told the tango baby who had yet to be born. And, my friends, the rest is history. Since then, The Vanguard were featured on Matt Pinfield's Morning Show on 101.9 RXP. The boys have played every noteworthy venue in NYC (including a recent Motown/Universal showcase), were featured in a half-dozen showcases during SXSW 09, played the EXIT festival in Serbia, and MPMF in Cincinnati. named them a buzzworthy up-and-coming band because of their "bubbling melting pot of sounds, influences, and ethnic backgrounds." With their second EP 'Playtime!' about to be released this fall, The Vanguard are gearing up to hit the road for their first international tour. - Maria Clark