This Side of North
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This Side of North

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Band Alternative Rock

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The best kept secret in music

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"This Side of North"

A very KCRW-friendly, keyboard-driven trio (with former NIN skinsman Chris Vrenna guesting on drums) is fronted by the sexy, moody vocals of Mariana Bernoski. The CD establishes a sombre, sometimes gloomy modd and keeps the vibe alive with a consistently compelling album. Interesting textures, including Wurlitzer keys, are employed to strong effect, making this all-girl triad a band to keep an eye and an ear on. Indie lables, especially, will want to head North. - Music Connection


"Review of Self-titled at Musical Discoveries"

(27 March 2005) This Side of North's self titled debut album is a dreamy masterpiece with fifteen tracks and one haunting guitar piece that is a lovely hidden track at the end. This is a Los Angeles- and New York-based band comprised of three extraordinarily talented women who met as music grad students at Cal Arts. They are Mariana Bernoski, Christina Agamanolis and Willow Williamson. They have worked together in the last four years on film sound tracks. And this is how we actually became aware of these brilliant musicians.


It was while watching the indie film Dahmer on the Sundance channel. Part of the powerful draw to the narrative was the intensely intimate sound that underscored the movie. I then realized that I had to learn more about these women who at the time were named Siren. Now with their debut as This Side of North, they bring an ultra surreal and moody soundscape infused with vintage keys, lush guitar textures, funky filtered loops, electronic synth samples, live drum grooves and gritty bass guitar.


On this album they teamed up with producer/engineer DJ Orion Keyser and associate producer Lee Mars of Nine Inch Nails. They also recorded with Drummer Chris Vrenna of Nine Inch Nails. There are many great contributed performances from various other musicians on this album as well. Harris Eisenstadt on vibes, Tony Green and Warren Kaye on Bass. Sara Schoenbeck on bassoon and Jessica Catron on cello. The recordings are amazingly pristine, and have a lucidity and warmth that washes over you in honeyed waves of comfort and clarity.


This album creates a narcotic landscape of seductively beautiful melody and rhythm. The unpredictability of the melodies trajectory and the chord changes truly rescue you from other typically self- indulgent music. This is deeply intelligent and well thought out music with a higher consciousness. And while the themes seem to weave the entire albums sensibility together in a cohesive and spacious tapestry of solitary emotions, each song stands on its own without sounding like one played out thought. This band is so completely original, and the songwriting including lyrics and productions are deliciously painful journeys of the universal human disconnectedness. Their music is perfect at creating this kind of emotional atmosphere.


Every performance is executed with skill and every musician's contribution is so masterfully well placed, Every loop and sound wash is an empathetic vibration that strikes deep in the nerves. The vocals are breathtaking, sweetly sad, Velveteen and pure as hell. It is hard to single out particular tracks on this album because it is such a journey that you take, and each song a necessary road, but if I had to stop and linger on a few I would say that "Blue Song," "Ground Level" and the gorgeous untitled hidden track are among my favorite tracks.


Also, "Frequency" is absolutely beautiful and the lyrics are unanswerable in that haunting metaphysical way, like a great story of two mysterious lovers. "Driving," "Five Four," "Puppet" and "Love Affair with the Sun" are some more of my personal favorites. I think that This Side of North will appeal to anyone that just loves great songwriting, sweet and sensual vocals, masterful imagery through sound and musicianship that is beyond the ordinary. There is a film out there somewhere that longs to be tethered to this album's soundtrack as its mask. This Side of North is one of the best new bands to emerge on the scene and I hope they continue to paint more dreams for us to revel in. Order the album through the band's website.--Jo Gabriel in Madison, Wisconsin with Russ Elliot in New York - Musical Discoveries


Discography

Self-Titled Debut Album:
This Side of North
"Batman"- on Bagel Radio (http://www.bagelradio.com)

"Blue Theme" from the film "Dahmer: The Mind is a Place of its Own"

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

This Side of North is a Los Angeles based band comprised of three women who met as music grad students at CalArts. Having worked together for the last four years on film soundtracks, they are now entering the world of popular music after lifetime journeys through classical and experimental music.

Last year, after two years of writing and recording, the band finished their debut album. this side of north produced the album with engineer DJ Orion Keyser and associate producer Lee Mars (Nine Inch Nails, Baby) and recorded with drummer Chris Vrenna (Nine Inch Nails, Tweaker).

What they sound like:
…intimate and edgy vocals, vintage keys, lush guitar textures, weaving gritty bass lines, funky filtered loops, and live drum grooves combined with electronic synth and sample soundscapes. This Side of North is being compared with bands such as Air, Radiohead, Björk, Cocteau Twins, Portishead, Dido, Sigur Rós, Laika and Zero 7.

Four years ago the members of This Side of North started a music production company for film and television work called SIREN music productions.
Film Credits include: Dahmer: The Mind is a Place of its Own - nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards, Be Good, Smile Pretty - an Emmy award winning documentary and the winner of the 2003 jury prize for best feature documentary at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, This Girl's Life, Wednesday Afternoon, and cues for television shows such as Extra and Celebrity Justice.