T.S.U.
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T.S.U.

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“We try not to let the technical part overpower the music,” says T.S.U. guitarist says guitarist Vahe Sarkissian. “We try to keep the simple elements of rock and music in general so that the melodies can be appreciated by the average listener but the underlying rhythms can be groove-oriented.”

Simple is usually the last word that comes to mind when you think of progressive rock. Yet somehow it works to describe this particular instrumental trio. Imagine 70’s-era Santana, combined with Rush. Now throw in a Middle Eastern twist courtesy of Armenian brothers Vahe and Shant, and you’ve got T.S.U., or The Sunshine Underground (Relax, it’s not a new drug on the market). The band aims to please musicians and non-musicians alike: there’s impressive fretwork for the aspiring guitarist and ambient lounge music for the avid bar hopper.

Tech geek by day and musician by night, bassist Shant Sarkissian can service your computer needs and rock your body with a steady bass line while guitarist Vahe – the only player with an actual music degree – isn’t shy about showing off his chops once in a while (but by no means as prevalent as your standard prog band). And drummer Joe Fitzgerald may be an engineer, but he keeps the physics separate from his kit.

Over the past few years the band has received considerable buzz with shows at venues like the Trocadero and New York’s CBGB. Keep an eye (and an ear) out for their self-financed debut “Fallen on Deaf Ears” on June 15th, sold exclusively via their myspace. “We want to see what we can do on our own first,” says Vahe. Nothing says dedication quite like DIY promotion.- Megan Hughes
- Temple University (http://astro.temple.edu/~tua08121/bands.html)


..." T S U " - SOME BANDS JUST HAVE IT. BIG
BILL AND I CREATED THIS REVIEW FROM SHEER ENVIOUSNESS. THESE GUYS CAN
PLAY. THIS 3 PIECE INSTRUMENTAL ROCK BAND JAMMED AS EASILY AS A HAWK
FLIES. SIMPLE , EFFORTLESSLY AND AWE INSPIRING TO WATCH. THE LEAD GUITAR
MOVED HIS FINGERS FASTER THAN I COULD AIR GUITAR. BASS PLAYER PLAYED
THE 5 STRING JUST AS EFFORTLESSLY. A GOOD SIZED CROWD REALLY ENJOYED
THE SENSORY APPEASEMENT OF ACOUSTIC ROCK. I TALKED TO SEVERAL FRIENDS IN
THE AUDIENCE ( INCLUDING A YOUNG 21 YEAR OLD GIRL.....I DUG HER ) AND
THEY HAD THE SAME FEELING I SHARED........THESE GUYS ARE
TALENTED........SICK TALENTED. DRUMMER HAD AN IMPRESSIVE KIT AND AGAIN BLENDED
PERFECTLY INTO THE STYLE , GENRE , AND RHYTHM OF THEIR MUSIC. I COULD TALK
MORE ABOUT THEM ALL DAY AND NIGHT. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND GIVING THIS BAND
A CHANCE TO SEE AND HEAR FOR ALL PEOPLE , PATRONS OR FANS OF LOCAL
ORIGINAL MUSIC. OVERALL, I REALLY DUG THIS BAND.

--CHRIS & BIG BILL (THE RUSTY NAIL)
- Chris & Big Bill: The Rusty Nail


Philadelphia-based TSU (The Subtle Urge) is an instrumental trio comprising brothers Vahe and Shant Sarkissian on guitar and bass and longtime friend Joe Fitzgerald on the skins. This disc is a tasty pastry of three-piece hard rock/fusion. Vahe’s guitar work is particularly impressive, packed with technique and solos that burn, yet never cross the line into overkill.
For better or worse this reviewer detected only one overdub, a Rush-style fade out on the guitar solo as the chordal part kicked back in. The recording is thus true to three-piece arrangements. But, there were moments where the band was really cooking on an Armenian-influenced rock groove, and one wished for another layer to kick in atop it all to drive things home.
Of special note is the ultra-crisp recording and sound mix (although one does wonder why Fitzgerald has his snare tuned quite so high.)
Refreshing and dynamic, Fallen On Deaf Ears serves up a nice balance of tunes that cook and tunes that soothe. Fans of instrumental guitar-based rock/fusion should eat this up. – Jim Cirile
- Progression Magazine


Discography

Fallen on Deaf Ears
Unkempt

Photos

Bio

The Subtle Urge was formed in late 2004 at an impromptu jam session in Philadelphia, PA. This Regional Instrumental Rock-Fusion trio is comprised of Vahe Sarkissian (Guitar), Shant Sarkissian (Bass), and Joe Fitzgerald (Drums). The two brothers and their long time friend had each previously been involved in different musical projects with one another; however this was the first time that the three came together as one. The band immediately felt a connection unlike any other they had experienced before.

Since their debut performance in early 2005, T.S.U. continues to capture the attention of both loyal fans and newcomers at every show. The band’s overall dedication to mood and atmosphere is conveyed at each performance utilizing dynamics to engage the listener and indulge the senses. From subtle and mellow to intense and heavy the vast range of their musicianship is sure to captivate any audience. Through a combination of Armenian influenced hard rock grooves layered with progressive / experimental undertones, the band’s constantly evolving sound has spawned something that can only be described as pure, unique, original music…something rare in today’s overly plagiarized music scene.

Through hard work and determination T.S.U. has been able to build upon their loyal fan base by branching out from some of Philadelphia’s most prestigious venues to more distant clubs in a variety of North Eastern states. The band’s work ethic continues to pay off with every successful show and has even led to features in International Publications such as Guitar World Magazine (November ’06) and Progression Magazine (July ’09). Over the years The Subtle Urge has had the privilege of opening for several National Touring acts including The Roots, The Breakfast, and Telepath and in 2009 the band began taking the festival scene by storm. T.S.U. has received many accolades through their live performances in anticipation of their second album release, Unkempt, which is due out later this year as a follow up to their 2007 debut, Fallen On Deaf Ears. Music is finally experiencing a new sound that is sure to influence both musicians and fans alike.