Two Cheers
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Two Cheers

Detroit, Michigan, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Detroit, Michigan, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Indie




"U&U Review:: Two Cheers - Splendor"

“When we first received Two Cheers’ new album, Splendor, it was sweet and poppy that every single staff member of U&U got a toothache. When we recovered, there was a bout of spinning in fields during sunset, driving down alleyways on our newly acquired Vespa scooters […] If music was measured in gradients, organized by sound on a scale from classical to death metal, Two Cheers would be nestled comfortably between The Cure and The 1975. Splendor is more of an event than an album, a good time with friends that you wish wouldn’t end. There’s infectious choruses caressed lovingly by rollicking melodies, just the right amount of self-reflection, and a perfect pinch of nostalgia. From the moment you hit play and “The Desert Song” fills the air, you’re sucked in and held captive in the notes. You’ll find a home there, in the good time jams of “Super Owls” and the title track “Splendor”, in the celebratory mourning of “Anchor”. The entire album is light and effortless, but the lyrics are what stop the band from sounding like a Flaming Lips tribute. As the band touts in “The Explode Boys”, their “big big soul” really does come through– in their lyrics– shining like a lighthouse in fog and making the album an experience you won’t soon forget. By the time you get to the end, you’ll wish the album was at least ten song longer. Splendor is a chameleon of a record, able to transition fluidly from a packed party to an empty bedroom. With lines like “the only words I hear are the things I should have said” (“Super Owls”), the album will stand up to even the snootiest of critics. The simple parts are what make Splendor great. The simple “bah bah bah bah” of “Splendor”’s chorus, the repeating title in “Brinka”, they get trapped in your head and knock around for days. The closer, “Strawberry” (a song that could very well be a Blind Melon B-Side) makes you crave its namesake, all the while transporting you gently back to earth like a feather on a light breeze.

When you hit the ground, you’ll have phone in hand and laptop open, ready to tell everyone you know about this band, about this album, and maybe you’ll impulse buy a Vespa.” - Unsigned & Unleashed

"Two Cheers’ "Heart Trip" Premiere"

Taken from their sophomore album Splendor, Two Cheers’ track ‘Heart Trip’ is a song with two distinct sides. Shimmering guitar riffs and rolling drums marry with strained, comparatively low-key vocals to create a Jekyll / Hyde situation where indie-pop influences in the way of The 1975 and The Strokes share a body of work with something entirely different.

This dual personality may not be too surprising in context of the LP’s story. Splendor was recorded in LA, but away from the beaches and glamour associated with the city, the album in its entirety was created at singer Bryan Akcasu’s apartment.

Shortly after wrapping up the project, Two Cheers relocated from LA to Michigan, a decision that sounds like the exact opposite of so many bands’ progression. This willingness to move against the tide shines through on ‘Heart Trip’, which wears its eclectic influences on clear display, but is hard to pin down in practice.

Putting faith in the musical renaissance that Bryan sees in Detroit, it’s clear that Two Cheers are eager to work beyond the cliches and predictability that some may associate with the genres in which they fall. ‘Heart Trip’ is not the only track on the new album that proves they have all the talent and motivation required to achieve that goal, but it certainly does the job perfectly.

Splendor is due for release on July 21st. In the meantime, you can stream ‘Heart Trip’ below. - When The Gramophone Rings

"8 Questions With Two Cheers"

“one of the best I’ve heard this year” - East of 8th

"MIMR Playlist (Nov 13)"

All the way from Los Angeles, Two Cheers display on their recently released LP the infectious sounds that only a select few posess. ‘Tell her’ shows off all the band has to offer, a combination of rhythmical funky grooves with dreamy vocals and shimmering guitars, MIMR gives them 3 cheers and a pat on the back. - Music Is My Radar

"Two Cheers’ Splendor Premiere"

“delicious indie rock” - The 405

"Two Cheers’ “Strawberry” Premiere"

“gorgeous lyrics float around tinges of indie rock sounds” - Diffuser

"Deep Cutz Reviews “Fireball” and “Pepper Tree""

"Fireball" opens with this gliding synth, while an urgent guitar streaks neon-cool riffs above it; distinguished from previous singles like "Splendor," for winding down the aerobic tempos and setting a bit of a shuffle, a slow dance, a ponderous pop ballad. The chorus sails with those harmonized backing vocals while the verses have a bruised and blunt confessional spill. "Pepper Tree," a b-side on the latest single, brings it back to their coiled burst signature, aerodynamic guitars and jet rhythms while lead singer Brian Akcasu goes from soft croon to ceiling swinging belt.

The band, Austin Lutzke, Carlton White, Megan Marcoux and Owen Bickford, has been steadily gigging at local venues over the last year, while they whittle at the 50+ new songs that Akcasu has been developing. I wanted to catch-up with band leader Akcasu about re-planting his roots back into the Detroit scene after a long stretch of establishing his music career out in L.A.

Definite change in tones and themes in the lyrics after you've moved back and started this latest batch of songs with the group. Tell me about what has kept you motivated most of all, and what was it like, those first couple months back, to come back to Detroit and get Two Cheers its footing into this scene
Some things have been difficult since moving back, like losing my grandmother who cared for me everyday when I was a boy and also my mom getting a very rare and stubborn form of cancer. Also it's very weird being away from my friends, who are all spread out now. On the other hand, a lot of great things have happened this year with the band. Everyone who knows me knows I beat myself up about everything and am generally very impatient about accomplishing my goals! But I mean, within the first couple months back I had found my wonderful new band members and we are writing and recording lots of new music for an LP to release and tour behind in the Spring of next year. We've also played some awesome shows this year. We’ve met a lot of excellent people and made some real friends in the area. Playing both Hamtramck Music Fest and Dally In The Alley was awesome, and we are so grateful for those opportunities! Meanwhile, we teamed up with former members of Two Cheers to create these new singles we’ve been releasing. So, it’s actually been going great and I have no right to complain about anything!
“Condos” has some of your most contemplative and, at points, existential lyrics. The guitars are very expressive as well.... And“Fireball,” just as a title, suggests something vibrant, fast, but possibly fleeting..., and something that ultimately crashes….! And I haven’t heard “Black Hole,” yet, but that, again, is a bit of a foreboding title. Can you talk about the catharsis your finding with these songs and what you’ve found most fulfilling about the creation process?
As far as the lyrics, I would agree that most of them have an existential bent and a sense of approaching doom. It was like that on Splendor as well to some degree. It comes from my obsession with the ephemeral nature of life and the fact that I don’t know how long I really have to live. But it isn’t pessimism or resignation, I am always using those dark elements to bring every day life into greater relief in my lyrics.

When you can vividly feel something ending or passing, it makes you realize how precious things are right now in this place and time. It’s a way of remembering to take nothing for granted and to burn brightly for the people around you, like a fireball, every day. So, for me it’s part catharsis, as you suggest, but also a way to simply remind myself to look at life in a holistic, broad-spectrum kind of way. As I said, I tend to beat myself up about details so maybe I need these little reminders even more! The most fulfilling part of doing these songs was writing and recording them very quickly… Perhaps even too quickly. I treated the demo process as the final recording session, for instance I had all the good amps and good microphones going all the time in my studio, so that I could capture those initial sparks of creativity that are hard to recreate later.

Between LA to Detroit, what have you learned, most of all? What’s been your biggest takeaway? Does it matter, anymore, where a band is…where they’re based, in order for them to forge an eventual career or tour? And what are some misconceptions about LA that you could dispel for us…
I can’t really speak for other bands, but for Two Cheers it made more sense both pragmatically and emotionally to leave Los Angeles even though it’s a music hub and it’s where I’d spent 15 years of my life. Los Angeles is crowded with bands, it’s expensive to live there, it’s geographically enormous, it’s always awake, it’s extremely hot for 9 months out of the year, the people are very-much big city people, etc. That’s just not for me, and I wanted to be close to my family again as they start to get older. For a lot of people, Los Angeles is just right.

But I moved back to Michigan on the hunch that the pace of life was a little mellower here, I could have more space in my home for recording and rehearsing, the cost of living would be more artist-friendly so I could work less at a day job/commute less and spend more time on music, and there would be more camaraderie and less cliquishness within the scene. So far, I think I was right about most of that. That’s the biggest takeaway. I love it here so far. I feel like we have a great home base here! - Jeff Milo


Condos, Fireball, Black Hole (Singles, Self-Released, 2016)

Splendor (LP, Self-Released, 2015)

Two Cheers (LP, Self-Released, 2014)



Two Cheers’ second album, Splendor, is thirty-six minutes of hysterically blissed-out rock and roll, administered in radio-ready shots of fluorescent pop. Unanimously hailed by indie blogs upon its release, the wholly self-produced record harmonizes a taut, DIY ethos with hi-fi gloss. Unsigned & Unleashed’s Amber Bettis hears in Splendor “more of an event than an album, a good time with friends that you wish wouldn’t end,” zeroing in on the band’s penchant for “infectious choruses caressed lovingly by rollicking melodies, just the right amount of self-reflection, and a perfect pinch of nostalgia.” Chiming in at Property of Zack, Ashley Aron set aside precious barbecue/firework time over her Fourth of July weekend to anoint the album’s “reverb-drenched vocals and cascading, hazy guitars” as “the audio embodiment of summer.”

Two Cheers, led by lead singer/songwriter Bryan Akcasu, careened into L.A. clubs in autumn 2014. In the band's exuberant tunes, audiences heard a decades-spanning kinship with the Cure, the Sugarcubes, the Strokes, and the 1975. Succinctly praised by a band they were once co-billed with as “dance-y as [expletive],” their buoyant live performances soon attracted attention from local tastemakers Free Bike Valet and Beating Lights, leading to features with CBS, BalconyTV, and green-screen videographers BlindBlindTiger. Emboldened by these forays into live video, they went conceptual with director Charles Cagle, creating four delirious music videos in a single month.

But in case you didn’t catch the sentiment sprawled out across album-opener “Desert Song,” Akcasu never did much like the metropolis. The Two Cheers co-founder and vocalist made good on his lyrical ambition and escaped from L.A. a few weeks before Splendor’s summer 2015 release. He decamped to the outskirts of Detroit, and despite its end-of-all-civilization pop culture rep, his relocation to the city wasn’t a living out of the "Desert Song” fantasy, so to speak. 

Once there, Akcasu hooked up with seasoned Detroit players Austin Lutzke, Carlton White, Owen Bickford, and Megan Marcoux—on bass, drums, keys, and guitar respectively—to spread the gospel of Splendor through the Motor City. They recently released three new songs as singles (“Condos”, “Fireball”, and “Black Hole”) that pick up where Splendor left off, the likes of which were featured on blogs like Yvynyl and Glo-Fi Must Die as well as local music outlets Assemble Sound, the Metro Times, and Jeff Milo’s Deep Cutz blog. Meanwhile, they’ve also been working the local Midwest circuit, winning over locals left and right at legendary venues such as PJ’s Lager House and classic festivals like Dally In The Alley. 

Band Members