U-Melt
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U-Melt

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Nov
07
U-Melt @ The Saint

Asbury Park, New Jersey, USA

Asbury Park, New Jersey, USA

Oct
31
U-Melt @ Red Square

Albany, New York, USA

Albany, New York, USA

Oct
30
U-Melt @ Westcott Theater

Syracuse, New York, USA

Syracuse, New York, USA

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Music

Press


The Stone Pony, the legendary live music club in Asbury Park, NJ, played host to a mid-holiday week show that featured the incredible face-melting U-Melt. The appropriately named band melted The Stone Pony into a puddle of lava with a scorching show. The molten core of the U-Melt planet begins with the rhythm section of Adam Bendy (bass, vocals) and George Miller (drums, vocals), which erupted like a volcano and cooled to solid bedrock. Pushing the planet to a red-hot super-nova intensity were Rob Salzer (guitar, vocals) and Zac Lasher (keyboards, vocals), whose fiery interplay vaporized anyone without protective haz-mat suit.

In addition to the mind-blowing jams that U-Melt fans have come to expect, the band brought along artistic lighting designer Bryan Holroyd, who, along with his very cool light array which he blended into the house lights, added a highly creative visual element to the euphony of sound. U-Melt is definitely a band whose music would enthrall audiences under a bare 60-watt light bulb hung from a ceiling, but the lightshow sent the performance into another stratosphere.

The show began with "Human Compass," from U-Melt's debut CD The Unbelievable Meltdown, and right away, the band ignited the audience with their organic progressive groove and vocal harmonies. Killer guitar solos and mesmerizing keyboard expeditions permeated U-Melt's music, culled from a myriad of styles and genres, but the foundation of creative compositions, emotive lyrics, and great vocal contributions by the whole band are not a forgotten focus. The band's concept is the definition of diversity. "Different Things" displayed this dexterity quite well as the piece was multi-directional and textural. Fueled by the great rhythm of Miller and Bendy, Salzer and Lasher unleashed their instrumental firepower in a song that was also lyrical and highlighted the group's vocal abilities.

Lasher and Salzer are the primary writers for the band, but as Lasher explained to me before the show, everyone is involved in the arrangements and a big part of the creative process. Miller penned "Kind Insight," which was sandwiched between "Green Paper Society" and "Go," which followed that musical barrage. Both songs were rhythmic and adventurous. Many bands play cover songs, great bands play great cover songs: the latter of which materialized out of the song "Sequel" when the band churned out a fantastic version of Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond." "Missed," another gem from the Unbelievable Meltdown disc, made an appearance, and the band really stretched it out with a song that began with bluesy guitar and vocals before transcending into a jam that saw styles not just change but morph from one to another in rampant intensity. Well known as a band that loves to play and hates to stop, U-Melt had one of those venue intervention stoppages as they ran out of time, but not before "It's Ice" did nothing to cool off the torched club and had to serve as the encore.

U-Melt is a band that goes all-in every time they hit the stage. And for a band that has been together for only two years, they have amassed a vast catalog of material so every show is a unique musical experience. With a mixture of lyrically expressive songs, strong vocals, danceable grooves, and musicians who love to rip it up, the band is turning venues into puddles on a regular basis. If this show did not melt your face into a look of total delight, it might be time to clean out those ears.

[Published on 1/8/2006] - http://www.jambase.com


The I's Mind Tops December's Chart

2006-12-23

1.U-Melt The I's Mind
2.Raq Ton These
3.Tea Leaf Green Rock N Roll Band
4.Gov't Mule High & Mighty
5.Robert Randolph & The Family Band Colorblind
6.Tribal Jazz Tribal Jazz
7.The Breakfast Moxie Epoxy
8.Delta Nove Future Is When
9.Devon Allman's Honeytribe Torch
10.Particle Transformations For The People
11.Ryan Montbleau Band One Fine Color
12.(((Loop))) Left In The Sun
13.56 Hope Drop It All
14.Benevento/Russo Duo Play Pause Stop
15.Club D'Elf (w.Medeski, Logic) Now I Understand
16.Disco Biscuits The Wind a Four to Fly (Dig)
17.The Duhks Migrations
18.Eric Lindell Change In The Weather
19.Gomez How We Operate
20.Honkytonk Homeslice Honkytonk Homeslice
21.Jim Weider Percolator
22.Lotus Strength of Weak Ties
23.My Morning Jacket Okonokos
24.Phil Lesh & Friends Live At The Warfield Theatre
25.The Slip Eisenhower
26.Todd Snider The Devil You Know
27.Umphrey's McGee Safety in Numbers
28.Widespread Panic Earth to America
29.Yonder Mountain String Band Yonder Mountain String Band
30.Joan Osborne Pretty Little Stranger
31.Bruce Hornsby Intersections 1985-2005
32.Cabin Dogs Electric Cabin
33.Micah Wolf Micah Wolf
34.Zen Tricksters For Rex
35.Derek Trucks Band Songlines
36.Dirty Dozen Brass Band What's Going On
37.Easy Star All-Stars Radiodread
38.El Gringo El Gringo
39.Ford Blues Band Butterfield/Bloomfield Concert Live
40.Gob Iron Death Songs For The Living - www.jambands.com


The I's Mind: U-Melt
Jeremy Sanchez
2006-11-19

self-released

Quite possibly the best thing a band can do for itself, and its potential fans, is to make albums representative of its live routines. On U-Melt’s latest, they come in jamming and it’s hard not to get up and dance a jig; if only we were all in a field somewhere. While a studio setting lends itself to some amazing and exceptionally creative musical experimentation and expression, there’s nothing worse than getting to a show and realizing that the band you thought you were going to hear doesn’t actually exist on stage. With New York City's U-Melt, what you hear on CD is what you’re going to get at the show.

The U-Melt sound could be compared at times to the jams of String Cheese Incident (minus the bluegrass) with some of the vocal approaches of moe., all wrapped up in a heady and danceable pita. Having seen them live, it’s satisfying to hear their live presence translate so well onto disc.

“Air” is a healthy dose of funk, Zac Lasher’s organs whining throughout, allowing space for Rob Salzer’s electric guitar to speak while Adam Bendy’s bass and George Miller’s drumming lock it all together as it flows directly into the next tune. Lasher is more active on the bubbling “Escape.” “415” is soothing and ponderous -- “I wonder why the rain falls down,” they sing -- ending at 12 minutes. “Sequel” is a pleasure with Bendy and Lasher weaving through one another in a meaty procession of brain bending vamps. “Go” realizes that we can’t always be on the same trip, even when we want to be: “Go if you’re going to go. I’m just going to stay.” “Different Things” is just goofy enough of an off kilter sound to keep you smiling through the dance, and that’s a double gift in my book.

The I’s Mind is a worthy grab and a great introduction to U-Melt, being representative rather than some studio offshoot far from their base. And another celebratory point to finish with, this is a disc the listener is likely to play through to the end without considering a track skip, because it’s just that tasty. - www.jambands.com


By: David Schultz

In literature and cinema, the impending arrival of something fantastic, whether it be the Next Big Thing or Culture-Changing Event, comes heralded by an event which foreshadows its impending appearance. In adventure stories, an archeologist discovers a hidden artifact with mysterious wisdom buried amongst the ruins of an ancient civilization. In science-fiction, humans await the fulfillment of the prophecy promising the coming of "the One." In fairy tales, a wizard's vision foretells our hero's eventual return. In the real world, no such prophecies or oracles exist to clue us in to the advent of something brilliant, meaningful and exciting. Instead, history gives us the tale of Paul Revere, taking what he knows to be true and relaying the news to all within earshot. In that vain, let it be shouted from the rooftops to all within Earvolution's reach, "U-Melt are coming! U-Melt are coming!"

The east-coast based quartet is fronted by Rob Salzer, potentially one of the most exhilarating, lethal and electrifying guitarists playing today, and keyboardist Zac Lasher. Not to be relegated to the background, U-Melt possesses an exceptionally stellar rhythm section consisting of bassist Adam Bendy and drummer George Miller. Throughout their live performances, the rock-solid foundation created by Bendy and Miller opens doors for Lasher and Salzer to treat the audience to heavy doses of their creative, free-flowing, improvisational interplay. While structurally similar to Particle's Steve Molitz and his former band mate Charlie Hitchcock, the interaction between Lasher and Salzer comes across as more relaxed, intimate and complementary than that of their west-coast counterparts. From the moment they hit the stage, U-Melt grabs the crowd with undeniably funky grooves that hit new levels when Salzer's mind-bending guitar work and Lasher's hypnotic, entrancing keyboards are given room to roam. Listening and watching the relatively unheralded Salzer breeze through incendiary, awe-inspiring solos, it's easy to become overwhelmed by the mounting excitement that Salzer could be rock's next great guitar hero.

For the second straight year, U-Melt timed their late-night, after-hours gig at New York's Lion's Den to coincide with moe.'s annual post-Thanksgiving visit to New York City, providing New Yorkers with a double bill for which they could truly give thanks. U-Melt’s diligent marketing and promotion team expertly positioned their Lion's Den performance as an after-moe. party. The appellation is not gratuitous as moe.'s Al Schnier joined U-Melt at last year's show. For those with the energy to make both shows, U-Melt ingeniously, yet respectfully, turned moe. into their opening act on this post-holiday Friday. No small task, moe.'s presently on the top of their game.

Building their reputation through energetic live performances, tales of their legendary marathon shows serve only to enhance U-Melt's reputation as a young, hard working band. In September 2004, U-Melt extended their late-night set at the Strangefolk's Garden Of Eden Festival to just over six hours, finishing sometime after breakfast at around 10:30 a.m. Even more remarkable, the band performed the entire show without the extravagant luxuries of set breaks or bathroom breaks. In that vein, U-Melt hit the stage on Friday evening shortly after 1:00 a.m. Like a Kenyan marathon runner, U-Melt set a quick pace early and never slowed down until they hit the finish line three hours later. Amazingly, the band never hit a down period or dallied with trippy space interludes throughout their lengthy set. One need not worry about their familiarity with the U-Melt catalogue: as accurately described by the title of one of their tunes, their groove is infectious. With the energy given off by the band, it's impossible to stand still and even the most uncoordinated of dancers will quickly find their inner Napoleon Dynamite.

Like most jambands, U-Melt possesses a fine series of remarkable instrumental numbers that become extended jams. Although excelling at improvisation, don't be misled into thinking U-Melt are virtuosos adrift in the absence of songs. U-Melt has crafted a number of well-written songs that give them something to interpret, rather than just an excuse to jam. On this night, U-Melt treated the Lion's Den to both: fine instrumentals like "Ernest Funknine" and "Marvin The Pussy" blended well alongside well-constructed songs like "Missed," "Through The Prism" and a newer composition, "Silent Silhouette." The band approaches their material with an apparent stern demeanor. However, the veneer of their seriousness quickly evaporates as a friendly glance or wave from a familiar face in the audience will get any of the band's members to break into a mile-wide grin that reminds you that these guys are having a blast.

In The Commitments, Jimmy Rabbitte promotes the band by telling a reporter that they don't play gigs, they slip into town under the cover of darkness and hit and run. Given U-Melt's penchant for late-night, after-hours shows, the same might be said of them. U-Melt may very well sneak into your town, tear up the night while you're asleep and be gone by daybreak. Scratch that: they'll likely still be playing when the sun rises. Giving insomniacs reason to rejoice, U-Melt will be returning to New York City on New Year's Eve, taking the stage at Coda somewhere south of 2 in the morning...

This Thanksgiving, music fans were able to express their gratitude for the music's present and music's future. Music's present, moe., refuses to remain complacent, mixing established concert favorites with fresher material and infusing both with inspired and creative improvisation. As for the future: a momentous force looms large on the horizon and it goes by the name of U-Melt. At this point in time, U-Melt is playing small clubs, giving everyone an opportunity to see a band worth getting excited about in intimate venues. Go see them now, while you can, if all is right in the world, larger venues and greater crowds await. - www.earvolution.com


"Like another (now defunct) Northeastern band of high-improv repute, this New York City quartet combines virtuoso chops with jaunty prog-rock compositions, ballsy classic-rock homages (they recently performed the Floyd's Wish You Were Here in its entirety), and a healthy sense of prepie-stoner whimsy. This three hour tour should be a fine place to make their acquaintance."
--Richard Gehr, The Village Voice - The Village Voice



When U-Melt made its debut performance in 2003, the quartet did so with an undeniable familiarity and notable poise. But then again, the name was the only thing that had changed; the new nomenclature U-Melt was simply a new direction for band a440. A year later, the band continues to define U-Melt as a potentially lethal player on the jamband scene, and its debut album successfully discards any notion of silliness that the name may infer.
A tightly wound, dueling lead stretches across a drifting chord progression to introduce "Green Amber," the opening track of The Unbelievable Meltdown. Immediately identifiable is U-Melt's propensity for precision, and the album's 10 tracks encompass concise, well-defined segments executed with the zest of veteran players. Infusing a gamut of genres and influences – jazz, rock, and electronica being the most evident – the quartet molds a sound that waxes and wanes from multi-segmented opii ("Missed") to instrumental piano compositions ("Vulpecula") with uncommon ease.
From the opening notes, however, the band's influences are aglow beneath the surface and foretell a common pratfall for up-and-coming-musicians who struggle to discard stylistic elements championed by others. But despite initial similarities audible in U-Melt, the members are quick to set off on their own distinctive path within each composition. Guitarist Rob Salzer takes aim at each solo with nimble-fingered precision, and his fretwork is complimented by the sprawling textures woven together by keyboardist Zac Lasher and bassist Adam Bendy. Most remarkable is the air between each instrument. Rooted in drummer George Miller's sparing rhythms, U-Melt builds a musical composite that is more clear than cloudy, and unfolds easily into provoking sonic segments.
In only a year, U-Melt has demonstrated its potential, and The Unbelievable Meltdown, albeit uneven at times, exposes an articulate quiver of influences which the members have absorbed, shaken up, and melded into something of their own. With time, U-Melt will shed any comparisons to bands past and present, filling its own skin and charting its own progressive course based on unabashed talent.
- jambands.com


It began with a challenge issued to the band and ended after an “unbelievable” musical journey lasting well over 6 hours. The promoters of Strangefolk’s 9th annual Garden of Eden festival issued a challenge to the members of U-Melt. U-Melt was scheduled to start its late night set at 4:00am and finish a couple of hours later. The promoters challenged U-Melt to play as long as they could without taking any breaks, or at least until the festival’s music began the next day. U-Melt accepted the challenge with open arms and the rest as they say, is history….

U-Melt’s set began shortly after 4:00am with the opening notes to “Tomorrow My Friend” and with that, the epic voyage began. On “Tomorrow” keyboardist and vocalist Zac Lasher warmed up the crowd in the late night cabin with his crisp vocals and tight jams. Next, during “Schizophrenia,” guitarist and vocalist Rob Salzer dove right into his first of many extraordinary solos of this “super set.” At this point the crowd grew larger and larger as everyone within an earshot packed into the late night cabin to hear what the rage was all about. The band’s powerful “Infectious Groove” was a personal highlight of the evening with Adam Bendy and George Miller putting together a tremendous groove on bass guitar and drums respectively. The groove was in fact “infectious” as the song title suggests and the band pushed and pushed until I thought my head would “melt.”

The night took a funky, unexpected turn when the band launched into a cover of Kool and the Gang’s “Get Down On It” with Miller taking the lead on vocals. This rendition would have made Kool and the rest of his Gang proud! “Get Down On It” segued flawlessly into “Missed” where Miller took the lead again and shined, laying down his unmistakable beats. The crowd was very excited, yet attentive, despite the fact that the sun was rising after a long festival day and another festival day was literally on the horizon.

“We’ve come a long long way together, through the hard times and the good…”

Appropriate lyrics for a marathon set, the cover of Fatboy Slim’s classic dance song “Praise You” brought the crowd into a frenzy and seemed to energize the band for the long haul. At this point it was nearly time for breakfast and those who didn’t make it through the night were waking up and making their way to the cabin, many of them still in their pajamas. At this point the U-Melt staple “Green Amber” took off and didn’t come down for nearly 20 minutes and the crowd loved every minute of it. As if the crowd didn’t know it already, after the “Green Amber” it was apparent that this was not your typical U-Melt show or any show for that matter. The crowd swelled as parents brought their kids into the cabin after they woke up, and some of those who had caught the beginning of the show and went to bed, returned after getting some much needed rest.

U-Melt has never shied away from wearing many musical hats and they wore yet another one during this extensive set with their cover of the classic 80’s Huey Lewis tune “I Want a New Drug.” The crowd nodded its collective heads in approval as Lasher belted out the lyrics with impressive enthusiasm. U-Melt followed “I Want a New Drug” with perhaps its single best version of its distinguishing song “The Eternal Groove” with Lasher singing vocals and Salzer taking a lengthy solo in the middle before the dance grooves at the end. “Eternal Groove” is just one of those songs where it’s impossible to resist the urge to dance and this was obvious as the crowd danced as hard as they had all night. Up next was a fantastic rendition of moe.’s “Happy Hour Hero” a tribute to U-Melt’s friends in moe. and also those friends of the band who were a few hundred miles away in upstate New York at moe.down. “Happy Hour” was followed by a huge “Human Compass” which featured Salzer’s most ferocious solo of the night. At this point, with each song and hour that passed, it became clear that myself, and everyone in attendance, were witnessing something exceptional that may never be surpassed again. U-Melt had now been playing for over 5 hours without taking so much as a bathroom break. The band then did a brilliant version of MMW’s popular song “Bubblehouse” featuring a short freestyle rap by Mike McCann, lead singer of the band Oak Street. “Bubblehouse” then segued back into the monster set closer “Through the Prism” finishing the version which was played earlier in the set, but seemed like days ago. When all was said and done, U-Melt had shredded the late night cabin for over 6 hours. After the set ended it was 10:30am. A new festival day was upon us but, one thing was certain, this was a set that might never be topped by any band anywhere. After the set was complete, I asked myself: has anyone else even attempted to play for over 6 hours without taking any break? We all know about Phish’s Big Cypress all night set during the millennium, but that was from midnight to 7:00am, and they took several on stage bathroom breaks as well as other lengthy on stage breaks. U-Melt let loose in incredible late night fashion and proved that they are the masters of Progressive Groove and the energizer bunny of the jam scene. They keep going and going and going…..”
- www.jambase.com


UMelt is definitely a jam band to keep an eye and ear on. Guitarist Rob Salzer is adventurous and sure-footed and plays with a welcome sense of fun without ever hogging the spotlight from his in-tune bandmates. The groups manages to display lots of technical ability and musical knowhow without getting in each other's way and without ever sounding like they are showing off.

-Alan Paul

- Guitar World


For all you heads out there wondering when the next big thing will hit the scene, all the while cursing a certain currently defunct band for leaving you with a mere hodgepodge of filler acts to pass the time, I've got some good news.

Not too long ago, I found myself at a moe. concert. After a relatively raucous yet ultimately underwhelming evening with the gentlemen from upstate, I left the venue desirous of further jamming. Drifting along, in need of that live music fix, I happened upon an after show bash courtesy of U-Melt. At just $10 it seemed worth the risk. It was. By the end of the first virtuosic, funk-infused dance groove, I was convinced that the best band I had seen that evening was the one that didn't draw 4,000 people.

The electric excitement of the crowd in that claustrophobia-inducingly-diminutive packed-to-capacity bar and the overall sense of fun and improvisation of the show seemed reminiscent of the days when that currently defunct band took the stage at the - now long since defunct - New York City hippie hotspot, Wetlands.

Grandiose comparisons to acts of yesteryear aside, U-Melt is a highly skilled jamband capable of effectively wielding different styles to suit different songs. As a band they appear fearless in their musical explorations both in composition and live extemporaneous jamming. Additionally, they don't shy away from a good old fashion cover tune for a change of pace - trying on Pink Floyd, The Beatles and even Huey Lewis and the News - or sneaking in a teaser to keep you on your toes.

U-melt is building a fan base through touring, converting crowds from coast to coast with stellar shows and marathon late night sets, which have lasted as long as seven hours. Having performed about 300 shows over a three-year stretch, this is a band that is always on the road and getting tighter by the day.

Their debut album, The Unbelievable Meltdown, was released to critical acclaim in the summer of 2004. With the band headed back to the studio, a highly anticipated sophomore effort should be released this fall. The band is: Adam Bendy (Bass, Vocals), Zac Lasher (Keyboards, Synthesizers & Vocals), George Miller (Drums & Vocals) and Rob Salzer (Guitar & Vocals). You might want to check U-Melt out while you can still see them for $10. - hightimes.com


Like so many bands, U-Melt came together by accident. But, the New York-based quartet owes its continued success to anything but luck.

Since first linking up in 2003, U-Melt---Adam Bendy (Bass, Vocals), Zac Lasher (Keyboards, Synthesizers & Vocals), George Miller (Drums & Vocals) and Rob Salzer (Guitar & Vocals)---has blossomed into one of the jam-scene’s hardest working acts, barnstorming high-profile festivals, distributing its debut album The Unbelievable Meltdown through the Homegrown Music Network and performing upwards of 300 shows in just under three years. Commanding a clear understanding of the jamband blueprint, U-Melt’s varied live show is a throwback to the improvisational bands of yore, stocked with zany covers and high energy segues. In the past year, the group also paid tribute to Pink Floyd, jammed with a number of scene veterans and made a point to play long and late whenever possible (but not at the risk of sounding overly loose). Shortly after performing his 300 show at Pittsfield, MA’s La Cocina, guitarist Rob Salzer gave Jambands.com our first U-Melt history lesson and discussed the group’s road to the 2007 Jammys.

First off, can you tell us a bit about U-Melt’s inception?

Well, we first played together in August 2003. We had talked a little bit, not about playing but about music in general, on various music related websites like Terrapin Presents. Adam and I played in a band called a440 and Zac and George played together in another band. To make a long story short, we actually camped next to each other at Phish’s IT festival. a440 was supposed to set up and play, but my drummer and my rhythm guitar player’s van broke down on their way up to Maine. We also had a lead singer at the time, Dave, who literally disappeared at the festival. So it was just the two of us and, after Phish’s last set, we were still kind of itching to play, so we ended up jamming with Zac and George. a440 had a lot of artistic differences, but the four of us immediately saw eye-to-eye. So we decided to merge bands. We still had about thirty a440 shows lined up, so we rehearsed for maybe two weeks and went on the road under that name. At our first show we only knew four songs---“Green Amber”, “Missed”, “Human Compass” and MMW’s “Bubblehouse”--- but had to play two sets [laughs].

How would your describe U-Melt’s sound at that point?

a440 was a lot more hard-rock and guitar-harmony driven. We also had a Grateful Dead influence, a 70s mixture of folk and funk disco. So we started out with this just kind of bluesy rock improv thing. But, over time, we really started to develop our true sound---a full blown progressive rock, dance mix.

Over the past three years, U-Melt has staged a number of “musical pranks” and hosted a handful of themed sets. To what extent do you view this as an essential ingredient in U-Melt’s sound?

In addition to improving our playing, the only thing we really feel is necessary is to keep our fans on their toes. We’re definitely influenced by these huge jambands---Phish really did it right, they really kept their fans guessing. When your touring for a living, you need to keep people coming back to your shows. So, we try to do different things, whether its covering classic Pink Floyd or playing Kool and the Gang’s “Get Down On It,” which made people laugh their asses off---but they had a good time listening to it!

U-Melt has also made a number of popular covers its own

Certain covers really lend themselves to experimentation, like Medeski, Martin and Wood’s “Bubblehouse.” We take that song and we put a ten minute straight-up techno/trance jam in the middle of it. We love jazz, we love trance, we love prog-rock and it all of that comes through in our music. Its really great to combine all these different styles of music. We did the same thing to Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine.” On the album, “Welcome to the Machine” doesn’t have a beat. It does have a pulse to it but there’s no drums---its all sound effects and what not. So, we put a four-on-the-floor dance beat behind it. Now, it’s a dance song that people already know and that’s just one way to keep things interesting.

How has U-Melt’s songwriting process evolved over the past few years?

When we started, Zac and I were the primary writers, but, now, George also writes. I have some jazz influences and have recently been getting into techno, but primarily come from a rock background. But Zac comes from a theatre background so he takes this kind of dramatic approach to song writing and arranging that works really well. Over time, we’ve tried to push ourselves to compose more and make music which is more complex. Pretty much every time we write a song at this point we’re really feeding off each other. So we’re really influencing each other in terms of complex compositions and arrangements. I try to make it as compositional as possible without being too pretentious about it [laughs].

Even when we come up with these extended structures and really long parts, we make sure we have hooks so people don’t get bored. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at a show where the band sounds awesome, but the jams go on way too long. Don’t get me wrong---I love this scene more than anyone, but if you keep going on a fifteen minute tangent, eventually people will start getting bored.

Do you plan to enter the studio anytime soon to record your sophomore album?

We’re going to head into the studio in late March to record our second album. We’re going to go out to Ohio where we recorded our first album at the Mind Ignition Studios. Alex Lusht, who produced our first album, is going to work with us again and our road engineer, Josh Parrish, is going to come out help produce the album as well. Most of the songs on the album people that have been coming to see us a lot probably know really well at this point. We have easily three CDs or more worth of material we haven’t recorded. So, it’s a very difficult process shorting through the songs and trying to figure out what to put on this album. If you listen to the songs on the first album and the ones we’re writing now, its almost like two different bands. And there is a ton of material in between that really shows the transition from where we started to where we are now. So, basically, what we’re trying to do is take the best group of songs, the middle ones, and make it the most cohesive album possible.

On New Year’s Eve, Strangefolk’s Don Scott jammed with U-Melt at New York’s CODA. How has your relationship with his group evolved over the past thee years?

Some of our closest friends have done artwork for Strangefolk and we played with them at Wormtown up in Massachusetts for several years now. In 2003, we played at the Knitting Factory’s Old Office and Patchen Montgomery, who was living in New York at the time, came down to see us and ended up singing Traffic’s “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.” A year later, our entire band learned some of their songs and Patchen sang lead at a benefit in Teaneck, NJ. We just kept crossing paths as festivals and got to know them pretty well. When I was younger, I was a huge fan of Strangefolk and on New Year’s Don and Deep Banana Blackout’s Rob Somerville both sat in on “Carne” and “Through The Prism.”

Where do you hope to be by next year’s Jammys [as with this feature the band now qualifies for a potential nomination in the New Groove category]?

We want to gradually expand out fanbase across the country, but we don’t want to spread ourselves to thin to fast. Playing festivals definitely helps. We find it tough to play a 45-minute opening set and really express ourselves. So, the free-hour late-night festival set is really best case scenario for us. There are no worries about where we are going to take our set and we are really comfortable where we are. This past NYE was probably my favorite show we’ve played yet. We didn’t have to worry about time or stuffing our set into 45 minutes. We’ve been establishing ourselves up and down the east coast and are also doing some dates with Tea Leaf Green. Ideally, we’d love to get to the point where we could headline for 3 weeks at the time and really cover some ground on the east coast and Midwest.

Mike Greenhaus heard U-Melt’s first gig while shopping for veggie burritos in the IT parking lot. You can listen to his podcast every week at www.relix.com/radio. - www.jambands.com


Discography

"The Unbelievable Meltdown" (nu-Q-lir music, 2004)

TRACK LISTING:
1. Green Amber
2. Still I Go
3. Infectious Groove
4. Missed
5. Vulpecula
6. Through The Prism
7. Song Behind The Time
8. Schizophrenia
9. Tomorrow, My Friend
10. Human Compass

"The I's Mind" (nu-Q-lir music, 2006)

TRACK LISTING:
1. Air
2. Escape
3. 415
4. Sequel
5. Go
6. Cloud Box
7. Different Things
8. Ernest Funknine

Photos

Bio

The spirit of the progressive rock era - the readiness to experiment, the premium on precision and the openness to move beyond preconceived boundaries - lives in the music and ethos of U-Melt. The untraditional sound comes from varied backgrounds of the men who make up the New York based band: one of the most electrifying young guitarists playing today, guitarist Rob Salzer began his music career as a classically trained violinist; keyboardist Zac Lasher studied theater at Emerson College and gave up the lullabies of Broadway for the thrill of rock and roll; bassist Adam Bendy has a degree in music performance and drummer George Miller paraded with the West Virginia Mountaineer Marching Band.

Since their initial gig together in the parking lot of an Air Force base in Maine, U-Melt has grown in stature at the same rate as their fanbase has grown to a nationwide level, becoming the center of a burgeoning community of fans and musicians who feed off the band’s generous and creative spirit. On The I’s Mind, the 2006 follow-up to 2004’s The Unbelievable Meltdown, you can hear the quartet growing beyond their jamband roots and developing into an entity that encompasses a whole host of genres. Both studio releases have been warmly received, with “Schizophrenia” from The Unbelievable Meltdown and “Air”, “Escape” and “415” from The I’s Mind receiving significant airplay on Sirius Satellite Radio and commercial radio stations around the country.

The I’s Mind puts U-Melt’s superb songwriting skills on display, featuring a wide variety of catchy hooks and creative musical passages. Notwithstanding Miller’s gift for creating concisely crafted tunes, Lasher and Salzer handle the majority of the songwriting duties, infusing their deep knowledge of music theory together with progressive sounds, prosaic lyrics and imaginative wordplay to create a dynamic voice that is unique in the rock world.

U-Melt’s live shows, which include a marathon seven hour set at the Garden of Eden festival, their traditional New York City New Year’s Eve celebrations and a Halloween tributes to cinematic masterpieces Pulp Fiction and Almost Famous, showcase U-Melt’s innovation and depth. A wise fan knows to expect the unexpected once U-Melt hits the stage. Grabbing the crowd with undeniably infectious grooves, they reach new levels when Salzer’s mind-bending guitar work and Lasher’s entrancing keyboards are given room to roam. Their improvisational work is made possible Bendy’s innovative bass work and Miller’s brilliant drumming, which opens doors for Lasher and Salzer to treat the audience to heavy doses of their creative, free-flowing interplay.

Disciplined without lapsing into rigidity, U-Melt displays a finesse not typically found in a band that plays so freely and is as flat-out fun to experience. U-Melt’s music will enter your brain, please your psyche at its deepest emotional level and speak to the part of your existential soul that responds to music performed at its apex of perfection.

For the present, U-Melt is putting the finishing touches on their upcoming third studio release. Splitting time between the road and their recording studio in Brooklyn, New York, the as-yet-untitled album is expected to be completed in the coming months.

(U-Melt’s biography written by music journalist David Schultz)