Us on Roofs
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Us on Roofs

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF
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This four-piece Seattle band could be classified as shoegazey but will do anything other than make you stare at your feet. Their guitar-heavy tracks could be described as the lovechild of the instrumentals of Grizzly Bear and the emotional quality of Death Cab for Cutie. Their latest album, self-titled, features a slew of songs reminiscent of the Northwest, including reverb, ethereal electric guitar and a heavy drum beat. In fact, all of Us On Roofs feels instrumental: the vocals are smooth and steady, but discreet, feeling more like an instrument than a centerpiece. The standout track “Passage” takes listeners through the winding roads of a mountain pass, but in Death Cab-esque fashion surely symbolizes something deep. Whether it’s through seasons or relationships, the entire album is a journey; we guarantee you won’t regret tagging along. - The Owl Mag


A lot went into writing your favorite song, but how much do you really know about it? This week Brian Fisher, vocalist of Seattle pop-rock band Us on Roofs, delves into mountain driving, writing the intro and personal loss.
Song: "Passage"

Album: Us on Roofs

Release Date: January 20, 2013

When it was written: Between August 2011 and January 2012

Where it was written: Partly in my head while driving through Snoqualmie Pass, partly at my parents house in Gig Harbor, and partly at my apartment in Seattle. The song went through several transformations. It was definitely not a sit-down-and-spill-your-guts-into-a song-all-at-once sort of process.

Favorite line in the song: "In the distant haze there's something left to become / Still frightened by this place but I am brave enough." Some of the language from this line is actually drawn from a podcast I listened to where this guy describes his journey through the Inside Passage after the death of his father and how meaningful that journey was to him in that time of his life. I strongly shared that sentiment and it fell perfectly into place as the last line of lyrics in the song.

Which part was the hardest to come up with: The intro. It took months to figure out an intro that felt right and was exciting to play. We had to rip apart the first minute of the song and build it from scratch musically until we arrived at what we have now.

If you could go back and change anything, what would it be: This is actually one of the few songs that I have written that I don't have anything that I would change. Maybe I am not far enough from it yet, but to me it feels like everything it needs to be. It is not that I think it is the best song ever or something, but I feel like it really communicates exactly what I wanted it to.

Odd fact about song: This song took longer to write and transformed along the way more than any other song I have written thus far. It was also the most collaboratively written song that I have ever been a part of.

What was your inspiration for writing the song: My inspiration for the song came as I was driving through Snoqualmie Pass, coming from my friend's house in Spokane back to my apartment in Seattle. The image of the twisting and turning mountain roads stuck in my mind and I really wanted to capture that feeling musically. There was just a lot of truth present in that circumstance that resonated with my life at that point.

When was your favorite time performing it live: We actually haven't played it a ton of times live. My favorite times was probably when we played it at Jones Radiator in Spokane with NUDEpop though. It was a tiny bar, but it was packed full of really cool people who were super into it. It is a really loud song so it just blasted that room. It was awesome.

What is the meaning behind the song: This song was hard to write at first because all I had was a strong image that I wanted to convey of driving through a mountain pass on my way home by myself. The song slowly took shape after a few more sessions working on it and I realized how much this image reflected where I was at in life -this weird in-between place, looking the unknown in the face. Being 20 is a strange time of life and there were a lot of rough things I was going through (and still am.) The song was carefully crafted to reflect these things musically and lyrically. One of these things was the death of one of my friends in a hiking accident a few summers ago. This really shook my world and was soon to be followed by the my mother's passing as well. This song and a lot of the album reflects a lot of change and difficult transitions. More than anything, this song reflects how unknown and scary the future is. I am still in that uncertain and scary time as I am about to graduate and try to figure out my own vision for my life - that is why this song means a lot to me. - Seattle Weekly


Us on Roofs (1/20, self-released, usonroofs.bandcamp.com): This four-piece has filled out its sound considerably since 2011's Some Unrecorded Beam EP, and the result is its strongest set of songs to date, striking an appropriate balance between melodic indie-rock riffage and brawny math-rock passages. AG (Sun., Jan. 20, The Crocodile) - Seattle Weekly


Who is Us on Roofs? Us on Roofs is a new-ish, four piece post-rock band that features atmospheric moods to coincide with its intricate guitar parts. They should be of interest to fans of Portishead and My Bloody Valentine (plus other shoegaze bands). They are releasing their debut, self-titled LP in early 2013. They could very well be the first band in ages worth paying attention to from Gig Harbor, WA (which I say as a graduate of Gig Harbor High School).

What does ARS say about “Currents”? There is a gorgeous melody that comes from the dissonance of the between the guitar parts and the detached vocals from singer Brian Fisher. It begins with a simple guitar strum, but builds into a unique song where the tension builds throughout with the interplay between multipart guitar lines and the drum patterns from Nick Blodgett. I love how it gets particularly experimental with the guitar parts in the final thirty seconds.

When can I see us on Roofs next? The CD release party for their excellent debut album is on Sunday, January 20 at the Crocodile with Bellamaine, Special Explosion and Nude Pop (7pm doors, all ages, $8 tickets). - Another Rainy Saturday


Us on Roofs is a Post Rock Shoegazing Math Pop/Art Rock band from Gig Harbor, WA consisting of band members Brian Fisher, Nicholas Blodgett, Michael Farrow, and Wesley Williams. We would also like to give the manager, Brianna Lantz, credit for being...well, the manager! I had a chance to see the band perform their well written sounds at Catapult Fest. They had a very energetic (laid back, when necessary) live performance. Backed by beautifully engineered tunes, driven by melodic guitar riffs, tight drumming, and catchy bass lines. Us on Roofs is a band to keep your eye and/or ears on. With all of this said, lets get to the 6 ½ question interview, shall we?

Interviewed by Banner Driskell. Answers - Brian Fisher
1. How did the name ‘Us on Roofs' come about?

The band started after a summer of jam sessions with our friends in our hometown, Gig Harbor. We played folk songs mainly on acoustic guitars and would hang out downtown by the waterfront until it got dark. We always joked about having a jam session on the roof of one of the restaurants downtown and so when we decided to form a full band I jokingly suggested we call ourselves “Us on Roofs” and only play on rooftops. The name ended up sticking, but as a band we avoid rooftops. Maybe one day for an epic last show…


2. What’s the best show you've played?

That is a tough one. I would say probably Neumos with The Lonely Forest and Somebody Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. It was incredible. It almost sold out, the crowd was really into it, and the sound was amazing. We have had other shows that have been really fun too, but there was something special about our first time playing Neumos.



3. All of us have guilty pleasures. Mine is Justin Timberlake. Are there any you’d like to confess?

I know Wes has a lot of Nicki Minaj on his iPod. I don’t know how guilty he is about it. For me…sometimes I put on some Sugar Ray when I’m driving alone and try to remember the days when I had a bowl cut and walked around with a Discman. Also, sometimes I wake up with Justin Bieber stuck in my head, so I guess my subconscious has guilty pleasures too.



4. Which Radiohead album(s) is/are your favorite?

Right now Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief are really doing it for me, but it changes with the seasons.


5. If Dave Grohl wanted to produce your next album, what would you do?

I might let him, I guess. Depends how much he begs.

6. What’s on the horizon for Us On Roofs?


Right now we are just working hard to get this record finished. Our plan is to release it this fall with a big Seattle release party and perhaps a Bellingham release party as well. So this next year we are really going to be pushing this album, playing some shows in neighbor cities as well, and trying to get our foot in the door for bigger local shows and festivals. We are also hoping to release our first music video. One of our friends has been working on an animated video concept, so we’ll see. That’s probably as much as we can say at this point, but we are really, really excited about the new material.

- Our Music Movement


Featured Seattle Artist of the Month for April 2012 - The Deli Magazine


Us on Roofs is a band that I have seen countless times, and the boys from Gig Harbor only seem to get better and better. The band opened with the relatively upbeat song, “Oh Bright Song,” a track from their second EP, Some Unrecorded Beam. It was quickly apparent that Us on Roofs was going to put on a fantastic show as always, as they followed up with “Hiram Bingham,” a more recent track.

The melodic, shoegaze rock of Us on Roofs’ live sound is one of the most original sounds in the rock scene. While being very much guitar-driven, Us on Roofs isn’t afraid to push singer/guitarist Brian Fisher’s vocals above the mix, where his introspective, nature-oriented lyrics shine. These lyrics are solidly backed by the elaborate rhythm section of bassist Mikey Farrow and drummer Nick Blodgett. Last year’s addition of Wesley Williams to the lineup has taken Us on Roofs in an entirely new direction, as showcased in their live set, further transforming Us on Roofs’ sound into a much more sophisticated, refined sonic assault.

About halfway through their set, after the unveiling of a brand new song, Us on Roofs surprised everybody with their version of “Saria’s Song (The Lost Woods Theme)” from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. This quick 80-second post-song jam was a great addition to an already stellar performance thus far. Us on Roofs’ two new songs had more instrumental sections than older material, sounding a bit more jam/math influenced, but were still quintessentially Us on Roofs.

Many bands have a great album sound, but are unable to capture that same essence in a live performance. I am very pleased to announce that Us on Roofs is one of the few bands that sounds just as good as or better than their recordings. I can continue to heap superlatives on this band, but if you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing them yet, please, do yourself a favor and witness one of the top rock bands in Seattle. I can’t say enough about the talent of these individuals who have come such a long way from playing modified Squints Palledores covers. Be on the lookout for a potential Us on Roofs full-length LP later this year.

- Seattle Show Gal


The Lonely Forest found itself some company when Gig Harbor band Us on Roofs joined it in The Cave for its second free concert at Pacific Lutheran University.

The Nov. 10 concert, which roughly 300 students and community members attended, marked The Lonely Forest’s return to PLU after playing The Cave last December.

“It’s been awesome playing at PLU, both times,” Lonely Forest drummer Braydn Krueger said. “This show is an exact mimic of the time we played here last year, except there are a lot more people.”


Us on Roofs’ lead singer Brian Fisher said the Gig Harbor band had a history of playing with The Lonely Forest that stretches back to his high school days.
“We played a show with them in high school before we were Us on Roofs,” Fisher said. “They influenced us a lot, so it’s really great to be playing with them now.”

Us on Roofs has since played several shows with The Lonely Forest, including a show at Neumo’s in Seattle almost one year prior to the bands’ Nov. 10 show in The Cave.

The band’s strength lay in its driving, high energy tempos and rhythms.

Us on Roofs opened the show with a 30-minute set characterized by distinctly varied rhythmic patterns by drummer Nick Blodgett, relentless electric riffs by bassist Michael Farrow and guitarist Wesley Williams and an understated but refined vocal performance by Fisher.

“It was fun, the audience came right up to the stage,” Fisher said. “It was really high energy, and I was surprised to see people singing along.”

The Lonely Forest took the stage after Us on Roofs’ opening set. Lead singer John Van Deusen, wearing the same Mariners Ichiro shirt he wore at last year’s show, sat down at the keyboard and launched into the Forest’s set with his clear vocal style that listeners familiar with The Decemberists and Death Cab for Cutie would recognize.

“I think we all have our different tastes, but indie style stuff definitely keeps coming back up in our songs,” Krueger said.

The Lonely Forest brought with it all the best facets of the indie rock genre: considered, complicated melody and instrumentation and lyrics concerned with personal tragedy.

But the band broke free from the sometimes-folky stereotype of indie music with driving, agile percussion by Krueger and a heavy, almost-rock-‘n’-roll sound from bassist Eric Sturgeon and guitarist Tony Ruland.

The crowd responded enthusiastically to Van Deusen’s prompting and to his dry wit between numbers.

In the middle of the set, the band played two new, unrecorded songs. The crowd cheered when Van Deusen announced that the band planned to begin recording a new album after Thanksgiving.

Toward the end of the set, Pierce County Sheriffs arrived at the concert and handcuffed and removed a male audience member. The encounter was nonviolent and did not interrupt the show.

Mast reporters were not able to reach Pierce County Sheriff spokesmen for comment by the time of press.

The Lonely Forest will play at Twas The Night Before Deck, the pre-show to 107.7 The End’s Deck The Hall Ball, at Neumo’s in Seattle Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. Visit the band’s MySpace page or official website for more information about shows and ticketing. - The Mooring Mast


Some Unrecorded Beam, Us on Roofs (out now, self-released, usonroofs.bandcamp.com): This follow-up to the Gig Harbor band's Robe of Feathers, this EP is full of the melodic, guitar-driven indie rock that Seattle churns out like nowhere else, but with enough sophistication and experimentation (check out the odd-metered "Empyrean Ocean") to keep things interesting. AG - Seattle Weekly's Reverb Monthly


Some Unrecorded Beam, Us on Roofs (out now, self-released, usonroofs.bandcamp.com): This follow-up to the Gig Harbor band's Robe of Feathers, this EP is full of the melodic, guitar-driven indie rock that Seattle churns out like nowhere else, but with enough sophistication and experimentation (check out the odd-metered "Empyrean Ocean") to keep things interesting. AG - Seattle Weekly's Reverb Monthly


Nearly a year ago, I was standing by the front of the stage at Neumos, excitingly waiting to see the Danish band Mew. Opening for them was a band I had seen only briefly once before the previous summer at the Capital Hill Block Party. One by one, the four members of The Anacortes, WA, band The Lonely Forest took their places on the stage. The band is made up of singer/guitarist/keyboardist John Van Deusen, bassist Eric Sturgeon, drummer Braydn Krueger and guitarist Tony Ruland.

They had run through the first few songs, when suddenly John stopped playing. He gave his apologies to the crowd, but he had to fix something before they could go on. I’d thought an effects pedal was malfunctioning, or the mic stand needed to be adjusted, one of the normal disruptions that often happen during live music. Turned out it was something much more painful than one of the simple nuisances.

He informed us the mic had been shocking him whenever he brought his lips close to sing. Before the sound guy could come up to check the connections, or fix the cause of the short, John simply bent down, pulled off a shoe, then his sock, and placed it over the microphone. They played the rest of their remarkable set, after a few giggles from the crowd, like that was the norm. Shocks or socks will not stop these guys from doing what they love.


Over the next few days I’ll be traveling with the band on four stops of their West Coast tour, taking photos and writing a bit about our daily adventures. Last night was my first show with the fellas. I met them in the basement green room of the above-mentioned club. I haven’t seen the boys since the Sasquatch Music Festival last May. They’ve been absurdly busy with a major cross country tour that is only now beginning to wind down. They have 11 shows left (touring with Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin) which will take them far down the west coast and into Texas, before they’ll come home to Washington in early December. After catching up, and reminiscing on some old stories, we all went up to see the first band playing that night. When we climbed up the stairs, even though it was still early, Us On Roofs were playing to an already crowded room. Once they were a few measures into the next song, John jumped up on stage and gave a huge hug to bassist Mikey Farrow, then stepped up to the mic to sing backing vocals with them. Singer/guitarist Brian Fisher (with a huge smile) thanked John after he had left the stage.




Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin played next. Providing a greatly powerful sound, these guys from Springfield, Missouri, played to energetic fans. Looking through the faces I saw many lips moving in sync with the lyrics I was hearing through the speakers. After playing for a good hour, they retired from the stage to allow The LF to take their place and set up.






Standing in the side stage stairwell, I met Luke Burbank, of mynorthwest.com‘s TBTL podcast. He was greatly encouraged by The Lonely Forest to introduce them before they went on. He graciously agreed and went up to do his best. Saying the band was double booked with another show that night, they’d need a really good reason to stay at Neumos. A mix of many voices all shouted and clapped with a monstrous response, the boys ran up on stage all at once.

The night ended with flying guitars sent crashing into the ground. Many fans screaming for a second encore. Smiling faces throughout the venue. The boys said goodnight, they thanked everyone profusely for coming, but were tired and had a long drive home to their own beds in their small northwest town.

I’ll be driving up to meet with them in a few hours. We’ll then cross the border into Canada tonight to play a show at Vancouver’s Biltmore Cabaret. Please check back soon for many more photos from my second day on tour with The Lonely Forest. - KEXP Blog


It was almost a whole year ago when I got my first photo pass. It was November 27, 2009, and it was a Lonely Forest show at the Showbox at the Market. I didn’t know what I was doing with my camera, and I basically knew nothing about the band. A year later, this had been the fourth time I’d seen local darlings the Lonely Forest, this time at Neumo’s, with Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin (SSLYBY) and Us On Roofs opening.
I was up front with a couple friends of mine, and clustered next to me was a small crowd of especially excited teens around my sister’s age, freshmen at Western. I wasn’t sure what they were going on about, and at one point I overheard, “well, does your mom know what Chris Walla looks like?
I didn’t hear the answer, but a few minutes later, one of the boys jumped up on stage and grabbed the bass sitting on the floor. He – Mikey Farrow, and two other guys-Brian Fisher on guitar and Nick Blodgett on drums, made up Us On Roofs, a local indie pop trio that sounded like they took some inspiration from the Lonely Forest themselves. Farrow took off his shoes almost right off the bat, and the crowd surprisingly didn’t overwhelm the band. But seeing that it was a loving local crowd, they were very perceptive and open to more local talent. And this was a time when I felt particularly old.
All throughout their set, the young band thanked the Lonely Forest more times than I can count, but it was made evident why when John van Deusen of the Lonely Forest decided to get up on stage and sing with the band into Farrow’s mic, as he looked on like a proud older brother. And before he left the stage at the end of the song, van Deusen gave Farrow a great big hug from behind, also like a proud older brother.
It turns out, after I went home to check out more on Us On Roofs, they are all my sister’s age, and from my hometown of Gig Harbor. Go figure. And it also turns out that Us On Roofs also competed in this year’s Sound Off!, a Seattle battle of the underage bands competition put on by the Experience Music Project – a contest the Lonely Forest won back in 2006. So hopefully you’ll hear more from Us On Roofs in the next year or so.
After their set was over, the guys of Us On Roofs took back their rightful places up front with their friends while SSLYBY set up their gear.
Even though SSLYBY was the odd band out in terms of being non-locals, they put on a great show, with some older tracks from Pershing and Broom, as well as a bunch of new ones from Let It Sway, out in August.
“We’d like to dedicate this song to –“ and guitarist Philip Dickey trailed off after mumbling two names and an awkward pause. I guess you could say that SSLYBY has an awkward charm. Understated personas, generic clothes, but superbly catchy songwriting. A couple of my favorites were “Modern Mystery” off Pershing and “Everlyn” off Let Is Sway, which was produced by of all people – Chris Walla.

So even if SSLYBY aren’t based out of Seattle, they’ve still got some bit of Seattle running through their music. I swear Chris Walla is like the Timbaland of indie rock. He works with everyone.
“We’d like to dedicate this song to the Lonely Forest, or more how we’ll feel once we’re done touring with them,” Dickey announced again, right before they jumped right into “All Hail Dracula!” But the best part of that song is how upbeat and so not-vampirey it sounds. You’d be hard-pressed to find a band whose melodies are more universally feel-good that you picture artfully shot scenes from adorable movies with Michael Cera in your head.


But the retro mixing and harmonies matched with the oftentimes-somber lyrics keep SSLYBY from being kitsch. You sometimes want to skip around, sometimes slow dance, but you always want to dance in some way or another.
Just before 11, the Lonely Forest came out on stage, checking the mics and chatting with the kids in the front row, but not starting their set quite yet.
“We’ve gotta go off stage, because it’ll make us cooler!” John van Deusen said to his tourmates waiting in the stairwell to the right of the stage.
“You’re already cool enough!” A voice came from the crowd, not sure where though. Van Deusen smirked at the remark, but then they did step off stage to be “cooler.” But suddenly before they actually took the stage, local comedian and radio host Luke Burbank got up on stage to introduce the band. I hadn’t seen a proper band introduction in…I don’t even know how long, so that was a nice surprise. Burbank told the crowd that apparently The Lonely Forest had been double booked that night, but they needed a good reason to stay at Neumo’s. With that, a monstrous round of applause and screaming lit up Neumo’s as the band took the stage for real this time.

Having seen the band four times this year, the songs are all so darn recognizable that I can’t pinpoint any sort of set list. I was glad to hear all the songs off their latest EP – included “Let It Go,” “Ramshackle House,” “Live There,” and “Tu - popwreckoning


Burning Building Recordings has put together a fantastic compilation album featuring a ton of local and Northwest artists and will be holding a CD release party tonight down at The Q Café in Ballard where a few of the artists will be performing. On the bill tonight is Kids and Animals who competed in EMP’s Sound Off! this year. They have a hint of The Strokes and MGMT while hanging on to the exclusive sound that is truly only Kids and Animals.

Noah Gundersen & The Courage will also be performing tonight, and if you haven’t heard this band live before then you are in for a treat. Gundersen’s vocals mixed with guitar, drums, and violin pair so perfectly. The Courage provide very laid-back music that you can just listen to and let everything else abandon your mind.

Us On Roofs is another indie pop/rock sensation that is hailing from the great Northwest. The poetic and introspective lyrics draw you into their songs, while the guitar and drums subconsciously make you tap your feet. This is a fantastic band that’s been around for a few years now and is finally starting to gain the recognition they deserve.

Anacortes-based The Oregon Donor is a great indie rock band that has been gaining popularity and fans almost exponentially. Their indie rock vibe has been noticed in the Seattle scene and all attention is well-deserved seeing how impeccably talented each member is.

Candysound’s style is hard to describe. They’re a tad lo-fi with some scuzzy tones, they’re also indie pop with catchy riffs and melodies, but they are definitely a great live show and overall band. They will be a great show to see live, especially with all the other bands playing tonight and it’s only $7 plus you get the cd for free! - Seattle Show Gal


Seattle’s own Us On Roofs and The Cat From Hue will be joined by Tacoma’s Slowwave for their dual EP release and tour kickoff. They’ll be bringing their melodic, shoegazing harmonies to Chop Suey on the 14th before heading down the West Coast to promote Robes of Feathers and The Cat From Hue. Both bands are currently unsigned, and as always it’s exciting to see what how far a band can push themselves releasing their own records and booking their own tours. So head out and show some support!

For your chance to win tickets to the show, e-mail contests@ssgmusic.com with the phrase “I want to see Us On Roofs at Chop Suey (6/14)” in the subject line! Please include your first and last name for the guest list. We’ll holler back if you’re the winner. Don’t forget to follow @SSGPromo to get all the updates of shows we’re giving away tickets to! - Seattle Show Gal


After hectically preparing for a weeklong trip down the coast, we started down I5 towards Hood River, Oregon late in the morning on Saturday the 25th. This was our second time meandering down the West Coast and we brought along tour newbies Us On Roofs, who without a doubt are some of the best people to go on a road trip with. Our van was full to the brim; 8 people, camping gear, musical equipment (thank god we shared gear), clothes, food stuffs, books, Disney themed kick balls and two flats of energy drinks. This was easily a major improvement from our last tour, where we filled our van with 14 dudes intent on getting drunk and a trailer that included a couch so we could sit on the beach with it. Not that I would ever trade that first tour for any other experience, but you live and you learn.

Our first stop, Hood River, is always a great place to go. It was an easy first day of driving, and with the awesome view of Mt. Adams to the north and Mt. Hood looming in the south, it was also nothing short of eye candy on the road. We were able to camp right on the river and the tour started off with a camp trip feeling to it. We played in a spot called the Trillium Cafe, located downtown. The venue has always been great; it’s a smaller place where the crowd can easily converge around the bands and really get a buzz going. We had a solid turnout that danced and yelled with us for a couple of hours. We slept well next to the raging Hood River that night, and after a couple of us jumped into the icy mountain waters the next morning, we started our 12 hour drive to San Francisco.

As soon as we crossed into California early that evening though, we started getting restless. See, when we left for tour, we never really planned out where we would stop for the night after the first night, we figured we would just go with it…which usually works. However, this time, the boystincts kicked in and we found ourselves a bit over our heads. At about 8 PM we decided “Hey, let’s just hop over these here mountains on a forest road and get to Arcata on the coast and crash on some sand.” The drive from I5 to the coast was estimated at 2 hours, only 100 or so miles, we had no idea what was about to happen. We turned right into the mountains in a Podunk town called Etna, which is about the size Railroad on a slow night. After following our smart phones advice (which really wasn’t so smart), we ended up on a barely paved mountain road, climbing 45 degree angled switchbacks up a 3000 foot pass. We were tired and too committed to turn around, and before we knew it, it was 11pm and we were only 50 miles east of I5 on top of a snow covered mountain littered with all kinds of bears and deer. This is where it got iffy, we totally forgot that we had to somehow ease the van beast down the mountain, and the brakes on a 10,000 lb van do not like to get mashed on while going down giant hills. The next 2 hours consisted of us stopping on steep hills every 300 feet to let the breaks stop burning. At one point, we thought we had fried the van on a stupid decision to go to the beach. What was supposed to be a 2 to 3 hour drive turned into a 7 hour drive down 15 mph, cliff side roads in a van that had to squeeze through every tight, stomach wrenching turn.

After surviving that night and making it to our beloved Clam beach, we made it Kimo’s Penthouse in SF to play with our friends City Light, who relocated to SF just recently. After being cooped up in the van for most of the day, I immediately hit the bar with my free drink tickets and tried to forget about the hell we put the van through the previous night. The show was decent, but California hasn’t shown us too much love yet.

That night, we made the quick drive down to Monterey and the following day we adventured in and around Big Sur off of Highway 1. Throwing rocks off of 300 foot cliffs into the ocean and going into what seemed to be the world’s largest and cheapest liquor shop was the highlight of our Monterey stop. The town sucked that night, it was pissing down rain and we learned that it had terrible traffic. The venue, which had previously treated us well, had changed owners. After a cancellation scare, we learned the show was to go on, with a 50ish blind Swedish folk guitarist opening for us. It was awful. There was no one there, and the blind dude sang songs about the one girl he brought with him to the venue, which made the entire experience even more awkward. I used to recommend going to Monterey, but after stopping there this time, I go back on my recommendation. Unless there is a solid Friday night show panned out, the town is worth just driving through to get the view of the coast, and the mirror maze.

We mobbed back up to Medford the next day, where we learned that the town is a tweak haven, and bar owners there absolutely hate anyone under 21. After talking to the owner, showing him Oregon State Law, and basically begging just to play a couple songs, Johnny of Johnny B’s - What's Up! Magazine


I set my table preparing for what I presumed would be a delicious feast. The lights had been dimmed and the candles were lit. My appetizers were zucchini puffs, stuffed portabello mushrooms and grilled vegetable skewers. On the stereo was Frank Sinatra’s Heavy Weather. If there was going to be blood on my hands, at the very least I want to be classy about the whole affair. You’re probably expecting me to name a vintage bottle of le vin rouge, aren’t you? Wrong. On the left-hand side was a bottle of 1800 Reposado and a cup filled with grapefruit juice.

The Main Course: The mellifluous sounds of Us on Roofs.

Before I went to Chop Suey on Tuesday to catch a glimpse of this now four piece from Gig Harbor, Wa., I heard a couple of tracks and the most impure thoughts filled my head. “What’s the most imaginative way I can say that this is not my thing?”

Then I got to Chop Suey and fell prey to every of age concert-goers’ nightmare, the unexpected all-ages show. The foundation to any good music scene is the enthusiasm of teenagers who have trouble acquiring a car on the weekend. Generally speaking, teenagers (unlike bitter adults who hate teenagers, like myself) tend to be more emotionally invested in music and all its happenings. Therefore it would behoove Seattle to find a more practical way to include our young, melodious idealists in the bar scene without the vanguard of awkward segregation.

I had to cancel my dinner plans. What do you think I am, an overzealous “Battle of the Bands” judge?

I can’t punish bands for giving me music that I would’ve liked in 1997 but not now. I am at a point in my life where sounding good and performing well just isn’t enough. Actually, come to think of it, music has never been about either of those things for yours truly. Us on Roofs are a band I would like if they were my peers. You can draft a young(ish), pacific-northwest band checklist for these guys:

- Do they have pleasant vocals with the occasional harmony? Check.
- Do they sing about trees, other forms of wildlife and sometimes outer-space? Check.
- Individual string plucking while your fingers are making minor chords (capo usage)? Check.
- You did remember to put some reverb and slight delay on that 6-string, right? Check.
- Do you “rock” without really “rocking”? Check.

Recommended if you like: Land of Pines, The Lonely Forest etc.

Between all of those bands, I like a handful of songs (and ideas) but not enough for me to champion them on this website. I am more interested in seeing what they are going to be a year or two from now. With that being said, these are your Groundzero Teen Center, Vera Project and other all-ages venue, heavyweight contenders. Yes, I am stating something you probably already knew. I expect them to snatch up the hearts of our young people by the dozens and when the time is right they’ll add four or five multi-instrumentalists to their roster and become bigger than organized religion. I’ll interview them at a lame-ass KROQ cookout in the distant future and we can joke about how they used to play Chop Suey on a Tuesday night with a more than respectable draw for an all-ages show. It’ll be great.

On the other hand, I’m trying to decide if I should become an apple-polisher on behalf of The Cat From Hue or not. I accidentally came across their album Forgetters over the weekend and thankfully so. My two favorite track ares “Ruby Beach” and the early Portugal The Man-esque “Never Again.” Dear god, I played “Never Again” until it was six feet in the ground. I listened to it three or four times in a row at any given moment. However, I have something sad to report. The Cat From Hue uses a different version of “Never Again” on their new self-titled EP. Why!?! The original version is so good. The backing vocals, the absence of the electric guitar, the well-sung, touching lyrics, will I ever be able to forgive this transgression? The new version is nice too. I appreciate the dramatic build to the quiet vocals but once I hear that electric guitar lead during the chorus, my heart sinks and not in a good way.

Final thoughts:

- Two bands with two EP’s that you might want to check out.
- The Cat From Hue has a good drummer. How come he’s like “Where’s Waldo?” on Forgetters. What is up with that? Someone explain this to me.
- Slowwave played this show but I was unable to catch them. Sorry. We will meet someday soon.
- It’s becoming more than apparent to me that regional location has a definite bearing on musical influence. It’s more than the music you grow up listening to (or the shows you attend early on), it’s the general process and synthesization of your surroundings. Sometimes I have my head up my ass and think things are created in a vacuum.
- Us on Roofs: If you’re a four-piece now, show the other guitarist some love and put him a photograph.
- Kudos to Hannah Templer on the artwork for the Us on Roofs EP.

Us on Roofs Tour Dates:

June 17th - Bumberpalooza! - A - Sound on the Sound


This past Friday, February 18, I caught a show at The Vera Project in Seattle, an all ages venue in Seattle Center. It was definitely an experience. When we were looking for venues, it didn’t occur to us that “all-ages” also meant no bar and a crowd of almost all early college and high schoolers with parents in the back waiting for the concert to be over so they could pick up their kids.

Despite the new venue experience, we were pleasantly surprised by the whole night. The venue was picked purely on Myspace samples of Us On Roofs and Land Of Pines, leaving us with the thought of, “yeah, we could spend an evening listening to that”. Both are underage bands with ties to the Experience Music Project Sound Off! battle of the bands. The whole night was a refreshing confirmation that young bands are not to be ignored.

Land Of Pines was started by Evan Easthope and Kessiah Gordon with demos emailed to each other from their cross-country colleges. The demos turned into an ongoing EP series. Their show had all the jittery energy expected of friends playing for friends, complete with double drums. Unfortunately the more energetic dance songs which they performed are not available on their EP, but “Grow” and “Heart Grow Still” are not to be missed.

Us On Roofs is a more melodic rock band consisting of Brian Fisher, Mikey Farrow, and Nicholas Blodgett. Their sound relied more on structured and edited guitar melodies and they were reminiscent of Young The Giant with their earnest vocals. Check out their songs “English Pocket Mirror” and “In The Glow”.

Despite the inital shock of the venue, I am definitely glad I went. It’s great that Seattle has a venue such as The Vera Project for all-ages to experience and explore not just music, but also art and the behind-the-scenes production of concerts. It’s purpose is to encourage and empower young people to create community ties and social change. It’s a venue that Boston is lacking, and if had existed in Boston, would’ve been frequented often by myself and many others during high school and college years. - Review Artists


The sun was wearing loose purple robes all coy behind the trees, the chill from that morning’s argument wove between our legs, as you approached the gate. At your feet, the supplicating grass started to die as spring’s quick broadside found itself rudely rebuffed. So we said nothing as you got smaller, you on the road, Us On Roofs.

From Gig Harbor, Us On Roofs specialize in sweet vocal melodies that aren’t afraid to explore the shadows of those little garden paths down by the river. The result is uplifting and triumphant, a national anthem within the boundaries of your heart.

Us on Roofs take to EMP|SFM’s stage this Saturday in the final round of semi-finals for this year’s Sound! Off competition. They’ll compete against SEACATS, Subtle Like a T-Rex, and Great Waves, for a chance at the finals.

Should they win, they’ll face Candysound and Hooves and Beak, winners of semifinals 1 and 2 respectively, and a wildcard yet to be picked. - Seattlest


Us on Roofs, Gig Harbor
Sound: Indie rock
Time together: Four months

Guitarist and keyboardist Brian Fisher and drummer Nick Blodgett had been playing together for years, but when the bassist in their previous project couldn't make the stage, "biggest fan" Mikey Farrow stepped in. Now the dynamic guitar-driven trio plays catchy, impeccably structured syncopated rock that showcases Fisher's poetic lyrical approach. - Seattle Weekly


Us on Roofs, Gig Harbor
Sound: Indie rock
Time together: Four months

Guitarist and keyboardist Brian Fisher and drummer Nick Blodgett had been playing together for years, but when the bassist in their previous project couldn't make the stage, "biggest fan" Mikey Farrow stepped in. Now the dynamic guitar-driven trio plays catchy, impeccably structured syncopated rock that showcases Fisher's poetic lyrical approach. - Seattle Weekly


Us on Roofs: A guitar-driven indie-rock outfit that has shared the stage with like-minded locals the Oregon Donor and Conservative Dad. - The Stranger


Here are four things to take in for free this Thursday:

1. Us on Roofs (Sky Church). This Gig Harbor trio may not have won EMP's 2010 Sound Off! battle of the bands, but they clearly made a good impression on its Youth Advisory Board, who booked them for a return visit—a good sign for all-ages music. With an eight-track record (last May's Robes of Feathers) under their belt, Us on Roofs provides a relaxed, poetic brand of syncopated indie rock that builds on guitarist/keyboardist Brian Fisher's lyrical approach and an affinity for familiar, catchy, guitar-driven melodies.

... - Seattle Weekly


Discography

Us on Roofs - (Self-Titled) LP
Released January 20th, 2013
Self-released (Digital and local record stores)

Passage - Single
Released October 1st, 2012
Self-released (Digital)

Some Unrecorded Beam - EP
Released June 14th, 2011
Self-released (Digital and local record stores)

We Love This Comp, vol. 1 - Compilation
Released in March of 2011
Burning Building Recordings

Photos

Bio

“This four-piece Seattle band could be classified as shoegazey but will do anything other than make you stare at your feet. Their guitar-heavy tracks could be described as the lovechild of the instrumentals of Grizzly Bear and the emotional quality of Death Cab for Cutie." -THE OWL MAG

Us on Roofs formed in the late summer of 2009 in the wooded, seaside town of Gig Harbor. Born in the influence of Tacoma's garage rock scene, the band took form as a minimal rock/pop trio when singer/guitarist Brian Fisher brought some half developed pop hooks to high school friends, Mikey Farrow (bass) and Nick Blodgett (drums). With only a handful of songs, they made their way to Seattle sharing the stage with local favorites like The Lonely Forest, Lemolo, and Hey Marseilles as well as touring bands like SSLYBY and Sleeper Agent. Having gained exposure all over the NW, a growing, loyal fan base, and new member Wesley Williams, Us on Roofs began crafting new songs for their debut full-length album (due out January 2013). Drawing from a larger and more eclectic collection of influences, their new ambitions venture into shoe-gaze and math-rock territory while remaining true to their roots. This is music that requires both sides of the brain--partly due to the fact that the band represents degrees in both Creative Writing and Computer Science. They headed up to Anacortes, WA in the summer of 2012 to capture their new sound at an analog recording studio called "The Unknown" built in an old church. With a sanctuary of natural reverb and an arsenal of marching band drums, gongs, vibes, and other noise-makers, they crafted an album that took on a life of its own, exceeding everyone's initial visions. Their songs convey an expansive scale as the lyrics take you deeply into both sensory and emotional experiences. Us on Roofs’ musical ambitions are only growing and this album represents a fresh start. After nearly selling out the Crocodile in Seattle for their release show (1/20/13) and playing a live in-studio on KEXP (2/9/2013), Us on Roofs is busy playing shows, crafting melodies and building new soundscapes.

"Whether it’s through seasons or relationships, the entire album is a journey; we guarantee you won’t regret tagging along.” -THE OWL MAG

"This four-piece has filled out its sound considerably since 2011's Some Unrecorded Beam EP, and the result is its strongest set of songs to date, striking an appropriate balance between melodic indie-rock riffage and brawny math-rock passages" -SEATTLE WEEKLY

"The melodic, shoegaze rock of Us on Roofs’ live sound is one of the most original sounds in the rock scene. While being very much guitar-driven, Us on Roofs isn’t afraid to push singer/guitarist Brian Fisher’s vocals above the mix, where his introspective, nature-oriented lyrics shine. These lyrics are solidly backed by the elaborate rhythm section of bassist Mikey Farrow and drummer Nick Blodgett. Last year’s addition of Wesley Williams to the lineup has taken Us on Roofs in an entirely new direction, as showcased in their live set, further transforming Us on Roofs’ sound into a much more sophisticated, refined sonic assault." -SSG MUSIC

"a very energetic (laid back, when necessary) live performance. Backed by beautifully engineered tunes, driven by melodic guitar riffs, tight drumming, and catchy bass lines. Us on Roofs is a band to keep your eye and/or ears on" -OUR MUSIC MOVEMENT

"...lush guitar-driven, math-pop" -KEXP

Some bands we have played with:
-The Lonely Forest
-Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
-Sleeper/Agent
-Hey Marseilles
-Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band
-Lemolo
-Land of Pines
-Black Whales
-Bellamaine
-Nude Pop
-Learning Team

FIND LIVE VIDEOS, BAND NEWS, AND MORE AT: www.usonroofs.com

Band Members