We Landed on the Moon!
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We Landed on the Moon!

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States | INDIE

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States | INDIE
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"TrebleZine Review"

So us kids who learned about rock music from Jem and the Holograms and never knew a world without MTV are all growed up and in/reviewing bands on our own. Little wonder there's been an increased influx of `80s inspired music lately. Out of Baton Rouge, La., a place known more for its sweltering summers and corrupt politicians than its indie pop, comes We Landed on the Moon!, a grammar-check defying group that melds `80s synth with new wave palm mutes and relentlessly poppy guitar riffs designed after `90s indie rockers like Superchunk.

The glossy mix comes out sounding like a lot of the bands that soundtrack the DRAMA!!! on The Hills, complete with very pretty female vocals singing about heartbreak. (I've always been confused by this choice, as I don't see Lauren Conrad and Co. actually listening to that kind of music. Wait, did I just admit to having seen an episode or three of The Hills? Shit).

In this case, it's front woman Melissa Eccles crooning above the din. These Little Wars, the band's second album, is a record about the tensions within relationships, though Eccles sings with the knowledge that these troubles don't add up to a hill in the beans in the grand scheme. In the opener, she sings literally from above it all: "Looking at pictures from airplanes / I wish the seats would fall right through the floor / And I wish that you would see it too."

Those vocals are We Landed on the Moon!'s most distinguishing characteristic. The ladies have made great strides in artistic recognition over the years, but it's still somewhat arresting to hear a woman's voice leading a genuine rock band. Eccles can occasionally sound too polished, like Kate Winslet's American accent, but she has an unmistakably sweet and clear voice that fits the band's sheen.

Having a chick singer undoubtedly earns We Landed on the Moon! lazy comparisons to Rilo Kiley. (Who was the go-to comparison for all female fronted bands before Jenny Lewis and The Kiley? Hole? The Pretenders? The Shaggs?) Nonetheless, WLotM! is similar to Rilo Kiley's poppier fare, but a closer gender-specific comparison would be that they're a more muscular Mates of States, or a more talented Rainer Maria. The band also shares a chromosome or two with The Killers and Ra Ra Riot's less Arcade Firey side.

These Little Wars may as well have been produced by a bottle of Pledge it's so polished, and that brightness and shine ultimately dilutes the band's strong individual performances (Eccles, Jon Kolich on guitar, John Lambremont on guitar and keys and Josh Nee and Spencer Johnson on bass and drums). The album's centerpiece "Happy Accidents" should be a tour de force, with its insistent piano and drums that build slowly into a stadium anthem, but listening to it feels like watching lightning on television: It's bright and exciting, but you're too safe to get a charge.

On the following song, a manic rocker called "Re: Your Letter," the band cuts loose. Eccles' vocals may sound a little forced and the pretty guitar licks are gone, but the group sure sounds like they're having a lot of fun. More of this would really rev up the Fraggle Rock Fan Club 20th anniversary dance party.

Similar Albums:
The Weakerthans – Reconstruction Site
Nightmare of You – Nightmare of You
Ra Ra Riot – The Rhumb Line

Elizabeth Malloy
02.11.2009 - Elizabeth Malloy


"Pop Matters Review"

One Small Step for Guitar Pop

This second album from Louisiana’s We Landed on the Moon provides a rush of hard-edged pop, dense onslaughts of slanting guitar cut with florid female vocals. There’s a 1980s aura hanging over the whole enterprise, from the shimmering guitars that recall U2 to the estrogen-fueled, new wave angst of Melissa Eccles’ voice. She’s a pop diva with a bit of edge, slipping American Idol-worthy vibrato into the long crescendos, toughness and attitude into the staccato choruses. A flute-y fluidity in “Vietcong” might put you in mind of the Motels’ Martha Davis, but the all out wail of “Re: Your Letter” is more in the line of Pat Benatar. Like both those artists, Eccles is a little too emotive, a little too slicked over with pop to achieve real resonance, but if you like super energetic, angsty 1980s-style tunes about failed love affairs and unsatisfactory men, this is your ticket. - Jennifer Kelly


"Advocate Feature"

2theadvocate > Entertainment > Music
MUSIC
Moon! has been giant leap for Eccles

We Landed On The Moon!/The Promise Breakers/The Last Caldron
WHEN: Friday, Jan. 23
WHERE: Spanish Moon
ADMISSION: $7

Click Image to Enlarge
NATHAN BORCK
We Landed On The Moon!




By JOHN WIRT
music critic
Published: Jan 23, 2009 - UPDATED: 12:05 a.m.
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Throughout the United States and the world, young women have played major roles in rock bands for decades. From the ’70s on, there was Heart (featuring sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson), the Runaways, the Bangles, ex-Runaways Joan Jett and Lit Ford solo, Pat Benatar, Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders, the Go-Go’s, Throwing Muses (featuring Kristin Hersh and her half-sister, Tanya Donnelly), England’s Siouxsie and the Banshees, Lush, Elastica, etc., etc., etc.

But not long ago in Baton Rouge, whenever Melissa Eccles told male musicians she wanted to sing in a rock band, they gave her the old girls-can’t-rock reaction.

“When I go other places, there are girl drummers, girl guitar players, girl bass players,” We Landed On The Moon! singer Eccles said last week during a joint interview with bandmate John Lambremont.

“It’s not a big deal,” Eccles explained. “But Baton Rouge is very different. When I first decided I wanted to be in a band, I couldn’t get anybody to play with me. I always heard the same thing. ‘I don’t want to play Dixie Chicks!’ Well, I don’t want to play Dixie Chicks either!”

Eccles’ musician parents schooled her in classic rock, the Beatles, Joni Mitchell and more before the Dixie Chicks existed.

“My parents had great taste in music,” she said. “I grew up listening to Heart and those vocals always grabbed me. I didn’t want to sound like a little girl with a sharply pitched, nasally voice. I wanted that deep, warm, rich voice like the Pretenders and Heart.”

Eccles sang in choir and studied voice with LSU faculty member Terry Patrick-Harris during high school. She took rejection from male rock musicians as a challenge. Eccles practiced singing rock songs they said she couldn’t sing, including Led Zeppelin’s classic-rock landmark “Whole Lotta Love.”

“By singing songs that people said I couldn’t sing, I discovered that I have a much bigger range than I knew,” she said.
“Her version of ‘Whole Lotta Love’ is pretty sick,” Lambremont said.

Eccles is still something of a pioneer in Baton Rouge. “Since I’ve been playing in bands I’ve always been the only girl,” she said.
By the time We Landed On The Moon! formed in 2005, Eccles had established herself as equal in the eyes of many local male musicians.

“I was lucky with this band,” she said. “They could come into practice and know right away that I was just as serious as everybody else. I can do my job, you do your job.”

Of course, band members, whether guys or girls, need creative chemistry. Eccles and guitarist-keyboardist Lambremont eventually found that with guitarist Jon Kolich, drummer Josh Nee and bassist Spencer Johnson.

“You can write with the wrong people forever and never come up with anything,” Eccles said. “But once you find the right mix, everything falls into place.”

We Landed On The Moon! released its second CD, These Little Wars, last month. The group members produced it themselves and Sage Saishorn, a friend who collects vintage studio gear, recorded it at an acoustically sympathetic house in Baton Rouge.

Not using a commercial studio allowed the band to linger on details. Eccles wrote multiple sets of lyrics for songs. Instrumental parts were rewritten and layered.

“There’s a lot of subtle stuff that, hopefully, people notice,” Lambremont said.

Nevertheless, songs can be overdone.

“I’d work all night,” Lambremont recalled, “and be like, ‘Hey, guys, listen to this!’ They’d be like, ‘Dude, that’s way too much. You need to take out half of the parts.’ ”

All five band members get songwriting credit because everyone contributes to songs and arrangements.

“We want everybody to feel included and invested in it,” Eccles said.

Mark Bingham at Piety Street Recording in New Orleans mixed These Little Wars.

“He was so gracious and patient with us,” Lambremont said. “We gave him a whole bunch of parts, pushed him to the bridge of insanity.”

We Landed On The Moon! took its show and new CD on the road last month via a tour of the East Coast and Midwest. The 14-city trek took the band through two ice storms and a massive power outage in the Northeast.

The drive from New York City to Albany was especially treacherous, Lambremont said. “Even if you’re going seven miles per hour, you skid if you break.”

“We were so tired, all crashing,” Eccles said. “Because it was freezing, no power anywhere and we were driving in the dark through an ice storm at four in the morning.”

After finally arriving at their hotel, the group found it had no power. Miraculously, the band from Louisiana found another hotel nearby that had electricity and vacancies.

Despite a few ice storms, the road has been good to We Landed On The Moon! Touring after the 2006 release of its self-titled CD debut (helmed by local producer Fred Weaver) made the band aware of the national impact it had made through college radio.

“We hadn’t known how much we’d accomplished until we got places and people showed up,” Lambremont said. “We’d charted in a ton of places.”

Sharing stages on the road also introduced We Landed On The Moon! to many talented but little-known young bands throughout the country.

“A lot times people shake their heads and say, ‘Oh, there’s no good music out there anymore,’ ” Lambremont said. “I’m like, ‘Well, if I listened only to what’s on the radio, I might agree with you.’ But we played with so many good bands on this recent tour. There’s amazing music everywhere, but you’re just not gonna find it on commercial radio.”

We Landed On the Moon!’s These Little Wars is available locally at The Compact Disc Store. - John Wirt


"Amplifier Magazine Review"

We Landed On The Moon is perfect for times like these. Wars, political strife, a looming economic apocalypse and climate change make it easy for one to lose it from stress; fortunately, with extremely catchy and addictive pop riffs, WLOTM wipes out the chaos, at least for a moment. Their debut album, These Little Wars, is handcrafted to suit any spontaneous dance party; at once both light and fun, while still finding room to wade among thought provoking and uplifting verses. Though the song intros suffer from repetitiveness lead singer Melissa Eccles’ austere vocals effortlessly bring distinction, combining with an overall edginess that makes for a jaunty listen. Perfect for a movie montage, these tunes are infected with such positivism that one feels the need to jump along. Album standout “Washing for Weeks” combines Eccles’ head-bobbing vocals and handclap-inducing guitar riffs with (dare I say it) a kick ass xylophone. On “Victory” WLOTM really makes one believe when they say, “Nothing is as important as you think it may seem.” Perhaps not completely true, but who cares? LETS DANCE!

--Pat Moran [December 22, 2008] - Pat Moran


"Blurt Review"

Releasing their second album, We Landed on the Moon seem to be finding their musical niche. With Melissa Eccles's lead vocals, the group has a throwback sound. Almost as if Blondie had ever sung indie rock songs; then, she would have fit in perfectly with We Landed on the Moon. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Feist also come to mind while listening to this sophomore effort.


These Little Wars begins with "Solitaire," a fun piece of power pop with an odd title but great dance beats. "The Night was Open" proves that meaningful lyrics also accompany the bouncy tunes, and Eccles's high register is a nice thing to focus on, singing lines like "the night was full of stars - take what wasn't ours." "Vietcong" also showed the deep side to poppy music, but clocking in as one of the shortest tracks, this one didn't mix the solemn subject with the beats as seamlessly as others.


The poetic story of a pack rat finds a hauntingly harmonized ending with "Washing for Weeks," a great little song that Eccles has fun singing and the rest of the group seems to enjoy performing. Every album needs a token break-up song too, and this one has the clever title: "Re: Your Letter" (which, for those of you currently living under a rock, spoofs the subject line of e-mail responses).The group also twists the idea of a fairy tale in a modern look at Cinderella with "Mirror, Mirror" ("running fast, leaving my shoes with my hands reached out").


A hint of Irish band the Cranberries also presents itself throughout the album as We Landed on the Moon give eleven solid tracks of immediate dance music with a deeper meaning underneath the guitar and synthesizer.


Standout Tracks: "The Night Was Open," "Re: Your Letter," "Mirror, Mirror" MANDY RODGERS - Blurt Magazine


"225 Magazine Review"

Writing great pop music is a balancing act, managing accessibility and personality in the right measures, and Baton Rouge’s We Landed on the Moon! has found the sweet spot on the see-saw with its new album These Little Wars. The strident songs on this record ripple with windswept, shuddering guitar and synthesizer as vocalist Melissa Eccles soars on an updraft of bittersweet memories, coyness and the occasional lashing out for resolution. It’s the kind of album that would fit the scene in a coming-of-age movie where the girl races toward her unsure future, usually in a convertible. With its sanded and polished edges, listening to These Little Wars all the way through gets a bit formulaic—mind you, it’s a good formula—but there is enough complexity in the arrangements to keep things interesting. And anyway, these are pop singles, any of which would be as welcome as a fresh breeze coming from your radio. welandedonthemoon.com
Essential tracks: “Vietcong,” “Solitaire,” “Mirror Mirror” - Alex V Cook


"IGN Album Review"

Somewhere between the rocking folk of Rilo Kiley and the punk side of The Pretenders is Baton Rouge quintet We Landed On The Moon. Like the two aforementioned bands, a killer female lead singer is at the front of We Landed On The Moon with a solid band in tow. Melissa Eccles has the pipes to really belt out the tunes, and the confident swagger to rock with the best of them. The fire in the roared lyric, "You're such a hitless wonder", on "Lovely" will stop listeners in their tracks, while the staggering punk of dirty riffed "Indian Song" and powerhouse conclusion of "Before The Lights Come Up" show completely different sides of her.



Thankfully, the band features more than just Eccles' solid vocals. The rolling beat and glistening guitars of "One Of A Kind" shimmy and shake under Eccels' sultry vocals perfectly. Stabbing reggae-infused riffs, think The Police, drive the bluesy "Simple Steps", as the simple, "I knew", hook haunts. Songs like the sinister slithering "Muse" keeps listeners on their toes, as the band spends much of the album shifting styles. Although they go as far as the plucky piano-fuelled pop bopper "Without A Sound", they never loose their footing. From the straight-forward punk of "Head Shot" to the swirling guitar-driven rock of "Everything Is Fine", We Landed On The Moon sound like a confident band with wide ranging influences rather than one searching for their sound.

The only complaint to make regarding We Landed On The Moon is just how hard the self-released gem it is to find. The brilliantly diverse listen is worth seeking out online, as they will not be hard to find for very long.


http://music.ign.com/articles/776/776886p1.html - IGN


"Frantik Magazine Review"

Are you ready to dance over some 90's-esque pop-rock grooves? Well get your dancing shoes out and throw on your indie spirit sweater and dance your ass off to 'These Little Wars.' We Landed On The Moon! have crafted an indie pop-rock album that reminds me of the days when indie music was carving an alcove in the underground. Vocalist Melissa Eccles is part to blame for the awesome energy and spirit of We Landed On The Moon! with her energetic vocal carting and undeniable talent on the microphone. With that said, the band's creative frame and composition complete the magical sound that radiates from these young talented musicians. Track 6 'Happy Accidents' is the icing on the cake while 'Solitaire' would obviously be the cherry on top. All other tracks on the record have their moments and definitely round out the good parts of the album. Aside from the considerable amount of good songs on the album, I feel that the best has yet to come. With talent that We Landed On The Moon! possess, 'These Little Wars' is a preview of what's to come, two to three albums from now. Overall, This album is hot, fun loving and ready to be adored by your silly ol' willful ears. Get your ass in gear and pick up your copy of 'These Little Wars!' - Glan Erguiza


"Incendiary Magazine"

Oh bollocks. Ever since the Killers and Razorlight reminded us of just how shit it was to be a teenager in the 1980’s I’ve tried my best to avoid anything that has “80s pop influenced rock record” written about it and this album is one of those. That’s not to say that all 80’s music is shit, it isn’t, but for every Echo and the Bunnymen there was a Haircut 100 and Haircut 100 always got more radio play, as did Duran Duran. Needless to say, I didn’t fancy listening to another New Romantic Wave type, synth led album of pompous, shallow stadium rock, but here’s the thing, somewhere near the end of track two this lot won me over, which is pretty good going for me. For starters, they have a female singer who sounds a little bit like that lass from Texas, which is nice as she can actually sing. Secondly, and here’s the main thing, it’s nowhere near as polished as that shit The Killers are peddling. Yes, there are synthesisers pushing guitar lines into stadium rock anthem territory, but its sounds like it’s held together with duct tape and loose copper wire, which is bloody brilliant. Their sound is big, loud and completely over the top, but there’s just enough of the WD-40 leaking out to stop you from wanting to vomit. I’ll be honest, I think this is a great little album, one that I’ll be dancing round the living room to when I’m trying to avoid having to do any work. I suggest you give it a chance, because if you buy this then we may well be able to get rid of Johnny White Trousers and Brandon Pathetic Facial Hair and company for good. - Damian Leslie


Discography

UPCOMING: This Will Be One For the Books (Oct. 2010)
These Little Wars (Fall 2008)
* Amplifier Magazine Album of the Week
We Landed on the Moon LP* (2006)
*CMJ Top 20 Most Added
*CMJ Top 200
*IGN Editor's Choice Award
*#5 Most Intriguing Album of 2006
"Everything is Fine", "Before the Lights Come Up", "Simple Steps"
Kill Ralphie EP (2005)

Photos

Bio

WE LANDED ON THE MOON!

We Landed on the Moon! is John, Melissa, Alex, Jon and Spence.

Once upon a time, they made their first album, We Landed on the Moon! and then, by dumb luck or perhaps because of the tasty astronaut ice cream they gave with each record, radio stations across the country played it. People clapped and cheered and whistled at their Baton Rouge shows (those who could whistle)- enough that they decided to go play shows for far away people in a van that ran out of freon every hundred miles or so.

They became experts on convenience stores across the country. They sang and played and danced and drank, and learned things that you just don't learn at home- that the cops in NYC's Chinatown are surprisingly civil even if your host wants to throw a microwave out his front door at 4 am, and that there's no tougher walk than dragging your equipment across the crowded sidewalks of SXSW. They got to play music in Toronto and DC and all sorts of cities they wanted to see, and they got to do it together.

And even more amazingly, people started showing up to sing their songs with them everywhere they went. In Dec of 2008, they released their 2nd record, These Little Wars. It was named Album of the Week by an Italian music webzine. This made the band want to make even more music, and to eat pizza.

We Landed on the Moon's new record "This Will Be One for the Books" is the perfect storm of 8 months of frenzied music writing, the band's energetic live show, and the blistering fun of what happens when people really enjoy making music together. Recorded in six blissful days at Fudge Studios in New Orleans, the record will be flying into your eardrums in October 2010.

We Landed on the Moon! just finished successful shows at the CMJ Music Festival in NYC (2009) and the world renowned Voodoo Music Experience in New Orleans. Also check out their performance on Toyota Free Yr Radio. They will be on the road July and August visiting the West Coast.

Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_2X_953Fm4

http://www.myspace.com/welandedonthemoon