Westside Daredevils
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Westside Daredevils

Band Rock Pop

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Feb
13
Westside Daredevils @ Vinyl

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Feb
01
Westside Daredevils @ World Grotto

Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

Jan
25
Westside Daredevils @ JJs Bohemia

Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA

Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA

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This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


Westside Daredevils have been among the reigning champs of Knoxville's Pop/Rock scene for years, and the release earlier this year of the quartet's Twilight Children cements their position. With melodies catchier than the Hong Kong flu and harmonies that bridge the gap between the Pop innocence of the '60s and the Indie Rock sophistication of now (and production from former Superdrag drummer Don Coffey Jr.), Westside Daredevils show the kind of world class talent that Knoxville has been turning out for years.

- Cincinnati CityBeat



Knoxville’s Westside Daredevils will have to take comfort in the fact that they are reigning local guitar pop heavyweight champions before taking over the rest of the world.

They released their debut album “All Things Small Produce a Spark” on local label Lynn Point Records in 2002 and have relentlessly played live to bring their sound to the masses. It garnered local and national praise, and the Metro Pulse named them “Best Pop Band in Knoxville” in 2003.

They recorded the new album on their own, which vocalist/guitarist Jeff Caudill described as “not unlike pulling each eyebrow hair one at a time.” But Caudill valued the freedom of making the album on their own, he said. Former Superdrag drummer Don Coffey Jr. mastered all but one track at his Independent Recorders studio.

“Twilight Children” is a strong sophomore effort, the cohesiveness of which Caudill credits to the band’s collaborative songwriting process, which differed from the debut’s individually-written songs.

They independently released the album in December, and they are still looking for a record label.

With freedom comes responsibility, and they’ve learned it the hard way.

“That’s the problem with being independent. You spend more time doing business stuff sometimes,” Caudill said.

With the emergence of other like-minded local artists, Caudill is optimistic about the scene.

“Knoxville is in better shape now than it has been in a long time,” he said. “There’s a solid number of good bands.”

He also gives credit for the creative flowering to WUTK’s Benny Smith for promoting local music.

“[Smith] coming back has been a huge Godsend,” he said.

Two minutes into “Twilight Children,” they break into a Brian Wilson-esque harmony breakdown, proving they can hang with the big boys. The surprisingly long opening track “Think Tank” sort of encapsulates the Westside Daredevils’ sound: They can provide more pop than a pack of Bubblicious gum while never neglecting the beauty of a three-guitar freakout session.

The nearly five-and-a-half minute song cascades into “Chicks in Time Machines,” where they pick up the tempo and sing the anthemic chorus as if they were waving a banner from the top of a saccharine pirate ship.

“Through the Nevermores” treads Pernice Brothers territory, especially with its guitars’ balancing act and three-part vocal harmonies. “Green Hills (Black Holes),” which clocks in at 6 minutes, 23 seconds, is the longest on the album, and with its guitar harmonics and sleigh bells it sounds like the progeny of Sonic Youth’s “Murray Street” and Teenage Fanclub’s “A Catholic Education.”

“Aluminum Cans,” which swings gingerly like the Beach Boys attempting to play country, was a pleasant surprise for the band.

“There’s a lot of stuff going on, and we were worried. But once Tom Pryor recorded the pedal steel, it came out sounding better than we thought,” Caudill said.

The Westside Daredevils play March 10 at the World Grotto, performing the Pixies’ “Doolittle” in its entirety.

All site content © The University of Tennessee 2005
Website design © Jeremy Tunnell
- Zachary Zoeller - Art and Entertainment Editor


As indie pop bands become more and more abundant, it sometimes seems very hard to separate the good ones from the bad. Of course, "good" and "bad" are purely subjective terms, although there are a few things that we can all agree on. Poorly imitating Pavement or Guided By Voices - that's a no-no - and the "play it like you don't give a shit" technique is becoming annoyingly overdone.
But The Westside Daredevils - well, they're different.

They've mastered their own special blend of indie pop, although it's certainly not without its influences. There's a bit of The Go-Betweens in here, and a whole ton of The Flaming Lips, as well. Yet, the Daredevils never sound stale or done-before. Their positive attitude and warm, poppy songwriting carry a certain charm that'll keep the cd in your stereo for awhile. The instantly catchy melodies of upbeat songs like "Andrea" and "Careful Tom" juxtapose magnificently with the more moody tracks like "Miner's Shortwave" and "Mind's Cold Sweat"

Altogether, this album is a excellent one. The band displays an excellent grasp of a whole myriad of styles. If this album's anything to go by, The Westside Daredevils could become a big name on the scene one day.

82%

Matt Shimmer
- Indieville.com


Being a sucker for power pop, and a real sucker for anyone with the cajones to do something different, I'm knocked out by The Westside Daredevils. They clearly understand nearly everything there is to know about pop music and they present the elements that make us forget to inhale for a moment, like perfect harmony vocals and a million hooks, but they have a sneaky plan. They only wait one track for the hooks to grab you (and it's a safe bet they're right), and then they're veering into a very cerebral pop that is more dream than power.
The power returns from time to time, often building from the fading notes of something so dreamy you're caught off guard when the drums crash in. The mixes are loaded with acoustic and electric guitars, bass and drums, tambourines, shakers, keyboards, layers of vocal harmonies, what sounds like a circus organ and what I'm fairly sure is a theremin, not to mention a lead vocal, and yet it maintains an uncluttered feeling. At times the vocals are just a touch distorted - not enough to be annoying, but just enough to be interesting, which makes me wonder if it was intentional or bad engineering that became serendipity. I tend to believe it was intentional and the band's idea. There are so many ideas here that had to be thought out in advance. It seems clear that one or more members of The Westside Daredevils is a born arranger. The credits say "all songs written, arranged, performed, recorded and mixed by The Westside Daredevils," and as the songs were recorded at various Knoxville studios over a two year period and nobody is credited as producer, I think they forgot to add that to their list. Talent. Everywhere, talent.

Unless you live in Knoxville, you're probably not going to get much exposure to this clever band because the world doesn't seem to make stars out of the real talents. I recommend checking them out and following their career on your own. The music is your reward, pop fan.

[If you can't find this CD, take a spin to the band's label, Lynn Point Records. They'll hook you up.]

© 2002 - DJ Johnson


- Cosmik Debris


The Knoxville power-pop five-piece isn't a band that slips off the tongue easily when you're asked to rattle off a list of great local bands. They fly under the radar, lost amid the drama (Dixie Dirt) and showmanship (The American Plague) and spotlight (Scott Miller) and tradition (the Hector Qirko Band) of their East Tennessee peers.

But if there's any justice in the world -- or at least in this little corner of the rock 'n' roll kingdom -- that's all about to change, thanks to the long-in-the-making ``Twilight Children,'' the sophomore album by the Westside Daredevils that easily qualifies as one of the best pop-rock albums released this year by any band, anywhere.

You won't hear any of the Daredevils making that claim -- if anything, the guys would be mortified that any such proclamation might be associated with them. But give the album a listen -- or better yet, show up to Patrick Sullivan's on Saturday night and hear them play it live -- and you'll be hard-pressed to disagree.

Even if the Daredevils themselves do.

``We've all come from bands that were not very well known and possibly not very good, but we have confidence on each other and in ourselves,'' singer-songwriter and guitarist Brett Cassidy told The Daily Times this week. ``I have no freaking clue why we seem to attract some of the people in the scene who have helped us out -- guys like Don Coffey (of Superdrag) and Tim Lee and John Baker (of the French Broads); I'm just generally pleased that guys with that kind of background and experience appreciate our music enough to do it.

``It's not like they're getting paid to do it. I would guess they're doing it because they generally care about us as a band and as musicians. I'm just humbled and gratified that they do; it shows me that we're doing something right. We're not putting on airs or pretending anything -- the stuff that comes from our instruments isn't hugely different from the stuff we listen to in our car stereos.

``It may be that people just appreciate the honesty of it,'' he added. ``It's a pretty direct reflection of what we are as individuals, of the music we want to make and what we're all about.''

That sort of attitude has earned Cassidy and his bandmates -- Gray Comer, Jeff Caudill, Brandon Smith and Mike Daugherty -- honors as one of the most down-to-earth bands in the local scene, as well as the most talented. The band's debut album, 2002's ``All Things Small Produce a Spark,'' earned the band accolades from area publications for its outright power-pop sound, steeped in British rock and the hooks of artists such as The Zombies and Elvis Costello. The group formed from the ashes of other, lesser-known area bands in the 1990s, but the Daredevils' roots go back to their days at Farragut High School.

``We grew up watching local bands start up and maybe suck at first and then turn into something special,'' Caudill said. ``I like that about the local scene -- watching that progression and evolution, the inbreeding and trading members and the music that's made. I think it's right pretty, actually.

``Part of our success, I think, has come by virtue of being in the right place at the right time and playing the cards we've been dealt. I always felt like we had a pretty good hand from the get-go. People seem to have responded to what we're doing, which is nice, because when we first started, I didn't think people would care one way or another about us. It's nice that people have come out to see us and supported us through the whole thing, and it's pretty cool people have waited this long for another album and seem excited about it.''

Part of that buzz was built by the band's steady work at building a niche itself on the local scene, performing at The Pilot Light over a dozen times as well as at venues such as Manhattan's, Patrick Sullivan's and a few out-of-town gigs in Lexington, Ky., and Murfreesboro. Along the way, the Daredevils caught the eye of Jeff Bills, a former member of Knoxville's V-Roys and co-owner of Lynn Point Records. Lynn Point signed the band, and ``All Things Small'' was put out by the label.

``Twilight Children'' may have been a long time coming, but it's worth it. From the outset, the band puts the listener on notice that this is a grown-up version of ``All Things Small'' -- the sound is more dense, the instrumental work more complex, the song structures more mature. The three-guitar attack launches from the same pad before spiraling off in different directions, folding back in on themselves and shooting off at perpendicular angles before winding up in jangly unison to bring the songs to a close.

Combined with the harmony vocals, the occasional keyboard work and the rock-solid rhythm section, ``Twilight Children'' can't rightly be called a masterpiece, but in a scene where local outfits churn out album after album of material on a cheap four-track recorder set up in their bedrooms and basements, it's an effort that stands as a be - The Daily Times


Not Lame loves it when the pop bands that come our way don`t play it safe and, in the end, make a widely pleasing and easy-to-digest addition to our musical diets. Westside Daredevils cover a lot of territory in their 13 songs on "Twilight Children" bringing to mind, at different points in the songs here, Sugarplastic, The Flaming Lips, Ass Ponys, The Judybats(remember them?!), The Psychodots, Television, My Morning Jacket and The 88. Diverse? You bet, which is why it all works. "..doesn`t disappoint. It`s tight, jangly power pop with singalong lyrics and a sweet, happy vibe. Run right out and pick this one up. "-WBIR.com. "There is nothing small about their sound. The harmonies are sweet while the songs and melodies are generally smart and catchy like good pop songs are supposed to be. The harmonies sound like the best late `60s stuff from bands like The Cyrcle, or maybe Simon and Garfunkel when they`d bounce along to the 59th Street Bridge. One gets the impression the Daredevils are more than casually familiar with "Feelin` Groovy" and "Red Rubber Ball. Repeated listening reveals that the Daredevils cover lots of stylistic ground. The playing is fresh, occasionally edgy, and never enters the dreaded "retro" zone, although it is easy to recognize stylistic echoes from any number of outfits, particularly Flaming Lips and Big Star. Although they did most of the recording themselves, the Daredevils show considerable Beach Boys influence in their recording and arranging technique. "Rockzilla.net - Extremely Highly Recommended! - Not Lame Recordings


For years, Westside Daredevils have been among Knoxville's cream of the crop, consistently producing well-rounded material that occupies the razor-thin margin between broad accessibility and distinctive originality.
The band is catchy enough to excite the masses, yet innovative enough to escape the trademark criticisms of the everyday music snob.

Following the recent release from the area's self-proclaimed "middle guard," the Daredevils are optimistic about the future, which for them will consist of many a regional gig.

The band has an unmistakable sound and manages to give each song its own identity, a skill that has likely developed over six years of collaborative songwriting.

Westside Daredevils attribute tracks' variety to the conflicting outlooks of its mutual lead vocalists/lyricists, who give the group's catalog a sense of balance.

"We try not to impose limitations on ourselves with regard to style," says guitarist Gray Comer. "We try to be diverse as much as we can, all the different variations of white-male suburban rock you could imagine."

"It used to be (guitarist/vocalist Brett Cassidy) was a little easier to grasp, and I did the more fruity, surrealistic stuff. But we've influenced each other over the past five or six years," adds guitarist/vocalist Jeff Caudill.

"It keeps it more interesting and fresh for us to be able to have diversity from song to song, and it's a challenge to try to put together and write songs like that."

"Twilight Children," the band's latest release, offers something for local fans of present and yore, with all the "smart catchiness" of Knoxville legend Superdrag.

The Daredevils' association with former Superdrag drummer/hotshot producer Don Coffey Jr., who provides additional percussion and mixing talent on the album, further indicates the passing of the torch.

The Daredevils themselves are not overly prideful, but rather hopeful regarding the area's present stock of talent.

"There's a whole batch of young kids coming up that are really good," says Caudill. "It's good to see; it's heartwarming. We're not really old guard - I guess we're kind of middle guard - but the old-guard guys like The V-Roys and Superdrag have all been good to us and helped us out. There's a strong sense of community among bands these days."

After this month's handful of shows, the Daredevils' local gigs will grow scarcer until the start of the next school year as the band commences regional touring in support of "Twilight Children."

"We would love to be on a label at this point, and we're certainly making strides towards that," says Cassidy. "It's so crucially important nowadays to get your music out there as much as possible, especially in the region, or else nobody knows who you are."

- Knoxville News Sentinel


Any number of adjectives, from breezy to trippy, could be used to describe the Knoxville five. Sweet, but never to the point of being saccharine, imagine a more 60's pop influenced version of Kentucky's My Morning Jacket. As a wise man once said, "I know what I hate...and I don't hate this."

- UpBeat


Discography

2002: All Things Small Produce a Spark
2005: Twilight Children
2008: Brave New Nothing

Songs from all three albums receive radio airplay at many college stations across the country and Canada. Streaming songs can be found at www.westsidedaredevils .com, our myspace profile, Fresh Tracks, and Last FM.

Photos

Bio

Cobbled together from spare parts of several local staples, the Westside Daredevils formed in 2001 with the ambition of postponing adulthood indefinitely. As time went on, episodes of binge drinking turned into actual band practices, parts were written, chops honed, skills developed. Our mutual appreciation of loud guitar noise, well-crafted songs, harmonies and effect pedals begat songs drawing from a range of influences, with the only prerequisite being stringent attention to quality and aesthetics. We take our cue from the Pixies, Guided by Voices, Teenage Fanclub, Wilco, Elliott Smith and Big Star. We don't sound like any of them, we just like them.

"With melodies catchier than the Hong Kong flu and harmonies that bridge the gap between the Pop innocence of the '60s and the Indie Rock sophistication of now, Westside Daredevils show the kind of world class talent that Knoxville has been turning out for years". Cincinnati CityBeat

2007 Bonnaroo Performer
2008 MMC Performer (Harrisburg, PA)
2-time 2NMC Performer (Nashville, TN)
2-time Midpoint Performer (Cincinnati, OH)
2006 Sparklefest Performer (Raleigh, NC)
2-time IPO Performer (Nashville, TN/Atlanta, GA)
Best Pop Band: Metro Pulse
Best Local Release 2005: Benny Smith, program
director WUTK 90.3
"Heroes & Zeroes" featured on independent movie release "Geekin" soundtrack
"You Are the Universe" featured on 2007 Indie Music For Life complilation