Wits End
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Wits End

Simi Valley, California, United States | INDIE

Simi Valley, California, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Pop


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Consequence of Sound review - Play it by Ear"

"There's no point thinking how good it used to be,” Tom Robinson of southern California’s Wits End cries out on the band’s song “Play it by Ear”. In a way, he’s correct. Everything, at one point, was better than it is now, whether it’s Pacman, the films of Kevin Smith, episodes of Weeds, or the economy. Wits End accepts the fact that the public perception of what makes for good music is always changing. They know that things can only sound fresh for so long. “A truly good song is like a pearl within an oyster,” Robinson tells me over the phone. “That’s what’s missing, nobody knows how to craft a good pop song anymore.”

Robinson is right. Pop music has been on the decline for some time now. I’m not sure how this is possible. There was a time when pop music was exciting and actually broke a lot of new ground. If you think Akon will be discussed and analyzed in the years to come, think again. Pop music of yesteryear is something we talk about all the time, and Tom and his songwriting partner in crime, Joe Peters, (along with his other two bandmates) have an appreciation for all this music. “I would spin tons of singles when I was 11 or 12,” Robinson explains, “stuff like the Beatles and the Kinks, that’s the roots of how I write.” When Peters talks about his influences, he expresses a similar story. “I grew up with my brother and sister listening to the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones, etc., but a lot of my influences were from the 80s and early 90s: The Replacements, Husker Du, the Pixies. That’s where I got my influence in being a tunesmith."

Judging by the bands that the two chief songwriters of Wits End rattle off as influences, they clearly have a great concept of pop sensibility, and they try to tap into this during the songwriting process. Robinson thinks the sound of each song is the most important element of the composition. “Sometimes I come across interesting chords, and then the vocal melody comes into play. Once that’s done, I phrase it all a certain way, and that’s when the lyrics come into play. But we try not to repeat ourselves,” he explains. “We’re pretty fanatical about making it sound as good as it can, having hooks right up front so it sounds like a classic right off the bat. The song should come on and people think, ‘Oh, that’s cool.’”
“That’s how good songs are written anyways,” Peters continues. “All the parts I write are out of nowhere. The last few things I’ve written, though, were vocal melodies before music. That’s just recently, though. I’ve gotten burnt out on the other method.” The songs that they have crafted are little gems that sound familiar but also fresh at the same time. There’s that sense of catchiness. Tracks like “Play it by Ear” and “Wait Around for Mason” contain smooth- and clean-sounding riffs over down-to-earth lyrics. But then there are tracks like “Someone’s Knocking” and “I’ll Call You Back” that contain the indie crunch that Peters describes as one of his prime influences. None of the songs go down-tempo, though. They’re all made to sound quirky, upbeat, and, most importantly, to really stick in your head.
While the band has recorded a couple albums and has a large catalog of songs, they enjoy the live show more than anything. “Live – we’re a bit more in your face and raw,” Robinson gladly admits. “It’s great to have that chemistry. We love playing live. It’s one of our strengths.” Peters even acknowledges that the people who know them don’t understand how ruthless they are live, referring to their friends who enjoy their records but have yet to catch their show. And that’s all the band wants, to deliver quality tunes to an audience of people who care.

“We do it because we love it,” Robinson tells me at the end of our chat. “We don’t necessarily want to change the world, but we’d like to just make some good pop singles. We never did this with the intention of getting famous and getting laid. We just wanted to play good music. It’s a simple fact.” It certainly seems like Wits End’s witty songs could become decent pop singles. Their songs are super-catchy and really fun in that bounce around kind of way. Their album Play it by Ear is a fantastic listen, full of catchy numbers that will surely pop into your head while idling or socializing amongst peers. Because that’s what pop music is supposed to do: stick in our heads. - Consequence of Sound

"Play it by Ear on Muzik Reviews"

Four piece group Wits End hails from Ventura County, California. The band is heavily influenced by 1960s’ punk pop outfits like The Kinks and The Small Faces and meld in a signature Californian flavor to their second album Play It By Ear.

The 12 track record is filled with guitar laden tracks that bring the big hooks intact. The first song from the album, title track “Play It By Ear” is a great mix of vocals and instruments accompanied by a strong melody. “ I'll Call You Back” and “In the Cards” follows and continues to capitalize on the combination with similar results. However this cohesiveness is lost till “From the Weed Patch” kicks in to save the day.

“Dishing Out the Blame” in the same way brings in great guitar riffs and solid instrumentals to the table and highlights the groups ability to capture that 1960s California pop sound. The situation gets rockier with “Someone's Knocking” which is more rock than pop, with lead singer Tim Robinson releasing his vocals in lively growls. This is similarly seen on “I'll Feel It In the Morning.”

Play It By Ear is certainly colored with a lot of nostalgic references with memorable guitar influences. However, the album suffers from lethargic lyrics at certain points that take away from the musical prowess of the group. When the variables align though, Wit’s End brings in some spot on performances.

Key Tracks: From the Weed Patch , Play It By Ear I'll Call You Back - MuzikReviews.com

"Play it by Ear review"

Play it by ear… I’d like to see that (hahaha… what am I like?). Wits End are a four-piece from Ventura County, California, led by songwriters Tom Robinson (lead vocals and guitar – though he’s not THE Tom Robinson of TRB, 6Music fame) and Joe Peters (bass and vocals), with Carl Britton on drums and producer Ted Scarlett on lead guitar and keyboards. A conventional line-up, playing conventional instruments - one might expect a conventional rock sound. You wouldn’t be disappointed. Taking their influences from the classic 1960s’ punk pop of The Kinks and The Small Faces (and a million garage-bound imitators), right through to contemporaries like The Hold Steady (I’m sure you’ll be able to fill in the gaps), they crank up the guitars and bang out their pop songs with plenty of heart and no shortage of Californian sunshine. Though a traditional power-pop-rock band, they bring some fine songs to the table. The title track brings to mind the sinewy alt. pop of the much-underrated Other Kids, with big hooks intact. “I’ll Call You Back” turns the guitars up, but not at the expense of the songs, and again, they don’t forget the barbs to keep us ensnared. - Leicester Bangs

"Summer Music Reviews 2008"

Wits End is a group from California that plays great classic pop rock. Every melody brings a great smile to your face and their catchy chorus's make you want to sing every word out loud. The guitar solo's are simple, yet they are incorporated into each song at the right time. The band's songwriting is simply amazing. The music and lyrics are both positive and upbeat. The tempo holds the songs together and keeps you rocking until the end. The effort they put into each song shows the drive behind this band and their passion for their music. Wits End is one song away from making a name for themselves, because the radio would gladly embrace this band as all music fans should.
-Metal Mark of AtlMetal.com

Copyright Target Audience Magazine-All Rights Reserved - Target Audience Magazine


Play it by Ear - Released August 2010



Wits End was formed by lead singer and rhythm guitarist Tom Robinson and bass player Joe Peters 3 years ago in the Conejo Valley. Soon after, drummer Carl Britton and guitarist/keyboardist/producer Ted Scarlett joined the band. We were influenced by many music genres, including folk, 60's garage rock, punk and pop rock. We liken our style to The Kinks, The Replacements and The Pretenders. Unlike the cloned power-pop bands of today, we stand out because we stay true to the traditional melodies and hooks of the bands that made this style of music great. Our latest album release, "Play it by Ear" can by found on CD Baby and iTunes.