It only takes a few Google or Bandcamp searches to realize that 90’s music is alive and well for milennials. The thirst for nostalgia has swamped the internet and integrated into the lives of young musicians, whether they realize it or not. This is by no means a bad thing.
It only takes a few Google or Bandcamp searches to realize that 90’s music is alive and well for milennials. The thirst for nostalgia has swamped the internet and integrated into the lives of young musicians, whether they realize it or not. This is by no means a bad thing. In fact there are a lot of excellent musicians and artists who have taken many a lesson from the likes of 90’s indie rock, post-hardcore, and punk. Unfortunately many people don’t study these genres so much as they do copy them, providing their listeners with nothing but a hollow memory of anthems come and gone. It takes a true artist to combine the sounds of old with a new and fresh perspective, a concoction that is applicable to the 21st century and beyond.
Lilac Daze, a Frederick, Maryland-based band, provides its listeners with a taste of the past along with modern sensibilities and situations. They demonstrated this with their recent set at Strange Matter during Fall Line Fest. The trio, which consists of Evan Braswell on guitar and vocals, Patti Kotrady on bass and vocals, and Matt Henry on drums and vocals, is a pleasant blend of punk and indie rock, throwing in a touch of hardcore for good measure. We caught up with them after their Fall Line Fest gig.
Making their debut in December of 2012, Lilac Daze have released three EPs thus far. Their latest outing, Sedated, was released on Black Numbers in July, marking the band’s debut with the label. “Black Numbers really helped us out with pressing the CDs and everything,” Brazwell said. “We’re trying to do some vinyl in the near future.”
While Sedated is the group’s third release, it has the feel of a strong debut record. Each song differs from the other, ranging from the garage punk-esque opener “Frederick Rock City” to the almost power-pop guitar riffage of “Kathleen.” All six tracks make sure the listener never grows bored. There’s a strong sense of collaboration between all three members, something Lilac Daze attributes to normal band evolution and coming together early on in the songwriting process.
It wasn’t until Sedated that the group started working together as cohesively as they do now, and Brazwell said they have discovered that such collaboration works best for them and will continue to do so. “On the first EP, each one of us would write a song and teach everyone,” Brazwell said. “On the second EP, we kind of collaborated.”
Photo by Michael Andrade
Although the thought of such intense collaboration seems daunting, Henry said the process is relatively simple. “We all kind of have… our own ideas,” Henry said. “And we’ll bring it in. [Braswell] will say, ‘Let’s do that,” or I’ll say ‘Let’s throw that down,” or [Kotrady] will add a vocal part.” Not only do they collaborate musically, they also collaborate on song lyrics. “We write some songs together, lyrically,” Kotrady said. “I don’t really know how that works out, but it does.”
It does indeed. The lyrics shift from straightforward storytelling to angst-ridden and cryptic, oftentimes in the same song. Balancing apathy with sincerity is hard to pull off when it comes to songwriting, but Lilac Daze is up for the challenge and then some. Yes, there are songs that deal with boredom and heartbreak, two topics beat to death in the music world, and yet there is never a moment when one doubts that they believe what they are saying. Brazwell takes credit for the storytelling-based lyrics, Kotrady the more cryptic, and Henry the straight-up angst. “I just write when I’m pissed off about stuff,” Henry said. “It’s like how I get it out, you know?”
Photo by Ally Newbold Photography
Given the sheer number of bands coming out of Maryland at the moment, one might think that Frederick is home to much growth. But to hear Brazwell and the rest of the band put it, Frederick has little, if anything, going on at this point. “I think out of two years, we’ve played [in] Frederick maybe like three times,” Brazwell said. “Which isn’t very much for your hometown.”
Henry, who used to live in a house that held shows, said that as soon as the scene in Frederick starts to build momentum, someone or something ends up shutting it down. “We’ll have a cool venue, it’ll be going, then someone will do something stupid and then that’s it,” Henry said. “Then they’ll have to wait like six months for something cool to happen.”
Thankfully for the rest of us, Lilac Daze isn’t much for waiting around. The group has made two trips to Richmond thus far, performing both times at Strange Matter. College and work will put things on hold for a couple of months, but in December the group will tour the south over winter break, and possibly release a new EP. Check for upcoming live performances at their Facebook page, and hear all three of their EPs on Bandcamp.