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Live Music Week happens bi-annually at WERS to raise money to keep our station running. We ask if you can pledge your support in order to keep us live on air, bringing you live performances from your favorite musicians. Pledges can be made here.
The WERS studio was crowded and busy when Stone Cold Fox stopped by for Live Music Week. With five band members and lots of instruments, the studio experienced a kind of organized chaos. However, the New York-based rock-pop group remained professional and friendly the entire time, and even seemed to have a lot of fun.
The Young, Stone Cold Fox’s first EP, was released in May of 2012. Its five tracks have a familiar yet refreshing sound, blending elements of rock with synthesizer and poetic lyrics. Each song builds on a common idea. “A lot of modern rock is simple stories about love in general,” lead vocalist and guitarist Kevin Olken explains. “We try to pick other themes and try to come out with a poetic message about that theme. For example, this whole EP was about finding a new home.”
Many of the lyrics off The Young are reflective and somewhat melancholy. Paired with the band’s upbeat sound, the result is unique compared to the over-produced ‘party’ music many indie bands have released recently. Olken jokingly describes his early attempts at songwriting as “depressing and mopey.” When he began working with keyboardist and producer Ariel Loh, the two were able to create a blend of poetic lyrics and cheery-sounding synth to create the tone of the EP. Olken says, “All of these songs are about nostalgia and the past. But it’s just referring back to it and coming to terms with it.” The band has found the perfect blend of sounds and words to express exactly that idea.
The first song the band played was “American.” Despite the small space, the band moved around and bounced to the beat as much as possible. The five members stood in a circle, all facing each other: Justin Bright on bass, Graham Stone on guitar, David Tedeschi on drums, along with Olken and Loh. Olken’s voice is very impressive; pleasant to listen to and reminiscent of classic rock. “American” is a song that seems very much for their generation, questioning the meaning of being young in America and wondering who even has the power to define such a thing.
The second song of the set was “Seventeen,” the band’s latest single off their upcoming album. Though the release date of the album itself has not been solidified, fans can look forward to seeing the music video for “Seventeen” premiere on MTV Buzzworthy on February 21st.
To close their set, the band played “Pictures,” also off their EP. Unlike their first two songs, this started off slower and quieter, but continuously built up to a very rock ‘n roll finale. While the songs on the EP are full of excitement, the band explains that they have an element of rock that can only be achieved when playing live. Olken says “Live, we’re much more of a rock band then we are in our recordings, which are more produced. That’s not to say one or the other is better.” Bright adds, “It’s nice to be both.”
As soon as the set was over, the band was eager to hear their recording and discuss the sound that had been captured. This is reflective of their writing and recording process, which is very collaborative. Though Olken does most of the writing and Loh takes care of production, they describe their overall process as a workshop in which everyone takes part. “Our songwriting is very hybrid” Loh says.
Stone Cold Fox is one band to watch. Not only is their music energizing for a listener, it’s exactly the kind of fresh new sound the music industry needs right now.