*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured State*
This month’s State is Washington!
After a week off, I am back with you here at MN. So we are off to Washington this month. Population of 7.062 million spread over 71,300 square miles in the upper, northwest corner of the continental United States. Known for its snow capped mountains of the Cascades and the rainforests of Olympic National Park, tech industry and cultural diversity in music, art and business, Washington definitely deserves a month in the spotlight. For my first SOTA lets head just a little north and all the way east from Washington’s capital of Olympia to Spokane and check out Elephant Gun Riot…
Elephant Gun Riot is a female fronted band founded in late 2012. Through 2013, EGR played a number of local venues and made a few line up changes as they grew into what they are today. Members now include Caitlin Rose on vocals, Zach Wirchak and Sean Ciolli covering guitars, Patrick Rooks on bass and Mike Lowe on drums. By 2014, they released their first EP entitled “Sic Infit” which included crowd favorites “Daydream”, “Battle Scarred” and “Crossroads”. They spent the remainder of the year playing relentlessly in and around Spokane, eventually playing with such notable bands as Sick Puppies, Lacuna Coil, Gemini Syndrome, Eyes Set To Kill, Otherwise, Devil You Know and Tantric. As a result, by 2015 EGR had earned its strips as one of the heaviest hitting, fiercest and tightest live bands around their home town. They continued their climb by playing with other bands like Buckcherry, Sons of Texas, Royal Bliss, We Are Harlot and 12 Stones. Through most of 2015 and the beginning of 2016, Elephant Gun Riot settled into the studio to write and record what would become their first, full length, self-titled album that was release in July of 2016. Songs include: “Tonight”, “Driven”, “Starlight”, “Hypocrite”, “Unleash”, “Burn”, “Tide”, “Wasteland” and “Rainbow”. The remainder of 2016 and much of 2017 are slated for an unrelenting tour schedule all over the Pacific Northwest in support of the new album and already sharing the stage with Like A Storm, Black Stone Cherry, Righteous Vendetta and Orgy with others to follow.
This band’s sound leaves me in a bit of a conundrum. There are so many elements taken from so many genres throughout their songs that attempting to them in a box would be criminally unjust. Hooks range from bell-like cleans to Pop-like all the way to Hard Rock and Metal riffing; all in the same same song, making every song very different, catchy and interesting while retaining the unmistakable Elephant Gun Riot sound. EGR’s songwriting is simply brilliant and complex with the clever use of drastically changing the sound by killing the distortion, dropping instruments temporarily, using atmospheric background sounds, just letting Caitlin sing, etc. with a constant tempo to keep everything from blowing up and going terribly sideways. Cagey and opposite the more common use of speeding at full tilt and slamming on the brakes to create a stuttering sound. Really cool style and smooth as one of the 76 still lakes around Spokane. Ms. Rose’s vocals are clean and powerful like, maybe Belinda Carlisle meets Joan Jett. Definitely a voice that would fit easily into every genre this stellar band pulls influences from. There are no weak links in the rest of the band either. Going beyond the obvious talent EGR brings to the table, the cohesiveness of playing such complex music is difficult at best and very difficult to do as well as they do it. Lyrically, Elephant Gun Riot stays thoughtful, mature and on the positive side of things while remaining pragmatic, sarcastic and hopeful throughout when dealing with personal strife or cultural frustrations that underlie most of their material. Elephant Gun Riot is one of those rare bands that have everything going for it. A broad sound that leaves nobody out of the party with relate-able lyrics and second to none songwriting skills. It is just a matter of time before EGR’s star rises all over the US and abroad. Too much good to ignore!
Both albums recorded and mixed by Bill Nieman at Rainbow Trout Studios and mastered by Lasse Lammert at LSD Studio