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Meet the Oakland quartet Audrye Sessions. Their self-titled debut on Black Seal — available early 2009— is packed with polished, propulsive rock songs and gentle, stripped-down tunes with the kind of ear-grabbing melodies that instantly hard-wire themselves into your brain. Recorded with Andrew Scheps (U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Johnny Cash) and Matt Radosevich (The Hives, Taking Back Sunday), the album is anchored by Ryan Karazija's remarkable voice, which is whisper vulnerable one minute, roiling with emotion the next and easily slips into a smooth falsetto.
Audrye Sessions arrived when bassist Alicia Marie Campbell met Karazija, who was gigging solo in coffee houses after his previous band split up. His early musical loves included the Beatles, Metallica, Michael Jackson, Radiohead and Oasis. But Karazija's true love has always been slow-churning melodies ("My heart beats slow," he says), and when he hooked up with the Björk-adoring former model Campbell, it was time for a change. Looking for more players, Karazija hit Craigslist and stumbled upon Michael Knox, who answered a seeking-guitarist ad by announcing he didn't have a guitar.The outfit picked up the moniker Audrye Sessions from a commercial for a CD burner that happened to be on the television when a venue called demanding a name.