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UZZA / Blog

"When I am finished!"

That's the reply Michaelangelo would give to Pope Julius II when repeatedly asked, "When will you make an end?" At least according to the 1965 film about the painting of the Sistine Chapel, "The Agony and the Ecstasy". Well, our new album may not have anywhere near the artistic or spiritual impact of that undisputed masterpiece, but it's looking to be the best thing we've ever produced. The initial mixes sound great but there's still more work to do. All I can say is stay tuned. We're at the beginning of the end!

Mixing "Maya" (and more).

We took a short break for most of February and March to complete recording tracks for our second album, "Maya". I'm pleased to announce that we are indeed finished with the recording process. Ah, but now the daunting task of mixing looms ahead. The plan is to begin mixing in April and have everything finished by the end of May. If all goes well we'd be looking at a June release. Keep your fingers crossed! In the meantime, here's the track list for the new CD:

01. Dear John 02. Gone Tomorrow 03. Brighter Thing 04. Memory Void 05. Cover Up 06. Which Way You Goin' Billy? 07. Above Me 08. Freeflow 09. Backwards 10. Mind Frost

The last track on the album is especially significant because it's a reunion of Tabatha's previous band, Radium (who originally wrote and performed the song back in Detroit in 2001). "Mind Frost" has been in the vaults for over a decade because it never felt right to play it with anyone else. But a recent trip to Michigan provided the perfect opportunity to 'get the band back together'. Everyone was open, available and enthusiastic to record a definitive version of this 11-minute magnum opus. Drummer Dave Below, keyboardist David Krofchok and guitarist Dave Johnson reunited in a studio to reprise their irreplaceable roles and bring the song to a whole new level of epic-ness. Add to it Tabatha's lush vocals, Rich's tasteful guitar work and Geoff's deep, percussive stick work, and you've got a song that will evoke some emotions you never knew you had. The big question is how (and if) UZZA will ever be able to reproduce this song live. We have to figure something out because we'd sure love to play it at our CD release show in June or July. More details on that will be coming in the next couple months.

In other UZZA news, we'll be playing another show at Fine Line on Thursday, May 2nd. We don't have many details beyond that – other than we'll be performing with the brilliant Stellar Vector. We've seen them quite a few times but we were especially impressed the last time we saw them. Clever, catchy songs with subtly complex arrangements and executed impeccably. Between the two of us you'll have two really great bands to enjoy if you come out to the show. Hope to see you there!

A Quick Update.

Ah, yes, and there was much rejoicing. UZZA played a tremendous set last Friday night at Station 4 in St. Paul. Joined by Scarlet Mother, Geodesique, and Ficshe, the evening was a mesmerizing mixture of moody ambience and psychedelic spy music. UZZA is currently taking a break from live shows to finish mixing their second album – "Maya". Here's a link to one of the songs from that night, "Above Me". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GWD15-0yCE

Next Things Next.

Ah, yes. We played at the Fine Line on Wednesday and I must say it was a smashing succeess. Stellar Vector rocked through a tight set that knocked my socks off – their new material was especially impressive. A duo called The Night offered up groovy, hypnotic dance-eloctronia that made me think of a modern day Eurythmics mixed with Daft Punk. Geodesic was outstanding. Singer Lala Fairshadow delivered dreamy vocals despite being under-the-weather. By the end of the set she performed while laying down on the stage, yet her angelic voice never faltered.

As for our band, UZZA, we were, well... us! Oddly compelling and musically diverse. From what I've been told, we were damn good. Judge for yourself by watching the clip above or by clicking on one of these other videos for Brighter Thing, Dear John, or Still Life. We got lots of great feedback and sold a bunch of CDs. That's great, because we need to coninue funding our next album, "Māyā", which we hope to have out by March.

Hey, speaking of CDs, apparently our next show at Station 4 on February 8th is being billed as a CD release show. Let me be clear that this is IS NOT a CD realease show! I'm not sure how that happened. Like I said, our new album won't be ready for another couple months. However, our first CD, "Samsara", will be available for purchase that night (and any night we perform). If it's not already occupying a coveted place in your music library, get it because it will! You can also purchase it at iTunes if you're so inclined. But if you buy it directly from us you won't have to pay the hefty Apple markup – plus, you get the actual physical packaging!

Anyway, we hope to see you at the show next month. If not, no worries, there will be others – including a real CD release show. Stay tuned for more info on that and other UZZA developments right here at UzzaTheBand.com. Your source for all things UZZA!

A show that will live in infamy.

Last night at 7th Street Entry, we had the privilege of playing with three very cool, avante-garde acts: Ficshe, Scarlet Mother and Geodesique.

First up was Ficshe (aka Courie Bishop) with her seductive blend of lush grooves and etherial vocals. The presentation was modest – just Courie and a digital mixer – but the effect was anything but. Ficshe cast a spooky spell, hypnotizing the audience with alluring musical ambience. Closing your eyes, one could imagine scenes from a darkly romantic movie with a murderous twist. Sensual and dramatic, her set was practically trance inducing.

Next came Scarlet Mother, featuring the plaintive vocals of Sarah Rattanavong-Wash and the elegant guitar playing of Neil McKay. Their music is impeccably composed, rife with crafty guitar licks, undulating rhythms and dreamy melodies. Sarah has a very electric stage presence. She's like some eccentric ingenue – part bashful child, part wily couquette – with a haunting soprano that's delivered with raw, emotional abandon. McKay, on the other hand, is dexterous yet effortless with his touch on the guitar. He's a stoic figure on stage but his playing is rich and expressive. Not only that, but he makes it look easy! Bassist Jared Redbow rounds out the band and kept the rhythm pulsing with a solid, Adam Clayton-esque style. Scarlet Mother also gave the audience a special treat by performing a cover of Bel Canto's "Sleep in Deep". One woman in the audience actually shrieked in disbelief when they started to play it.

Our band, UZZA, was up next. On this I cannot comment. I really have no idea what happened. We all went on stage and then, the next thing ya know, it was over. Wha? All I know is what people told me after the show. From what I heard I guess we were pretty good. I would hope so! We haven't played since June so it's good to know we can still deliver the goods. The best part is that we had a great time doing it.

Then came Geodesique, who were celebrating the release of, not one, but TWO new EPs: "Eighty Eight" and "Smoke". Members Zoe Sakti, Oni Sakti and Lala Fairshadow performed a mesmerizing set of moody and evocative electronica. Their music has an almost meditative quality, built on mantra-like drones and textured keyboards. Singer Lala Fairshadow (Carla Haglund) has an angelic face and a voice to match. I was vaguely reminded of Lætitia Sadier from Stereolab – a cool, detached voice that, while pleasing, has a chilly tinge to it; like that of a disembodied spirit. Although some of her otherworldly quality may have been influenced by the fact that she was clad entirely in white (as was the rest of the band). A great look, a great sound, and a great performance.

Thanks to Geodesique for putting the show together and thanks to everyone who came out to see us! We hope to see some of you at our next show at the Fine Line on Wednesday, January 9, 2012. Once again we'll be sharing the bill with Geodesique as well as Stellar Vector and The Night.

New Shows, New Album Next Year.

Yikes, it's been a while since we've updated the site. That's because we've been completely focused on recording and mixing our next album. The plan was to have it out this year – in fact, now! But we got a little too ambitious and started to record more songs than originally intended. So, the bad news is we're not going to have the album ready until early next year. The good news is that it will contain 12 or 13 incredible new songs. I can promise you it will be worth the wait.

In other UZZA news, we've got a couple of shows coming up. The first one will be at the 7th Street Entry where we'll be performing with Ficshe, Scarlet Mother and Geodesique (who will be celebrating the release of two brand new EPs).

We also have a show coming up on January 9th at the Fine Line where we'll once again be playing with Geodesique, The Night, along with special guests Stellar Vector! We haven't seen those boys in a while so this will be a special show. More info to come. In the meantime, it's back to work on the album. Good grief, who knew being in a rock band demanded such a dogged work ethic?

Samsara CD Now Available at Down in the Valley!

Come on down to the valley, Golden Valley that is for UZZA's Samsara CD. http://www.downinthevalley.com/t-security.aspx

Located in the Pop category!

An UZZA-riffic evening.

Last night saw the triumphant return of UZZA to the stage. We haven't played a show since January – largely because of line-up changes and the fact that we're pretty immersed in recording our next album, "Maya". But all work and no play can make a band a little restless after a while. So when we were asked to perform with dark-rock luminaries, The Dreaming, we readily accepted. And, as the saying goes, we chose wisely. We had a great time and delivered a commanding, mesmerizing performance that people will be telling their grandchildren about. Okay, that's a little hyperbolic, but it was a pretty good show – despite the fact that we didn't have a drummer! Sadly, he had to work that night and, let's face it, sometimes our work must come first. Which reminds me, that guy on stage who looked like an accountant was indeed our bass player, Geoff Maas. He'd come right from his suit-and-tie job to perform with us. So, while he didn't look the part of 'rock star extraordinaire', he sure performed like one – with the sweaty dress shirt to prove it. That, my friend, is why musicians usually wear black. It doesn't show how sopping wet you are.

Hey, speaking of hot things. Kudos to the other bands we played with. Wither the Tide took the stage like a force of nature. The literally made the building shake with a brutal, take-no-prisoners, full-on musical assault. Sargent Avenue was a pleasant surprise – terrific musicians with a brooding, yet melodic sensibility. I hadn't know of them before this show but I have a feeling we'll be hearing of them again. They're also involved with some important causes. Check out their work with Traffic Jam if you get a chance.

Then there was The Dreaming. They were fantastic! Great musicians with solid chops fronted by a powerful singer – Christopher Hall, formerly of Stabbing Westward. The songs were heavy but not devoid of hooks. In fact, quite the opposite. These guys write good songs and perform them with studio precision. They were beyond entertaining, they were inspiring. If you ever get the chance to check these guys out, do so.

Thanks to the bands, Station 4 and all the people that came out to the show last night. We hope everyone enjoyed themselves as much as we did. Here's hoping we'll get to see you again soon. In the meantime, it's back into the studio tomorrow for UZZA. We'll post an update after tomorrow evening's session. Stay tuned!

What's that you say? A new show? Yes, it's true!

Although we're still hunkered down and obsessively focused on recording our second album, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to play a show with national artists, The Dreaming, on Monday, July 23rd at Station 4 in St. Paul. UZZA will be the first of four bands (which includes Sargent Avenue and Whither the Tide ) and will be performing sans percussion as our drummer is unfortunately unavailable on that particular evening. Damn you, gainful employment! To fill the void we're going to try a new approach: using programmed backing tracks. These days no one seems to mind that sort of thing. Still, it's uncharted territory for us. The problem is – if this works out – Tabatha might just fire the whole band and go on tour with an iPod. Honestly, who would blame her?

Back in the saddle – er, studio!

So this week we went back in the studio to begin recording our sophomore effort, "Maya". If it's anything like my sophomore effort back in high school, it will receive high marks while being wildly unpopular (particularly with the ladies). Ha! Anyway, let's hope for better with the album!

We've tracked about five songs so far with another six or seven to go. We're looking at this next album being around 10-12 tracks. We'll be recording on-and-off for the next 2-3 months, most of which will be done at Arctic Studios in Minneapolis. We're also pulling in some of our musician friends from around town to help flesh out some of the songs and give them a unique personality. We'll let you know who they are as things progress. However, we can announce that a good friend and former work colleague, Dave Campbell, has stepped in to play drums on the record. He's been a real trooper, learning a ton of stuff in a compressed amount of time. He's been great to work with and will likely be playing our release show sometime in November. Thanks, Dave!

In the meantime we won't have time to play any shows, but as soon as the album is completed we plan on spending the next year or so focusing on live performance. We can't wait to get back to playing live again – especially with this crop of new, upbeat songs. We hope you'll like them as much as we do.

..And we're back!