CLEVELAND FREE TIMES: Ten Bands To Watch In 2008 - January 2nd, 2008
Hard-rocking veteran guitarist/producer Don Depew (Breaker, Cobra Verde) taps into his '70s power pop side on the Living Stereo's debut, which he produced and plays on. The band, which also includes singer-keyboardist Brandon M. Abate, guitarist Brent Ferguson, drummer Brian Contento and bassist Jeff Deasy, all regulars from the local hard rock scene, recalls a wide range of retro acts on its fantastic debut, Introducing Living Stereo. You can hear shades of This Year's Model-era Elvis Costello in the organ-driven rave-up "Stammer," and the unhinged, hiccuping vocals in "No Life Crisis" and "Stop Now" are bolstered by blistering guitar leads that pack the same ferocity as the garage punk of the Stooges. Sharp melodies and stellar guitar work make this one of last year's more notable local releases. The band's motto is "Come on, you're not too cool to dance" (a line taken from the tune "Dance"), and the jumpy songs on Introducing Living Stereo are so addictive, it would be hard not to shuffle your feet to them. - Jeff Niesel
_ _ _ _
Upstaging the band you support isn't easy, but it comes naturally for Cleveland quintet Living Stereo. Taking to the stage with a brief instrumental that sounds like one of the Who's outtakes, the band does everything short of swinging from the rafters to get the audience's attention. Bubbling with a generous dose of volatile energy for spice, it's a reminder of what shows were like before shoegazing hipsters took over. With shades of the Jam, the Who, and Iggy and the Stooges woven through its set, Living Stereo harks back to the pre-grunge, pre-hair-metal days of rock and roll, landing somewhere between the ultimate garage band and '60s mods on speed. By the time the set ends with a punk-tinged number, Living Stereo has packed almost 15 years' worth of sounds into 30 minutes.
By Katherine Fulton
Published: September 13, 2006 in Scene Magazine
Usually, you'll find a CD review in this weekly space we deem Cool Cleveland Sounds. But every once in a great while, an act will light up this reviewer's ears and inspire the flat-out rejection of traditional album review conventions. Such is the case with Mod-inspired rockers Living Stereo, who recently opened up for Josh Homme's garage rock outfit, Eagles of Death Metal, at the Agora Ballroom. Living Stereo features a venerable "who's who" of musicians who have graced bands ranging from Cobra Verde and Guided By Voices, to Sidecar, Jimmy Zero's Lesbianmaker, Lives of the Saints and others. They've been around, but never quite like this.
Like Mod-drenched national headliners Head Automatica, this quintet makes no bones about the infectious, hip-shaking grooves it aims for. They start with that quintessential R&B backbeat that launched the British Invasion (the Beatles, the Who and the Kinks come to mind) and construct a peppery punk/new wave explosion around that foundation with a sound that recalls Mod revivalists The Jam. Then, when it seems it couldn't get any tastier, they lace everything with a bit of the Stooges, Elvis Costello, Wire and XTC -- sans that Partridge stage fright. Nothing about these 5 guys qualifies as "shy" when they're on stage.
The results are fun, fresh, inventive... and you can't leave a gig of theirs without a smile on your face. It's obvious that Brandon Abate (vox), Brent Ferguson (guitar), Brian Moon (drums), Jeff Deasy (bass) and Don Depew (guitar) just love what they're playing. No going through the motions with these guys. Just pure tasty licks and attitude. If these guys don't break out of Cleveland, I would be inspired to start buying airline tickets for record executives -- one way, to CLE -- if such gestures even matter in the Internet Age, that is. I love this band and I can't wait to hear this new effort they're working on together. Stay tuned to these pages for more info.