When we last saw NIGHT RIOTS, the Los Angeles-based quintet was touring in support of Howl, their critically acclaimed EP featuring the hit single “Contagious,” which shot to No. 1 on SiriusXM’s Alt Nation while amassing over 4.5 million streams.
The EP drew comparisons to The Cure (MTV) and The Killers (Earmilk), was described as “new wavey bliss” (Billboard) and saw the band praised for their “anthemic, synth-laden rock” (Spin).
The band (vocalist Travis Hawley, bassist Mikel Van Kranenburg, guitarists Nick Fotinakes and Matt DePauw and drummer Rico Rodriguez) played hundreds of shows in support, sharing stages with the likes of Lana Del Rey, Morrissey, Cage The Elephant, Walk The Moon, OK Go, The Mowgli’s, Angels & Airwaves and many more, while also garnering praise from the likes of KCRW, Huffington Post, KROQ, All Things Go, Nylon and AV Club, among others.
A year later they’ve returned with the much-anticipated LOVE GLOOM, produced by Joe Chiccarelli (Morrissey, Spoon, The Strokes) and recorded at Sunset Sound in Los Angeles.
“We were in the same room where Zeppelin recorded ‘Whole Lotta Love,’ says vocalist Travis Hawley. “It was pretty amazing to come in each day and walk through a hall filled with gold records and see pictures of Jim Morrison sitting at the console where we mixed. We even had the occasional celebrity sighting, like the time Mikel bumped into Lenny Kravitz and his procession of supermodels. He flashed a peace sign, said “what’s up” and sauntered off, his scarf dancing on the ground behind him as he walked. It was inspiring,” he muses.
As for the album’s production, Hawley says, “Love Gloom was a first for us in a lot of ways. In the past we had always taken a more paced stance on recording, tracking a few songs, taking a break and then writing more. This time we wrote and wrote and wrote until we had a huge collection of songs. We then refined and rehearsed them at our home studio until we felt like an album was speaking to us.
We live in a time where through the aid of computers, music and art can be digitally squeezed, quantized, pitch-shifted, wrapped in cool packaging and shoved out into the market. But Joe Chiccarelli urged us to leave the nuances, take risks and let the music be real. When we discussed records that inspired us we realized that they were vulnerable, with flaws and eccentricities that made us able to connect not only to the music as a whole but to the players performing as individuals. And we wanted that. It was important to us that our music be as real as possible and to allow our individual personalities to combine to create the whole.”
The result is LOVE GLOOM, an album Buzzbands described as “the sound of urban desperados wandering rain-slickened streets, hearts playing tug-of-war with hope and despair.”
Among the album’s many highlights is “Nothing Personal,” “Fangs,” “Breaking Free,” and “Don’t Kill The Messenger,” all part of a collection of songs filled with moody-but-danceable melodies and atmospheric arrangements.
“The music and the title LOVE GLOOM is about a collision of emotions,” says Hawley. “It’s when you need love and can’t find it. It’s the sickness of wanting someone and not knowing if they feel the same way. It’s the tearing of a breakup and the coldness of a partner during a fight. We wanted to create an album that’ll make you feel ecstasy and despair,” he smiles, “like you’re climaxing and suffocating at the same time.”
On paper, it’s an unlikely union, but isn’t that the case with all of your favorite rock bands?
Los Angeles based Silent Rival—Sara Coda [vocals], Joz Ramirez [guitar], and Yutaka Sao [bass]—claim three different countries and exponentially more musical sensibilities. Born and raised in Orange County, Coda channels the soul of Gladys Knight through Steven Tyler-style swagger and bravado. Hailing from Mexico, Joz draws heavily on nineties British garage-rock punctuated by just the right amount of glam, while Yutaka crossed the Pacific from Japan in order to follow his musical dream.
Each one brings something distinct, dynamic, and definitive to the fold (Think Gwen Stefani fronting Imagine Dragons produced by Mark Ronson).
The singular magic these musicians conjure on their independent debut The Kindness of Strangers [Listen Loud Records] has quietly sent aftershocks far beyond West Hollywood, where they’re based. International radio tastemaker KROQ began spinning their introductory single “Die A Little,” while Alternative Press touted it among the “29 Songs You Need To Hear This Week.” Further acclaim has come from New Noise Magazine, Tattoo.com, and many more. In addition, they continue to criss-cross the country on national tours with the likes of Night Riots & Frank Iero and The Patience,, among others, including a highly coveted slot on KFMA Fall Ball in Tucson, AZ alongside Thrice, Dreamers, Welshly Arms & Juiceboxxx.
A shared infinite sense of drive rallies these four musicians together.
“Initially, we bonded over how important it was to make quality music and succeed at it,” exclaims Sara. “From the beginning, it was all about how driven we were, how passionate we were, and how much time we were willing to set aside for music.”
“There’s a really great chemistry,” agrees Joz. “I write the music and melodies, and Sara writes the lyrics. Yutaka adds his own element. As a leader, Sara has a lot of energy and this mystical side to her that you don’t see in other people. It’s very new school.”
Producer Matt Wallace [Maroon 5, Sugarcult, Andy Grammer, Faith No More] instantly caught on to that. In 2016, they recorded what would become The Kindness of Strangers with Wallace behind the board and Neil Avron [Twenty One Pilots, blink-182, Misterwives] mixing. “Hollywood” introduces the album with a rush of acoustic guitars and Sara’s skyscraper-size pipes crooning, “Hollywood is burning,” in between a surf-inspired twang that wouldn’t be out of place on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. Inspired by an underground gig in an old Detroit house amidst boarded-up, yet gorgeous old churches, “Find Them Beautiful” sways from neon disco-style synths into a danceable hook.
Meanwhile, the single “Die A Little” charges ahead at full speed on galloping guitars before an unshakable chant.
“It’s about the thrill of taking risks,” she elaborates. “We’re risk takers. That’s our philosophy. The risks that we’re taking with music are worthwhile.”
As Silent Rival ready their second release for Summer 2018, their chemistry will undoubtedly solidify their place amongst modern rock’s vanguard.
Joz concludes, “It’s really cool that this band could bring together people from different backgrounds to create something unique. The fact that we get to travel around together and play shows to fans together, there’s nothing more fulfilling than that.”
“We’re not trying to sell or push anything,” Sara leaves off. “We don’t want to tell you what to think, believe, or how to live your life. It’s just music. Hopefully, you enjoy it. We know that we do, and we will continue to do it regardless of what others deem success.”