CITY OF ORIGIN: Riverside
MEMBERS: David Tetz (vocals/guitar), Paul Akers (keyboards, vocals) James Breker (bass) Trevor Monks (drums) Brian Kaminskas (guitar).
RECENT RELEASE: Half of What We Say is Meaningless (2007)
KINDRED SPIRITS: Belle and Sebastian, the Beatles, the Cure, Radiohead, Elliott Smith, a good read.
This may err on the deep-end of “usual” music consumption, but to wholly understand Riverside’s Winston and the Telescreen and rightly earn “album insider” credits, we’d suggest reading-up—unless you’re already as well versed in the classic backpages as Sting and, apparently, lead singer David Tetz. If so, the band’s name, which is a 1984/Beatles/1984 reference, may have already been decoded. If not, Tetz has compiled a study-guide—just check his MySpace blog. Of course, all this research would only cover 2007’s Half of What We Say is Meaningless. On the other hand, the album in-progress, Love Amongst Lepers, is a completely different set of stories featuring Ernest Hemingway, Milan Kundera and more.
“I realized it’s easier for me to use [stories] to express something broader than I can possibly express myself,” Tetz says. “I try to do it in a way that if you didn’t actually ever read any of these stories, the songs would still make sense, but if you did happen to read them you’d be like ‘Oh!’ and catch something extra.”
Keep in mind: Tetz isn’t chasing that “hipper than thou” title—he’s just an “old married dad” (at 26) finally witnessing his Joy Division meets Belle and Sebastian gig mesh. After 20-plus auditions, WATT, founded by drummer Trevor Monks in 2003, landed a bassist and a lead guitarist and called themselves complete . . . five years later. Now they’re attempting a musical high point akin to playing Spaceland—Tetz’s happily-ever-after—perhaps, one-day packing wallets emblazoned with Badass Motherfucker?
Two things are certain: WATT isn’t big on the “Telescreen” and all this literature simply sets the groundwork, providing a “frame of reference” or what we might call a “frame of life” for the average listener. Add an indie-ized, bat-caving vibe, linked to drunken ’80s Tuesday’s at InCahoots and it’s easy to see why WATT’s is an audio page-turner we can’t put down . . . err, unplug.
Winston and the Telescreen will be performing be playing Back to the Grind in Riverside on June 13th at 8PM