Sound Scene Express

Exclusive: The Incandescents-”There’s a War Out (For Your Money)”

The Incandescents
“There’s a War Out (For Your Money)”-single
Released January 20th, 2017

By Duncan H. Ros

The Incandescents will be performing at Mr. Smalls on January 20th in support of their latest single “There’s a War Out (For Your Money).” WPTS Radio — an FM radio station airing from the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh — will be hosting the show featuring other local bands Surf Board, What’s Missing, Hear Tonight and Zeve. The trio’s single is part of a full length release Exit Wounds dropping this summer. While “There’s a War Out” has softer leanings reminiscent of backbeat driven groups like Portishead, the band does not intend on abandoning their heavy turn-it-to-eleven roots. “I love being as loud as possible,” said drummer J.J. Young, who noted sonically aggressive bands Fuzz and Led Zeppelin as major influences.

The group began in 2011 when guitarist Riley Urbano and Young, who attended the same school district in the South Hills, met at Rock U University, a project hosted by Empire Music for students aged 6-17. They rehearsed a set of rock covers and performed them at the Hard Rock Cafe in Station Square. Shortly thereafter, they formed their own band, rehearsing in a basement and recruiting bassist Giovanni Orsini, performing at small all-ages venues under various monikers and finally settling on The Incandescents as a band name. “I’m sure no one in the band would have a problem changing the band name,” said Young, speaking on the similar name of the Spokane, WA group the Incandescent, “but we’ll cross that river when we get to it.”

The band continued to progress while the members finished high school and entered college. Headless and Empties, two self released full length albums released a year apart over the past two years, exemplify their aggressive fuzz-driven melodically angular tendencies, low-fi production and DIY ethic.

Despite the challenges of Urbano attending college at Wooster in Ohio, 2016 has nonetheless brought many opportunities for the band. Most notably, they performed at the Strip District Music Fest and were featured on the Reimagination compilation hosted by WYEP. “We were the oldest kids in a group of kids with nine other acts,” recounts Young with a laugh. The band also released a music video for “You Wouldn’t Know” from Empties. Longtime collaborator Nick Prezioso, who has done music videos, graphic design and photography for bands and businesses that range from Doomsday Initiative to Primanti Brothers restaurant, produced the video. “He’s the greatest connection we have,” said Young, speaking on Prezioso.

“There’s a War Out (For Your Money)” speaks to the band’s ability to evolve, incorporating the wide range of each member’s musical influences. The tune begins with a decadent drum fill leading into minor key descending chromaticism, complete with wah-wah guitars and subtle vocal harmonies. The song title — and key refrain in the chorus — are a play on words from the Info Wars slogan (There’s A War On For Your Mind). While some, like Alex Jones, may see the future hinting toward an Orwellian dystopian police state, Young and his bandmates think that politicians and other powerful figures are simply after people’s money. Although the song brings significant political connotations, the trio does not aim to make partisan or political statements. “We want to be inclusive as a band,” states Young, “and we don’t want to exclude people because of political beliefs.” However, the fact that the band will be releasing the single on inauguration day may make it difficult for them to remain politically ambiguous, even if the music is simply based on individual observation and a reflection of current events. “As far as this next record being politically focused, I’m not sure,” said Young. “We’ll have to wait and see.”

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