TS10: Dream and Zombie

Time for a new TS10, my friends. Lots of ups and downs here, with a tip of the cap to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (I hope we remember you would have much preferred us fighting for your ideals more than just giving your memory a day…) and Dolores O’Riordan. One has certainly impacted me more than the other, but they are both worthy of remembering.

Dr. King, I will continue to fight. Thank you for your example.

Ms. O’Riordan, thank you for your art.

Album Releases, Artist Focus, Live Shows

Coming of Age: Thoughts on Adelyn Rose’s “Ordinary Fantasy” and Album Release Show

I make no bones about the fact that I am a big Adelyn Rose fan. I love their style, the fullness of their sound, the uniqueness of Addie Strei’s vocals, and the incredible percussion talent that is Dave Power. The first time I talked to Addie and Dave back in August of 2012, their debut album, Mezzanine, had only been out for a few months. Even though I, and many others, thoroughly enjoyed that album, Addie and Dave were quick to mention that the songs there were not really indicative of who they were as a band anymore and they expressed their deep desire to record their newer songs.

In Mezzanine and in the first few AdRo live performances I heard, I consistently heard great potential, deep creativity, rich instrumentation and textures, and emotionally intense moods and lyrics. They were, in my eyes, a diamond in the rough. The production value on Mezzanine was a little inconsistent throughout the album and some of the harmonies were a little loose. In their live shows, I couldn’t help but notice what seemed like a bit of insecurity or anxiety from time to time. They felt a little like a teenager trying to find out who they are. Nonetheless, I loved what I heard from them… and longed to hear them go deeper, stand more confidently, and record a truer representation of the creativity and talent that resides in them.

AdRo’s new album, “Ordinary Fantasy,” is an answer to those longings. What I hear on this album warms my heart. That’s not because of heart-felt lyrics or sappy sweet melodies. It is because, when I listen to this record, I hear a clear progression of the band and their sound. And, it is so, so good. I expected the emotiveness, intensity, textures, and instrumentation that I mentioned before. What I also got was higher production value, a fuller sound, and tight musicianship and vocals. The album is unpredictable and highlights what I consider the band’s greatest strengths: creative songwriting, unique vocals (lead and background), and incredible percussion.

My favorite song on the album is probably “It Means Shadow.” It moves and rocks. It is a riff and drums driven tune that should be playing on the radio. I also really enjoy the emotive “Press” and “The Wire.” “The Wire” is one of those songs that starts out quiet (yet intense) and builds louder and more raucous. I love that dynamic, and especially in that song. The album closes with what sounds like a declaration of independence in “Structured Hostility,” another song that builds steadily in intensity throughout, climaxing in Addie’s powerful declaration, “I’m done,” repeated several times. This album is packed full of mood and emotion: tenderness, edginess, sorrow, intensity…


I got to hear these songs as well as the other songs on the album live at House of Rock on Water Street last night at Adelyn Rose’s Album Release Show. They were so good. This was likely my favorite performance of theirs, not because of precision or showmanship (those things were there). I was enthralled by their poise and their confidence. I have always been a fan of Addie’s, but I felt like she was hesitant to be the front-person she can be. That was not the case last night. She totally looked like the face of the band, standing, playing, and singing with boldness and conviction.

And, Dave Power was… Dave Power. In fact, toward the end of last night’s show, there was a moment in which Dave’s drumming caught my attention and stirred me deeply. I’ve had spiritual experiences while listening to music many times over the years. Such a moment may come while listening to poignant lyrics (like those on Matthew Perryman Jones’s “Land of the Living”). Or, perhaps while taking in an epic classic, like Skynyrd’s “Freebird” (especially the guitar barrage at the end of the song). Last night, I had another such experience while listening to Dave play the drums. In that moment, his talent and passion were so apparent that I got caught up in what he was doing and I could see the God-given ability pouring out through the sticks. It was a breathtaking moment.

After becoming acquainted with “Ordinary Fantasy” over the last couple of weeks and experiencing the band live last night, I feel like I have seen something of a coming of age for Adelyn Rose. Their talent, creativity, and potential have always been evident to me. Now, the missing pieces are coming together. The teenager has become an adult and now has a clearer vision of who they are. Addie, Dave, Hannah Hebl, Leo Strei,  and Jaime Hanson should be very proud of what they have accomplished together. I still think the best is yet to come for Adelyn Rose, but “Ordinary Fantasy” represents a huge step forward for them, and I would not be surprised in the least if it gains traction outside of the Chippewa Valley.

Artist Focus

Adelyn Rose… The Best Is Yet to Come


(Adapted and updated from a post for Visit Eau Claire from 2012)

In my previous post, I mentioned the first time I experienced Adelyn Rose’s music. Since then, they have become a mainstay in the local music scene here in the Chippewa Valley, even winning the “Best Rock Band in the Valley” award from the readership of Volume One in 2013. That night that I first heard them, they were the opening act and played only a few songs. When my family and I had a chance to see them again the next summer, they were the main event, headlining the concert that night, and they have now toured various regions throughout the U.S.

Their growth as performers has been evident in the several times I’ve seen them since that first set. What has been even more evident is the potential for greatness that lives in them. And, I don’t mean that they will sell a billion records (maybe they will, and I’m sure they wouldn’t mind if they do). No, I mean there is incredible artistic and creative potential living inside of them, the kind of stuff that could produce some profound and meaningful art.

I also hear this potential in their first full length album, “Mezzanine,” which was released last year. It is not a perfect album, and the band would be the first to tell you that. I had the chance to meet with Addie Strei and Dave Power from Adelyn Rose shortly after it’s release. Addie compared the album to “looking at baby pictures.” I thought that was a great analogy. The album, in my opinion, is well worth the $9 or $10 you may pay for it, but it is only a foggy reflection of the greatness that resides in this band. Still, there are songs on the album that really speak to me. My favorite two songs are “Chords” and “Never Get Tired.” In “Chords”, the driving piano is reminiscent of what drew me to Coldplay’s “A Rush of Blood to the Head” album. There is an emotional intensity in these two songs and throughout the album. In this musical layman’s opinion, these two songs are worth the cost of the album by themselves. There is an intimacy and vulnerability in the album that certainly draws in this listener.

Addie said that the songs on Mezzanine were pretty old (at least to her) and are not even really representative of where they are now as a band. So, she and Dave both expressed their excitement about the album they were about to record at the end of 2012. From what I understand, they have recorded that album and are now working on editing and the rest of the finishing touches. I cannot wait to check it out myself… You can listen to the first track, “Primitive”, off the new album on their Bandcamp page: http://adelynrose.bandcamp.com/.

I’m really excited about the future for these guys. The next big step for them is opening up for Volcano Choir at Schofield Hall at UWEC next Saturday and Sunday (October 19-20). Volcano Choir is the internationally touring band including Jon Mueller, Chris Rosenau, Matthew Skemp, Daniel Spack, Justin Vernon, and Thomas Wincek. So, this is a great opportunity for Adelyn Rose to be heard by a larger audience. And, this can only lead to good things for them.
If you’d like to check out Adelyn Rose’s music for yourself or get more information about them, here are some places you can do just that:

Adelyn Rose (Spotify)