Escape from the Heart of Darkness
In today's brand before band, corporate-driven music landscape, it's too easily forgotten that not so long ago, the top groups made their mark on the road first, earning fans with substance over stylization. Brazenly defying the current crowd of canned poprockers and creating impassioned, pertinent music on their own terms, New York City's Jason Liebman & The Uprising are making their mark the old fashioned way, bringing enough musical muscle, onstage swagger and beholden-to-no-one rebel spirit to chase down the ghosts of heroes past. Only three years ago, Jason Liebman, guitarist, singer/songwriter and a mainstay on the legendary New York City rock club scene since the age of seventeen, began branching out from the shadows of bands past to make a name for himself as a solo performer. Through audience word-of-mouth and some early rough demos, these shows quickly grew to a happening. By the end of that first year, Liebman began performing with a trio that included multifaceted bass player / vocalist Aaron Wolfe; Wolfe would eventually become Jason's longest-running musical collaborator to date and a founding member of The Uprising. Appearing under Jason's name, the trio expanded their NYC base to packed houses at well-known downtown rooms such as Mercury Lounge, Arlene Grocery and The Continental. In June of '02, Liebman released his debut LP, The Driest Of All Seasons, on his own independent label, For The Artist Records. An auspicious introduction, the album received rave reviews from music industry mainstays, alternative 'zines, national, regional and local press alike. The Driest Of All Seasons also became a radio success without the benefit of national distribution or major promotional support. Within four months of the release, over 200 east coast college, public and commercial radio stations from Maine to Virginia Beach had added the album to their regular rotation. Driest earned a 'Best Of 2002' nod from Long Island's WLIU, a dominant regional station in the New York area, and charted at CMJ. The album continues to receive strong radio airplay (as reported by BMI). With the initial groundswell of success, Liebman and company hit the road behind The Driest Of All Seasons in spring 2003. The lineup now included guitar phenom, Jon Lundbom, who cut his teeth in Chicago's storied improvisational music scene before relocating to Brooklyn in 2001, as well as new drum/percussion powerhouse, Andrew Bain, native Scotsman and graduate of the UK's renowned Guildhall School of Music and Manhattan School of Music. Averaging 25 shows a month, the aptly named, 'New Sound Tour,' expanded into a circuit of Northeast and mid-Atlantic cities including Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Providence and Richmond. One blazing live performance after another earned the group growing buzz status in club and college venues from Virginia Beach to Maine and a fan list in the thousands. No longer a solo project with a supporting cast, the bandmates declared themselves The Uprising in late 2003. Their independent, no apologies style informs The Uprising's work ethic offstage as much as on. Though unsigned, they have garnered strong relationships with some of the country's biggest music retailers. Tower Records, Virgin Megastore and Borders Books & Music locations in the band's regular tour stops not only stock Uprising records, but host regular in-store performances and related promotions. The Uprising also add to the punch with multiple acoustic performances at coffeehouses and art spaces on every tour stop; these shows have become events in their own right, a testament both to the breadth of the songs and the band's sheer musicality. Now, with the release of their debut band EP, Escape From The Heart of Darkness, the distances Jason Liebman & The Uprising have traveled separately and collectively, are apparent. Put on the headphones. Close your eyes. From the resounding 3-chord salvo that opens the first of four tracks, 'Radio,' to the sobering finale, 'Hated,' Escape is at once affirming and deceptive, lulling but forceful. Balancing atmosphere with momentum, even the most visceral Uprising rockers pulse with grace and subtlety - heady riffs, infusive rhythms, cyclonic leads - while Liebman's singular octave-leaping falsetto, paved with just the right amount of asphalt, skims across the surface. Produced and recorded in Brooklyn indie mecca, Vibromonk Studios, by Tamir Muskat (Big Lazy, Firewater) and Dan Shatzky and mastered by twotime Grammy winner, Seth Foster, Escape From the Heart of Darkness is as timeless as the band's feetto- the-pavement touring style.