Airplayfree Wolverine Single with Purchase!!!
Drinking Leinie's Original from a can, Ebb-N-Flow bassist Terry Hackbarth asks if anyone minds watching Seinfeld instead of VH1. Matt Segedy looks up from tuning his twelve-string acoustic, nodding noncommittally. The black leather on the huge, plush chair squeaks as Hackbarth gets up to adjust the television set. We're in Bay View, at Studio Z. The bells of St. Josephat's Basilica sound calmly through the balmy night air, but are soon inaudible as Matt Koller begins warming up on the drum set in the next room, the recording studio. Tonight, Ebb-N-Flow are layin' down tracks for their first big time gig. Their quest to make 'timeless pop melodies' has taken a short detour; they've been commissioned to write a Toonami Tune for the Kids' WB about 'X-Men' character Wolverine. For those who aren't followers of comic book characters - or of after-school cartoons - this doesn't necessarily signify that America's Next Big Thing will be Ebb-N-Flow. What it does mean is that more than a million viewers will hear this song as it's played between cartoons. More than a million viewers could soon be logging onto their website. And that, says singer/songwriter Segedy, is a great move for the band. 'We've never had a target demographic,' explains Koller. 'We have fans who are 15 years old all the way up to 60, 65, who enjoy are music. We just want to make good music.' Koller laughingly admits that having no specific target audience could be a weakness. Segedy desires a spot on this year's CMJ (College Music Journal) 100 list, and Hackbarth says there are ''bridges to build' in the college scene. Segedy and Koller won a 1998 WAMI (Wisconsin Area Music Industry) Award for best new group/artist for their work in the band Boxer. Ebb-N-Flow marked their first year as a band with the album everything and nothing (1999), which made it onto the CMJ 100. Soon after, Hackbarth joined the band. This summer they released a second disc, airplay, which is for sale online at awarestore.com. All three were raised in the Milwaukee area; they seem like old buddies, like they met while growing up in the neighborhood, but had very different families. The charmingly aloof Koller, whose biggest influence is Dave Navarro, is a self-proclaimed 'chameleon,' noting that the charismatic fro he'd sported during the summer was shaved off with no tears shed: 'It was summer! It was too hot for hair like that, I don't know how you girls do it.' He points at Hackbarth's long dirty blonde locks. 'Ah, you get used to it,' he says with a shrug. Hackbarth may have actually used time travel to step right out of the late 70's: huge fluffy sideburns and hair past his shoulders, fitted polyester shirts, and corduroy pants. He went to UW-Parkside for a degree in art. You'd never guess he's a huge Beach Boys fan. Segedy took off for New York after he graduated from Whitnall High School. He attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, for performance, during his seven-year stint in the Big Apple. Though he learned a lot and made many contacts in New York, he felt his chances of success there were slim. 'I came back [to Milwaukee] because in New York, I was a little fish in a big bowl...Here, I am a big fish in a little bowl,' he says. Segedy's influences - Bono, Shawn Colvin, and Fran Healy - are of the singer/songwriter (go figure). He figures that now is the time to spring on the local music scene, as emo-pop (Coldplay,Travis) is growing in popularity. After five takes of the Wolverine song, they take a break and once again gather in the lounge near the TV. The Bucks game is on. So what's it going to take to make Ebb-N-Flow a success? Koller thinks it's a matter of making yourself happy with what you're doing and just wants to keep having fun. For Hackbarth, success means making enough money not to live hand-to-mouth. 'If even 200 people in each city paid to see us perform,' Segedy would be happy. The Milwaukee music scene arguably needs a bit of a kick- start - maybe even some resuscitation. Hopefully, these guys have been practicing their CPR. Ebb-N-Flow formed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in late 1996 - a time when the city was riddled with wannabe grunge acts and overdone metal bands. They had one goal in mind; to be the freshest, most exciting band the town had seen since the Violent Femmes. (Following in the footsteps of the Femmes, Ebb-N-Flow would go on to win the Wisconsin Area Music Industry Award for Best New Artist in 1998). The name Ebb-N-Flow was chosen in order to perfectly define the group's dynamic pop sound. Dreamy, ambivalent lyrics, gentle acoustic guitar and tasteful harmonies give way to thundering drums and whip-smart guitar riffs, which rush by with tidal wave intensity. Hence, ebb and flow. Get it? The actual Ebb-N-Flow sound comes from the band's refusal to limit themselves to any one style or genre of music, and this is apparent on their 2001 CD, 'Airplay.' Their songs can be interpreted as cinematic, in that they stir the senses beyond the ear. Songs Shame on You, Superstar and Undertow employ deep textures of guitar, keyboard and vocals that create panoramic motion picture soundscapes in the mind. Close your eyes and give it a try. The buzz in the industry compares Ebb-N-Flow to a mix of Coldplay, Travis, Grandaddy and Radiohead. 2001 was definitely a good year for the band. In spring, Joy, climbed to the number one spot on soundclick.com's Alternative chart and Red Letter Days reached the qualifying round in the garageband.com $250,000 recording contract contest. The biggest news of the year was the bands deal with the Kids WB! Network. The band signed on to write a song for the network's X-Men character Wolverine. A video for the song was created and is currently airing on the network's 'Toonami Tunes'. Some favorite elements of the Alarm and the Smiths are present on this one. The CD opens up with 3:35 of bliss sung by a guy who moans and scoops like Jonah (One line Drawing). The track is 'Merry Go Round', a song about salvation through love. Like a good pop song it was born to sway any listener. This poses a question: Would this be a CMJ hit or a mainline radio hit? It doesn't matter; it's just beautiful. A fool in love who knows this language would have no problem coughing up twelve bucks or so for this song alone. But the ride doesn't stop quite yet. The textured sounds bleed together nicely on the production throughout the CD, and the haunting and thought-provoking lyrics of the next eight songs make for a great headphone experience. Yet the edgey political lyrics the band presents might disqualify them from the platters of disc jockey yahoos around the U.S. ('Great news dad I'm gay!'). In the liner notes the band leaves a quote in reference to each song, making the album a little more of something more precious to hold in your hand. The quotes reflect things that trouble the band and they're things that trouble us all. Things like the Columbine killings, the death of JFK Jr., and the fact that marriage is still viewed by most as an event, with a little over 50% of all of them ending in divorce. 'Undertow' is a song of advice from a father to a child not yet born which makes characterizes the difference here between compassionate anger and misdirected anger. Airplay ends with 'Landslides', a song about panic attacks. For those of us that experience panic attacks, we know the relief music can bring. Ebb-N-Flow is such music. info@Ebb-N-Flow.com -Jeff Winkowski Actionman Magazine Concert Review Ebb-N-Flow CD release show Two things originally caught my interest about power-pop/rock band Ebb-N-Flow: a) they're local; and b) they've been compared to recent British acts Travis and Coldplay. At the door, fans were handed Ebb-N-Flow's new CD, airplay, total bonus. Ebb-N-Flow-yes, lower case on purpose- are somewhat of a motley crew. Before they started their set, we noticed a hippie guy walking around in a funky leisure suit and a skinny white boy sporting one of the biggest 'fros I have ever seen. Turns out, those weird dudes were bassist Terry Hackbarth and drummer Matthew Koller. Within the first few minutes of their time on stage, the oddballs became 'characters' in a magnificent transformation from weirdos to coolios. Lesson learned? Don't count your hamsters before they have hatched. Koller was, hands down, the most interesting to watch. His 'fro-rocking energy contributed greatly to the amusement of the crowd, and in between songs he had a few conversations with friends in the audience and even jumped off stage at one point to hug what I am only guessing was a very good friend. He's not the sort of person you'd see and say, ' gee, that guy is definitely substance-free.' Thankfully and deservedly, however, lead singer/guitarist Matt Segedy captured most of the attention, with a voice that assumes a Billy Corgan-Remy Zero-Bono-Michael Stipe-Edward Kowalczyk-Fran Healy type of sound (is it just coincidence that these are mostly bald/shaved white men? Do all bald white men sound the same?) It's not that Segedy doesn't have a unique sound; he's just one of those singers whose voice is riveting that he reminds you of someone famous. In fact, the best moments of the concert were when Segedy dominated the band's sound, bringing refreshing vocal clarity and lyrical understanding to their songs. His passion for the power of music is sincere, strong, and contagious. My favorite songs were 'Undertow' and 'Shame On You,' both quite dark and melodic with messages about everyday hardships. And the CD? Took it on a 12-hour road trip last week and I'm still playing it. A few years ago, a rock trio exploded out of Wisconsin, USA, with a youthful exuberant debut album 'Everything and Nothing,' which drew comparisons to Radiohead,Semisonic and early U2. Perhaps sensing the major US labels sniffing them preferred a bit softer emo-pop sound, Ebb-N-Flow opted to strip back and mellow out on their second self-released album, 'Airplay.' Sounding more like Coldplay,Travis or Oasis these days than Bono and the boys,Ebb-N-Flow have crafted a textural album with deep layers of guitars,keyboards and voices that make 'Airplay' moody and dreamy. Matthew M.Segedy's captivating presence as a singer,guitarist and keyboard player helps these nine tracks break down musical barriers and transcend genres. 'Merry Go Round' begins with almost somber-strumming and then spins into a feel good chorus with plenty of 'oh-la-la'-ing from drummer Matthew John Koller and Bassist Terry Hackbarth. Elsewhere, 'Some Sweet Goodbye' is a sorrowful minor-key tune that highlights the far reaches of Segedy's voice. The band's lyrics are just as ambivalent. 'Superstar,' inspired by the 1999 killing spree at Columbine High School in Colorado, takes a first-person approach to notoriety, as does'Dreaming,' which features a son proudly proclaiming his homosexuality: 'Great news/Dad, I'm gay and everything's perfect for once in my life/Hey you/We don't have to scream and shout/The door is wide open and I'm coming out.' 'Airplay' has already stirred interest from major record labels and film directors alike. If you are similarly intrigued,buy the and find out what the fuss is all about.