Today we welcome Ryan G to our contributor staff! Based in Columbus, Ohio, he is a recent college graduate from Wheaton College in Illinois currently exploring his music and business interests. “When I’m not around people or indulging my music obsession, I enjoy learning about theology, playing golf and table tennis, exploring, and worrying about the Ohio State Buckeyes.”
Mono vs Stereo is an indie label that has seen its share of change. It began as an imprint of Gotee records, a label targeting Christian markets founded by DC Talk’s Toby McKeehan. A few years later, Mono Vs Stereo has become its own entity, revived from financial ruin by Relient K’s Matt Theissen. The roster now features Relient K, indie/folk favorite Denison Witmer, and finally the bands in the spotlight on this EP – Deas Vail and Farewell Flight.
This EP uses a marketing strategy that is a rarity these days. At first glance the EP almost seems underwhelming, with a meager two tracks per artist. In the end, it accomplishes its goal, and does so in a cohesive way.
The first two tracks belong to Deas Vail, an indie rock group that has found exposure in recent years opening for mainstays such as Copeland and Owl City, and playing summer festivals like Cornerstone, Purple Door, and most recently Bonnaroo 2011. Lead vocalist Wes Baylock has a classically trained voice with a distinct falsetto that shines as always here. The first track, “Sixteen”, is being marketed to select radio outlets yet does not lose anything by being airwave friendly. Baylock croons about the tumultous feelings of a quarterlife crisis and yearns for redemption in the process. The second track, “Gone,” carries a haunting feeling throughout but manages to do so in an uncheesy way.
Farewell Flight is a new band to the Mono Vs Stereo roster, so it might seem odd that they are paired up with a band that’s on their 2nd LP on the label and not with the other newcomer Denison Witmer, but once once hears all four tracks it makes sense. Thematically, the single “Out For Blood” overlaps with “Sixteen”, although its more brooding in sound. “Ten Steps In” is a fun little tune that too leans to the introspective side. Look for big things from Farewell Flight in the future, as this band is about to get their break after nearly a decade of little recognition as a hard-working indie band.
All in all, this short EP accomplishes its purpose – a marketing tool meant to make the casual listener want more of each band. I definitely want more.