After a 7-year hiatus, indie rock band War Tapes has unveiled their first single entitled “Pale Blue Dot.” The band - comprised of Billy Mohler (drummer/Grammy-nominated producer), Neil Popkin (vocals/rhythm guitar), Becca Popkin (vocals/bass), and Matt Bennett (lead guitar) – is excited to continue where they left off and is additionally planning to release a new 5-track EP later this summer via Make Records.
War Tapes has been raking in rave reviews since their 2006 live debut, and the early buzz on War Tapes earned airplay on such tastemaker radio stations as BBC Radio 1 and Live 105 in San Francisco, while “Dreaming of You” aired on NBC’s New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly (and "The Night Unfolds" for a week thereafter). "Mind Is Ugly" was featured on the MTV’s The Hills and the band also performed on the ABC’s Greek. In addition, War Tapes has played shows and/or toured across the US and in the UK with The Smashing Pumpkins, The Bravery, VNV Nation, Awolnation, She Wants Revenge, Tiger Army, and The Unseen to name a few.
Their last EP The Continental Divide distills the simultaneous gloom and beauty of midnight skyscrapers, crumbling train yards, abandoned warehouses, and feral animals. Guitars stab, assault and shimmer; industrial effects and ambience co-mingle like lost strangers; unexpected bass lines and harmonies rumble propulsively; incessant drum rhythms pulse like LA's writhing freeways; and the always passionate vocals range from apocalyptic to triumphant to tauntingly seductive.
The band has an innate knack for crafting timeless sing-along melodies, anthemic choruses, and an arena-ready sound that has already erupted from the stages of both Fillmore’s, The Bowery Ballroom, The Warfield, and The Wiltern as well as epic shows at dangerously overcrowded warehouse parties and punk clubs that have become legendary for the passion of the band and their audiences.
Although their singles "The Night Unfolds" and "Mind is Ugly" were tailor-made for the 1:30 AM Saturday night mosh pit, songs like "All the World's a Stage,” "Dreaming of You,” and "Use Me" begged to be sung cinematically from a majestic peak or at Red Rocks. From the very first time Neil, Matt, Becca and Billy played on stage together in 2006, they have been perfecting the kind of musical explosion you'd expect from a high-end pyrotechnics lab or Matt's volcanic island home of Hawaii. Such mountainous fireworks require elemental alchemy, and each member provides distinct color and flash. Bassist Becca is a classically-trained pianist and guitarist (but had never played bass before joining War Tapes). Billy is a jazz-educated bassist, guitarist, and now Grammy-nominated producer with performance credits with Macy Gray, Lee Scratch Perry, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Jimmy Heath, Clark Terry, Terrance Blanchard, Lenka, Billy Childs, Awolnation, Steven Tyler, Meiko, and more (but had never played drums in a band before). Matt has roots in the fertile soil of shoegaze and punk guitar styles. Neil evolved his voice and aggressive stage style from his post-punk influences. And Becca notes that, though collectively they play one style of music, they all “love so many different genres of music that the combination is what makes our sound so unique.”
Consequently, it’s challenging to pigeonhole War Tapes into any particular genre. They played rock clubs and gained screaming fans faithful to the hardcore scene, but received eloquent and studied reviews that cite the technical mastery of jazz bands. While LA2Day.com recognized their “cohesive passion” as “infectious” and “fun,” Punknews.com saw them as “sexy,” and “atmospheric.” LA Weekly imagines them “spreading their emotional spectrum.” At live shows, Neil prowls and leaps like a crazed and dangerous animal, often startling or even alarming audience members with his theatrical intensity. Matt is a blur of movement as he does the work of three guitarists. Billy provides precise time, and scales a mountain of volume to their trademark bridges and choruses. And amidst the frenzy, Becca stands as still, beautiful, and stoic as an elm tree from her native New England while filling the room with her glorious and unique bass lines.
The foursome will be kicking off their first show at El Cid in Los Angeles, CA on Thursday, July 13th. The show will begin at 9PM as part of the venue’s monthly event hosted by Death-Gaze LA. Fans can expect all original members to perform the hits including “Dreaming Of You” and “Mind Is Ugly” as well as new music off their forthcoming EP which is set for release later this year. To purchase tickets, please visit: http://bit.ly/2sj1lUR.
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