NO SHOWROOM DUMMIES Bergstrom, Sherzai, George and Chris McTernan.
Seven demos in and I'm hooked on Broadcaster. Here's the official infomercial-style Homegrown Product pitch: "If you like the reverb-soaked sounds of Built to Spill, the post-punk sludge of Archers of Loaf, and the jangly, shout-along jams of Modest Mouse and Broken Social Scene, then you're gonna love Broadcaster! They're Ted Leo-approved!"
Broadcaster features three former members of Killing Pablo, who released two albums and an EP debut on 75orLess Records, which noted their "mammoth crescendos and washed-out space guitar" and likened the sound to "a room full of drunken fools trying to mix Crazy Horse and Mogwai." KP members were branching out and offering services to Volcano Kings and post-punk locals Science For the People.
"Killing Pablo went on the back burner for awhile until it basically fizzled out completely," singer/guitarist Chris McTernan recalled.
The Broadcaster formation eventually came when a band George McTernan and bass player Derek Bergstrom had been playing in decided to call it quits two weeks before a scheduled 75orLess Records showcase and didn't want to cancel.
"The guys asked me to fill in, so we taught Derek a few Killing Pablo songs along with some I had written post-Pablo," McTernan said. The McTernans called former Pablo guitarist Moe Sherzai to play the show and "eventually ended up going with the name Broadcaster.
"I felt like we were moving toward a more focused sound, plus we had a different bassist, so it didn't seem right to just stick with Killing Pablo.
"A lot of people tell us that we remind them of '90s indie rock bands like Built to Spill, Archers of Loaf, and Silkworm in particular, which is cool since we're huge fans of those bands," said McTernan. "We get a lot of 'you guys sound like indie rock back before it started to suck' type stuff."
Earlier this year, Broadcaster received a nice (and unexpected) plug from one Ted Leo via Twitter ("Southron New England,if you made the mistake of missing So Cow & Broadcaster tonight in Providence, DON'T MAKE THIS MISTAKE AGAIN!!"). And that's the last time we'll mention it.
"It's cool that Ted mentioned us, but I don't wanna seem like we're leaning on that too heavy," said McTernan earlier this week.
The handful of Broadcaster demos (streaming at ReverbNation.com/BroadcasterRI) came roaring to life during a spirited 30-minute set at Firehouse 13 on Monday. The quartet launched into "Old Creep" like seasoned pros, breaking guitar strings in the process. The live debut of "Waiting On" didn't disappoint (even with the false start), and the climactic gallop and George McTernan's ratatat snare on "Passer By" was trumped only by the finale of "La Brea." There was plenty of wah-wah, underwater tremolo, and woozy reverb on the clever "Index of Bands," where McTernan takes a stance on generic bands and their compressed, crappy sound: "Search an index of bands, the categories and styles/I'm getting' numb to the noise/the size and limits and files."
Chris McTernan was visibly wiped following the set and not much for small talk ("We just drove back from New York and pretty much came straight here," he said), but did report that the band will hit the studio and record a full-length debut in the fall.
"I've always loved the type of bands that touch on a particular style of music without stripping their own personalities from it," McTernan said. "There's nothing worse in music than someone taking on a genre and replicating it perfectly, like a bunch of showroom dummies."
BROADCASTER + THE HIGH SEAS + A TROOP OF ECHOES + TONGUE SHRILLER | Saturday, September 4 @ 9 pm | The 201, 201 Westminster St, Providence | 401.454.4581 | 21+ | $5