As I waited for my interview with the up-andcoming indie punk/pop act The Front Bottoms, I met one of their die-hard fans. “I saw them in Jacksonville and I’m obsessed. I want to go to their Atlanta show too,” says the Orlando native. This is impressive considering that The Front Bottoms hail from New Jersey and are relatively new to the industry, but after hearing their music, it is hard not to become a fan.
The catchy riffs and lyrics are hard to get out of your head, but this is no sugar-pop act. In fact, many critics compare their sound to earlier punk bands. “We consider ourselves acoustic indie-punk,” said the band, which consists of singer/guitarist Brian Sella and drummer Matthew Uychich. “Our music may not necessarily be punk, but our lifestyle definitely is that do-it-yourself punk attitude.”
The two-piece band brought along friend Drew Villafuerte for its first tour. “It’s been an amazing experience,” Villafuerte said, despite the fact that they are driving themselves across the country in a small van, relying mainly on gracious fans to give them a place to stay.
Uychich is also ecstatic about the tour, which has included prestigious shows at places like the CMJ New Music Festival on Oct. 22 (which he calls a “highlight”) and The Flaming Lips pre-party on Oct. 27. “Every show has been very positive and we are experiencing a lot,” he commented.
The band is promoting its official debut album, The Front Bottoms, which members recorded themselves in their attic. Something that stands
out about the album is its refreshingly original and honest lyrics, especially in the song “Father.” “All the songs are pretty real and come from
a real place; they’re true to an emotion,” said Sella, who writes all the songs.
To accompany some of its songs, the band created fun music videos, including those for the singles “Maps,” “Swimming Pool” and “Flashlight.” The two admit the concepts are all their own ideas and their friends film most of the videos. Local band Bellows opened for The Front Bottoms. Bellows is another two-piece band consisting of Alex Stringfellow (drums, vocals) and Greyson Charnock. Both from the University of Central Florida and just started the band about eight months ago, but have already been able to play a bunch of local venues, including Knight Library. The band’s name comes from a Buddhist reference and Stringfellow and Charnock describe their sound as “experimental indie folk rock.”
As I listened to them perform, I recognized a progressive rock and roll influence, sort of like Led Zeppelin, especially when they were just jamming in the beginning. The band emphasized how serious it is about its music because it wants to emit an honest and raw sound.
“We just hope people see us as authentic and take something important away from our music,” the band shared. Later in the night, The Front Bottoms also did not disappoint in their performance. Sella proved his talent for singing and Uychich played so intensely
on the drums that it’s amazing he did not destroy them. They kept the audience entertained the entire time and made it apparent their fans need to come to a live show.
The band is enjoying the tour and the critical acclaim it is receiving, but members still retain their jobs in New Jersey as landscapers for the time
being. After the tour ends Nov. 23, they plan to do another in the future and also put out some new music sometime in 2012.
They hope to be an inspiration for other inspiring artists with little resources. “Our setup is something rather new,” shared the young band. “We’re just some kids from Jersey but we’ve done everything ourselves and want other people to know they can do that, too.”