Thursday, June 21, 2012
Changing Modes recently released their fifth disc, In Flight, and the band’s music incorporates a veritable stew of musical sounds and influences. Similar to Quix*o*tic, Changing Modes’ music jumps across a range of styles: from late-night torch songs to punk to 70’s funk and bubblegum pop. While one can hear elements of the jagged art-punk of the early B-52s, the sultry cool of Blondie, and the slinky synth-driven dance club beats of Luscious Jackson along with the driving punk of bands like X and the Dead Kennedys (the twisting buzzsaw guitar licks in "Ghost in the Backseat" could have come straight from East Bay Ray's guitar), the band is able to mold all of these sounds into a disc whose sound is both recognizable and distinctive (…but not derivative). Adding to all of this are stellar vocals from the band’s two lead singers Wendy Griffiths and Jen Rondeau which are backed with rich vocal harmonies. In keeping with Changing Modes consistently changing music, drummer David Oromaner takes lead vocals on the slow-burning song “Blue”.
The music of New York City based rock band, Changing Modes, began quietly in the mid-90’s when the principal songwriter of the band, Wendy Griffiths (vocals, keyboards, bass) started making her “bedroom tapes.” She says she had no intention of making these songs public. “They were like art songs with very unusual rock beats,” Yuzuru Sadashige (bass, guitar) recalls. “She programmed very complex layers of accompaniment on her Yamaha SY77, then sang along to record onto her $30 Sears tape recorder, very LoFi, you would hear house noise and car horns in the background, but they were extremely interesting and totally unique.” After a series of lineup changes a few years back, the band's lineup has solidified with the core duo of Wendy and Yuzuru now joined by Jen Rondeau (Vocals, Keyboards, Theremin), Grace Pulliam (Vocals, Percussion, Keyboards) and David Oromaner (Drums, Trumpet, Vocals).
Changing Modes' next show is at Local 269 on July 5th as part of the CBGB Festival.