Calling Rotary Downs and indie rock band is like calling the sky blue. Sure it's blue, but when it's something as ubiquitous as the sky, the word blue just isn't enough. Sky blue is more like it. And with Rotary Downs, Rotary Rock is more like it. The band, consisting of vocalist and guitarist James Marler, guitarist Chris Colombo, keyboardist and trumpeter Michael Girardot, bassist Jason Rhein, and drummer Zack Smith, has been around since 2002, about as long as the modern turn in indie rock separated it even more from folk rock and its evil twin, pop rock. It's true, sometimes it is hard to separate a good indie rock single from a pop song by the latest industry crush on the scene. Really, it's all about attitude. Indie rockers just don't give a damn. They play music because it feels good to them and sounds good to the fans. They aren't overly glamourized or portray a crafted image; in fact, that's where the "indie" part really comes in: creative freedom. Rotary Down's newest release, Traces, is a voyage through a land of swooning guitars, electronic synthesizers and objectively conscious lyrics. The album's first song, "Orion," is all kinds of awesome, with a banging drum set and six string flourishes. And did I mention those objectively conscious lyrics? The synthy "Tent City" is a favorite of mine. It's a bit darker than most indie rock in my opinion, which tends to be on the upbeat side. It's a head-nodder for sure. I think "Incognito" is a crowd anthem in the making while "The Sandwich Islands" just makes my heart melt."Flowers in Bloom" has a bit of a dueling guitars edge to it. The crunchy strings and faded vocals feel very new age. It's great for doing 70 (or higher) on the highway towards your next adventure while the last track, "Aka Godzilla," is a fitting close to the journey. It's very clear, concise, and musically brilliant. It's what Rotary Rock should be. In all, I can't help but like these guys because I know their music comes from the heart. -Craig Magraff, Jr.
FOR THE INSIDE SCOOP ON DINING, MUSIC, ENTERTAINMENT, THE ARTS & MORE!