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The end of The Seventies generates a new "Autumn"


Fusing angular guitars straight out of the pre-Garage era with modern Manchester Pop grooves, the Autumn Blackouts are climbing out of the ashes of The Seventies, a promising Indie Rock venture that folded last year. The former band kept it all in the family with three of the Roesch brothers joining guitarist Jack Berning and keyboardist Puck Dunaway.

Following the end of The Seventies, Berning and vocalist/guitarist Matt Roesch started sharing song ideas with one another and spent a productive summer wood-shedding new material. Berning now credits Roesch's maturity as a frontman and songwriter for kick-starting what would soon become the Autumn Blackouts. Bassist Dave Roesch had been playing with other bands since his stint in The Seventies, but was drawn back to his old bandmates by the new compositions Berning and Roesch were forging together.

"When they played me their new songs, they gave me chills and I knew I was back where I belonged," Roesch recalls. "The work they had done in that half year was amazing and showed me how serious they were"

With influences as diverse as David Bowie, The Stone Roses and Andrew Lloyd Webber (and a name born from a Twin Peaks' marathon Berning indulged in to cure his insomnia), the Blackouts were soon underway with a relatively modest agenda.

"We're trying to put together a Glam/Mod revival with a Rock & Roll soul ... and add some sounds from Broadway," Berning laughs.

The newfound trio's anglophile approach to music got a credible boost when they recruited U.K. transplant Joe Cummings to play drums. Cummings was in the States less than one week when he responded to a CityBeat ad searching for a drummer with British influences.

After playing in a number of bands back home, he had grown disenchanted and set his sights on relocating to the U.S. to pursue his career full time.

"I took a huge risk, and came to the U.S. in search of a new approach to Rock & Roll," he recalls. "It's all I have ever wanted to do, and I just didn't want to have any regrets later thinking I could have done more."

Originally from Sussex, England, Cummings should feel right at home with the Brothers Roesch. He is the youngest of five boys in a very musical family: Brother Ted works for Universal Records in London, while older brother David had high-profile gigs playing guitar in Lloyd Cole and The Commotions and Del Amitri before beginning a career with the BBC. Cummings says he's happy to have hooked up with his new American band of brothers and is enthusiastic about their potential.

"I am very lucky to have found this band as soon as I did," he says. "We have the exact same ambitions, and I feel we are on our way to making great Rock & Roll music."

Since bringing Cummings into the fold, the group have taken Berning and Roesch's compositions and added their own distinct touches. Vocalist Matt Roesch thinks this new working relationship has helped define the band's sound.

"Any one of us can bring a song to the band and trust the others to help make it better," he observes. "Having that trust is essential if you're going to collaborate."

The results of the group's new labors will be on a six-song EP slated for spring/summer release. Until then, the band has scheduled a host of local shows with a number of established Cincinnati Indie bands and will have a track featured on an upcoming compilation from the local Unlike label.

As far as his old band, Berning says it all worked out for the best. Former drummer Mikey Roesch now holds down the rhythm for Colortest when he's not busy spinning discs as part of DJ duo, Boy Radio. Keyboardist and Roesch's fellow DJ co-conspirator Puck Dunaway is currently assembling his version of a dreamy French Pop band while continuing to book shows at the popular Plush nightclub.

"We are all still very close and supportive of each others endeavors," Berning notes. "The Seventies were a stepping stone for everyone to get to where they are now."

THE AUTUMN BLACKOUTS mark their official debut this Friday at the York Street Café with Promenade and Clabbergirl. For more information, check out www.autumnblackouts.com.

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