Sound Advice: The Front Bottoms with Brick + Mortar and Diet Cig

Saturday • Bogart’s

May 4, 2016 at 9:04 am
click to enlarge The Front Bottoms
The Front Bottoms

A pair of old friends on the East Coast get together to start a band as an outlet for their obtusely catchy songs. After playing are gigs and self-releasing a few titles, the duo scores a contract with respected independent label Bar/None Records and begins touring nationally, leading to more exposure and, ultimately, a contract with a major label.

If that sounds vaguely familiar, it might be because it’s happened before — first in the late ’80s with early Bar/None duo They Might Be Giants, and more recently with New Jersey’s The Front Bottoms.

There are naturally a number of differing details in the two bands’ histories. Ten years ago, guitarist/vocalist/lyricist Brian Sella and his childhood pal, drummer Mat Uychich, formed The Front Bottoms after Sella’s freshman year of college, concocting a melodic, acoustic-based sound often described as Folk Punk. Uychich’s brother Brian found a keyboard in their parents’ attic and asked to join the band; the trio subsequently recorded an interesting collection of material over the next few years, which was all self-released. In late 2010, Brian Uychich left to focus on school, and the following year The Front Bottoms released their debut for Bar/None. The band eventually added bassist/vocalist Tom Warren and guitarist/keyboardist Ciaran O’Donnell to round out the lineup that has been in place for the past four years.

In 2013, Bar/None issued the full-length Talon of the Hawk, which found the band amping up its sound to something less Folk Punk and more catchy, quirky Indie Rock. Talon notched enough sales to crack into Billboard’s Hot 200 chart. The Front Bottoms then signed with Atlantic Records subsidiary Fueled by Ramen and released 2015’s Back on Top, which reached No. 32 on Billboard’s album chart. The rising chart positions, sold-out shows and major festival gigs are indicative of The Front Bottoms’ gradually ascending career trajectory, which seems on the path to reaching even greater heights in the future.

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