Even while preaching individuality, proponents of the punk genre over the years have often maintained a strict image and style.
Nine Votes Short plays loud and fast, as most punk rock bands do. With their spiked-up hair, jeans and band T-shirts, members of the young Westerlo quartet also have the expected look down when they hit the stage. But their image isn’t something the group takes too seriously.
“[We play] punk music that packs a punch and has a lot of energy — we make sure to keep that, but we kind of all goof off and do a lot of stupid things, too,” bassist Kevan Wiegand said.
Nine Votes Short CD release
with The Knee Benders, GrandEvolution
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Valentine’s, 17 New Scotland Ave., Albany
How Much: $5
More Info: 432-6572, www.valentinesalbany.com
“And we’re always being ourselves when doing it,” continued guitarist Dalton Lyons. “I mean, we’re all kind of fat, kind of losers. You can tell we’re not really the coolest individuals you’ll meet.”
And while on first listen the band’s songs follow in the skate-punk mold of NoFX, Blink-182 and the Descendents, the band is just as likely to start playing Jimi Hendrix songs onstage. The ubiquitous jam band scene has had a strong influence on Nine Votes Short — all four members are big fans of Phish, and bring that improvisational element to the simple framework of a punk song.
“I think that what a lot of people forget is that punk rock is actually one of the most conservative genres of music,” vocalist Jon Delong said. “It is the same four chords, and a lot of the songs have the same theme for years and years and years. I’m glad we were able to put together a group of people with different interests — we all listen to a lot of Jimi Hendrix and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.”
These varied influences are on display throughout the band’s new three-song demo, which will be released at a show at Valentine’s on Friday night.
“We all have different roots, and they come together in a really weird way sometimes,” drummer Mike Lanni said. “I find it always comes back to punk music. But, we still like to listen to jam bands a lot and improvise with the punk, and Kevan is really into funk and that ties in in a really weird way occasionally.”
Original members Delong, Lyons and Wiegand, all high-school friends, formed the band under the name Ashes of Shiloh in April of 2010. The band changed its name and added Lanni to the fold when original drummer Charlie Tryon left. The band prefers to keep the origins of its current moniker somewhat mysterious.
“We get that question asked, and we listen to what people have to say about what they think it is,” Wiegand said. “And then whatever they say, they’re right in their own little world. It’s a nice little mystery for everyone, I guess.”
The band played a few shows at the local high school in Westerlo, but quickly branched out to Albany, playing with the Knee Benders (who will be opening the CD release show on Friday) and Public Noise Concern. It’s not unusual for the band to play at Valentine’s more than once a month.
“When we were little kids, still in high school, we only had a few options,” Wiegand said.
Since then, the band has branched out to Boston and New York City-area shows as well.
The new demo follows a handful of other homemade releases. This time though, the band focused more attention on creating a demo that truly reflects their live show.
“I like to think we’re more of a live band,” Lyons said. “We’ve never had many good recordings, so usually people are just hearing us live. These recordings we’re just starting to get out — we’ve just got these three tracks, but I think people will like to give them a listen.”
Working on album
It’s only the beginning though. The band plans to keep working on tracks recorded during the sessions for a full-length album to be released toward the end of summer.
“We just wanted to throw this out there, to give people an idea of what to expect,” Lyons said. “There’s a lot of motivation and desire to build our scene. We try, we’re working on it. It is a job, and we’re all poor; we don’t get paid at all. We just do it because we work hard at it, and — it sounds really cheesy, but we love it.”