In July, the stylish and enigmatic band Arcade Fire received backlash after announcing that their record release show would have a dress codeand a no phone policy. Arcade Fire’s rival band, This Way to the EGRESS, saw this as an opportunity to celebrate their own fans and make the most of an industry where audience banality seems to be the new normal.
This Way to the EGRESS
This Way to the EGRESS presents their astonishing new album Onward! Up A Frightening Creek. A band of musical miscreants from all walks of life, EGRESS is a tapestry of worldly influences and an alchemy of sounds both modern and forgotten. Their music is a colorful collision of ragged rock, skewed Eastern European beats, Gypsy ska, sultry tangos and other brands of harder to classify musical mayhem. The album will be self-released September 22, 2017.
If Tom Waits and Patti Smith made a musical lovechild it might sound a bit like EGRESS. Whether you know them as the “dance band to ring in the end of the world with” or by their “raise a glass and drop a beat” attitude, This Way to the EGRESS will leave their mark on you. The six-person troupe cascades onto the stage in an explosion of sound and sight that’s equal parts unruly vaudeville, ebullient world-beat and three-ring circus all the while playing an amalgamation of genres and catapulting their audience through time and space with unexpected shifts of styles, tempos and time signatures. Accordion, Rhodes and tuba aren’t instruments you usually find fronting a rock band, but This Way to the EGRESS uses them to give the music unexpected textures while creating infectious melodies, retaining a propulsive beat and generating enough energy to light up a small city.
Hailing from a wide variety of musical backgrounds and with a diverse array of influences, EGRESS crafts intricately arranged audible cocktails which are sure to make you move. Their rambunctious stage show creates a jubilant “anything goes” atmosphere, while their genre-bending miscellany leaves the audience wondering what will happen next. “We always have a hard time figuring out what genre we fit into,” says Taylor Galassi, the accordion wielding bon vivant who founded EGRESS, with the help of his partner, piano plunker, fiddler and leading lady Sarah Shown. “We’re surfing a hard-hitting wave of many colors with punk, reggae, ragtime, Klezmer, surf and Balkan beats all wrapped up into one crazy foot stomping good time. We let the music take us where it will, regardless of genres and geography.”
Onward! Up A Frightening Creek shows the band putting this philosophy into action with a collection of songs mixing elements of punk, Eastern European melodies, ragtime, tangos, reggae, hip hop beats, along with a dash of old time rock & roll, flashy disco, 1940’s swing band bounce and even classic pop. “This album wrote itself really. This last year has been rough for many members of our band; when you combine that with the current state of the world we had a tremendous amount of inspiration. It’s time to bring folks together and raise spirits and we hope to do that with this album” Shown says. “It was produced by Dan Shatzky at Vibromonk Studios (Gogol Bordello, Balkan Beatbox, World Inferno Friendship Society, Mischief Brew). He really knew how to get the best from us and how to properly capture our not only our sound, but also our energy. He has a tremendous understanding of less traditional genres and beyond that, he is one of the most authentic humans we’ve ever met. He made us honest in what we do and he held us accountable for making a piece of art that will last longer than we will.”
The album takes off with Voodoo, a swinging New Orleans-style slow drag rhythmically goosed along by the tuba of John Wentz, Shown’s ragtime piano and Nick Pecca’s hip hop drum accents while Galassi delivers a story about the struggles of writing. “We have more purpose in this album than any of our others,” Galassi says. “We may throw everything but the kitchen sink into these songs when it comes to the music but the intention is incredibly deliberate.” Galassi’s accordion introduces the spaghetti western sounding Whiskey on my Grave. Sung by Shown, the tune asks more of the listener and is a call to action with a refrain that echoes “If I die in the streets pour whiskey on my grave” giving a deeper meaning to what sounds like could be the soundtrack for a Quentin Tarantino film. Joe Lynch’s trombone will warm you like a blanket on See No Evil with an earworm melody that will be sure pull at your heartstrings. Each verse is sung by the entire band giving delivering an all-for-one, one-for-all feel which undoubtedly is a reoccurring theme of the album. Southbound brings to mind a synth pop cowboy anthem with Jaclyn Kidd’s longing slide guitar; it looks into the glum trials and tribulations of life, but comes away with a stirring “dance the night and your problems away” disco finale.
The album closer, Going Home Again, is a departure from the normal EGRESS mania. A duet sung by Galassi & Shown and with lyrics written by the entire band, it is an emotional tale which references childhood rhymes, the ocean and the album title. It pulls you out to sea with waves of accordion bellow shakes, drifting trombone lines and the watery acoustics of a grand piano. While the lyrical content of Onward! tells stories of crazy characters fighting their way to live life at large, Going Home Again is a driving ballad that brings the album full circle. “It’s about the experience of losing ourselves (and David Bowie and the many more we loved and lost in 2016). It’s about how we all return to the Earth. We all end the same way we started and we are all in it together” says Shown. “Although the album ends on an emotional shoegazing note, the music is always an uplifting potpourri of sound that seeks to raise your spirit, bring a smile to your face and create general joy, mirth and merriment for all.”
“We titled our last album Great Balancing Act because we would always find ourselves in the most interesting situations and would often use ‘Oh! The Places You’ll Go’ (by Dr Seuss) as a hashtag” Shown says. “From there we got to brainstorming about other lines in the book. At the time we had considered naming our last album Onward! Up A Frightening Creek because that passage resonated with us but it just didn’t feel quite right. That moment in our lives was more of a balancing act; we were trying to find our place in everything.” Shown went on to say, “it worked out because this album seemed to title itself. Onward! Up A Frightening Creek was a natural step in our evolution as a band—and as people trying to live life on our own terms. It’s not just about finding the place between all places where things work, it’s about moving forward in the face of adversity; it’s about having courage to change and be ourselves.”
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This Way to the EGRESS, announces the robust swing-style single “Rollin’” off of their upcoming album, Onward! Up A Frightening Creek.
Beginning with a hasty piano lick, the track quickly tiptoes into a resilient feminist-fueled roller coaster of tempo changes and dream-like instrumentation.
This Way to the Egress announces their fourth full-length release, Onward! Up A Frightening Creek, due out September 22.
Further solidifying their sound with the first single, “See No Evil” as Downloadable MP3
“This Way to the Egress has a unique and eclectic sound in a generation of Auto-Tuned pop. They are a complete and total breath of fresh air.”
The Alternate Root
"This Way to the Egress are the sound of torch lit music halls as they intricately blend death-defying rhythms and instrumental runs with gypsy jazz to dance in 'Tarantella', step high to match the jugband caffeine roller coaster romp for 'Lucy, a Story About Your Mother', sing a drunkard’s nursery rhyme in 'We Won’t Go', and pump out a bass thump under a flash-fire banjo strum for tough love that hopes for the best in 'Let’s Not Pretend.'" [5/27/15]
Missy Philips - Tri State Indie
"This Way to the Egress following up with seemingly unstable and insatiable tenacity."
“They are part circus vaudevillians, part trickster brats and they put on an absolutely amazing performance worthy of Tom Waits."
Joshua Pickard - Nooga.com
"There’s no easy way to describe the sound that avant musical collective This Way to the Egress creates. It’s raucous and intense, incorporating bits of Eastern European melodies, off-kilter rock rhythms and bustling tangos in a whirling mass of musical havoc. There is also an unbounded sense of joy coursing through its veins." [2/20/2015]
'Clarence' - This Way to the EGRESS
This Way to the EGRESS reveal their inner sideshow circus roots with the release of their new video, 'Clarence'.
- Artist Rep: Paul Corsi
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