By Thomas Conner
The Tulsa World, Tulsa, OK 11/06/01
Photo: James Gibbard / Tulsa World
Music Award winner Tony Romanello offers two discs to tide us
over as he works on his second full-length CD.
Lo-Fi Dreams in Stereo
Shades of Grey EP
Two discs to tide you over until this two-time Spot Music Award
winner completes his sophomore full-length CD (almost done and
"Shades of Grey" EP builds on the layered modern rock
textures of his debut, "The MumbleOdd" -- dreamy electric
pianos behind guitars that crescendo into Pete Townshend blasts,
and a thin voice floating on the wings of Jeff Buckley and Dave
EP is a five-part suite, seamlessly sweeping gossamer sounds across
the room. Artful, indeed.
Dreams" is a collection of outtakes and demos that rarely
comes off lo-fi.
can think a song from clay to cloud and all the layers of atmosphere
in between, even when he's just screwing around. I'd hate him
for that talent if his music wasn't so satisfying and sensuous.
Review - The MumbleOdd
By Rob Forbes
Leicester Bangs, UK 10/01/01
Romanello, has released a debut album of epic, progressive pop,
which has already found itself getting likened to bona fide legends
such as Jeff Buckley and Brian Wilson. Actually, it's with the
former that Romanello has most in common, laying the emotional
intensity on thick and true on The MumbleOdd's dozen tracks and
underpinning everything with pitch dark arrangements. It's not
a million miles away from what Pearl Jam achieved on songs like
"Jeremy", and Romanello comes up with equally powerful
statements on the best tracks here, namely the opener "Fingertips",
second track "Everything", and the extraordinary "Handfuls
Of Bullets". www.engineshedrecords.com (8/10)
By Trouillard Stephanie
power of fascination that music exerts can lead to anything, even
to the creation of a record company out of nothing. That is what
happened for Steve Gooch and Tony Romanello, two guys infatuated
with the indie culture, who, at the start of the year 2000, launched
into the creation of a label, Engine Shed Records, in their native
city of Tulsa, without any hesitation.
birth was also motivated by the desire to bring to light and to
get respect for their artists. The purpose has without doubt been
achieved with one of the two founders of the label who is also
a musician, Tony Romanello, who from now on will not cease to
shine. It is said that each person on earth possesses a double
["a doppelganger"] or a resemblance to another individual;
for Tony, that proves to be reality, with a voice that is mysteriously
identical to that of Jeff Buckley. From the first words of his
first work The MumbleOdd and especially in the song Everything,
the connection between their two voices and music is quite simply
hallucinatory. Like the late American singer, Tony possesses a
sound oscillating between despair and spokesman for an immense
inner force, who ultimately constructs 12 titles of pure emotion
capable of making us weep at the sound of the electric guitar
or piano notes, such as on the melancholy titles Under the Blue
or Atman. With the help of Matt Vandaveer on bass, Ben Marshall
on drums and Eric Knox on piano, Tony doesn't forget his rock
roots and shows us that with the aggressive Singing Sirens, the
dynamic Sky and with the bewitching and languorous Fingertips,
carried by his immense talents as a guitarist. We shouldn't however
make the mistake of believing that Tony is just another clone
of the late lamented Jeff; in fact, he possesses a dimension that
is unique to him, and which will lead him without too much difficulty
even closer to the light.
Romanello is not only a confirmed artist but also a producer,
in particular of the group Standing on Zero, author of a first
Ep. In 6 titles, Milke [sic?] the singer, Mike Taylor the guitarist,
Scott Craig the bassist, Mike Friedemann the drummer, show us
the extent of their talent which shows promise. Even if the whole
does not prove to be very joyous and tends towards the melancholy,
the group shows us that sadness is an element that always mixes
incredibly well with music. Also on Engine Shed Records, in the
purest indie/rock style and without taking the lead, Little League
Hero, originating in Oklahoma City bolts quickly out of the gate
with its album Start. Whereas Standing on Zero does not always
dwell on gaiety, Little League Hero with its energetic and strong
guitar riffs, its voices that breathe the joy of living, has the
power to put you in a good mood for the whole day. Kyle and James
on voice and guitar, Scott on bass and Chris on drums deliver
to us a powerful disk, a real concentrated mix of lightness and
the feelings, from joy to melancholy, are contained in the young
label Engine Shed Records, to offer to everyone the possibility
of hearing what each prefers, while maintaining pure respect for
rock music. As you might expect, this record company also has
a website, and awaits your visit there: http://www.engineshedrecords.com
ENGINE SHED RECORDS
Tulsa, Oklahoma, Etats-Unis
pouvoir de fascination quexerce la musique peut amener à
tout, même à créer une maison de disque à
partir de rien. Cest ce qui sest produit pour Steve
Gooch et Tony Romanello, deux amoureux transis de la culture indie,
qui au début de lan 2000 se sont lancés sans
se poser de questions dans la création dun label,
Engine Shed Records dans leur ville natale de Tulsa.
naissance a été également motivée
par lenvie de porter en lumière et de faire acquérir
du respect à leurs artistes. Lobjectif est sans aucun
doute atteint avec lun des deux fondateurs du label qui
est également musicien, Tony Romanello qui ne cesse désormais
de rayonner. Il est dit que chaque personne sur terre possède
un sosie ou une ressemblance avec un autre individu, pour Tony
cela savère être réalité, avec
une voix mystérieusement identique à celle de Jeff
Buckley. Dès les premières paroles de son premier
opus The MumbleOdd et tout spécialement de la chanson Everything,
la connexion entre leurs deux voix et musiques est tout simplement
hallucinante. Tout comme le défunt chanteur américain,
Tony possède un chant oscillant entre désespoir
et porte-parole dune immense force intérieure, qui
finalement construit 12 titres de pures émotions capables
de nous faire larmoyer aux sons de la guitare électrique
ou des notes de pianos comme sur les mélancoliques titres
Under The Blue ou Atman. Avec laide de Matt Vandaveer à
la basse, Ben Marshall à la batterie et Eric Knox au piano,
Tony noublie pas non plus ses racines rock et nous le prouvent
grâce à laggresif Singing Sirens, le dynamique
Sky et à lenvoûtant et langoureux Fingertips,
portés par ses immenses talents de guitaristes. Il ne faut
pourtant pas se méprendre et croire que Tony est un clone
supplémentaire du regretté Jeff, il possède
en effet une dimension quil lui est propre et qui le mènera
sans trop de difficultés encore plus vers la lumière.
Romanello nest pas seulement un artiste confirmé
mais aussi un producteur, notamment de la formation Standing On
Zero, auteur dun premier Ep. En 6 titres, Milke le chanteur,
Mike Taylor le guitariste, Scott Craig le bassiste, Mike Friedemann
le batteur, nous montrent létendue de leur talent
qui sannonce prometteur. Même si le tout ne savère
pas très joyeux et tend vers la mélancolie, le groupe
nous démontre que la tristesse est un élément
qui sest toujours incroyablement bien mélangée
avec la musique. Egalement sur Engine Shed Records, dans le plus
pur style indie/rock et sans se prendre la tête, Little
League Hero originaire dOklahoma City déboule à
toute allure avec son album Start. Alors que Standing On Zero
ne mise toujours pas sur la gaieté, Little League Hero
avec ses riffs de guitares énergiques et bien trempés,
ses voix qui respirent la joie de vivre, a le pouvoir de vous
mettre de bonne humeur toute la journée. Kyle et James
au chant et à la guitare, Scott à la basse et Chris
à la batterie nous livrent un disque puissant, véritable
concentré de légèreté et de bonheur.
les sentiments de la joie à la mélancolie se rassemblent
sur le jeune label Engine Shed Records, pour offrir à chacun
la possibilité découter ce quil préfère
dans un pur respect de la musique rock. Cette maison de disque
néchappe pas à la règle et vous attend
sur son site : http://www.engineshedrecords.com
Musicians, Club Owners, Fans Keep the Spotlight Close to Home
By Matt Gleason
The Spot, The
Tulsa World 8/03/01
Photo: James Gibbard / Tulsa World
revolution will not be televised. No, the battle ground for this
musical rebellion will happen on darkened stages where the only
casualties will be the occasional monstrous Marshall amp turned
to 10, a few ear drums and the idea that Tulsa's music scene cannot
change. Among those in the forefront of the fight are James Plumlee,
Joe Cinnoca and Tony Romanello, three of the foot soldiers in the
army of band members, club owners and fans who spend their nights
slowly turning Tulsa into a premiere music mecca. They don't have
a lot of cash but they're willing to make sacrifices to make their
dreams a reality.
said he started his low-budget Plum-E Records because he was disgusted
with conventional methods of distributing music. "It started
off as a joke," said Plumlee, who also plays bass in Antenna
Lodge and other musical projects. But what may have started off
as a simple idea has become a label that has helped bands such
as Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey distribute its unique brand of music.
He said running an independent record label is an opportunity
to work with excellent musicians but is far from easy. "I
was going broke doing it," he said. "It was not good
business but it was worth doing because I got some music out there."
said he started Yawn records -- which he runs out of his apartment
and works two jobs to support -- to take bands out of obscurity
and give them a chance in the limelight. "Tulsa has great
talent and there needs to be a spotlight put on this town,"
Cinnoca said. "It can be just as good as any other place
in America but the thing is that most of the bands here don't
realize that the only thing between them and bands in Kansas City,
Dallas or Chicago is that they don't realize it's attainable."
It may be within their grasp, but the obstacles in musicians'
paths are sometimes daunting.
not a whole lot of opportunity here," Cinnoca said. "In
this town we're behind the eightball because we have a lack of
knowledge and we're very naive on the national landscape."
To combat that ignorance, Cinnoca said those in the music scene
must work together. "There's power in numbers," he said.
"Use it to your advantage."
working together with local bands and solo artists, Cinnoca was
able to produce and distribute Yawn's first compilation CD "Woo
Hoo Bank!," which featured Fanzine, Romanello and other local
artists alongside several national and even international bands.
By giving fans the chance to sample a wide variety of music on
one CD, Cinnoca said it could result in a larger fanbase for each
band involved. Along with being a part of the soon-to-be released
second compilation CD from Yawn, Cinnoca and Romanello are working
with Omnizine, which is a web magazine that includes a five-state
area and includes interviews, CD reviews and links to band web
sites. Romanello said the web site could help correct one of the
greatest mistakes bands make because it allows better communication
between regional bands.
bands in Oklahoma City and Norman are in the same boat as us.
They've almost exhausted their home turf," said Romanello,
who plays frequent shows and co-founded Engine Shed Records with
Steve Gooch. "Why not expand? If we can get two or three
people there a month and they can get people over here, we can
feed off each other's fanbases and make it more fun for everybody.
Then before you know it, you're no longer just a Tulsa band, you're
regional. You take it one step further with Omnizine." Tim
Barraza, owner of the Majestic, the Bowery and the Monkey Bar,
agreed that musicians shouldn't overplay Tulsa.
I enjoy the bands that I play over and over, I don't want to do
that," he said. "It won't only wear the fans down, it
will wear down the band. It's good for the band, to a point, but
it also shortens its life." Expanding to other venues and
cities may benefit bands, but for the local music scene to prosper,
they will have to overcome Tulsans' desire for cover bands, Cinnoca
said. "The cover bands (such as Admiral Twin's Unlucky Ones)
in town have awesome original songs but they never play them because
the people aren't asking to hear them," Cinnoca said. "The
people don't really care either way, they just want something
they can dance to." More word-of-mouth praise by fans and
extensive media coverage could solve that problem, said Curly's
owner Richard Letson.
think the reason cover bands are so popular is because people
don't have to think," said Letson, who puts about 70 people
on the Curly's stage each month. "If we got some national
coverage then it might wake up people in our own backyard because
we do things that could garner national attention." Educating
fans about local music would be beneficial, but for now club owners
rely on cover bands to attract large audiences, Barraza said.
support original music but I do throw in the occasional cover
band because we've got to pay the bills," he said. "We're
going through a time period where this town is going through a
really strange transition musically. It is cover-heavy right now,
but Tulsa has always been cover- heavy. It just comes down to
who is going to pack the house and very few original bands can
do that." Cinnoca said although it is frustrating for original
bands to have cover bands dominate the music scene, they deserve
a place in Tulsa just as much as original bands.
not here to say that orginals are better than covers or covers
are better than originals," Cinnoca said. "There is
demand in this town for both styles to play." Cover bands
actually benefit orginal bands, said Don Jameson, Fanzine drummer.
his band opens for cover bands, it allows Fanzine to expose its
music to fans that would otherwise not have gone to their show.
There may be a demand for a variety of live acts but there's not
enough venues for them to play, Letson said.
would like to see the number of venues that feature live content
double," Letson said. "There are about 25 clubs that
feature live entertainment, so it wouldn't be hard for us to have
50. The problem arises getting the people to go and visit them."
Despite what musicians or club owners do, the fate of the music
scene is up to the fans, Cinnoca said.
club owner will put a Portuguese bagpipe-player on the stage if
it's going to bring people in the door," he said. "The
customer is king. If the club has a friendly, non- aggresive environment
where people can come, relax and let their hair down, the people
don't care if the band plays covers, originals or plays country
music scene is ever-changing and no one can know for certain what
it may do or what influences it to change, Romanello said, but
its worth trying. "You don't know what feeds what. Does the
music scene feed the crowd or does the crowd feed the music scene?"
he said. "I don't know. I think it grows on itself and you've
got to start somewhere and keep feeding it, even if you don't
know how. It's better than doing nothing." - Matt Gleason
Review: The MumbleOdd
By Michael Toland
former leader of Oklahoma band Murmur, Tulsa singer/songwriter Tony
Romanello wants to combine sensitive, poetic lyrics and Beatlesque
pop with grunge melody and dynamics, and for the most part he succeeds
on his debut album The MumbleOdd. Songs with titles like "A
Red Shade to Somber" and "Singing Sirens" sport bonecrunching
guitars and Romanello's whisper-to-a-scream vocals. When it works,
as on "Somber," it can be quite refreshing-it's actually
kinda cool to find a singer/songwriter as influenced by Soundgarden,
Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam as he is by the usual acoustic guitar-wielding
types and Paul McCartney. However, at times the performances and
tunes take on the cast of second- and third-tier grunge acts; too
many shades of Creed and Stone Temple Pilots make Romanello sound
less like a potential innovator and more like a wannabe hungry for
chart position. It's doubtful that's his intention, however, and
it's safe to say that when he brings all the elements together consistently,
he'll be a modern rock force to be reckoned with. (Michael Toland)
Review: The MumbleOdd
By Joey Zielazinski
Infinity Press, 3/15/01
record is filled with emotion, if nothing else. From the beginning
strains of Romanello's voice of the first track to the final low
hum of the last, it's easily apparent that these songs are written
from the heart. When combined with the soulfoul attack of former
Murmur musicians, these songs solidify into a strong body of sound;
there is a song here that doesn't get pushed around without a fight.
vocals hold together The MumbleOdd. Romanello sings his life on
each track, and with each verse the sound gets better and better.
While the backing noise is far less inspired, it serves perfectly
as the background for the earth-cracking lyrical tones. "Fingertips"
starts the record with bundled energy, which is carried throughout.
"Everything" is a pushy rock song with reliable breaks,
and nice, swaying verses. Laer on we see a few sad tones painted
by Eric Knox's whispering piano ("Under the Blue", "A
Red Shade to Somber".) Midway through the material, Romanello
opens up, trading in distorted guitar for subtle strings and pulsing
tones. The slower the better, and "Atman" proves it.
it's the last few strains of The MumbleOdd that give it its overwhelming
power and charm, "Can You Feel This" is simple and brave,
while "Sky" tosses together a New Seattle epic flavor.
The final beauty, however, is captured with "Lo-fi Dreams
in Stereo," a delicate, wavering goodbye. Romanello sings
soft and sweet up against reverberating slide guitar and tinny
acoustic sounds. And when it's all done, it feels far from odd.
Review: The MumbleOdd
By Stuart Pitt
kind of funny to hear how the past 15 years in music have influenced
the things happening today. The MumbleOdd shows traces of everything
- Jeff Buckley, Ozzy Osbourne, Pearl Jam, and Def Leppard all poke
out their respective heads. Take "Handfuls or Bullets (Genesoma
Part 2)," for example. There's a Hysteria-era Def Leppard guitar
crunching under a Jeff Buckley falsetto, while something very reminiscent
of Ozzy's "Mama I'm Coming Home" serves as the songs coda.
Flutes and semi-orchestral sounds pop up from time to time, invoking
the melancholic spirit of Sunny Day Real Estate - yep, pretty much
everything from popular music except Hip Hop seems to be popping
up here. Romanello handles guitar and vocal duties with his six-string
prowess accounting for the more rocking moments on The MumbleOdd.
Piano and keyboards are also fairly important to the equation as
well, making up the backbone of the band's sound and providing clever
textures to counter Romanello's emotive vocals.