When I went on my first Rock Boat in 2003, I sat down at perhaps the only empty table left in a crowded breakfast room. A very nice fella named Garen was looking for a place to sit and asked if he could join me, since I was solo. I said sure and we had a lovely chat about bands, music, etc. Only when I was getting up to leave did he mention that he was going to play an open mic later, if I wasn’t busy, I should come by. As with all things Rock Boat, I never saw him again on the Boat, but it wasn’t the last time I would ever cross paths with Garen…or at least his music, anyway.
A little research when I got home revealed that Garen was a fairly accomplished musician. He (sometimes with a band, sometimes not) had released a bunch of albums under the name Granian. I managed to get my hands on one and liked it – his voice was freaking HUGE! I had a hard time believing it was the quiet guy I’d had breakfast with!
Then, in 2006, Garen reshaped his band and rebranded himself as “Kill the Alarm.” The band’s debut album followed the next year, Fire Away, had some AMAZING rock tracks on it – the title track and a song called “Sit Up” were my favorites.
So imagine my excitement when I was catching up on band and music news this weekend and realized that Kill the Alarm had put out a new EP called Against the Grain in May. I obviously missed the announcement in all of my work craziness, but … hello, fabulous!
I have to say, this EP is amazing – perhaps even better than Fire Away. It reveals a softer side to the band and showcases Garen’s voice and versatility – absolutely soaring vocals.The writing is absolutely stupendous; it seems very personal, and I LOVE that kind of writing. The soul-and-heart-on-your-sleeve kind of stuff – and yet, Kill the Alarm does it while still retaining their rock sensibility. Fans of the hard driving Fire Away might be a little disappointed with this quieter side, but I hope they’ll give it a chance because it’s really freaking good.
Highly recommend picking this one up as soon as you can get your paws on $4.95. Need a sampler? Get the best tracks (IMHO): “Don’t Run Away” and “Against the Grain.”