Iowa – Guitar, Garage, Grunge

Iowa seems like a strange name for a band from Melbourne. In the past, bassist Jordon Barczak has joked that the three-piece began as a Slipknot cover band or that the name came as a process of elimination as Chicago, Phoenix, Boston, Alabama and America were already in use. Regardless of why the band chose ‘Iowa’, it’s a name that may soon be in the ears and on the lips of music lovers across the country. Iowa’s debut album Never Saw It Coming is set for release on April 20, 2012. Recorded in just two days, Barczak explains why and how the band were able to work at such a frantic pace:

“The basic tracking — mixing and mastering, all that type of stuff — basically that’s all we could afford,” Barczak concedes. “So we had to make sure that we were on top of our game. We’re quite the productive band in terms of regularly rehearsing every single week pretty much most of the year. So we were in tip-top condition when we started recording.”

“The other thing we had to think about was that we were recording it all to tape, so we didn’t have the luxury of being able to do a whole heap of takes. So we went in with the mindset that we’ve got to get it in the first or second take, which we did for the majority of songs. Pretty much every single song that you hear is from start to finish, no cutting or pasting.”

Iowa’s decision to record their debut album in as few takes as possible also comes from a desire to emulate that warm fuzzy sound of vinyl records from yesteryear. Never Saw It Coming will be released on yellow vinyl, which should see the robustness and roughness of Iowa’s music even further amplified.

“That was the direction we really wanted to go in…all the classic albums that we like…you read the classic stories of how the majority of them were just done on 4-tracks or in short sessions, all recorded live. So that’s the representation we wanted to present on the record – a band all playing live and loud in a rehearsal room. So we kind of think sometimes a little blemish gives it character, and that’s what we were really after”, he said.

The character of Never Saw It Coming is a throwback to 90s garage grunge. Free from the sweeping synths or modulated vocals so readily used by their contemporary counterparts, Iowa invoke memories of Pearl Jam or Dinosaur Jr from about 20 years ago, comparisons which Barczak says he’s flattered by:

“We’re not too fazed about it, we’re just embracing it. I guess a lot of bands get a bit uptight; people pigeonhole them as sounding like someone. We don’t really mind, I guess we’ve copped comparisons to other bands in the past as well. If people can hear that in our music and it’s not in a negative way, then we’re happy. You know all those bands sounded like someone as well, so you’re basically a product of your influences.”

A prime example of Iowa’s retro sound can be heard on the track Should Of Known, a drawn-out and sullen guitar based rock song that genuinely comes across as being from a past era as opposed to a recreation.

“That one came pretty quickly, the verses anyway. I guess out of all the songs, that’s probably got the most bass to it and that’s one of our favourites, that’s what we’re pushing as potentially the third single,” Jordan reveals. “You’ve got the verse then you’ve got the heavy chorus at the end and we kind of had both of those parts and couldn’t quite put them together, and then one day in rehearsals we went ‘oh hang on, what if we just try this formula and bring them together’. So initially we didn’t think it would work, but it turned out really amazing actually.”

The day after Never Saw It Coming comes out, Iowa will be taking the stage at the Phoenix Public House in their home city of Melbourne. Barczak promises the gig will be an audible assault with the band eager to crank some of their new songs up to deafening levels. Not to worry though, Iowa will provide protection:

Panic Attack’s really enjoyable; that’s our new single, and Only Sometimes…it’s an awesome live song because it’s usually our ending song and…there’s extended jams and feedbacks and drum solos over the top of little jam parts. So that’s one of our favourites.”

“(It’s) going to be a pretty high-energy performance and we’re giving out free earplugs on the door. It is quite a sonic onslaught, so people can use them for one or two songs towards the end.”

Never Saw It Coming is set for release later this month on April 20, 2012.

Iowa Never Saw It Coming Launch

Saturday 21 April Phoenix Public House, Melbourne

with Baptizm of Uzi and Tape/Off (QLD)

Tickets available via www.moshtix.com.au or $10 at the door. Doors 8:30pm.

Watch: Iowa – Complete Control

Watch: Iowa – Panic Attack

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