BAND OF THE MONTH: Daytona

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NYC band Daytona has been a long time in the making. The trio released an EP—Storm So Long—back in 2012,but on the full-length debut that came out this past September, Daytona’s brand of bouncy, garage pop comes through in all its high-energy, jubilant glory.

A few years ago, bassist Jose Boyer, drummer Christopher Lauderdale and guitarist Hunter Simpson lived in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The three became friends, and occasionally played together, though they were all active in separate bands. Each of these groups—Harlem, the Wild Yaks, and Siberians—had already earned stripes as high-energy garage rock, churning out anthemic riffs and epic, overarching vocal melodies. Independently, the three musicians followed a similar credo: their music was loud, catchy, and chaotic. In combination, Daytona could easily have continued along the garage rock trajectory.

Not so. Moving to New York must’ve gotten the trio in touch with their philosophical side, or maybe the new lineup put the group in the mind for a little melancholy introspection. While Daytona has kept their straightforward structure and catchy beats, Storm So Long offered sharp lyrics laid over an intricate backdrop of guitar lines that meander from feel-good to nostalgic, and wistful, shimmering vocal harmonies. The melodies shift easily between moods, and at their most ethereal, live up to the carefree warmth of the band’s name.

“We were certain that it was the name of an Indian chief,” Simpson explained in an interview with Blip.tv‘s BTR Live Studio. The Florida city seems like an odd thing to name your East Coast rock band after, but for Daytona, the choice was half aesthetics, half process of elimination. A little research disproved the Indian chief theory. In fact, the beach that boasts the nickname “Spring Break Capital of the World” is named for its founder Mathias Day, Jr., who financed the area’s beginnings as a beach community in 1871. Day lost the land less than a decade later after encountering financial ruin, but his name lives on. “We liked that disconnect,” Simpson added, “between your expectations and the dorky reality of things.”

An initial listen to “The Road,” the first track off Daytona’s latest album, yields a powerful, joyous road trip vibe, brimming with danceable melodies. At its core, though, the music will last you past the party and into the dreary next day. The music is complex and elastic; it’s filtered through its surroundings. Sometimes melancholy, sometimes uplifting, Daytona’s self-titled album hits the spot.

Listen to “The Road”, and “Honey” here:

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