Today's highlighted Madison-based musical act is Colony of Watts.
Chad Burnett, Rylan McGee, and Jordan Read are the trio of metal merchants who collectively make up Colony of Watts. Blowing things up on the guitar, bass and drums, respectively, and all contributing their voices, the group performs noisy, angular rock ditties that they describe as "loud, frequently angry, often catchy and sometimes sad."
Here is the band's concise self-description of their history since forming in September of 2002:
Played shows. Didn't update website ever. Chad played drums with one or two sticks, depending on how much he had to drink. Released split 7". Chad fell off a porch once and we couldn't play a show the next day. Released EP. Jordan left Vox Humana and joined Colony of Watts because he was sick of all the attention from girls. We made him add a rack tom to his drum kit. Chad played guitar. This was the era of the two guitars. We played three shows this way. Then Todd quit the band to pursue a career in stand-up comedy. Released LP. Played more shows. Rylan always played bass and sang, no matter what people said.
Colony of Watts is a founding member of Sector Five Records, a cooperative label created in 2003 that has become a central pillar of the Madison music scene. Isthmus staff writer Tom Laskin profiled the label in the summer of 2006, noting their success on a "strictly DIY" basis. He notes the styles of music explored by its member bands:
Many also look back at musical trends that pre-date indie-rock. The Hat Party favor European post-punk, while Colony of Watts and The Suit owe something to American noise-rock of the '80s and '90s. The Cummies, on the other hand, play dirty, straightforward proto-punk that mainlines Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, while Driftless Pony Club cleave to pop melodies and danceable beats.
In addition to their split 7" with Vox Humana released in 2003 (reviewed positively in Emmie), their EP Victory Bonds released in 2004, and their debut LP Mercenary Position in 2005, the band has also contributed tracks to Sector Five Records showcase compilations released in 2004 and 2005 (also receiving good marks from Emmie). Their full-length album garnered numerous positive reviews (including those here and here), focusing in large part on their hard rock punch and rhythm.
Three of the band's songs are available for listening on their MySpace page; "Roman Violence" and "False Colonial" can be found on Mercenary Position, while "Union Animal" was released on Victory Bonds. Additionally, a gig archive and a preview of a new song can be found on colonyofwatts.com, samples from previous releases are listening and (purchase) from Sector Five Records, and several photos of the band in action can be found published here by Aaron Kraus.
Since that busy year 2005, the band has hit the stage at local clubs about once per month, and set about recording their split LP with fellow Sector Five chaoticists The Suit. While that band recorded their half at DNA Studios with Mark Whitcomb, the Colony of Watts side was handled by The Suit's bassist Jon Terrones. He was also responsible for mixing both sides, with the final round of mastering completed back at DNA.
Both Colony of Watts and The Suit are celebrating their conjoined creation with a release party at the High Noon Saloon on Thursday, Mar. 1. More details are to be found in some ongoing banter in TDPF about this highly-anticipated show.
This is the latest featured entry from the Madison Music Project, an online database of Madison-area musicians. Please register or update your current profile on the project for consideration in these highlights.