Beartrap Island

For some reason, I have some trepidation towards bands that have names that I know (or think I know) where they came from. Maybe the name is like a retooling of the meaning I've come to know and I resist such change. For example, there is a band called Set Your Goals, who got their name from the classic CIV debut album, Set Your Goals. In this case, the mystique of a band's name is zapped when I know where a band got their name from, especially when the name is from something very well known (at least with fans). So why am I not moaning about Division Day, a name I'm 98% sure they got from an Elliott Smith non-LP single? Maybe because I really like their music on its own.

Formed in 2001, Division Day has released an EP (The Mean Way In) and an LP (Beartrap Island) so far. Just by their bio alone, I'm happy to hear about a band that actually worked on their material before ever releasing anything for people to hear en masse. These days, I hear about one too many bands that formed less than two years ago and almost 98% of them are really underdeveloped. Great material rarely pops out of a band's first few songs, but that idea flies over the head of one-too-many folks with ProTools or GarageBand installed on their computers.

Division Day's material runs around a few different maps, but they feel cohesive as a whole. No one song completely sums up all of their canon, but they aren't some band that hops around vastly different genres. One track may be uptempo power pop, but another will be tripped-out and moody and another would be midtempo pop rock. I know these kinds of descriptions are very broad, but still, this is some really exceptional indie rock that could probably appeal to a broad range of fans. Singer/keyboardist Rohner Segnitz has a breathy kind of voice that is neither taxing on the nerves or mushy granola. The songs are mostly driven by chirping guitar lines and solid drumbeats, leaving the other parts to really expand the space. This is especially the case with Beartrap Island.

Currently, Division Day is taking an organic approach to letting people know about them. With MP3s on their site, streams on their MySpace page, touring here and there with various bands (like San Francisco's Birdmonster), allowing many of us music bloggers to hear their stuff in advance (Can You See the Sunset and Gorilla vs. Bear are just some of them) and most importantly, releasing material that truly warrants this kind of praise, these guys have their heads on straight. This is the way to grow instead of blowing one's load in one fail swoop for indie rock credibility. I'm not hearing any talk of these guys taking over anyone's proverbial world here. I'm just hearing some good music from a band that has the legs to grow.


Anonymous said…
Two bands in Phoenix debuted within a few months of each other -- Values Here and Can I Say. At this rate, we may cover the Dag Nasty discography with band names in our fair city by 2010.

- Bill Ramsey
Anonymous said…
we just received this album in the mail...i'm really digging it right now.
Eric said…
I also like that Beartrap Island disc. The band is good and needs to be known.