The talent: Landen Boyer (guitar/vocals), Alex Wiese (bass), and Brandon Haynes (drums)
The sound: Pop Rock
As I interviewed two-thirds of the Iowa City-based pop-trio BackDrop, one thing became readily apparent.
These guys have great hair.
Fortunately for their budding musical careers, there’s loads of talent hidden behind their long locks and buoyant bangs. Despite their relative youth (let’s just say not all members of the band can drink in the bars they play in), BackDrop adeptly plays pure and pleasurably polished pop.
Landen Boyer, Alex Wiese and Brandon Haynes are the kind of story that (almost) never actually works out. Coming out of their high school band and choir, the three then-teens took turns playing in garage bands with one another, mostly teaching themselves their instruments along the way.
Then, about two years ago, the three did something high school garage bands rarely do when they move on to college. They kept playing and, last summer, “got serious,” according to Alex.
Since then they’ve landed playing gigs in surrounding towns across the Midwest, all self-booked, largely populated by an extensive Internet campaign.
“After a semester on tour we realized it was all about putting your best foot forward, but most people are going to find you through the Internet,” Alex says.
Fans can follow each of band members on Twitter. Their MySpace page has been professionally designed and developed. The group has shot a number of videos housed online and every track from their first EP is available on iTunes.
That EP, produced by Midwestern musical superhero Chuck Macak of Electrowerks Music Productions, is radio-friendly, catchy, and reminiscent of an energetic style of youthful pop-rock only recently since passed.
Their best song, “Halfway There,” for example, would have been at home on the soundtrack to American Pie. Boyer’s voice is radio-ready, and the lyrics are teen-friendly. “Wish You Were Mine” is the sort of pop-rock ballad that would be perfect over the ending credits of a teen-centered romantic comedy.
The most surprising thing for this band-on-the-rise has been the fans.
“They’re the kids that I didn’t grow up hanging out with, but now like hanging out with,” Alex says. “They’re fun loving. Really supportive. If you need a place to stay after a show, you‘ve got 10 kids offering.”
On Friday, they won’t need any place to stay. The guys will headline a hometown show at the Picador a show.
And what can fans can expect for the hometown crowd?
“A good time,” says Landen, with a smile.
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