ROCKnWORLD

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You Can't Kill Rock n Roll

by Linda Spielman

Three years in the making, the latest, self-titled CD from the band Lit is about to hit the ground running with its June release. This being the fourth CD from the group and this time around on an independent label, is probably their best effort to date.

The absence of the group from the musical radar over the last few years is a culmination of many things both professional & personal. The primary catalyst in the equation according to Kevin Baldes, the band’s bassist is the separation with long time label RCA. “When we signed with RCA there was this complete family like atmosphere and everyone was behind us & promoting our CDs. As new people came in and took over we just felt the love wasn’t there anymore in terms of the label seeing the same vision as us. So many of the bands were being dropped (by the label) that it just didn’t feel right.”

With the eventual split from RCA, Lit for the first time in their career was in total control. Baldes notes that they were able to write music at their own pace and put more thought and effort into their craft. With the future of getting a record deal uncertain and typical life tribulations adding to the mix, a deeper lyrical and musical Lit emerged. Instead of just penning enough tracks to squeak by to complete a CD, the band as a whole took over a year and a half to compile 20 songs to record as possible tracks for the upcoming release.

Through the uncertainty came a deal with DRT/Nitrus Records. Now the band was all systems go to record the new material they were working so long on getting out to the public. The love that was found and lost at RCA was soon rekindled with the DRT/Nitrus team. Baldes elaborates, “The whole family over there (at the new label) is so awesome. The love and enthusiasm for us as a band & this CD is there. That is what we needed. We are very happy with the support they are showing us.”

From chatting with Baldes it is evident that the group values input on their music from all angles. They do seem to get the best reactions from the friends and fans who aren’t as jaded and skeptical as those who work in “the industry”. It is those people that give their honest opinions & reactions to the music.

To further make the latest CD a true testament to the band, they enlisted the help of the fans via their website. After each of the selected shows the band played out to showcase the new material, the fans were asked to vote on songs. Using the polling method set the course of the track listing. However, an apologetic Baldes notes that the one track entitled “Over It” which was voted by the fans as their #1 pick never made the cut. The decision was made that the track just didn’t seem to fit in with the vibe of everything else the band was already going to include on the CD. But in true rock star fashion the band didn’t disappoint. They elected to give “Over It” as a freebie to the fans on their website because it was so well received.

For the first go around as sole producers on the CD, they came out far ahead of the pack. The CD is an incredible listen. Baldes points out that is for the Lit fans, but also for the music lover in general. They wanted to produce something that they would want to listen to themselves being the avid music lovers they are. The experiencing of co-producing their previous 3 CDs helped the grope collectively spread their wings in controlling the final product they were all proud of in the end.

Everyone in the band has their personal favorite tracks. For Baldes it is “Needle & Thread”. For him it was his first venture in writing, composing & arranging everything from start to finish. “I’ve learned so much from watching AJ & Jeremy write music, that I felt good about tackling this track on every level.”

Lit wanted to make this CD something they would go out and buy if they were the average music consumer. They’re proud of their growth as artists and wanted this CD to reflect that. “We wanted to go old school with this, “ Baldes enthuses. “From the self title, to the AC/DC-esque cover shot of the band. We love great hooks that pull you in and make you want to listen to more. We wanted people to see and hear there is more to Lit than one or two radio hits. We didn’t want to get swallowed up by that stigma. As artists, we view this as an art form. It starts with the placement of tracks, visuals, performances and everything else that follows. We so wanted this CD to be something that if you heard one track you would want to hear all the tracks.”

As a music lover, the band accomplished their goal. This CD is strong from start to finish. Every track has a different vibe. There is no way to say there is one track that sounds like the other. You can say there are elements of Simple Plan, Blink 182 and many other of Lit’s peers. However, by no means is there any comparison. The CD is 100% Lit all the way. The best way to describe this CD is “Drivable”. Throw it in your car and go. This is the best driving I have listened to in a very long time. The production is clear. Every guitar riff, every vocal & harmony part, combined with the general musicality of the CD shines through. The total balance between vocals & instrumental melodies is like no other I have encountered recently.