Antennas Up is a band that lives where high-tech audio meets organic, honest
songwriting. Formed in 2008, with a sound that uses vocoder, synths, computers, and
guitar effects and is often compared to iconic pop bands like Phoenix and OK Go, the
Kansas City foursome deliver songs with high-energy hooks and soul-bearing twists on
the human experience of clumsy moments and broken relationships. Nowhere is that
more evident than on their newest LP The Awkward Phase due out May 15th, 2012.
Written primarily in a cabin in the woods of Maine, where the band spent a month in
total isolation during the summer of 2010, the album reflects their deep pool of musical
influences and talents. The Awkward Phase is filled with the band’s signature guitar riffs,
dance beats and the perfect dose of post-new-wave spontaneity. The layers beneath
are the album’s flesh and bones— slow-simmering gems and lyrics that are thoughtful,
probing x-rays about transition and heartache.
Blues-infused “Untitled (How Will I Know?)” for example, is unanimously a band favorite
and a showstopper in live performance as it builds to anthem-like crescendos and vocal
peaks and valleys. “It was the first song I felt I could sing with fresh, new emotion,” says
Kyle, “We all wrote it together in the same room and it’s now become a snapshot of our
whole Maine experience.”
“We like the word ‘clumsy’ a lot,” he laughs. “Awkward phases, clumsy moments—the
album title is definitely a double metaphor for us: the awkwardness of new relationships
and the process of moving into new territory as a band,” he adds.
Territory that included a new role for Kyle—taking over lead vocals following the abrupt
departure of the band’s original lead singer on the eve of their first album release.
Shortly after the dust settled, band members Bo McCall and ‘The Ryantist’ convinced
Kyle he was ready to step up and take over the band’s vocal responsibilities. “It was a
process--switching from bass and backing vocals to being the lead singer,” he says. “I
had always been the ‘voice’ of the band, but never the singer which was kind of weird.
It was not a job I asked for, but I couldn’t let everything we’d worked so hard for just
end. So I practiced, and we took the new show on the road.”
The new road show included an official showcase at SXSW, performances at over 30
colleges and universities and sharing the stage with the likes of Girl Talk, Electric Six,
Flogging Molly, Matt & Kim, Ha Ha Tonka, Via Audio, The Constellations and Company
Writing music for a new singer also required a new strategy, which led the band to
their month in Maine. “I think we grew as individual songwriters; players and more
importantly we grew as a group—learning how to collaborate and cooperate on the
process,” says Kyle. “Even better, now that we’ve gone through The Awkward Phase,
the next album can come faster and stronger.”
2012 promises to be a major year for the band. Following the album release, Antennas
Up will once again hit the road with solid touring, festival appearances, and a major
radio campaign. Their music is featured in the upcoming films “Corporate FM”
and “Falling Overnight” along with commercials for the Buckle clothing line.
“The Awkward Phase” is produced by Antennas Up, engineered by The Ryantist (coproducer and engineer Ha Ha Tonka 'Death Of A Decade', Antennas Up 'Antennas Up');
Mixed by Mike Cresswell (mixing engineer - Lyrics Borne, Blackalicious, General Elektriks,
Honeycut); Mastered by Bob Power (engineer and producer - Common, Tribe Called
Quest, The Roots, Citizen Cope).
Antennas Up is:
Lead Vocals/Bass: Kyle Akers
Guitar/Vocals: Bo McCall
Guitar/Keys/Vocals: Jon Ulasien