The Biltmores - Same Story, Same Ending
Record Label: Self-Released
The Biltmores are a quartet hailing from Providence, Rhode Island formed in October 2005. Dan Baxter (singer/guitarist) and his brother George (bass) had been writing music together for a considerable amount of time before asking his Providence College classmates Jon Pitts (guitar) and Brendan Leonard (drums/mandolin) to join the band (and yes, this is the same Brendan Leonard that had his own national TV show). Unlike many independent bands, The Biltmores were able to record their debut album with an experienced producer in Mike Lust who has recorded acts such as Wilco, Sexfist, and The Outlaw Family Band. I have listened to many independent bands since I first began reviewing CD’s and I have to be honest, The Biltmores are one of the most enjoyable independent bands I have discovered since I began writing about music.
Same Story, Same Ending is an incredible debut, and is an album that any indie music fan would enjoy. “Weight Of The World” was my first introduction to The Biltmores, and instantly hooked me with its combination of melodicism and guitar driven indie rock. Vocalist Dan Baxter has a unique delivery unlike any other vocalist I have heard recently and is one of the many things that makes The Biltmores unique amongst their peers. “Salt” is an upbeat, melodic song with unique lyrics that is so infectious, I would not be surprised if it became a staple on most listener’s spring/summer playlists serving as the perfect backdrop to countless memorable moments amongst friends. “Downtown Blues” chronicles loneliness, late nights out on the town, and drinking the night away. This may sound depressing, but when accentuated with the band’s unique style of indie rock and piano melodies, the only thing you will want to do is sing right along with Baxter.
“Brendan #2” is an instrumental track that brings the musical talents of the band to the forefront and is actually interesting to listen to, unlike some instrumental tracks that seem like a hodgepodge of sounds that don’t mesh well or are too repetitive and lose the listener’s attention. Same Story, Same Ending closes with the folk-influenced “Pigeonhole Blacktop”, a departure from the rock-oriented sounds found throughout the album. “Pigeonhole Blacktop” is the most diverse track on the album featuring a banjo, a fiddle, and harmonica that flesh out the song and place it among one of my favorites. Do not let the description throw you off, at the end of “Pigeonhole Blacktop”, you will realize this song rocks just as good as any other found on Same Story, Same Ending.
The Biltmores is a band that is hard to compare to other bands in the indie scene today. Listening to their debut there were times where they reminded me of another band, but I could not quite put my finger on it. The band does a great job of taking their influences and mixing them with their own sound to create a unique sound that never lost my attention over the course of the album’s thirteen tracks. The album ranges from upbeat, melodic rockers (“Salt”, “Emily Sleeps”) to more straightforward rock fare (“Basement Avenue” , “She Lives Inside Me”). Same Story, Same Ending is a promising debut, and if the band continues to build on the foundations established on this album, I can say with certainty that they will have a bright career ahead of them. Same Story, Same Ending has logged many spins in my stereo, and judging from the enjoyment that comes from each listen, I do not see that changing anytime soon. It is only a matter of time before labels, ‘zines, and listeners alike are familiar with The Biltmores and their music, so jump on their debut album so you can say you knew them since the beginning.