Upstate | Bitter Grin

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Rock: Modern Rock Rock: College Rock Moods: Type: Experimental
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Bitter Grin

by Upstate

Crisp drumming, dense guitars, and melodic vocals hit hard on their latest release. Dark, textured Midwestern indie rock for the thunderstorm enthusiasts in us all.
Genre: Rock: Modern Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Sleeping Cup
2:59 $0.99
2. Block of Needles
2:19 $0.99
3. Appointed to Fail
3:11 $0.99
4. Bitter Grin
3:06 $0.99
5. Streetlight Hums a Tune
3:25 $0.99
6. Whatever it Wants to Be
4:43 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Upstate is a quintet from Dayton, Ohio and Denver, Colorado and the continuation of the Dishwater Psychics recording project. We released three new songs on Friendly Psychics Music's first comp CD in 2006: "Appointed to Fail," "Whatever it Wants to Be" and "Sleeping Cup."

Those songs led us to finish three more for the "Bitter Grin" EP, which features comp tracks and the three new ones. Like all the other Friendly Psychics bands, Upstate records its songs using the long-distance mail route, never having practiced or played together in the same room. Think Sebadoh and Pinback eating breakfast in a bomb shelter and you're somewhere close.

ORIGIN: When the band Dishwater Psychics took a break in 2001, Upstate formed by adding guitarist James Focht and drummer Jamie Heaps. The combination of indie rock sensibilities, jazz rhythms and hard guitars produced a melodic, textured backdrop of haunting melodies and driving beats.



to write a review

Mark Pranger

Independent Clauses (08/13/07)
Independent Clauses (08/13/07)
Genre: Rock/Folk
Best Element: Excellent melody and vocal combinations.

Spawned out of a hiatus from the band Dishwater Psychics, Upstate is an indie folk band boasting a “combination of indie rock sensibilities, jam band rhythms and hard-rock guitars” to create lingering melodies. Apparently, as all groups under the FPM label do, Upstate uses the mail route method, meaning the entire band has never practiced or performed together. While this may seem to be a hindrance to the creative process, Upstate shows no sign of weakness. The Bitter Grin EP features several tracks previously heard on a label compilation disc, as well as a few unreleased songs.

As one of the tracks from the compilation disc, “Sleeping Cup” has a rather simple upbeat feel. This, however, is not representative of the remainder of the EP. On the whole, this album has a downer feel to it, mostly due to its subdued vocals. “Appointed to Fail” is not as the name implies. Featuring a gorgeous string backdrop, it proves to be one of the most intriguing of the EP, driving you to hear more. The title track, “Bitter Grin,” appears rather bland in comparison to tracks like “Appointed to Fail” and “Streetlight Hums a Tune;” the latter providing some of the best vocals by adding the occasional variation in pitch to the somewhat monotone voice work. “Whatever it Wants to Be” is undoubtedly the most prominent track on the album, giving us a spectacular guitar melody that, when combined with the subdued vocals and the bewildering lyrics, leaves us haunted and expecting more.

Upstate is a great group with few weaknesses. Although the vocals may at first listen seem lackluster and dull, it is quickly learned that they fit perfectly with their corresponding melodies. A group is truly remarkable when they can produce this form of quality, without ever playing in the same room.
-Mark Pranger
July/August 2007