The Lighthouse and the Whaler
The Lighthouse and the Whaler is a band from Cleveland, Ohio, though its name alludes to the waters off the coast of Massachusetts. Inspired by a theme from Moby Dick, the band’s name alone is enough to make underpaid Literature teachers beam with pride.
It all started with two musicians -- Aaron Smith and Michael LoPresti -- who decided to collaborate in a field one sunny afternoon because that seemed nicer than playing in a basement. By the end of the day they had written their first song. They gave it a profound name: "The Field Song." When it was selected for a Paste Sampler CD, Aaron and Michael decided to make a proper run at it.
The Lighthouse and the Whaler released a four-song EP in 2008 and a self-titled/produced/released album in 2009. Two songs from that album -- "White Days" and "Under Mountain, Under Ground" -- found their way to TV and radio. With more fans to play for, The Lighthouse and the Whaler hit the road and toured across America. Somewhere between Boston and Seattle, the band picked up three new members -- Matthew, Mark and Steve – thereafter, fulfilling the prophesy that was to be five young men stuffed in a forest green Chevy Venture, searching for open ears and loyal hearts.
Here is what most band bios won't tell you:
Michael LoPresti studied literature and theology in college but rushed home after graduation to become a musician. Michael is the voice of the band and his head is filled with wayward melodies one could chase for days. He wears boat shoes, jean cut-offs and flannel shirts all year round. Michael is a web designer and has approximately two dance moves. Put a chick flick on mute and he will make up hilarious new dialogue to go along with the picture.
Aaron Smith is self-taught on the violin, guitar and keys. He is a skeptic, searching for each perfect note as it passes. Aaron has deadpan wit and incredibly white teeth. He eats Chia seeds and dried prunes to stay healthy on the road. Aaron is acutely aware of subtle details and often finds himself lost in his thoughts for long periods of time. He is a gentle giant, but is self-conscious about his height. And yes, he is single.
Matthew LoPresti was on his way to becoming a professional soccer player but left the pitch to join The Lighthouse and the Whaler. Matthew is a percussionist and puts the passion and heart into the songs. He has a nice smile and often requires extra space on stage to accommodate his raw emotion. Matthew tells loud jokes because it makes everyone laugh more. He thinks LeBron James is a traitor and is dogmatic on the subject.
Mark Poro was a solo artist who wanted some company. He plays mandolin, violin, guitar, piano and glockenspiel, but has yet to master the triangle. Mark is a lover of the poignant and sincere, and fills each song with his pure spirit. He secretly likes to be silly, especially in serious situations. Mark is perpetually training for a marathon and has blue eyes that would remind a sailor of a calm day at sea. Mark Poro is not his real name.
Steve Diaz is originally from Virginia and met Mark at a music conservatory on Martha's Vineyard. He moved to Ohio to become a Whaler, but otherwise would have probably become a farmer. Steve is a born composer and adds contrast and depth to the music with a seasoned subtlety. Steve can grow a glorious reddish-brown beard, which he credits to his unique ancestry. He writes music to maintain his sanity. Steve is not homeless, though he sometimes looks it.
The Lighthouse and the Whaler plays indie-folk-pop and does not believe that genre labels tell you anything you need to know about a band. It has nevertheless caught the attention of MTV, Fuse, FILTER, Spinner, Under the Radar and other media outlets that cater to indie-folk-pop music fans.
The Lighthouse and the Whaler has performed at venues like House of Blues, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Rockwood Music Hall and SXSW, though its favorite show to date took place in the attic of an old bookstore. The band has also shared stages with Sufjan Stevens, The Temper Trap and The Dodos, and shared blankets while sleeping in its donated mini-van, inappropriately named Rihanna.
John Richards of KEXP called The Lighthouse and the Whaler his new favorite band. He may be the smartest man on the planet.
Ewert and The Two Dragons
Ewert and The Two Dragons are an indie-folk band from Tallinn, Estonia formed in spring of 2009. The line-up consists of vocalist Ewert Sundja, guitarist Erki Pärnoja, drummer Kristjan Kallas and Ivo Etti on bass, guitar and other instruments. Their second album "Good Man Down" became the best-selling record of 2011 in Estonia with sales up to 13 000 copies and got them 5 Estonian Music Awards, incl prizes for "album of the year", "song of the year" and "band of the year". Title track "Good Man Down" also got Estonian Radio 2`s "Hit Of The Year" award. Among the other awards the group has received during the last year are Skype`s "Go Change The World" award from Tallinn Music Week 2011 and Finnish music community award FEMMA.
Ewert Sundja, Erki Pärnoja and Kristjan Kallas are old time friends who started playing together in 2008 for couple of concerts where they mostly played covers of Sting, Radiohead, Jeff Buckley and others. Soon the trio decided to start writing their own material and it resulted in the release of their debut album "The Hills Behind The Hills" in autumn of 2009. When the band started to perform live, Ivo Etti joined the group.
Although the songs from the album got only a moderate airplay on the radios, they soon became known as a great live band in all three Baltic countries. Critics agreed: "the crown jewel of Estonian music" was said, Finnish music magazine Rumba caught them at the early stages of their career and was stunned by their performance at the biggest Baltic music festival Positivus in 2010, calling them "the best band at the entire fest" where they were on the line-up alongside Muse and Scissor Sisters.
On the 25th of September, Ewert and The Two Dragons signed a record deal with Latvian indie label I Love You Records. Second album "Good Man Down"
was released on the 5th of April 2011.
First single off the album, "(In The End) There`s Only Love" gained momentum in all 3 Baltic countries and it was a breaking point in the band`s career – they were suddenly becoming a pan-Baltic indie sensation.
After their performance at Tallinn Music Week 2011, Dragons were on everyone`s lips.
In autumn 2011, Ewert and The Two Dragons performed in various European countries, also at the festivals like Popkomm (Germany), Waves Vienna
(Austria) and Lost In Music (Finland). On November 9th and 11th, they had sold out shows at Nokia Concert Hall in Tallinn (capacity 1800) and Palladium in Riga (capacity 1000). With these two major local shows, they turned a completely new page in their careers.
In January 2012, Ewert and The Two Dragons took their success to a new level when they performed two sold out shows at Eurosonic festival in Groningen, Holland. Overnight they had become one of the hottest new acts in Europe securing festival slots and shows all across Europe.
In March this year, Dragons had 4 shows at Canadian Music Week and in the beginning of April, they performed at the Piano`s and the Knitting Factory in New York City.
One year after the release of "Good Man Down", it is enjoying wide critical acclaim in France where the album was released by Talitres Records. Right before their first French tour, newspaper Le Monde compared their melodies to the ones of the Beatles and harmonies to Simon & Garfunkel`s.
We Should Leave This Tree
Born in the vast wilderness of Centennial Park, We Should Leave This Tree found it's place opening for the Imagine Dragons at the Firebird only 10 days later. Still a youngling, WSLTT happily anticipates the 2012 release of a debut album entitled Searching For Cover. Until then, hear the tree men live!