FREEDOM OR DEATH with THE D'ARCY'S and WILDLIFE at The Steam Whistle Indie Club (255 Bremner Boulevard), Friday (April 29), 9 pm, $5.
Locals Freedom Or Death are doing everything in their power to break the typical indie-rock buzz-band mould.
Similar in some ways to journos-turned-rockers The Two Koreas, Freedom Or Death are a band composed of industry insiders, approaching or in their thirties, who, despite the odds, are making an impressive impact on the scene they've spent years toiling away in.
For the past decade, singer and guitarist Sway has been better-known as a music journalist, blogger, host of his video interview series the The Hook (where he's chatted with heavy hitters like Slash, Coldplay, and Queens of the Stone Age), and founder of a not-for-profit community outreach program.
The other half of Freedom Or Death's creative core is where this band takes another left turn. Fernandez, a music industry veteran who's honed his chops repping for Sony, writes and records all of Freedom or Death's songs with Sway-and takes on the band's managerial tasks-but doesn't perform live.
Shows see Sway backed by a band composed of scruffy indie-rock stalwarts including Dan Miller (also of No Breakup), and Keith Hamilton (ex-Diableros). This experiment with different modes of rock band membership is pretty unique, and will probably be emulated.
So far, the project has garnered significant attention in international circuits.
Recently, songs from their well-crafted EP Ego (getting its official release at this show) landed on a BBC playlist courtesy of Mike "The Recommender" Bradford, French tastemaker Les Inrocks labeled them a band to watch, even The Wall Street Journal showed them some love prior to their gig at SXSW.
Finally, all this overseas buzz is beginning to stir up attention here at home, with critics embracing their radio-ready mix of modern rock and electronic influences, anchored by Sway's smooth and catchy falsetto vox. Don't be surprised if these guys graduate to much larger venues in the very near future.