Asleep returns with a more raw sound


What: Asleep, with Modern Life, Katianne Timko, Purple Are Forward and The Modulated Tones

When: 1 and 9 p.m. Saturday

Where: The Lemon Grove,

122 W. Federal St., Youngstown

Tickets: $5 for 1 p.m. all-ages show; and free for 9 p.m. 18 and over show; call 330-744-7683

By John Benson

Asleep has had quite a spring.

Fresh from recording its third studio effort ,“Unpleasant Companion,” in Chicago with famed producer Steve Albini, the Youngstown rock act — Todd Kaden (guitar, vocals), Jon Dean (guitar), Cory Snyder (bass) and Nick Kloss (drums, loops and samples) — returns home with two special, live listening parties Saturday at the Lemon Grove.

“We are going to be playing the record from start to finish,” said Kloss, a Hermitage, Pa., native. “This album, we’re going a little bit more stripped down, a little bit more of a punk influence. It’s a little rawer in sound, like an indie vibe going on. A lot of the guitars in the past were really spacey, and now it’s a little bit more noise rock, really like Sonic Youth, Pixies-influenced stuff.”

Considering the band’s alternative-sound aspirations, heard on new tracks such as the upbeat “Hip To Deaf” and the grungy “Drama Junkie,” the quartet couldn’t have picked a better person to work with than Albini, the definitive punk producer who in the past has worked with the Pixies, Nirvana and Iggy Pop & the Stooges.

“Asleep really have themselves together,” Albini said. “They are a rock band with an experimental focus and know how to really play their instruments. This is unique from other bands with this aesthetic, as they generally perform noisy music and leave it to chance. If it comes out satisfactory for these bands, it’s primarily by chance. However, with Asleep, they are aware of the sounds they are creating and know how to manipulate and perform on their instruments to create the desired effect.”

Albini went on to say song structures heard on Asleep’s new CD remind him of Japanese instrumental band Mono, which he worked with in the past. As for Asleep’s new direction, Kloss said he believes the digression in style from its prog-rock-leaning 2006 debut, “All These Things We’ll Never Need,” and the 2009 follow-up, “Between Above and Below,” stem from the inclusion of new bassist Snyder, who also plays with stoner-rock act No. 1 Rodeo.

Though he’s unsure how exactly the band’s die-hard followers will react, Kloss is confident the group is moving in the right direction.

“Our response is not really to cater to one individual audience,” Kloss said. “We’ve always been open to doing lots of different things for lots of different people and meshing different sounds together. Even though this is a great departure from the first two records, it’ll still be something the old fans will like.

“We’re noticing gaining a new audience out of our new direction, as well. It’s definitely a huge leap. We’ve made three records, and pretty much all have been different. We kind of feel like that’s what bands should do, just kind of going in different directions and going for a completely different thing and experimenting, instead of pumping out the same record every time.”

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