Check it Out: Two States

In a world where music can be made by a kid in his mother’s basement using just a computer, it is refreshing to hear some good ol’ rock n’ roll.  Enter Two States. Hailing from Pleasantville in southern Westchester County, these five young dudes have been avid listeners of all types of rock, incorporating vocal and guitar harmonies, heavy riffs and bumping rhythms into their debut, self-titled EP. The great part about this EP is how all five songs weave in and out of genre: Two States delves into roots-rock, alt-country, power-punk and blues-ballad. Despite the experimentation, there is an underlying sound that threads the songs together, making the EP sound like a cohesive piece as opposed to a conglomeration of various songs.

The songs are guitar-driven, another aspect that seems to be undermined in music today. The band describes their sound as “wall of guitars” an apt name, and probably the most intriguing sound off the EP. Jonathan Benard, the band’s lead guitar shredder, is fantastic on this EP. The guitars constantly play off one another, adding a harmony, a different tone — one guitar will float over the song while another will dig it up. It’s a skill that shows how tight this band has become, and how their songwriting has really matured.

But while the guitars may be the main ingredient, they are not the soul of the music. That, my friends, comes from the rhythm. The bass and drums are totally synced; bassist Chadbourne Oliver and drummer Jeremy Kolker mesh perfectly together. The drum fills on this album are insane, perfectly chaotic but contained, and the bass lines dance over them in unity.

And I need to talk about the vocals, a joint effort between Anthony Pires, Jordan Smith, and Oliver.  The monotony and lifelessness of the suburbs is a feeling many know all too well, and this EP speaks for that angst. Oliver screams, “It’s warm where you are/ But it’s nothing like the heat in my car”  at the end of “Saw Mill,” a power-ballad explaining the thought process in one’s mind when taking that routine drive on highways (something I think we all know too well). On on semi-related note, if you’ve ever driven on the Saw Mill, you know how much it sucks. The music compliments the lyrics and gives the EP a hesitant, stoned, yet hopeful feeling — one that resonates strongly with the listener.

Overall, the EP is a great example of how local music can speak for a demographic with more precision than bigger acts can. But, if you’re looking for a future release from Two State decrying the angst of suburbia, you might want to look for another band. It looks like these boys have closed that chapter of their lives and have moved onto bigger things and new places. And they’ve left these songs as their trace.

You can stream/buy the EP off of their bandcamp page.

The band’s website can be found here.


Peter Spengeman

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