Get a Room

alt-hip-hop-rockers release debut album

Tyler Griggs, photos by Andrea Paulseth

The Blue Room, shown here ROCKING THE DAVENPORT. Recorded at Altoona’s Wail House, Akirema is local band The Blue Room’s first album.
The Blue Room, shown here ROCKING THE DAVENPORT. Recorded at Altoona’s Wail House, Akirema is local band The Blue Room’s first album.

Looking forward to releasing their first full-length album next month, don’t mistake The Blue Room for new blood in town. Featuring Joe Samolinski, Tommy Tainter, Adam Thoms, and the brothers Vang, Alex, and Anthony, The Blue Room is a six-year-strong rock n’ roll project with its roots in Altoona, and titling the record Akirema. That’s “America” backwards. Kind of.
Akirema is an ambitious summary of The Blue Room’s six-year catalog.

“It’s a description of the music as a melting pot,” said Anthony, the band’s drummer, who conceived the title. Like the United States’ own allusion to a cauldron of cultures, The Blue Room twists several influences and styles to power Akirema’s magnetic energy.

The album opener, Another Blue Monday, washes with reverberating guitar textures and sensual vocals akin to the best of Jeff Buckley, then the unbridled rage of Highway X drives the album’s cadence into a hard rock fist-pumper. The gloriously self-depreciating pop singalong Ain’t Bad features a chorus best fit with friends and a pitcher of beer at your favorite bar, while Imaginary Girlfriend is a bristling blues rock stomper thick with guitar fills. These dynamics are made more obvious live, where members regularly switch instruments and lead singing responsibilities throughout the set.

Referring to musicians that inspire him, Alex said “Mike Einziger of Incubus incorporates so much new stuff with the modern new metal. He’s just so versatile, and his melodies are just goddamn gorgeous. But besides that the inspiration comes from the other guys in the band.”
Last year proved to be challenging for the band. A nonstop assault of two months of weekend shows beginning in January precipitated the recording adventure, and two weeks before founding guitarist Dan Gary quit. While stunning, this allowed space for local singer/songwriter Adam Thoms to fill his spot. When Jaime Hansen approached the band with the recording opportunity in April, Akirema’s time had come.

Save for one track, Hansen recorded the album at Wail House in Altoona beginning last May. The other was recorded at Groundbreaking Studios in La Crosse about a year prior.

The Blue Room is hosting two CD release shows: March 9 at Sammy’s Pizza (2812 London Rd., Eau Claire) with Matt Vold, and March 10 at The Mousetrap (311 S. Barstow St., Eau Claire) with Do It Yourself Daisy. Buy Akirema at Blue Room Shows or The Local Store.