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The Set List

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The Set List
By Brian Washburn
Unless you’ve been living on the moon for the past few years, you realize that the internet is the future of the music industry. From word of mouth message board, to iTunes to illegal downloading, music is not the industry it was less than a decade ago. Some bands see this and take advantage. Some of these bands can be found in your own backyard.
Russellville’s Deas Vail has made a name for themselves on the web through music message board sites like absolutepunk and buzznet. With a new EP and a their sophomore full length on the way, Deas Vail — vocalist Wes Blaylock, keyboardist Laura Blaylock, drummer Kelsey Harelson, guitarist Andy Moore and bassist Justin Froning — and their light-rock/indie sound are moving at lightening speed.
“People are feeling great about the EP and there’s a lot of buzz on it. We are pushing it to college radio stations and that’s going really really well,” said Blaylock in a phone interview. “We’ve geared a lot towards touring and put a lot of energy online to places like absolutepunk, purevolume, MySpace, buzznet. We’ve had some good reviews and the coolest thing is the fans response to the EP.”
The internet buzz, which praises Blaylock’s vocals, resulted in absolutepunk (one of the most popular message boards for self-proclaimed music critics, myself included) streaming their EP exclusively before the release date.
However, the “White Lights” EP seems to be only the beginning for the band’s fresher sound.
“We went with heavier guitars and the song writing is a lot more aggressive and it’s more personal lyrically,” Blaylock said. “We want to continue down the path of musical progression and not to try to repeat the full length.”
Fans won’t have to wait too long as the band is shooting for a release early next year for the new album, which will be released on Nashville’s Brave New World label.
“We’re really happy with Brave New World. They are good to us and smart about what they do with marketing and the band,” Blaylock said. “We’d be excited about an upstream to a major label, but we’re just making music, building fans and enjoying the people we meet and the music we play.”
In the past, the band has played venues such as The Music Hall in Fayetteville. Blaylock stressed that the band’s new emphasis is pushing their music towards college kids. And why shouldn’t they when their sound is similar to popular college artists like Death Cab for Cutie, Muse, Radiohead and Mae?
“It’s really easy to market to college students because they are all in one area and it’s easier to promote shows,” Blaylock said. “Plus, they are going to be a lot more responsive to the music we do. High school kids like the music, but they don’t really get what I’m talking about. Not that we’re all that smart, but I’m not 17 or 18. I’m talking about stuff in my life when I’m a little older.”
The Russellville natives said it might have hurt them five or six years ago being from Russellville, but with the internet taking over, it doesn’t make a huge different where the band’s homebase is. With the college emphasis and the fact that the band lives less than three hours away from Fayetteville, Deas Vail wants to “chill” on the UA campus in November and play a show. Hopefully by then UA students will have caught onto the buzz.
Final Thought: Last week, two of the music industry’s biggest influences over the past decade have decided to walk away or take a “long break.” However, one is a bit more substantial than the others. Dave Grohl & Co. (a.k.a. the Foo Fighters) said they are going on a long break, which is a turning point for these future rock gods. MTV’s Total Request Live (TRL) announced it will end its decade-long run in a few months. Wow, it’s hard to believe people actually thought Carson Daly was cool.

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