When the alternative music genre comes to mind, there can be many different styles. For example, take Paramore, an alternative band that was a hit in the 2000’s, and take Seven Nation Army, a band that also hit its highs around the same time. They’re both classified as alternative, even though they have two completely different styles and sound. Although the alternative spectrum varies, one particular sound I find new artists, especially local artists, struggle to nail is the nostalgic punk with a modernized alternative twist. You know, the Green Day feel. After all, what was cooler in 2006 than jamming to Green Day with the windows down in a car? After spending few days religiously listening to A New State, a local band from the St. Louis area, I’ve come to the conclusion that they’ve absolutely nailed the alternative/punk rock twist. The band consists of three members. Nick Wachter is vocals and guitar, Connor Watson is bass, and Mike Wachter is drums.
“Our first time playing together was rather interesting. It will be 4 years ago this summer, and I had just bought a bass so that I could play with Nick and Mike. At that time they had a combined 11 years experience on me (my first time playing) and I'm sure you could picture my nervousness,” explained Watson. “However, it went slightly better than expected. Nick had a guitar riff and some different chords he had been working on and we decided to play that and try it out. I had some knowledge of what notes to play so I wasn't at a total loss.”
The first song I checked out by this band was “It’s Never Easy” on their bandcamp website. The intro was extremely catchy from the get-go; strong guitar riffs grabbed my attention, instantly intriguing me. The singer, Nick Wachter, has strong and attractive vocals. His vocal style reminded me of a pop punk band called The Story So Far. The instrumentals of the song were more alternative, though. It’s an extremely good mix; punk vocals and alternative instrumentals. For me, the first song I listened to was a hit. I found myself searching through their other songs and albums on bandcamp. The second song, “Fiction” (my personal favorite from their website), was as compelling as the first song I listened to.
“As far as genre, I’d say we are alternative punk rock because we aren’t purely punk, and we aren’t too alternative,” Watson explains. “All I can really recall was how well we flowed together at the time. After we talked over a few parts of the song we decided to just play it and record ourselves (I was playing out of a small Roland amp and any guitarist/bassist will understand how absurd I looked and sounded). Anyway, we played the song and nailed on the first take. It was exhilarating! It was our first time playing as a real band and I guess we didn't realize how much this would affect us years later. It wasn't until late last year that we revisited the song and revamped it. It is one of our harder songs and a favorite. In short, to describe our first practice would be to describe a cliché foreshadow of what we would be capable of creating,” Watson explained.
Overall, I would rate A New State a solid 9/10 and I encourage all readers to check out this St. Louis alternative punk rock band at www.anewstate.bandcamp.com.