Kadence is not fooled by the starry-eyed fantasy of being rock stars. They don’t even list “making it” as a priority. Kadence is named after guitar player Tyler Tholen’s daughter. It’s a fun band whose main focus is glittery, crystal guitar riffs, NASA shuttle-takeoff dramatizations on electric keyboards, and rattling drums. A variety of pedals and a laptop hooked up to keyboardist and self-proclaimed noisemaker Ryan James’ keyboard is the main source of these stellar noises.
The band is influenced by Radiohead, Muse, the Verve and psychedelic champions Pink Floyd, which explains their alternative ’90s-style rock with a collection of noises from mystic lands. Kadence has only been a band for a few months, but the members have been in and out of bands together for years—a “Kevin Bacon thing,” as James puts it. James, bassist Ford Corl and drummer Jeff Nicholson were all in Red Car Slow and have all dabbled in folk music solo projects. After Red Car Slow, James and Corl decided to go for a new sound: “Heroin rock,” says Corl, with a laugh.
“We’re much happier being able to rock out rather than just playing coffee shops,” says James. “Now we’re playing bars where nobody shows up! We’re not just playing coffee shops where nobody shows up.”
At a coffee shop, their bizarre 2001: A Space Odyssey sounds, edgy guitar and heavy bass would drive away the beatniks and alert the authorities.
With no lead singer in the band, they follow the ways of bands like The Beatles and Sonic Youth when it comes to singing duties.
“Whoever wrote the song sings the song,” says Tholen. When one of the band members brings the skeleton of a song to the factory floor, that’s when the band members each add individual tastes to create a layered song.
The song “Vessel” kicks off with Elton John-like piano chords then is sanctioned in with a drum roll on the snare and sonic desert guitar echoes from guitar player Shawn Sariti. Sturdy vocals from James blend soothingly with the guitar, which leaves the common indie kid in the back of the venue gently nodding his head to the hypnotic beat. Such a bizarre serving of green beans and mashed potatoes, but once they slide onto your fork it all makes sense. While the band has a strong unit of homemade songs, they also put a twist on songs the band members have made previously, such as songs from Corl’s solo albums—taking his folk style and turning it into a stellar walk through the valley of mystic sound.
The band is all over the place, in a good way. On tracks like “Now or Never,” a roadhouse blues guitar riff bleeds into a jungle drum bridge that Tholen uses as a launchpad to croon the chorus, “It’s now or never.”