The average person will get into one major car accident in their lifetime. In the case of singer/songwriter, Arturo Barrios, he got into two (all within an eight month period). “I hadn’t written music for years before my accidents. After the second car crash, I was bedridden for months… my back and neck were completely wrecked. I just laid there watching Netflix content to do nothing really, when I thought, hey… why not start writing songs again?”
The result was reuniting former members of the now defunct Los Angeles based punk band, Audio Karate, who had toured relentlessly for four years and released two records through Kung Fu Records. “We strongly considered keeping the moniker of Audio Karate but with AK in the past and new members, this felt like and is a new start.” Now based out of Rosemead, CA, the band blends influences such as The Replacements, Guided by Voices, The Descendents, and My Morning Jacket to create Indian School.
In 2012, Indian School are set to release their debut EP titled “The Cruelest Kind.” Mixed by Shawn Sullivan (Mars Volta, Saosin, Reel Big Fish), the EP will be released physically in the UK and the US on March 6th, 2012 by Walnut Tree Records (Cuba Cuba, Tiger Please).
Apparently we have a subconscious obsession with Elvis. Yesterday, we featured Chancellor Warhol, who has a song called “Elvis”. And today, by sheer coincidence, we have Indian School, who also have a song called “Elvis.” Unlike Chancellor Warhol’s electro-rap banger, Indian School’s homage to the King is an upbeat power pop track that kicks off their debut EP, 2012’s The Cruelest Kind. “I’ll pick you up/and get you on your merry way,” sings frontman Art Barrios, over an infectiously bouncy piano-driven melody (courtesy of Eric Wood).
If the name Art Barrios seems familiar, it’s because he used to be in the Los Angeles-based pop-punk band, Audio Karate. Barrios isn’t the only member of Indian School who used to be in Audio Karate--in fact, every band member besides Wood also came from the same roots. Unlike Audio Karate, who toured with pop-punk bands like The Ataris, NOFX, and Blink-182, Indian School’s sound is built on a blend of influences like The Replacements, Guided by Voices, and My Morning Jacket. The band is also now based out of Rosemead, California, and not Los Angeles.
The time between ending Audio Karate and starting Indian School was not an easy one for Barrios. Within an eight month period, he got into two major car accidents. The second crash left him with a wrecked back and neck, causing him to be bedridden for months. But it was during this time that he decided to start writing songs again. After recovering, he reunited his former bandmates and Indian School was born.
With The Cruelest Kind EP, which was mixed by Shawn Sullivan (Mars Volta, Saosin, Reel Big Fish), you can hear just how much the band has matured and refined their sound since the days of Audio Karate. “Wind You Up” combines earnest vocal harmonies and pretty strums of acoustic guitars, while “Rob Your House” is built on a persistent drumbeat and yearning, Dave Grohl-esque vocals that bring to mind early Foo Fighters tracks. It’s a short-but-promising debut from Indian School, and makes us glad that Barrios stepped away from watching Netflix while bedridden, to penning some excellent tunes.