Burnt Ones: “Electric Sleaze” Creates Tidal Wave of Buzz in Indy

For a long time, My Old Kentucky Blog was strictly an aggregate for hip new music coming into the Circle City. The popular Indianapolis blog posted Indianapolis events worth seeing, singles from new bands, live videos, and mp3’s that would blow your socks off. Recently, however, My Old Kentucky Blog got into the business of Indianapolis music, founding a record label called Roaring Colonel Records. Expectations were high at the announcement, but the budding label hadn’t signed anyone to their roster yet. Enter Burnt Ones. A sleazy, crunchy, heavily distorted assault dipped in sunshine, Burnt Ones feels like a conglomeration of Phil Spector meets Sonic Youth meets Brian Wilson meets The Jesus and Mary Chain. This band swaggers with a self-described “electric sleaze” sound that’s awash in reverb and nasty guitars turned to eleven. The buzz is hot in Indianapolis; Burnt Ones are going to be huge.

Video of Burnt Ones performing live at The Vollrath Tavern in Indianapolis in 2009


Burnt Ones is a three piece that’s been performing in the Indianapolis nightlife scene since August of 2009, pretty impressive for the amount of hell they’ve raised since then. Mark Tester is the guiding force behind the band; a lot of early Burnt Ones songs evolved from songs Tester was working on with one of his previous projects, The Golden Tongues Band (he was also a part of Ari Ari and the still alive Thunders). That group had a rambling psychedelic quality, but Tester wanted to create tighter pop songs while retaining the psychedelic influences. Enter longtime friends Amy Crouch (Tester’s current girlfriend) and Brian Allen (also of Thunders), who cabbaged on to Tester’s musical ideas and formed Burnt Ones. Tester sings and plays lead guitar, Crouch is the band’s drummer (usually only playing with a floor tom and snare, a la The Violent Femmes), and Allen is on bass duty.

Video of Burnt Ones performing live at LUNA Music in Broad Ripple Village in Indianapolis during Record Store Day

Since their inception in late 2009, Burnt Ones has been pretty busy. In April of 2010, they released a 7″ single called All Night Long, which garnered plenty of online blog buzz for the band with “Gonna Listen to T Rex (All Night Long),” a song title that’s appropriate, considering the heavy influence of T Rex in the band’s sound. In August of 2010, the first Burnt Ones release and the first full length release for Roaring Colonel Records, Black Teeth and Golden Tongues, will hit Indianapolis businesses like a plague. Riding the tidal wave of buzz generated by All Night Long, Black Teeth and Golden Tongues is a highly anticipated release in the Indianapolis market. Indianapolis media outlets like NUVO Newsweekly have already hailed the band as a new force in Indianapolis music, even before their first full length has dropped.

Video mp3 of “Gonna Listen to T-Rex (All Night Long)” by Burnt Ones, an Indianapolis band


Though Burnt Ones haven’t been around an incredibly long time, they’ve already performed at several Indianapolis music venues to great success, including an important date with Woven Bones and fellow Roaring Colonel labelmates We Are Hex on June 27 at the Vollrath Tavern. The group performed at this year’s SXSW as well, a pretty big deal for such a young band. Other Indianapolis bars and Indianapolis nightlife venues that have seen Burnt Ones include Locals Only, the Melody Inn, LUNA Music (which will be carrying Black Teeth and Golden Tongues upon its release), and The Bishop in Bloomington. After their full length debut, they’ll probably become even more popular and take the Indianapolis music scene by storm.

Burnt Ones is certainly Indianapolis’ new indie darling, but in this case the hype machine might have the right idea. The band’s sound is not quite unique – groups have been playing similar breeds of drugged out, fuzzed up punk/pop since the late 80’s – but Burnt Ones does it with a certain careless style and catchy pinache that other bands may find hard to match. Self-proclaimed as “electric sleaze,” the music of Burnt Ones is dreamy, aggressive, and totally absorbing, a crushing electric current that’s laced with ooh-la-la’s and happy pop melodies. The standard carrier for My Old Kentucky Blog’s Roaring Colonel Records, there’s a lot of buzz riding on the shoulders of Burnt Ones, but this Indianapolis band might just be the real thing in Indy.

For more information on Burnt Ones, including tour dates, news, and links to buy All Night Long, visit the band’s homepage.

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