What is a counterpush? The main songwriter and lead singer of the band explains, 'You won't find the term 'Counterpush' in the dictionary, but once you listen to our EP, you'll understand our mission and what we're setting out to achieve.' Counterpush means exactly what it appears to mean: To push against. As a musician heavily influenced by bands within the alternative rock genre, Velardo Dala has grown weary with genres and the direction alternative rock has taken in recent years. 'I don't care much for genres or other means of categorizing music. I believe they create barriers that are often arbitrary and meaningless.' Back when Counterpush was in it's infancy, the alternative rock acts pervading the air waves had one voice: and it often took the form of a screaming, beating-your-chest, suburban angst-driven noise. 'For the past decade, it seems that every major alternative rock band has been incapable of expressing a sentiment other than unadulterated anger.' Is screaming the only way these guys can express themselves? With the release of their debut EP entitled De Anima, produced by Dave Carlock (The Transplants, Pink), Counterpush intends to go against the proverbial grain by returning to the more pensive and highly personal style of songwriting that propelled such earlier bands as The Smiths and R.E.M. But don't mistake them for another '80s nostalgic band. While 'Julie's Song' displays the band's strongest ties to the '80s, the sinewy opening track entitled 'By the Way' shows that Counterpush is very much in the here-and-now. De Anima is littered with idealism and stories of relationships gone wrong. But Velardo is also determined to show the breadth of his songwriting capabilities. 'I am constantly at odds with myself when I am writing a new song. To me, a song doesn't mean much if the lyrics are so cryptic that the only thing people take away from it is the melody.' On the other hand, listeners must not be spoon-fed either-a trait he learned from his first concert experience featuring the waifish folk singer Suzanne Vega. 'Watching Suzanne Vega perform made me realize that truly effective songwriting uses words and melodies to paint pictures.' This influence is perhaps best exemplified in the admonishing 'Siren,' in which Time is personified as a seductress. 'Siren' also showcases the undeniable dynamics of the band. With Mingo on drums and Gabriel Brooks on bass, the trio manages to take the listener on an emotional journey. In fact, De Anima manages to explore a variety of emotions through six, well-crafted, intriguing songs. From the unabashedly idealistic, to the piercing realization of disillusionment, De Anima ventures to go beyond the standard emotions that all but guarantee radio airplay in the sterile soil of today. Clearly the band is not afraid of exploration. Now all they need is an audience that is equally open-minded.
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