For the five members of the Connecticut-based progressive rock group Mile Marker Zero, gaining individual satisfaction through a collaborative, team-driven effort is the essence of true art celebrated through self-expression and sonic chemistry.
From the moment they formed nearly a decade ago while attending Western Connecticut University school of music, the group, led by vocalist Dave Alley, John Tuohy (guitars), Mark Focarile (piano/keyboards), Tim Rykoski (bass) and Doug Alley (drums), has taken a slightly off-kilter, multi-tiered approach towards modern rock music spending the past decade honing their skill set both as musicians and songwriters.
Between 2005-2006, the band wrote and recorded their first release- The Haunted EP. However, it wasn’t until a couple of years later when the group received an invitation from Michael Birnbaum and Chris Bittner (Coheed and Cambria, Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes, Bad Brains) – owners of Applehead Recording studios located in Woodstock, New York, that the quintet would come across such an opportunity to refine the ‘Mile Marker Zero sound’ in such a professional and creative setting. “Working at Applehead where great albums from Coheed and Cambria, and Straylight Run were produced was a really big move for us,” Tuohy says.
It was from those Applehead sessions that the group would go on to release their first full-length album, a self-titled effort which received acclaim from industry insiders and press including a four out of five star review from progressive rock website SeaofTranquility.org for their “superlative musicianship, and lyrical ability.” From that release, the songs ”A Thousand Nights” and ”Reaping Tide” were both featured on the popular music video game Rockband for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 game consoles.
For Mile Marker Zero, taking the time to grow and evolve as people while celebrating marriages and births was just as important as the brotherhood they had forged over a decade ago. “The past couple years have been interesting for us as a band. We have all gone through so much in our personal lives and it’s present in our new material,” says vocalist Dave Alley. “It’s been exciting to take a step back and look at our sound and writing from an objective point of view.”
The next couple of years found the group working intently with veteran music industry executive Michael Caplan who discovered the band performing at a venue on Manhattan’s lower east side.
As great as Mile Marker Zero sounds on album, they shine brightest in concert. The band are equally powerful and captivating whether playing in small clubs or a large stage, and have won over crowds at outdoor festivals and support shows with artists including Periphery, Porcupine Tree, Spock’s Beard, Scale The Summit, Fair To Midland, Queensryche’s Geoff Tate, and many more.
Caplan, who is responsible for discovering acts such as Matisyahu, The Allman Brothers Band, and Keb’ Mo’, would quickly introduce the band to engineer Vic Steffens (Lita Ford, XYZ, Doug Wimbish of Living Colour) who then lent his expertise to help record what would become the group’s long-awaited follow up EP – Young Rust.
On Young Rust, the band has augmented their collective strengths as songwriters to create some incredible music, while again utilizing the mixing prowess of Applehead’s Birnbaum and Bittner. Alley adds, “I feel we are finally coming into our own as songwriters, and our forthcoming material showcases the juxtaposition of our heavier instrumentation and our more classic sound in the keyboards and vocals.”
With a big kick/snare and open high-hat drum pattern, Young Rust opens with the anthem rock fueled track “The Great Unknown”, an uplifting, easily relatable tune that emits a message of self preservation and endurance. “Where I Want You” follows suit spotlighting Tuohy’s masterful lead work, all the while ushering the listener on a sonic joy ride where the clarity of each player and their respective instrument can be examined and appreciated.
On “Bound”, the EPs third track, the band explore the electronic side of their sound a bit further and melodically delve into what some may even describe as pop-like undertones. “We have always worked hard to write a great song that has individuality amongst the crowd,” says Alley. “This time around it has only become more obvious that we are a band that take pride in writing tunes that are not only fun for us to play, but are really memorable and impactful to our audience.”
Epic and ambitious tracks such as “Trick Of The Tongue”, “Toughest Love”, and “Between The Lines” round out the six-song opus and are filled with unconventional arrangements and challenging rhythms yet they also flow with powerful melodies and memorable choruses.
Young Rust will be released independently on April 29, 2014.