Philly DIY rock four-piece Univox has kept on the quiet side since releasing a Halloween single (“Wolfman”) and its corresponding video back in the fall, but with good reason. The band has been putting the finishing touches on it’s latest ventures: The Altec, a new full-length album available today, and Tour of Fire, a free-downloadable iPhone video game.
As we learn in a Univox YouTube update starring bassist / vocalist Rob DeCarlois, The Altec was recorded (with mixing assistance by Farzad Houshiarnejad of Night Panther / White Birds / Drink Up etc.) in the lovingly-constructed basement studio singer-guitarist Josh Jones built in the house he shares with his wife Sarah. It’s a solid listen: snappy pop-rock tunes, rough-yet-polished, a tasty garage vibe. “Yellow and White Lines” sounds great cranked up, “Mary” is one they played for us during their Key Studio Session a while back, album closer “At The End of the Day” is a exhuberant mix of vocal harmonies and whistling.
About the name (the album’s and their own), the band explained on Facebook:
the first tape Joe and I (josh) made together was an improvised experimental recording where all of the instruments were mixed down and re-amped through a Univox bass amp and cab. we self-recorded the new album and ran almost every signal on it through our Altec 1220 console. I think these names best represent our music as they have become esoteric titles of what is lost in contemporary music. since we’re largely steeped in golden oldies, our recordings tend to feel like something you might find in a dusty bin at a flea market
While there’s some silliness in the record (it’s more evident if you’ve seen these guys live and are familiar with their ridiculous personas), it can also be appreciated as a well-crafted post-modern homage to rock and pop from the 60s till today. The video game, however, is pure silliness. A free download from iTunes, it allows you to guide the band on a U.S. tour – tearing across I-80 in the van enroute to Cleveland, playing the show and literally slaying the audience members with your notes. That’s as far as I got, since I kept dying and wanted to write this up, but its Atari 8-bit look and comical road trip / tour vibe are very enjoyable and I swear I will beat it on my lunch hour.
Listen to The Altec below, and get a preview of the game in the band’s 2013 update video.