Towson band's CD is coming

Best Bet

February 13, 2003|By Bill Sulon

Ten Stories Tall, a new band composed of three Towson University students and an aspiring actor/drummer (and non-student), showcases a wide range of influences, from Bob Dylan and Dave Matthews to Pink Floyd and the Cure, with a little country twang tossed in to keep listeners from settling into one genre.

Vocalist and rhythm guitarist Justin Baker came up with the name for the band while in France, where he saw a poster of a man preparing to dive into a small pool from a platform that was, you guessed it, 10 stories high.

Baker, the band's lead songwriter, teamed up with guitarist Josh Kaufman and bassist Jason Seger, and together the three 20-year-old students took the plunge, hitting Baltimore-area clubs and attracting an intimate core of followers. After a year of performing together - and winning Towson University's Battle of the Bands - they brought 24-year-old drummer Reno Brown aboard last November.

The band's debut album, Mystery Tramp, to be released later this month, begins and ends with the brief and hypnotic "Bassic B" and "B Bassic," the latter of which sounds like a cross between Floyd's "Careful With That Axe, Eugene," and the Beatles' "Revolution No. 9."

The other eight tracks stray far from Floyd and into more traditional musical realms, except for the pounding, three-chord rocker, "Forty Days."

Mystery Tramp features a direct homage to Dylan in "A Blind Eye Looks to the Other Side of the Tracks" and a slightly less obvious nod to the Cure's Robert Smith in the melancholy "Day Renews" and "Capo 3rd Fret."

With lyrics such as "Time is my best friend and worst enemy/I can go left or I can go right in this game of life," Baker's angst-filled songs lack the sophistication showcased by Smith, Dylan, former Floyd frontman Roger Waters or Baltimore's Mary Prankster. Musically, however, Ten Stories Tall plays like a band with years of talent and experience.

Ten Stories Tall will perform at 11 tonight at The Tattoo, 4825 Belair Road. Cover charge is $6 ages 21 and over, $10 under 21. The band Georgia Avenue will open the show at 10 p.m. Call 410-325-7427.

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