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Sound Off! @ The Holland Project  •   Show Spotlights

The revered battle of the bands… an event considered by musicians and music fans as the only acceptable instance for bands to be directly competitive. Most people envision a ‘battle of the bands’ like the one depicted near the end of School of Rock– a packed mid-level venue with performers contentiously battling it out to woo judges for a prize usually consisting of a large sum of cash and equally as important bragging rights. Are you feeling Jack Black’s unbridled anger towards his old band No Vacancy for taking home the $20,000 cash prize?

Despite these preconceived notions of a ‘battle of the bands,’ the tone for the KWNK Sound Off! Battle of the Bands at the Holland Project was in fact the contrary. Perhaps the main reason for this could be the purpose of the battle: the event served as a fundraiser for 97.7 KWNK, a community-based radio station collaboration between the Holland Project, the Reno Bike Project, and Wolf Pack Radio. The top prize for the winning performer was a recording session generously donated by the Sound Saloon in downtown Reno. All proceeds from the event went to KWNK, with attendees receiving a KWNK button used to vote for a performer of their choice.

liltrafficIcy Dave and Little Traffic, on behalf of Bridget Conway.

Throughout the evening, an overwhelming sense of community could be felt in and outside the venue. With over 200 people in attendance, top-notch vegan cuisine provided by Nom Eats and Reno favorites Lil Traffic and Icy Dave on MC duties, the inaugural Sound Off! event was considered a smashing success.

The event featured seven local artists, with ages and genres among performers varying. One of the night’s most notable performances came from Boys, a band consisting of Bella and Lizzy from surf punk duo Snack. Bella’s ability to keep the crowd engaged without the constraint of a guitar worked to the band’s advantage- their lively performance earned them at least a few new fans that night.

boys3Boys, on behalf of Bridget Conway. 

The multitude of genres heard throughout the show ensured that there was something for everyone; Common Mishap’s emo-tinged alternative rock, Surly’s introspective punk, Pink Awful’s meticulously constructed shoegaze/noise rock- all topped off with Lil Traffic and Icy Dave performing a few tracks to close the night, including a new cut that had been released less than a week prior.

The standout performance of the night came from jazz/fusion group Long Story Short, the winners of the inaugural Sound Off. Long Story Short’s performance featured a vibrant horn section that commandeered the band’s vitality. Their tight knit sound incorporated motifs from rock, pop and soul- even some electronic influence was prevalent. Their unique amalgamation was enough to win a majority the crowd’s adoration, taking home the top prize of a recording session at the Sound Saloon.

surly1 (1)Surly, on behalf of Bridget Conway.

The energy and optimism behind the idea of a community radio station overshadowed any feeling of contentiousness. Instead of any competition-induced animosity, there was mutual unwavering support between performers and attendees. Performers and attendees alike were enthused by the idea of bringing true community radio to Reno. If the Sound Off! Event was any indication of the support KWNK will be receiving from the community; we have a lot to look forward to.

You can find out more/donate to KWNK at kwnkradio.org.

Cover photo of Boys on behalf of Bridget Conway.

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Hoops // Routines  •   Album Review, Indie / Alternative

In the music video for Hoops’ “On Top,” Drew Auscherman and his band act as musical guests on a tape recording of a town’s local PBS self-help and outreach television program. There’s an invitation to join a book club, a few local inventions are highlighted, and Hoops appear to be closing out the show with a performance. Near the halfway mark, the show’s lights and sound guy spills his chili dog on the command station, and all hell breaks loose.

The song is about taking what you’re given and persevering, and the sight of Auscherman and company singing “Don’t think twice when it all goes wrong/Put in your time you’ll come out on top,” as stage lights go in and out around them leads you to believe that perhaps this song is happening spontaneously. Now, a group of white boys telling you that everything is going to be okay seems to be an endlessly renewable resource in independent music, but here’s the thing: you can really dance to “On Top.”

Routines, the first LP from Hoops, sees Auscherman’s semi-solo project shed the cassette-quality recordings of earlier EPs and trade it in for a more homespun, dreamy guitar-pop sound that isn’t too far removed from the best the 80s and 90s had to offer.

hoops-bandHoops, above.

There’s a Johnny Marr homage in the aggressive but twinkling guitar line in “Rules”; the Cocteau Twins-like, artificial synth drums on the intro to “Benjals,” and even the vocal drone of Liam Gallagher circa Morning Glory in the song “On Letting Go.” Revivalism notwithstanding, the craftsmanship is undeniable throughout the record, and it’s in these genuinely exciting moments where you can imagine shy kids thrusting hips in their bedrooms along to the record. Though Auscherman isn’t always the most involved lyricist, his melodic instincts connect the gap between intent and outcome. He has an alien-yet-captivating way of phrasing lines.

The melodramatic croon in “All My Life”—“Keep dragging me along/And it feels like I’m wasting/All my life”—reminds me of Morrissey’s best awkward moments where the lyrical idea isn’t quite finished in the verse and has to continue into the chorus. But you could also observe that Morrissey had the gumption to rhyme “rusty spanner” with “play piano,” and sometimes that kind of spirit gets substituted for Hoops’ use of vocal reverb.

The cavernous quality of the singing imbues the relatively simplistic lyrics with profundity, but you might wonder how much more is going on behind the curtain. There’s an audible gasp that comes with suggesting Routines sounds like a chillwave record, but it is reminiscent of the way that that micro-genre tends to get lost in shallow depths. However, a wading pool can often be a perfect meditative space.

A place where you can immerse yourself, disappear from the rest of the world, but still be close to land. Routines is an introspective record, and it’s a reminder that it can be a deceptively joyous affair to retreat to a lonely bedroom or garage. Hoops gives a voice and sound to that feeling, and in the process, the band is able to capture a lot of what is exhilarating about underground music’s current fixation with classic pop.

Nicholas Ruggieri is a community writer for Wolf Pack Radio as well as a class of 2018 French and English double major at the University of Nevada, Reno. 

Show Preview // Sound Off!  •   Indie / Alternative, Show Spotlights

Come together to benefit community radio

The Holland Project is an all-ages music and arts venue. KWNK is a non-profit radio station that champions music and ideas through community-driven, non-commercial radio in Reno and beyond.

Coming this Saturday, May 27 we have a very special benefit event called Sound Off! Proceeds are going to KWNK to help get the community radio station get up and running. Sound Off! is essentially a battle of the bands (which will be MC’d by the one and only Lil Traffic), and the winner is going to receive the amazing prize of a two day recording session at the Sound Saloon! Additionally, Nom Eats will be parked outside of the Holland Project slinging amazing vegan goodness, and we already know how awesome that it is.

Below we’re going to give a little information for each band to help you get acquainted.

Common Mishap has kind of a post-hardcore sound. Their album Aphasia take you through beautiful melodies, upbeat pop punk riffs, and some heavy songs that will leave you satisfied.

Common mishap

Boys is a female-fronted pop punk band with really fun and easy to listen to songs. They have lyrics that are relatable and filled with good teenage angst.


Pink Awful is a soulful noise rock band. Their song Your Shoulder is reminiscent of 70’s R&B and has a gritty chorus that’s nice and loud.

Pink awful

Tresed has a very vintage sound. They have songs with heavy Sabbath, Sleep-sounding riffs and noisy Sonic Youth-sounding leads.


Night Rooms brings surfy garage rock music that inevitably turns any show into a dance party. With real life lyrics that have a humorous spin and a goofy energy, Night Rooms is relatable in all the best ways!  


Surly, according to the dictionary: bad tempered and unfriendly. However, Surly’s live performance is anything but that.  Cathartic lyrics and sweet melodies, Erin Miller is sure to steal a piece of your heart. She will be backed by the phenomenal percussive energy of Tea Haze!


Long Story Short is a whopping seven player group, backed by strong jazz roots and pushing forward into new musical enterprises. Anyone into interesting sound landscapes and jazz fusion will dig this band.

long story short

The plan is to give everyone that comes through the door a KWNK button to use as a vote–drop it in your favorite band’s jar and at the end of the night we’ll add them up; whoever has the most buttons wins! It’s a pretty straight forward way to help your favorite band win something that will benefit both the band and listener.

The $5 admission proceeds will be going to help get KWNK 97.7 off the ground! We are so excited about this community opportunity to build a radio station. This will be a very interactive event with good tunes and good food. It’s not to be missed.

You can be the first to know about everything KWNK related by liking the page on Facebook.