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The Art of Evolving as a Band Ft. Turnover

With an indie rock scene in the midst of a Pax Romana, bands like Turnover are showing how change can be a godsend.

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In 2018, it’s common for fans of rock to take up this mantle as a “Defender of the Faith” whenever the musical genre is pushed into a corner. With the obvious decline of rock in terms of its mainstream appeal following the rise of rap, it has left many rocks fans saying the same few phrases:

“All music is crap nowadays.”

Or

“I wish music would go back to the 70s, everything was so much better.”

Or my favorite

“Rock is dead.”

While I could easily spend a column on each of those statements,  pointing out why each is wrong, I will save everyone’s time by just pointing to the backbone of the rock scene that is better than ever: indie rock.

Indie rock has always been the true place where the genre has shined for many parts of its history; while it’s nice to turn on the radio and hear your favorite Foo Fighters or Coldplay song, I believe that “radio pop rock” is inherently against the whole point of the genre entirely at times.

Its repetitive nature has allowed for bands to gain popularity with the same sounds repeatedly. This makes it seem obvious on why it’s fallen so far compared to genres like rap, where innovation and challenging the status quo is praised and encouraged.

Yet the indie rock scene has allowed for some of the most interesting and fun music out of rock that I’ve heard in a very long time. Movements, Real Friends, Knuckle Puck, Parquet Courts, Courtney Barnett, Slaves, and DMA’s are just a few artists that have blown me away; with new sounds different to what you’d usually hear when you turn on the radio, it has turned me from one of those “Defenders of the Faith,” into an even more passionate fan of music than ever before. But within all of this, one band has given me a greater reason to believe in not only indie rock, but of the entire genre: Turnover.

 

Turnover, formed in 2009, has easily become my favorite band. With likable personalities and an overall relatable vibe to them, it was an easy sell for me. But it’s one thing to just like the people behind the music, the moment their music plays, it’s a genuine shock.

If I could apply the saying, “Don’t judge a book by the cover” to any artist or band, it would easily fall into the hands of these guys; beautiful and interesting are the best words I could use to describe the music made by Turnover. But their ability to change their sound from album to album yet still maintain this similar vibe behind them fascinates me the most. This has allowed for their continued rise in popularity.

Led by Austin Getz on guitar and vocals, Casey Getz on drums, and Danny Dempsey on the bass, the boys have transitioned from a punk-playing group in Virginia to a dream pop band based in California in only nine years.

In an interview with Beat Magazine, Dempsey was aware of the bands changing sound, and he only attributed the change in the sound of the band to the change of the band as people, “I think that naturally, we all start to find new music, and then we’re obviously just growing up. When we started the band, we were fresh out of high school, Casey [Getz] was still in high school when we first toured. But you just grow up, and the things you think you like that meant the world to you still mean a lot to you, but you find something else that means the world to you. You’re just growing up and changing, and you can’t do the same thing forever. That’s had an influence on us.”

And that statement really sums up the band’s evolution the best, starting from their first self-titled EP, Turnover, to their latest album, Good Nature, has been remarkable. In order to understand this, let’s look deeper into how this sound has evolved.

Turnover, 2011 

The first real piece of recorder Turnover music came with their first EP named after the band itself. Compared to anything created by the band afterward, it’s nearly unrecognizable with the heaviest and punkiest sounding in the band’s discography. From the beginning with “Sasha,” it’s a complete culture shock compared to anything on Good Nature, which was only released six years after this.

 

 

The 13-minute EP packs a hard punch with its lyrics and music. With the band having five members in the period, the music has a full and chaotic sound. For lead singer Austin Getz, he sounds nearly unrecognizable in this EP, with an energetic and angry singing style, similar to what you’d find in many pop-punk singers. Compare this to his voice in Peripheral Vision or Good Nature, and it wouldn’t be surprising to think you’re listening to two different singers.

This is undeniably a pop-punk EP; it’s a great example of how fun the genre can me, and it’s without a doubt a great starting point to show where the band has come from to where they have gone.

 

 

Magnolia, 2013

From Turnover’s first EP to their first album, Magnolia is not the most radical transition the band will have from their sound from one piece of their discography to another, yet I believe this is the first time we as listeners are given what is to become Turnover’s “sound.” While it still maintains that pop-punk sound, the band takes that and builds upon it, leading to the creation of their own sound.

I believe there are multiple factors that may explain for this, with guitarists Alex Dimaiuat and Kyle Kojan leaving the band during this period, this forced Austin Getz to transition from just a singer to one who sang and played guitar (which he still does now.) With the band not adding any new members until 2014, it’s evident that the change in the lineup played a large part in the change of sound.

As seen in songs like “Most Of The Time,” the band sacrificed some intensity it had previously shown to create a song that is more aligned with an alternative vibe. Not that the band completely ignores its past, with songs likes “Bloom” and “Shiver,” it still influences the band. But with a song like “Flicker And Fade,” it shows a side of Turnover that may not have been seen before, a more emotional and lighter side; although this is the only song that really has that sound within the album, it ends up being one of the more important come Turnover’s next musical venture.

 

Peripheral Vision, 2015

 

The transition from Magnolia to Peripheral Vision is undeniably the largest in the history of Turnover. In the band’s second studio album, they completely ditch the pop-punk sound that had defined them since the group’s foundation; they trade in a heavy musical sound for a heavy lyrical vibe, with this easily being the band’s most emotionally powerful lyrics. Within seconds of hearing the open riff of “Cutting My Fingers Off,” it is clear that what the band is about to offer is different, and it’s genuinely incredible to listen to. The band truly adopts the indie rock sound with this album, but it’s done in a way that creates songs that are dark, beautiful, and powerful to listen to.

 

 

As already mentioned, the album’s biggest strength may be its lyrical content. The experiences talked about in the album feel genuine and even the simplest lines can leave a haunting after effect, for example, take these lines in “Hello Euphoria:”

“Thinner at the waist line

I feel thinner at the waist line

I’m getting old in the face

Everyday there’s another new line

‘You’re looking thinner, are you alright?’

‘Yeah I’m just busy all of the time’

I’m just a little more tired

 

Every day I really don’t know why”

 

This is just a small example of what I mean, the lyrics aren’t Shakespearean, but much like in journalism, it doesn’t have to be technically over the top for it to still produce a reaction, and that in a large way sums up Peripheral Vision, it’s a brilliant album that proves that simplicity and heart are all that is needed to create great music. In an interview with DIY Magazine, the band had this to say on their lyrics, “We’ve never been afraid to put anything out. Everyone goes through different issues, big and small. Our songs have helped people get through stuff way bigger than anything we’ve ever dealt with and you never know what your art could do for someone else.”

If you listen to anything from this album, please take the time out of your day to listen to this album, it’s a masterpiece that everyone who enjoys indie music should look at.

 

Good Nature, 2017

The latest stage of Turnover’s, well, turnover, leads us to their latest album, Good Nature. When asked before the release of the album, how it would see the band’s sound change, Austin Getz had a clear answer, “I think it’s less of a departure than Peripheral Vision was from Magnolia, but I do think that it’s different. I would say that “Super Natural” is somewhere in the middle, probably towards the more similar end of Peripheral Vision. I would say it’s a different chapter in the same book, you know what I mean? So same band for sure, but definitely new songs that we’re very excited about. I think everyone will dig it.”

And the words said remained true when the album was released; it definitely carries that same sound from previous albums, and the change from their previous album to this one was nowhere near the biggest for the band, but it was still a new chapter.

Ironically, my first thoughts I was getting of this album was of The Beach Boys, and when I was listening to an interview of the band, my thought was reassured from Getz himself, “I was just getting into a lot of things like, I was just talking to somebody else about Pet Sounds and how it’s my favorite record. It’s like a good example of what I was aiming to do. [Brian Wilson] took a lot of ideas that sounded really good and that he really loved and he applied them to The Beach Boys in a way that hadn’t been done before, they’re still great pop songs, but there were also avagand pop songs and art-pop songs.”

The album definitely features a lot of new ideas for the band that hadn’t been associated with them before. For example, their music seemed to take a large influence after pop music, with songs like “All That It Ever Was” sounding more joyful and dreamier than anything tried by the band before. This also saw the band return to a three-piece following the departure of a guitarist, Eric Soucy.

 

 

The lead single and opening song of the album, “Super Natural,” is by far the most out there for any concept tried by the band, but it seemed to represent more than a change in music, it symbolized a coming of age for the band itself. Starting off straight out of high school, the members would change as people as they got older, but that they’ve taken their music with them on that journey has led to an interesting concept that many bands don’t really go through. The dream pop sound didn’t come out of nowhere, it seemed like the next step for the group. Yet behind all of this, you can still tell that it’s Turnover.

Many bands struggle following their first two albums, but Turnover has avoided this all together by continuing to listen more and allow what they hear to change them as musicians. It’s humbling, but also smart of them to maintain a newness to their music that has put them in a very strong position to go wherever they want and not piss off their fan base.

Dempsey summed up this concept in an interview well, “I still think we have a large group of young kids that’ll get into us and a lot of the young kids the were originally fans of Turnover were the same age as us, and as we grew up and found new things and as our sound changed, there tastes change and they were able to stick with us, but now they feel the same way we feel about things, and it’s a blessing in a way.”

In an era of mainstream rock where testing the waters can be a death sentence for bands, it’s encouraging to see a wave of bands come up that feel comfortable and confident enough in themselves to change at their own pace. If anything, it may just be exactly what the genre needs.

You can follow Steven on Twitter @Steven_Keehner

About the Writer
Steven Keehner, Impact Staff
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Steven Keehner is a journalism major with an unhealthy addiction to coffee and the band Oasis. Hailing from the mediocre town of Oyster Bay, New York, he was the Editor-in-Chief of his high school paper, The Harbour Voice. He dreams of becoming a professional journalist after his time at Mercy College; his favorite writing topics are soccer, politics, and social issues. But he’ll never say no to taking a chance on a new topic.

He currently runs the Park The Bus Blog and the column, Tales Of An American Redhead for The Impact.

Steven can be contacted at [email protected]

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