Swing House Rehearsal & Recording Studios

Tuesday Sept. 14, 7:30 p.m.

Located between Los Angeles, Hollywood and West Hollywood, Swing House Rehearsal & Recording Studios, hosted an exclusive listening party Tuesday evening for the Florida-based band Underoath, a metalcore group that has sold over a million records worldwide and toured with everyone from Disturbed to As I Lay Dying, a success story in the world of heavy music for the past five years.

In this dimly-lit rectangular shaped rehearsal studio, Underoath members Spencer Chamberlain (vocalist), guitarists James Smith and Timothy McTague, bass player Grant Brandell, keyboard player Christopher Dudley and new drummer Daniel Davison mingled with fans and hung out casually, as the aroma of cold beer, soft drinks and sandwiches slowly permeated the space.

The “listening party” trend is on the rise, as more and more artists throw these events for fans and press. But, what exactly does such a listening party entail? More importantly, what can fans expect when they attend these types of gatherings? It is safe to say that no two parties will be the same. So, we advise you to check with each venue or location accordingly and beforehand.

Usually, but not always, these types of fan-based album previews are held in bars, or at least near a place where one can consume booze, hopefully in the cheapest manner possible.

Just after a half an hour, those in attendance got a chance to hear a sneak-peek of the entire unreleased record, Ø (DISAMBIGUATION), Underoath's fifth studio album which will be out on November 9 on the record label Solid State/Tooth & Nail.

The mood was ambient as the record played, and the entire piece of music seemed considerably longer than the 38 minutes it took from first song to last. Most in the crowd sat and absorbed the new songs, which were heavy and crushing, yet in an odd sense uplifting.

At times dreamy, the album was a roller coaster of emotional songs that conveyed melody and angst. Spencer Chamberlain's vocals succeeded in relaying to listeners a balanced duality between a heavy hitting aggro style, and melodic interludes of clear harmony through an assortment of distorted guitar riffs. This is for fans of Glassjaw, As I Lay Dying, Zao, Deftones and Killswitch Engage.

Among the fans sitting and listening as the album played, there was more than an occasional headbang, between gulping bottles of beer. The overall impression of the album was positive, as many were overheard commenting that compared to the bands past recordings, the sound had matured. Several people mentioned that this was also the most cohesive album the band had completed to date, with songs blurring into one another almost seamlessly.

Fans  getting  sneak peak of the new UNDEROATH record.; Credit: Evil Alex

Fans getting sneak peak of the new UNDEROATH record.; Credit: Evil Alex

“That was it, thank you!” Chamberlain told the crowd as the room went silent a few seconds immediately after the album finished.

Keyboard player Christopher Dudley told the Weekly that the band has several shows scheduled but plan to tour extensively once the album is officially released later this Fall.

“We have a couple of shows here and there in the next few weeks, like in Alaska before the end of September,” Dudley said. “Fans can check our MySpace for all the exact dates, but in December, there will be a tiny bit of downtime for us all, and more near when the record comes out we have plans to tour extensively. So we will be back in LA again soon.” Dudley noted that exact tour dates and details will be announced soon.

All in all, with good food and booze and an EXCLUSIVE advanced sneak peek of an unreleased album, this was a night on the town spent well. If only more bands would take notice of this rising trend, the listening party experience in LA would be as commonplace as a gig.

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