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Release Details

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Travoltas, The

The Travoltas
(Palo Santo Records)
Release Date: December 7, 2018
Add Date: 2019

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The Travoltas hail from Dallas, Texas, and were formed there in the fall of 2011. Salim Nourallah (vocals, guitar), Paul Slavens (keys, vocals), Nick Earl (guitar), Emsy Robinson (bass) and Jason Garner (drums), deftly swerve through music decades past ranging from tin-pan alley to the 60’s British Invasion and 70’s punk rock.

Nourallah, a well-established producer and solo artist in his own right, conceptualized the project, hand-picking each member for their unique skill set and a myriad of influences. The result is the Travoltas’ unique sound, a blend of pop/rock’s pre-1980’s history going back all the way to the 40’s.

The Travoltas recorded their full-length debut on the heels of a triumphant Midwest/East coast tour opening for the Old 97s. The 97s opening band sold over $7,000 worth of merch in just 4 weeks and the seeds of “Travolta-mania” were sewn, especially in New York City. Recording took place in Austin, Texas, with Jim Vollentine (Spoon; Old 97s, White Rabbits). The record was tracked in just 4 days and mixed back in Dallas by Matt Hibbard and Salim.

“I Can’t Say No” comes crashing out of the gate with reverb-drenched surf guitars and Liberace-esque piano runs. “Snowball” works a disco groove your mama would die for, almost as if the Kinks were doing a send-up of the BeeGees. The Travolta “formula” is basically twisted lyrics about situations gone awry coupled with perky pop tunes. “Mail Ya to Australia” showcase Slavens virtuoso piano work and continues the trend of clever wordplay. Slavens channels Randy Newman, Steve Nieve and even Scott Joplin on some of these numbers while Nourallah channels Ray Davies and some sort of punk-rock Sinatra persona.

The power pop/punky “If You Could Be the Star” and Weezer-esque (um…Blue album) “Making Out” call guitar player Nick Earl to the front of the class with his not-at-all-retro manipulation of sound. Earl fuses the past to the present with his guitar wizardry – at times creating sounds and textures that don’t even slightly resemble traditional guitar tones. This element is key to the Travoltas fresh sound and greatly helps the band step out of retro-kitsch land and in to the present day.

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