Going out is out. Enjoying virtual concerts from the comfort of home is in. Even better? Being in the vanguard to celebrate the first album release of local talent Joseph Belcher, John Downer and John Ellender. They have captured the sound of living in this unprecedented time of alienation and uncertainty in their self-titled album, "Riotcake," available April 1 on Spotify, Soundcloud and iTunes.
"We're inviting everyone to join us April 1 from 7 - 8 p.m. on Chad Marino's really cool Push Venue platform for our virtual release party," said Joseph Belcher.
The release party will play the album in its entirety with band interviews between tracks. Riotcake takes on many genres including 60s psychedelic influences, experimental, alternative hip hop, grunge and nouveau funk, mixes it up and makes it fresh with clever lyrics that describe the pain of the human condition but always holding out the very acute teenage spirit of hope.
"It's an easy listen for the diehard grunge fan as well as the millennial trip hop," Belcher said. "The styling of the album is very genre defying. There isn't really a specific niche that defines our music. We ask listeners to release all notions of bias and bigotry and ‘open your eyes' to see the music for what it is, not what it isn't."
Don't let the age of these three St. Louis High School seniors lead you to believe they're a garage band just killing time. Go to this link to hear "8 Bit Zombies" from mature musical talent: https://www.dropbox.com/s/km7lqla11we2mcq/8-Bit%20Zombies..m4a?dl=0.
The goal was to make something you could cruise to, but to make you want to break something at the same time," said John Downer.
"We put all our emotion into our music and we feel that it's important for our audience and fan base to resonate with that," Ellender said. "This could be anger rooted in anything or happiness, sadness, etc. It's the human condition, particularly if you're a teenager dealing with a pandemic."
COVID-19 caused the cancellation of most all the events that often define the senior high school year, prom, spring break, senior class skipping and parties. Riotcake had to cancel quite a few gigs with different bands.
"We may never have a chance to play with some of our collaborators again," Belcher said.
They were finishing up the album about the time the world became aware of COVID-19.
"Although the songs aren't specifically about the virus, they are inspired by the feelings of anxiety and confusion brought on by the disease," Belcher said.
Belcher has been playing bass and guitar since age 10. Before that, he was a drummer. He's been gigging with Young Band Nation since 2016 and St. Louis Show Choir since 2017. Fans have seen these guys at Downtown at Sundown, Art Walk, Be more Festival, fundraisers, Paul's Rib Shack, the old Luna Live, Panorama, Sloppy's, Mellow Mushroom and Rickenjacks. Ellender started playing at 15. Belcher and Ellender met Downer almost two years ago. He started at 10.
Belcher said that they "have been lucky enough" to work under the musical guidance of Marcus Johnson with Young Band Nation and Brett Coooley at St. Louis.
Each member can do it all, but….
"John Downer would laugh at my drum playing and John Ellender would laugh at my bass playing and I laugh when they play guitar," Belcher said. "We all laugh at each other's keyboard playing."
Go to https://www.facebook.com/events/12733817897189861 to attend the album release party.