On March 26th, 2022, Namen Namen appeared at the WIUX Music Market to perform their music and promote their newly released EP. Namen Namen is an alt-rock band from Fort Wayne, Indiana. There are 4 members that make up the band- one bassist, one drummer, one guitarist, and one singer. They started out as a high school cover band and transitioned into writing and releasing their own music. They released their debut EP, Namen Namen, on April 1st, 2022. Their newest EP stays true to their style of music with a very alt-rock sound. Each song is created with a heavy emphasis on guitar and drums. Their vocals have a very unique sound that resembles the punk movement of the late 1970s. I noticed similarities in the style of their vocals to 70s punk rocker Iggy Pop. Most of the tracks on their EP have a high tempo and a classic alternative rock sound to their backing track. The stand-out feature of the majority of the tracks is the guitar. Guitarist Kellen shows off his skills in numerous guitar solos, most notably in their songs “Horrors of Spider Island” and “The One I Love The Most”. Throughout the EP, I did notice that the instruments sounded louder than the vocals, making it difficult to understand the lyrics at times. However, I think that booming instrument sounds is a popular technique amongst rock bands, and is a notable characteristic for many historically famous rockers, originally stemming from the “wall of sound” technique. Though they stick to a consistent style and signature sound throughout their EP, they portrayed variations of their style within the different songs. The first song on the album, “Horrors of Spider Island”, encapsulates the band's sound very well. It has the Namen Namen ingredients of an impressive guitar solo, the 70s punk vocals, and a modern alternative rock backing track with just a hint of a classic rock flare. Their second song on the EP, “So Alone” had the signature vocals, but the guitar rhythm had funk elements to it, definitely more groovy and a little less rock than the previous song. Their song “Dracula AD” was similar to “Horrors of Spider Island” with a fast tempo repeating guitar sound. Their song “Mona” was my favorite on the album. It was a good contrasting song with more melodious vocals, slower tempo, backing harmonies, and an emphasis on the bass guitar. “The One I Love The Most” features an impressive guitar solo and is similar to their other songs on the EP with the exception of the high vocal runs which slightly resembled an alternative version of the classic Beach Boys’ vocal runs. “2021”, their final song on the EP, seemed the most rock of all the songs on the album. It begins with the prominent sounds of amplifier feedback, and they incorporated that sound throughout the song which was a creative touch. The sound of “2021” made sense to the meaning, there was a bit of chaos, a lot of loud instruments and sounds, and a bit of harder rock scream-singing at the end, which I think resembles the frustration of the year for a lot of people. As someone who is just being introduced to Namen Namen and their sound, I thought this EP was a great starting point for the alternative rock band. They portrayed their signature sound and unique vocals in all of the songs. It was a refreshingly modern sound to alternative rock while still paying homage to the early punk sounds of the 1970s. It is clear that they have tremendous talent, with their stand-out performer being their guitarist Kellen. I think that their songs “So Alone” and “Mona” have real potential to reach a large audience, and they are definitely a band to keep an eye on for all alternative rock lovers. If you want to see them perform their new EP live, they have some exciting upcoming shows:
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I recently got to sit down and talk with Professor Hollinden who teaches History of Rock ‘n Roll here at Indiana University- Bloomington. We discussed the details of his courses, his music experience, and his thoughts on the legacy of the History of Rock ‘n Roll courses. (Emily): Can you tell me about the courses that you teach?