What makes these facts more astonishing is that all of it was done alone. The tours were self booked. The records, self funded and distributed. No labels. No record deal. Nothing. Motivated only by the belief that honest, hard work eventually pays off, STATE AND MADISON hasn't stopped. Won't stop. Can't. This is all they know how to do.
After releasing their debut EP in May 2006, the group slowly but surely developed a loyal, hometown fan-base by becoming staples of the local scene, obsessing in the time-honored Chicago tradition of working the local circuit by promoting with flyers and burned demos. “We literally built our following from the ground up” says singer/songwriter Nickolas Blazina. “If you were going to see a rock show in Chicago, you were going to see us there, and you were going to get a CD”. The hard work did indeed begin paying off, as STATE AND MADISON was tapped to appear on the infamous VAN’S WARPED TOUR and Milwaukee's mega SUMMERFEST. Praise began pouring in from across the country, with glowing features in the CHICAGO TRIBUNE, CS MAGAZINE, REDEYE and THE MEN’S BOOK. ALTERNATIVE PRESS magazine featured the band as a Chicago Hometown Hero, and in their 2010 issue of their annual AP&R, the magazine praised the band’s "melodies made for top 40", comparing them to major label acts Ludo and Panic! At The Disco. The band's song "Hot Damn!" was also eventually featured on the hit MTV reality show "Made". After closing out 2011 to a sold out crowd at the band's 6th Annual Fall Formal, an event that has become a staple of Chicago's thanksgiving weekend celebrations, STATE AND MADISON charted a course towards brand new territory - their first full length record, entitled Tar & Feather.
Slated for national release in May 2013, Tar & Feather is the documentary of a band hitting its stride. From the opening track "Goodnight Sun", a larger than life dream in which two lovers drown together if only to never again leave each other's side, to the album's epic 7-minute opus "Since Last She Was Sad", STATE AND MADISON is a band that has found its voice. Songs like the first single "Dearest Restless" and the crowd favorite "Don’t Give Up Now" see the band at the top of the energetic pop/rock heights from which they've made a name; showcasing why indeed their live shows have begun to sell out anytime they play Chicago. Given the larger canvas that an LP provides though, the band has also been able to extend its reach to new musical territory with songs like "Come Back From The Sea", a song that would be as comfortable as an AC radio single as it would be in a Pop/Country setting; think Civil Wars meets Ryan Adams. For fans of Jimmy Eat World, the Foo Fighters, and Jack's Mannequin, Tar & Feather is STATE AND MADISON at its best.
It’s because of that unique combination of music that STATE AND MADISON stands out in an ever more competitive musical landscape. Blazina’s melodies and arrangements are unabashedly pop, so strong in fact, the darker lyrical themes that permeate most of his songs could be easily missed by the casual listener. But despite being catchy and upbeat, there’s a depth to the music that reveals a strong ethos, one that is painfully aware life isn’t fair, but regardless, refuses to be negative. It’s an ethos the band lives by. “We can’t afford a van, so we tour in our parents' old truck.” explains Blazina. “Nothing is going to stop us from living our dream.” That’s because, for STATE AND MADISON, the journey is part of the destination. With the release of Tar & Feather, that journey has just begun.
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