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From the Ground Up

Antigone Rising

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Album Review

Antigone Rising seemed to, well, rise out of nowhere in the early days of 2005, appearing on VH1 regularly and receiving the honor of being the first new artist given an entry in Starbucks' Hear Music series. Of course, this sudden omnipresence didn't happen overnight. The group had been kicking around since the late '90s, appearing on some shows on the 1998 Lilith Fair and releasing a bunch of self-released records before signing with Lava in 2004. The band had a studio debut, provisionally titled Drama Club, all set to go in 2005 — as of the first week of May, their bio on their official site concerned the release of Drama Club, which was nowhere on the release schedule on that point — when the Hear Music deal materialized and the powers that be decided that launching Antigone Rising via a Starbucks-sponsored release was a better move than dumping the major-label debut onto the market. Frankly, it was a smart move, because that Hear Music release, From the Ground Up, is the kind of adult alternative pop that was all the rage in the late '90s and what the Starbucks demographic was likely craving: tasteful, earnest, ambitious, singer/songwriter-oriented alt-folk pop, equal parts Indigo Girls, Alanis, and Natalie Merchant, with a touch of the sassy spunk of a Sheryl Crow or Shelby Lynne. By all accounts, Antigone Rising rocks harder in its other material — both in concert and on record — but this live-in-the-studio, acoustic-based set of material (comprised of both newer and older songs), showcases the band's most commercial and appealing elements rather effectively. Lead singer/songwriter Cassidy has a powerful, soulful voice that helps give the classy, generally laid-back music some direction and life, which is a blessing, since the clean, clear production makes the band sound a little bit too close to background music for comfort. Which is why From the Ground Up is part of the Starbucks promotion, of course — it's a throwback to the glory days of Lilith Fair, the perfect soundtrack to an upscale or middlebrow coffeehouse. But it was hard for music like this to get a proper airing in 2005, and more listeners will likely hear Antigone Rising through this Starbucks deal than if the band were thrown to the sharks of a traditional major-label launch. And those those listeners who do pick up From the Ground Up will find an engaging, accomplished, earnest band giving a good performance — good enough to make anybody who hears From the Ground Up wonder what a full-fledged debut from Antigone Rising might be like. So, maybe this does indeed set up the eventual release of Drama Club quite nicely.

Biography

Formed: 1993 in New York, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The all-female band Antigone Rising blended the '70s sound of Led Zeppelin and the Eagles with their love of pop so well that it kept them on the road to the tune of 200 or so shows per year, all without a record label. Grassroots promotion and live show after live show earned the band a loyal following and over 20,000 independently released CDs sold. Things changed in 2003 when Lava Records president Jason Flom caught one of Antigone Rising's gigs and signed them. The live EP Traveling Circus was...
Full bio
From the Ground Up, Antigone Rising
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  • £8.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Adult Alternative
  • Released: 26 April 2005

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