For local indie act, The Resonars, change is afoot
Though their music rings familiar, no one would accuse The Resonars of being stale. The quality of nostalgia that lingers beneath Matt Rendon’s meticulous vocal harmonies and an affinity for 12-string electric guitars makes The Resonars, Rendon’s primary recording project since the ’90s, easily relatable for almost any music fan.
“All the elements of The Resonars’ sounds are just things that I fell in love with as a kid,” Rendon said. “The jangly guitars, the explosive drums, these are just what I think of when I think rock ‘n’ roll.”
Maybe it’s the fact that no other Tucson band comes close to mastering these techniques, or perhaps it’s simply Rendon’s impeccable sense of melody that makes The Resonars stand out with their retro appeal.
Though the band was always Rendon’s brainchild, before March of 2012 The Resonars had not been a full band for almost a decade. Instead, The Resonars had been operating under Rendon’s sole direction, both in terms of songwriting and in the studio.
“Basically anything I record by myself is a Resonars song,” Rendon said. “I’ve never really stopped recording, even when the original Resonars band fell apart in the ’90s.”
That process changed in 2012. Rendon recalls that it was current Resonars guitarist/vocalist Isaac Reyes who first suggested getting a full band together so The Resonars could play in the South by Southwest music festival in Austin. Reyes himself had been prompted by a friend at The Resonars’ label Burger Records.
Since SXSW, The Resonars have officially reemerged as a four-piece with their eyes set on local shows, new songs and even a European tour in September.
“We haven’t really gotten to the point where we are playing new stuff,” Rendon said, “but already it has been a very different kind of experience. The guys are all just excellent.”
When The Resonars do record as a full band, it will mark the first time this has happened since the incarnation of the band in the ‘90s.
Regardless, Rendon remains confident that the band will have no problem adjusting to the influx of new members and ideas.
“We have actually already done a recording with this group, a cover of a Fairport Convention song, and it went great,” he said. “It’s not like I have to tell them what to play, and I definitely don’t want to do that.”
If there’s anything The Resonars have proved to be after years of recordings, live performances and lineup changes, it’s resilient. That Resonars spark that made Rendon such a hit in the first place will undoubtedly remain in their “off-the-chain drumming,” using the harmonies as lead instrumentation and the spirit of rock and roll.
As Rendon reiterates, the band is in something of a transition period even as it heads to Club Congress on Feb. 20.
“We’re definitely looking forward, probably going to try and play about a show a month until April. After that, though, we’re going to shut it down and just get to work on the record and our brand new set,” he said.
In addition to their new record on Chicago label Trouble in Mind, which Rendon said is due out this summer, the full group is touring through Europe in the fall. That’s not bad for a band that was reborn only a year ago.
“With The Resonars, it’s always about those basic rock ‘n’ roll elements,” Rendon said, “but still keeping certain elements contemporary. There’s always new ideas.”