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Breaking: The Entrance Band

September 16, 2009 1:39 PM ET

Who: Los Angeles-based trio the Entrance Brand craft sprawling, virtuosic psychedelic rock that has earned them big-ups from Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, who signed the crew to his Ecstatic Peace label.

Sound: Frontman Guy Blakeslee spews wailing, guitar-heavy thunder as bandmates Paz Lenchantin and drummer Derek James keep the stoner-metal grooves chugging along nicely on epic tracks like "Grim Reaper Blues, Pt. 2," where Blakeslee shrieks and howls like a young Robert Plant. "We have these psychic resonances between us," says Blakeslee of his group. "I'm a trebly guitar and trebly-voiced singer and I need a heavy bass and sick drums. They both know what to come up with to give our music more depth."

Vital Stats:

• Growing up in Baltimore, Blakeslee developed a brave, entrepreneurial spirit early on: he used to organize DIY punk shows in dilapidated spaces in South West Baltimore, the same section of the city on which HBO's The Wire is based. "Bands would call my mom's house and I would be like, 'My mom will make us food and you can stay here with us,'" Blakeslee recalls. "Me and my friends, we were the crew of kids that would hook these people up."

• Paz Lenchantin logged time playing in Zwan, the ill-fated supergroup fronted by Billy Corgan after the Smashing Pumpkins initially disbanded. Blakeslee remembers hanging around the band while living in Chicago at the time. "I was still pretty young and remember feeling like there was a lot of potential for something amazing to happen with Zwan," he says. "That fact that it didn't — well, it is what it is. And our band lineup now, it feels like it was always meant to be."

• On the track "MLK," Blakeslee delivers a tribute to Martin Luther King and reminds Americans to keep his spirit alive in times of political and social unrest. In an earlier version of the track recorded before the 2008 Presidential election, he sang "I voted for change/ Doesn't change anything" But with Obama's victory, Blakeslee has since had to revise his lyrics. "Now I pose it as a question," he says. "Like, 'Will it change anything?" Man, I remember the night that Obama won. I just cried my eyes out in pure joy."

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Song Stories

“Nightshift”

The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

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