ARTIST SPOTLIGHTS: Orange Costanza, The Fall Sound, Diet Lite

A loud, rambunctious night of indie rock took place at Bremen Cafe on Saturday night. Orange Costanza, The Fall Sound, and Diet Lite all played killer sets. It was a resonant reminder for us to start remembering earplugs for shows again.

Orange Costanza is guitarist/vocalist Michael Casey, bassist/vocalist Evan Kotlowksi, and drummer Eddie Smith. A headbanging garage rock band, they contentiously debate how long they’ve been a band, but the consensus seems to be about three or four years. Their name is a play on George Costanza from Seinfeld, coined by Smith’s girlfriend.

“Me and Mike already had a band,” Smith explained. “Around Thanksgiving 2017, Evan was looking for a new band and we were looking for a bass player, so we hit him up and he came over and we wrote that whole EP that same day.”

“Our last show before COVID was Up & Under…rest in peace,” Casey said. “Our practice space is in Kenosha but we play mostly in Milwaukee. We don’t gig that much, only like a couple times a year. I think this pandemic has highlighted something about us – how outrageously lazy all of us are. We didn’t write a new song or work on an album or do a fucking thing until we found out about this show.”

“We did play two new songs up there today,” Smith added, however.

Their lyrics are best described by Kotlowksi.

“Sometimes we tell a story…sometimes they are nonsense…sometimes they’re about punching Nazis.”

The EP referred to by Smith earlier is “Kamikaze” from May 2018. The band shares what they’re working on now.

“Pretty much everything we played tonight we want to toss onto an album,” Kotlowski said. “Hopefully we’ll have something out by the end of 2021…that’d be nice…if everything aligns.”

The Fall Sound is a pop punk band led by vocalist/guitarist Joey Dovnik, named simply for his love for the autumn season. His current lineup he’s had since last summer although the band itself has been a project since 2014. Right now it’s bassist Maria Froman, drummer Ethan Christensen, and rhythm guitarist Ashton Wilke.

“It started with just me making music in my bedroom and putting it out. Eventually I finally found people that wanted to play that music and since the last two years or so we’ve been trying to do it. Now we’re getting out there finally. All these songs sound so much cooler with two guitars.”

Dovnik shares what the last year has been like for the band.

“We’ve been practicing *so* much,” Dovnik said. “We played one show – here – and that was the only show we’d ever played, back in March of last year. After everything shut down my drummer moved away so I had to find new people. We played one show about a month ago in West Allis and now we’re here…I’m feeling good.”

Their last EP “Nowherebound” dropped in 2017, but they’ve got new material on the way.

“Pretty much all the songs we played tonight are off this album that we’re working on. I’ve only gotten together with these people for the last year and a half to two years now so all of these songs I wrote like four years ago. We’re trying to figure out drum recording; since I’ve done everything by myself before we’re doing it mostly DIY. This stuff is from right after I graduated from college so a lot of it’s about transitions and becoming an adult. The first EP I wrote back in high school – some of those songs we’re gonna incorporate into our setlist. And we’ve been writing new stuff on top of that. The album’s like fourteen songs and then over the course of quarantine I wrote like eight more.”

The Fall Sound plays Bands in the Park on the 25th, Battle of the Bands in Watertown on the 31st, and Kochanski’s in August.

Diet Lite is the garage power-pop punk trio of alternating guitarists/bassists/vocalists Max Niemann and Kelson Kuzdas, and drummer Evan Marsalli. The boys met while in school at UW-Oshkosh; Kuzdas and Marsalli now live in Milwaukee while Niemann is in Chicago. Their new low-calorie record “Seems to Be the Way It Tends to Go” came out in March and is their first effort where all three members actively contributed to the songwriting, and it was recorded entirely DIY. They have been taking the last few months to bring their new songs to life.

“We’re learning some new tracks too,” Marsalli said. “We played three new originals and one new cover that we did not screw up.”

“Pretty much the rest of the summer and fall is geared to playing live but we’ve got plans for recording come late fall-winter,” Niemann added. “We’re gonna get back in the studio and pump some more shit out.”

As noted, the band takes a unique approach to their lineup with Niemann and Kuzdas switching off on guitar and bass. Niemann explains how that came about.

“It was totally out of necessity. When we formed, we had a bassist but he just wasn’t as committed. So after he didn’t show up for a video shoot he wasn’t in the band anymore. Then me and Kelson had a pointing match about who’s playing bass.”

“I love it because I think it makes us so unique,” Marsalli added. “That’s the thing you’ve got to do as an artist – just differentiate yourself in any way possible.”

Diet Lite play Da Bar on the 16th, Battle of the Bands in Watertown on the 31st, Friday Night Live in Waukesha on August 6th, and Driftmore Music & Arts Festival on September 4th.

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