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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Champaign saviors arrive!

    When we think of indie scenes around the country, we typically envision places such as Athens, Ga., Los Angeles or Austin, but never Champaign, Ill. The quaint town sits about two hours south of Chicago and is most notable for playing host to the University of Illinois and being the birthplace of Ludacris. Although it is also the hometown of the rock group REO Speedwagon and bluegrass singer Alison Krauss, the town has never been famous for its indie scene – that is, until Headlights came along.

    “”The music scene there was pretty miserable,”” said lead singer Tristan Wraight. “”I mean it was flat-out nonexistent.””

    Growing up, Wraight relied heavily on his parents for musical exposure and began his career at a young age, playing alongside current band mate Erin Fein’s brothers. Once the time came for Wraight to culminate all of his musical tastes and instrumental talents, he was left without a niche.

    “”We started playing in abandoned churches, but other than that there really wasn’t much out there.””

    After playing various stints with other indie bands from around the country, Wraight finally brought it all back home when he joined Fein, his long-time friend, to form Headlights.

    “”We’ve been friends for a really long time, so everything just seemed really natural,”” said Wraight.

    The band’s up-tempo, pop sound has since landed it a record deal with local Champaign label Polyvinyl Records, a national tour and even a musical cameo on ABC’s hit show, “”Grey’s Anatomy.””

    “”We love making pop music,”” Wraight said. “”Were definitely melodically adventurous.””

    Melodical indeed. Wraight and Fein shared the mic on their recent album, The Enemies EP, which proved to be a beautifully unpredictable lyrical saga, through which Fein’s dramatically elegant voice seems to navigate the listener though every spellbinding track with a cunning resemblance to Dolores O’Riordan (The Cranberries).

    “”We really love everything about the album, it’s really harmonious,”” said Wraight.

    With tracks such as “”It Isn’t Easy to Live That Well”” and lyrics such as “”Everyone’s got their enemies,”” it’s no surprise that Headlights’ lyrics aren’t as amorously charged as their easy-going sound.

    “”I mean, don’t consider us any sort of intellectual force,”” said Wraight. “”But we definitely try to tackle some of our day-to-day troubles in the lyrics.””

    As the band begins to gain tenure, so does its hometown’s indie music scene. Considering that the town’s indie scene is now rivaling its Emo realm, which was fused by local legends Braid, Wraight feels strongly about its growth.

    “”I wouldn’t say we created the scene by any means, but we were definitely a catalyst,”” he said.

    The band is currently working on an album set to be released August 22nd. They will be playing a show in Tucson on Friday night at The Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress St. The show starts at 10:30 p.m.

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