The guys in local indie-rock band Casino Bulldogs have come to a comfortable place.
"One thing that's nice about having been playing for five years is that we're a lot more efficient now," explains guitarist and singer Greg Trimeloni. "Songs get done quicker, albums get done quicker, the process is easier."He should know — the onetime Duquesne University music student has recorded four of the band's five albums.
And while the band does play its fair share of shows, including its upcoming CD-release show for the new album Fashion in Various Evils, it's no longer about hitting on all cylinders for the trio.
"It's more [about] getting it on CD, getting it recorded well," says drummer Brad Pfeuffer. "We're more focused on that than [on] trying to take over the world, play every show, that kind of stuff."
Fashion is a feel-good collection of guitar-rock tunes along the lines of the '90s indie model: Think Pavement-inspired, but with whispery vocals, and more rhythm-based than guitar-crazy. Most of these tunes could make a good soundtrack to a road trip. Casino Bulldogs make music that's varied enough to be interesting from song to song without going too far off into jarring territory.
Trimeloni and Pfeuffer first bonded over the jukebox at the bar where Trimeloni worked: "A lot of loud, drum- and guitar-driven rock," says Trimeloni. "I was really into Dave Grohl growing up."
"But," he adds, "we really are into a lot of different stuff. One of the first songs we ever bonded over was ‘The Bends,' by Radiohead. We like Wilco, Arctic Monkeys — plenty of different stuff."
Over five years, the band has been through some changes, including the addition of Jason Hahn (of The Hypnogerms) on bass — which Hahn, a guitarist, picked up just for the band. But some things haven't changed much.
"There are two kinds of songs that we write, and I think all along, it's been like that," says Pfeuffer. "There's the two-and-a-half minute, short, dirty rock 'n' roll song, and then there's the more melodic, medium-tempo thing."
"In our style of music, it's natural to have a balance," adds Trimeloni. "Instead of all heavy, fast songs or all slow songs, we like to have that arc."
It's suited them well: After five years and five records, Casino Bulldogs have hit a nice stride making easy-on-the-ears, fun indie rock, and are happy with where they are as performers. And maybe that's the real definition of success.