Tony Venuto, a guitar-wielding singer-songwriting virtuoso hailing from the San Francisco Bay Area, has unleashed a sonic tsunami of indie rock with a distinct New Wave, Garage, and Goth flair. With his debut album ‘20 Years’, released on January 31, 2023, Venuto has solidified his place as a formidable force in the world of music. With an unyielding spirit and an unwavering passion, Venuto fearlessly communicates through his music, touching on both the mystical and raw aspects of rock ‘n’ roll. “I may not be cool, but my music sure is,” says Tony. Venuto’s lyrics are a symphony of meter, rhythm, and meaning, while his music is at once gritty and ethereal, never sacrificing authenticity for the sake of production.
Tony is backed by an all-star cast of musicians on ‘20 Years’, including Tim Lefebvre (bassist for Bowie, The Black Crowes, Elvis Costello), Eyal Satat (drummer from the Oakland Drum School), Italian vocal powerhouse Dee Wolf, and guitarist Liam Howland. These virtuosos bring Tony’s musical vision to life, elevating each track to new heights. Drawing inspiration from a diverse array of artists such as Bowie, U2, Peter Gabriel, Beck, and Miles Davis, Venuto carves his own singular path, capturing their free-form creativity and channeling it into timeless, direct songs.
The album opens with the urgent and immersive ‘Ghost In My Head’. The thumping drums, rolling basslines and pointed echoing guitars quickly underscore Tony Venuto’s reverberating voice, which resolves in his high register. The angular guitars and heavy percussion keep pushing the momentum on ‘Out To Sea’, while Tony maintains the vocal intensity, adding an anthemic quality to the choruses.
‘Radio’ bares a relentless surge of power bolstered by Tony Venuto and his arsenal of sonorous players. Both the lead and backing vocals entwine beautifully in a taut arrangement. The slamming drums dominate the flourishing soundscape of ‘20 Years Gone’, while leaving plenty of space for the screaming guitars and Tony’s bombastic, yet mellifluous delivery. It’s these moments that are nothing short of thrilling.
‘Hard Thru School’ is a euphoric, swaggering rock n’ roll banger, where the entire band turns up the intensity and volume a notch. The guitars and basslines run rampant here. If you’re looking for moments of respite, you won’t find it here, as Tony Venuto keeps the musical heat coming with the fiery ‘Choked Up’ and the rhythmical dynamics of ‘Fires From Space’. The persistent sound of fluid guitar, shimmering keys and pounding percussion renders an intent from deep inside the singer-songwriter.
The burning rock sound of ‘Dig It Up’ shows Tony Venuto connecting past nostalgia with the present tense in a bright and resonant sonic palette. Something he does even better on the aggressive free-for-all groove of ‘Broadway Rose’, which thoroughly understands and acknowledges its own past, delivering moments of controlled bombast with unprecedented authenticity. On ‘Dominos’, the album closes with same rocking verve it opened with. It sounds sharp, heavy, and more crucially, focused.
Overall, the album ‘20 Years’, wastes no time getting to the point of its intent. The choruses are immediate, the rhythms are driven, the arrangements immersive and compelling, while the vocals are perhaps the most evocative element of the recording. Tony Venuto has a sound that exists outside of any fad, phase or trend, and has an almost timeless quality. Fans of top-notch indie and alternative rock will find much to love on ‘20 Years’ and would be wise to add Tony Venuto to their playlist rotation.