Review: Durand Jones & The Indications Debut Album

Nothing gives us greater pleasure than to plug the debut album of a hometown group. Durand Jones & The Indications coalesced around a common love of gritty Southern soul and Delta blues by students at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. The four core members of the band—Aaron Frazer (drums, vocals), Blake Rhein (guitars), Kyle Houpt (bass), and Justin Hubler (organ, electric piano)—are all graduates of the JSOM Recording Arts Department and performed together in the promising blues-rock band, Charlie Patton’s War.  Durand Jones—classical saxophone player by day, soul shouter by night—earned a master’s degree in music while also playing with the award winning Kenari Quartet. The NOLA-born musician was raised in his father’s hometown of Hillaryville, LA (population 750), where he sang traditional gospel in the choir at the local Baptist church, studied classical music, and played sax in his high school jazz band, receiving the Louis Armstrong Award.

These multi-talented forces collided a couple of years ago, when Rhein and Jones both had gigs with the legendary IU Soul Revue (founded, incidentally, by Dr. Portia K. Maultsby, who later went on to found the Archives of African American Music and Culture, home of Black Grooves). Rhein approached Jones and convinced him to front Charlie Patton’s War for a basement show, and a new version of the band was born—later christened Durand Jones & The Indications—which also includes members of the Soul Revue horn section (how fantastic that college students are still taught to be soulful!).

On their self-titled album of original songs, released on Ohio’s Colemine label, the band opens with one of their strongest tracks, “Make a Change.” This is old-school stuff in the very best sense—funky and hard driving, with organ riffs and raw vocals channeling soul singers several generations removed. Frazer lays down a steady groove on “Smile,” which gives the horn section a workout. This is followed by the slow burner “Can’t Keep My Cool,” a strong track that lets Jones stretch his vocal and emotional range. Things just keep getting better on “Groovy Babe,” a song guaranteed to shake up the dance floor, with Frazer given a chance to shine with a drum solo, while Jones shouts to the rafters. “Giving Up” is a classic break-up song with a sound straight out of the Stax studio—one can even imagine that Booker T (another IU alum) is sitting in on the B3. On “Is It Any Wonder,” Frazer takes over on vocals, injecting a softer, more tender timbre, enhanced with a bit of reverb. Jones comes back in full force on “Now I’m Gone,” a tour de force of heartache and disappointment that might unleash a few tears. The album closes with “Tuck ‘N’ Roll,” a rocking instrumental that showcases the band, in particular Justin Hubler on organ.

One can’t help but make a comparison to other soul singer fronted bands, like Charles Bradley (also reviewed in this issue). Let’s hope Durand Jones & The Indications are able to continue and achieve that level of success, now that members have graduated and scattered to different parts of the country (Frazer is now gigging in Brooklyn, and Rhein is employed by Numero Record Group in Chicago). We might be in luck, since a tour is apparently in the works, and Jones is already writing songs for a follow-up album, which might also find him “channelling his inner King Curtis” on sax. Meanwhile, locals might find Jones sitting in with his other regular groups, including the Jefferson Street Parade Band, Black Acid Orchestra, and the Liberation Music Collective.

*The limited edition blue vinyl sold out prior to the release date, but you’ll be able to cop a black vinyl edition in the near future.

Reviewed by Brenda Nelson-Strauss

Original post and audio can be found here on

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Alumnus Christopher Aud sound designer on Oscar-winning film

Aud_Chris.smallerCongratulations to Christopher Aud, sound designer on the film Mad Max: Fury Road, which won Oscars for Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing at the 88th Academy Awards, Feb. 28. While he did not receive a golden statue, he was an integral part of the award-winning film.

In addition, he won a Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) Golden Reel Award for sound editing on the picture.

Aud graduated from the Jacobs School of Music with an A.S. in Recording Arts in 1989.

He knew he loved sound ever since he found himself daydreaming about his cassette recorder during baseball games as a little kid. He was a DJ throughout high school and recorded rock and roll bands as well as classical, jazz, and opera performances while attending the Jacobs School of Music.

Aud’s favorite part of being a supervising sound editor is working with directors and being able to help craft their vision. During his 20 years in the craft, Aud has been nominated for four British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards and three Academy Awards—for The Thin Red Line, The Mask of Zorro, and Eraser.

He feels that setting the mind free and possibly making mistakes in the process has allowed him to grow from his mistakes and ultimately learn to not let the challenges defeat him. When not at work, he enjoys cooking, playing guitar, racing, and photography.

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Patrick O’Brien (B.M. ‘05) joins Yessian Music’s Detroit studio as producer

PatrickObrienYessian Music recently announced that Jacobs School of Music alumnus Patrick O’Brien has joined its Detroit studio as a producer. O’Brien earned his degree at Indiana University in vocal performance with a focus in composition.

O’Brien is active in the non-profit advertising community, and has worked on projects for notable brands and organizations including Chevy, The Detroit Institute of Arts and Alternatives for Girls.  As an independent artist, he has recorded several albums and secured publishing deals for his original songs.  Among others, O’Brien has recorded with Jim Diamond, Don Boyette, Scooter Weintraub, Ben Elliot and Mick Fleetwood.

Read the full article here


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Jesse McQuarters receives Swedish-American Award

Radio producer and Recording Arts alumnus Jesse McQuarters, BSOF, AS ’03, will travel to Sweden in August and September 2012 on an award from the Swedish-American Bicentennial Exchange Fund. There, he will conduct musicological research in support of the radio series Vykort fraÌŠn Sverige (Postcards from Sweden), which will air on 98.7 WFMT in Chicago.

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Alumni Tony Elfers wins BMI Award

Recording Arts alumni Tony Elfers (BS ’06) won a BMI award for his score to the discovery special “Flying Wild Alaska“. Tony composed the music in collaboration with iSpy music and Sonixsphere, where Tony is a staff composer. This is Tony’s second BMI award, he also won in 2011 for the season 2 of Flying Wild Alaska. Check out Tony’s profile on our alumni page.


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Recording Arts students awarded Honors College grants

Recording Arts students Kate Haldrup and Aaron Frazer have each been awarded $2,000 creative activity grants from the Hutton Honors College.

Aaron Frazer will be travelling to Mississippi to collect field recordings of African-American and rural music. His research will focus on the importance of traditional religious and secular musical styles to modern-day communities. His recordings will be deposited at the Archives of Traditional Music.

Kate Haldrup will be developing her music and video blog, Second Kitchen Collective. This blog, created by Kate,  Stephen Carlsgaard (another Recording Arts student) and several other IU students, chronicles local musicians as well as touring acts that come to the Bloomington community. The grant will fund audio and video production equipment and website design and programming.

Congratulations to Aaron and Kate. These two grants highlight some of the diverse projects Recording Arts students do outside of the classroom.


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IU Music Live viewing statistics

For the 2011-12 school year IU Music live had over 74,000 visitors from 106 countries and we served more than 4600 hours of on-demand video. Our top events were the Dec 6 Holiday Celebration with 1109 viewers, the four Nutcracker performances with almost 1700 viewers, and he two La Boheme streams with  over 1400 viewers.



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Jazz Celebration

On April 21 Jazz Studies alumni Randy Brecker, Robert Hurst, Perter Erskine, and Alan Pasqua visited the Jacobs School to give master classes, clinics, and perform with the David Baker Jazz Band and Latin Jazz Band. Recording Arts students and faculty provided the front-of-house PA, audio recording, and a multi-camera live video stream for the event.

Recording Arts Junior Adam Beck at the M7CL setting levels during rehearsal

Junior Andy Spillman at DM2000 recording the show under the supervision of faculty member Mark Hood. Sophomore Dan Talton is running Pro Tools.

Randy Brecker performing with the Latin Jazz Band

Alan Pasqua, Robert Hurst, Perter Erskine, and Randy Brecker performing “Sing, Sing, Sing” with the David Baker Jazz Band.

All-star guest combo

With David Baker at the reception following the concert.

Director Glenn Hicks, senior Kyle Zucker at the switcher, and faculty member Fallon Stillman in the video booth.

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Student Seven

Make sure to catch the film “Student Seven” at the IU Cinema Thursday May 3 at 9:30pm, featuring sound design and audio mix by senior Steve Veldman.

Watch the trailer!

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Spring 2012 A311 projects

Here’s a photo of the A311 student final projects for Spring 2012. An “Orange” amp, 2 tube mic conversions, pencil condensers from scratch, LA2A, five fish preamp, Tube headphone amp, Tube power amp (Dynaco), Powered studio monitors.

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