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Concert Reviews:
Cartel Enjoying The Old, Anticipating The New

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Sunday, March 11, 2007

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The members of Cartel still love the songs on their debut album, “Chroma.” But frontman Will Pugh says that after a year and a half of working it, the Atlanta rock quintet — best-known for its single “Honestly” — is ready for some new material.

“We spent most of January writing,” says Pugh, 22, who formed Cartel in 2003 with high school friends from suburban Conyers, Ga.

But the fact that “Chroma” started as an independent release and was picked up by a major label (Epic) in June 2006 meant a sophomore album would inevitably be delayed.

“We knew it would be a while before we recorded again,” Pugh explains, “but we talked with our record company and said, ‘We really wanted to do a record,’ even though they’d barely worked (‘Chroma’). They said, ‘Dude, whenever you guys feel like it’s time to go in and do it, just do it. It doesn’t have to come out right when you do it.’ ”

Pugh says Cartel has about 12 songs ready to go and hope to work on another five or six before hitting the studio in May. The group is playing a couple of the new songs in concert, and Pugh predicts that the next release will expand — and, he says, improve — on “Chroma.”

“The way we look at it, ‘Chroma’ was underdeveloped,” he explains. “With the new record, we’re realizing what we can do and what the band is made of and move to more mature rock songwriting. We’re not purposely trying to shake up the pop-punk thing; we just never were that and never said we were that.

“So this next record, I think, is gonna change the way people look at us — whenever,” he adds with a laugh, “we manage to get it out.”

Cartel, Cobra Starship and Boys Like Girls perform at 6:30 p.m. Sunday (March 11) at Clutch Cargos, 65 E. Huron St., Pontiac. Tickets are $15. Call (248) 333-2362 or visit www.clutchcargos.com.

Web Site: www.clutchcargos.com

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