It helps to have friends in high places. Just ask This Century, a Phoenix pop-rock band that, thanks to its pals in another local pop-rock group, The Maine, recently scored a record deal with a Warner Bros. subsidiary.
The Maine, which released its 2010 album, Black & White, on Sire Records (also under the WB umbrella), chose This Century to be the first band on its Action Theory imprint. The buddy bands have known each other since the formation of This Century four years ago and have played together extensively. Now, they even share a manager in Tim Kirch, brother to The Maine drummer Pat Kirch.
This isn't a story about coattails, though. With their current tour and a new EP in the works, This Century has the potential to become a band signing acts to its own imprint some day.
It starts with the young band's work ethic. Since the band's signing, about six months ago, it's been a whirlwind. To stay focused and driven amid the chaos, the band members have established an unofficial routine as they get used to being on the road nonstop.
"It's definitely challenging at first, especially being so used to being with your family every day and hanging out with friends, but we've adapted to the idea of changing locations every day and becoming comfortable with your surroundings," vocalist Joel Kanitz says.
The band is touring with Hey Monday, Cartel, The Ready Set, and We Are the In Crowd and is already seeing regulars at its shows — so the one-on-one interaction that This Century works on must be paying off — and has avoided being overwhelmed by the bigger names on that bill.
"It's always a concern for bands when you have such a big bill, but the tour is going incredibly well, even better than we had planned," says guitarist Sean Silverman. "Fans are coming out who have come out before, and they're being respectful and cool."
The band is playing a six-song set, into which it is trying to inject as much energy as possible. Fans at the shows will hear some new material from the band's untitled eight-song EP, which the band hopes to release early next year. Though the guys admit their previous efforts may have come across as a little disjointed because of their wide array of influences — indie progressive to funk to Britpop — they say they tried to keep this record cohesive with a groovy pop sound.
"We were really conscious to make it a full album and not just singles," Silverman says. "It was about creating a good introduction for the band for people who haven't heard from the band. We've always had this bounce, and we wanted to find a way to incorporate it on this record."
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You can hear more new material from the guys now on the Punk Goes Pop 3 album, on which they did a fun take on M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes." They also worked earlier this year on "The 16 Project," in which they released 16 free songs, including B-sides, acoustic version, and covers to show off their versatility.
That versatility, paired with an ambitious-yet-humble attitude can help This Century stick around. Successful friends don't hurt, either. For now, they're saying the right things.
"Things have sped up much quicker than we thought it would," Silverman says. "We're really a driven band . . . [The success is] not something we take for granted."
Sun., Nov. 21, 6:30 p.m., 2010