It seems like every lead singer worth his or her salt will, for a moment, take a step back from the band they’ve created and want to make a solo record. I mean, if Gwen Stefani can do it, can’t everyone? The answer is a big, fat no a great deal of the time. Solo projects can go terribly awry, and have been known to do more harm than good for a band. And often, the material produced from a solo endeavor isn’t anything worth talking about, but instead a watered down version of what the original group in question was already producing. So it’s refreshing when something like the just the released EP New Cathedrals, the work of Bayside’s front man Anthony Raneri, is created and makes non-believers have a little faith in the work of break-away front-men.

If you’re not familiar with Bayside, they’re a tad reminiscent of bands like Alkaline Trio, Taking Back Sunday, or Brand New. They have a hard edge and are known for their rock riffs. If you’ve listened to Bayside, you’re not going to expect the sound coming from your speakers when you press play on Raneri’s solo project, New Cathedrals.

On his 5 song EP, he blends rock with southern influences on ‘Sandra Partial’ with good old fashioned pop-punk on the song ‘Lead, Follow, Lead.’ Based on only listening to his solo music, you’d never guess how much harder his previous material has been. Raneri has totally left the genre he is best known for and seems to be trying to make southern rock laced with pop punk. Overall, he is very successful and the EP is a strong one. Four of the five songs are pure gold and very original. The southern influence of most of the songs come off as a complete departure from Bayside and are great listens. However on ‘Lead, Follow, Lead’ the pop punk is just too obvious and tired, it sounds like so many songs produced over the past few years and is a bit exhausted in terms of originality. Overall, this is a great solo project, and even more interesting is that it was funded completely by Raneri. Support the artists and buy New Cathedrals here.

On the heels of this release, Raneri is embarking on the ‘Where’s the Band? Tour.’ The tour began in January and features Ace Enders of The Early November, Anthony Raneri of Bayside, Chis Conley of Saves the Day, Dustin Kensrue of Thrice, Evan Weiss of Into It. Over It., and Matt Pryor of The Get Up Kids. The Seattle date, February 11th at the Tractor Tavern, is the end of the tour and should be a great show with such strong performers coming together. These artists are true veterans of the touring world, Raneri especially, and will be well worth the $14 tickets (found here).

Culture A Solo Act Worth Checking Out: Anthony Raneri of Bayside Releases EP...