What began as a few musical sketches that songwriter Alex Savoth had composed in the living room of his sunny West Philadelphia apartment in 2016 blossomed into the ever-evolving Stereo League. After previously fronting several Philadelphia bands, Savoth had become disillusioned with the idea of a traditional “band,” So, on his own, he wrote songs and began recruiting a collective of friends who helped him shape what would ultimately become Stereo League’s debut album “A Light on Each Side.”
Each song required a different touch, and thus “A Light on Each Side” features a total of 12 collaborators. Former band members, childhood friends and even a few new connections converged to build an album that both showcased Savoth’s contemplative songwriting, while also introducing a fresh sound that walks a line between overdriven rock and roll and atmospheric americana. Upon its release in 2018, “A Light on Each Side” was very well received by the local scene, and Stereo League was quickly named Artist to Watch by Philly’s WXPN.
As Stereo League began to transition from an amorphous recording collective to a bonafide live act, a roster of five core musicians emerged: Alex Savoth (guitar and vocals), Dan King (lead guitar), Mitch Beer (bass), John Hildenbrand (keys) and Gusten Rudolph (Drums). While honing their live show in 2019, bringing their shimmering rock and roll to New York, Nashville and everywhere in between, Stereo League realized they had so much more to say. In between live performances the band worked on a follow up to “A Light on Each Side,” the EP “Natural Mystery.”
“We had a lot of residual feelings after finishing ‘A Light on Each Side’ and I think a lot of those feelings made their way into this EP,” Savoth says. “A lot of the lyrics speak to how hard it can be to just let go.”
“Natural Mystery” showcases a more solidified band coming into their own. The soulful melodies on the title track lure listeners into a world of intrigue. Within this world, Stereo League isn’t afraid to walk across genre lines and explore new sonic landscapes. From the sprawling heartland rock of “Just Enough,” to the screeching guitars of “Ravenous,” this is a band set on showing their versatility.
“There’s something magical that can happen when you allow talented friends to transform your ideas,” says Savoth. “This project is about community. It’s about new and old friends and the impact that we have on each other as artists. I’m so honored to have such incredible musicians working with me and I think that ‘Natural Mystery’ is a solid taste of what’s to come.”
Though touring brought the band to cities across the country, it was back home in Philadelphia where “Natural Mystery” came to life. Recorded at Retro City Studios in Germantown, and mixed at Spice House Sound in Fishtown, “Natural Mystery” sees the addition of new collaborators into the league. Philly singer-songwriter Lucy Stone offers ethereal vocals and co-wrote “Just Enough” alongside Savoth and King. Another local musician, Vincent John co-wrote the title track with Savoth, as well as played guitar on the song.
This collaborative “league” mentality is what fuels Savoth. “Dan, and I grew up in the same town and have played in several bands together. The musical bond that we’ve built over the years is a very big part of Stereo League,” he says. “Dan has always helped me shape my ideas and figure out the best way to say things, both musically and lyrically. In fact, everyone that has touched this project, has in some way strengthened my voice. With each new collaboration, the league continues to grow into something slightly more than just a “band.”