formed in 1999 this 4 piece from Ohio creates a schizophrenic texture
People with drum machines and synthesizers shouldnt be able to make music
Stylex has shared the stage with:
the Liars, Enon, Hot Hot Heat, the Yeah yeah yeahs, Detachment kit, Radio
4, Oneida, Xiu Xiu, Ted Leo, We Regazzi, I am the World Trade Center,
The Thunderbirds are Now!, The Chinese Stars & Season to Risk. They
have heavily played the Midwest including shows in Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland,
St. Louis, Des Moines, Oklahoma City, Cincinnati and Minneapolis. They've
also played shows in Washington DC, NYC, Boston, New Haven, Albany and
XLR8R Magazine says:
Expect nothing short of electronic mayhem when you're dealing with Ohio's
own Stylex, whose letest release, Tight Scrapes further solidifies the
state's reputation for producing some of the most interesting post-punk
and synth-based experimentation around. The band has shared the stage
with the likes of The Liars, Enon, and Hot Hot Heat, and judging from
the photos available on their website, their live show is not one to miss.
cincinnati citybeat says:
Like Brainiac, Stylex were ahead of the dancey, Electro/Post Punk and New Wave revival curve. Stylex have been making adrenalized Neo-New Wave since 1999, releasing several albums of guitar/drum-machine/synth merriment and opening for (somewhat) like-minded artists like Enon, Radio 4, Detachment Kit and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
It's amusing to read the press on Stylex's new album, Tight Scrapes; any non-Ohio-based critic seems to express disbelief that something so unique could emanate from our apparently creativity-less state, name checking the bands that came before Stylex, like Devo, Pere Ubu and, yes, Brainiac. But it should never be surprising when a locale isolated from the major music hubs produces music that is original, imaginative and untainted by trends (Omaha anyone?).
Tight Scrapes is Stylex's finest effort to date, a high-wire mish-mash of 8-bit video game-like bleeps, animated, thick bass lines, hyperkinetic drumming and angled guitar thrusts. Along with the liveliness of the music, the wild-eyed vocals bring the human element, which seems to chase the ghosts in the machine around like a high-action game of Pac-Man. The recording isn't "modern" sounding, which makes it that much more effective. Instead of using all the tech tools available today, the band sounds like it is using gear that could have been available in the late '70s/early '80s. It gives the album that much more humanity, as they employ the "chintziness" with great effectiveness throughout -- unlike with much Electronica today, you never get the sense that the machinery is running the show. ~ Mike Breen
Slug Magazine says:
Tight Scrapes is half nostalgic of traditional New York Punk and eighties
pop, and half awesome evolution of danceable rock. Vocals on pizzicato
drive side-by-side 8-bit wobbling synth wheels and digital effects that
never repeat throughout a forty-minute time-trial. It's a lovely little
record; Stylex pushes nearly every song to their ultimate climax and decimation
inside three and a half minutes. The first-person lyrics are equal parts
of absurdly frank and frankly absurd – funny and obvious in some
moments, and cross-eyed in others. – Josh Nordin
Foxy Digitalis gives our new cd "TIGHT SCRAPES"
a 9 out of 10 and says:
“High-energy, brutal Techno” is not a phrase you utter lightly,
especially since it seems on the surface to invite only ridicule. And
yet I’m really not going out on a limb in saying that about Stylex.
They play synth-based post-rock that teeters on the edges of being both
danceable and not, and always seem inches away from descending into the
kind of ironic, pop-techno that passes for funny in bands like Aquabats
or Ween. But they don’t. Call it smarts, call it balls, call it
learning the right lessons from fellow Ohioans like Devo and Pere Ubu,
but Stylex hits hard and often, and you can dance to it.
This is their fourth full-length, and on tracks like “ Escaper”,
“Thanks To Meet You” and “The Game” you can easily
see a band hitting its stride both in terms of confidence and absorption
of its influences. Though Stylex seem like a walking encyclopedia of post-punk
and 80’s Ohio experimentation, they are a band with ideas of their
own to spare, and more than most bands you’ll hear this month. “Tight
Scrapes” rocks hard, jiggles when it wants to, and is smarter than
the average Prodigy. ~Mike Wood
Venus Magazine gives "Tight Scrapes" an 8
out of 10 and says:
Tight Scrapes is an apt album name for Toledo, Ohio's dance-punk band
Stylex. Thirteen cuts of frenetic melee made with the guitar, synthesizer,
and drum machine stylings of Brian Kantorski, Joel Roberts, and Jeff Loose
follow the hard-driving yelp of singer Dustin Hostetler. This is their
fourth full-length, and it further solidifies their place in Ohio's electro-punk
family that includes Devo and Brainiac.
From the beginning of opening track "Moves," you know you're
in for an intense experience. Stylex can make ordinary things, like relationship
breakups, seem all consuming and tragic without sounding weak, thanks
to a careening tempo and lyrics that hit their mark far more often than
they miss. Standouts on the album include "Escaper" and "Doppelganger."
Put this on when you feel like getting lost in a dark-tinged melody.
Adapt Magazine talks about "Tight Scrapes":
From the look at this amazingly cheesy 80’s artwork I was hoping
for something hip and weird and my expectations were dead on with Ohio’s
Stylex newest album, Tight Scrapes.
...Stylex are great for fans of Devo, Brainiac, The Faint, and Big Black
playing electro post-punk almost like they invented it. Opener, “Moves”,
shows a more mature, complex, and unique sound from Stylex while the yelping,
shreaking, and confidently melodic vocals add to the mix. “Escaper”
is somewhat different than the opening track, playing a new wave/electro
twist with dominant keyboards and extremely danceable drumbeats woven
with hooks and electronic glitches...
The Village Voice says:
The musical equivalent of the Japanese hero Godzilla, Stylex are at war
with the same technological nightmare that spawned them and that threatens
the very existence of humankind. But instead of battling nuclear fallout
monsters from outer space with fire breath and eye lasers, they use guitar
and screaming with Devo/Trans Am synth sounds in reverse.
Kenji Siratori, author of Blood Electric says:
StylEX upload the brain universe that compressed the acidHUMANIX infectious
disease of a chemical=anthropoid to the biocapturism corpse feti=streaming
circuit of this abolition world.
Toledo City Paper gives our new cd "Tight Scrapes"
an A- and says:
From the opening bars of "Moves," the first track on Stylex’s
first release in roughly three years, you get exactly what you need to
know: they craft amazingly catchy electronic-garage pop songs. A pleasant
mixture of delightfully sloppy, though interesting, guitar work, retro
spacey, via late-‘80s key/synth sounds, and a hard-driving back
beat, Stylex’s songs entertain like a cartoon space ride through
the play land of a 10 year old on acid; the melodies layered carefully,
glossing squealing electronics over rhythmic, head-bobbing groves ("You
and Me"). Though, one of the more appealing aspects of the music
is Dustin Hostetler’s frantic, quirky vocals, which top the melodic
atmosphere of the tunes, pushing the limit of oddity that can still hold
reality and expression (see "Alright," "The Business,"
"Thanks to Meet You."). At first and without much though, Stylex
can come off as a joke. The music sounds funny, weird and fun, but underlying
is a sincere honesty and seeming idealism; a purpose to the songs individually
and the album as a whole. This is what makes "Tight Scrapes"
so intriguing, the feeling of urgency or importance, though you’re
never clued into what that is. It’s at once fascinating and relieving
to get that feeling without being beaten over the head with blatant idealism.
Listening to "Tight Scrapes" is like sitting in the pilot seat
of Galaga, traveling space destroying asteroids and intergalactic-caterpillars,
on an important mission to somewhere, for someone, for some reason. But
it doesn’t really matter. You’re at ease, and if you get swallowed
by a black hole, you just might be OK with that. ~Ryan Bunch
shredding paper magazine says:
The Well-Abused Synthesizer is a recently forged tradition in rock: Rev
and Vega, Ubu, CabVolt and T. Gristle, the Screamers, upheld today by
contemporaries like Aphex Twin and Add N to X. Thus, it gives me such
pleasure to hip you to the latest addition to this esteemed company, namely
this Ohio quartet....Definitely one of the more challenging and deliciously
nervewrecking of recent times.
recoil magazine says:
These four Ohio freethinkers intelligently craft songs that drive, confuse
and, above all, become permanently lodged in the brain]. [STYLEX] convincingly
argues that our digital future will become only as cold as we let it.
Weird, new new wave dance club music that fuses strange offcenter beats
and rock structures with Devoish dementia and pseudotechno nonsensibilities.
What makes Stylex so fascinating, however, is how they anchor all of their
electronic wizardry in amazing songwriting and some of the most creative
and original pop rock of the modern age.... This is not sterilized machines
making modern music, this is modern man making music with unclean hands
and fertile imaginations.