It’s been more than a year since Bryan Todd commanded audiences to move and sway as the frontman of college-rock cover band Red Eye Radio. Be it at Beauty Bar or the Palms Lounge, the dancefloor worked up a sweat, a result of the now-defunct Red Eye’s intoxicating energy.
Now, Todd is back with a new indie-pop project, Glass Pools, and he’s set on making Vegas dance again. He’s no stranger to the limelight—before Red Eye Radio he fronted The Novelty Act and played in Pilot to Orion, and he’s a frequent actor and director for Cockroach Theatre. But leading an original act again is challenging, Todd admits, even if it’s more rewarding than performing other people’s songs. “As much as you put your own thing on [covers], it’s the familiarity and nostalgia that’s making people feel a certain way,” he says.
Todd says his new sound comes from a lot of the influences that drove Red Eye Radio—a funky “amalgam of differently styled songs” with similarities to The Cure, Talking Heads, Phoenix and Bloc Party. It makes sense, as Glass Pools features three Red Eye Radio members: Todd (vocals/guitar), Ro Romero (guitar) and Mike McDonald (bass) plus Empire Records’ drummer Emily Sully. And while Glass Pools’ bread-and-butter is funky grooves, the songs are slightly angry, Todd says. “It’s like Alanis Morissette,” he jokes, before quickly rescinding. “Don’t print that.”
That comparison actually isn’t too far off. As a dancey, disco drumbeat and a deep, swirling bassline kick in on “Dumb,” Todd recalls a sour relationship with lyrical venom. “Trust, I was so full of trust/I was so full of lust/I couldn’t see it/Sh*t, you were so full of sh*t/But I fell into it each time/Over and over and over and over,” he coos against sparkling guitar riffs.
You can find Glass Pools demos at glasspools.bandcamp.com, but Todd would rather you hear the music at the band’s debut, February 4 at the Bunkhouse, with visual projections by local artist Brian Henry. (Also on the bill: Rusty Maples and Black Camaricans.) Another objective? “To have something tangible,” Todd says. “We’ll record an album soon. That’s a goal.”