Thomas Trimble-vocals, guitar
Garth Girard-upright bass, electric bass, backing vocals
Woody Saunders-drums, percussion
David Feeny-pedal steel, guitar, backing vocals, keyboards
Since its inception in the late 90’s, American Mars has been a kind of musical anomaly in their hometown of Detroit. In a town often dominated by garage and punk, the band has persevered for over a decade with its unique brand of atmospheric roots-influenced rock.
Chasing Vapor is the band’s fourth full-length release and the second for Gangplank Records, the label owned by the band’s pedal steel player and producer, David Feeny. The album features nine original songs along with a cover of Paul McCartney and Denny Lane’s 70’s hit “Mull of Kintyre.” Like American Mars’ previous two releases, No City Fun (2001), and Western Sides (2008), Chasing Vapor features a combination of roots, rock, and post-punk influences.
American Mars’ emotional and cathartic live shows have earned them supporting slots with The National, The Avett Brothers, Elbow, Clem Snide, Magnolia Electric Company, Richard Buckner, and 16 Horsepower. The band’s 2008 release, Western Sides (Gangplank Records), received enthusiastic reviews from Harp magazine and American Songwriter, while the music on the group’s 2003 release, No City Fun, received glowing comparisons to such diverse artists as Tom Petty, Joe Henry, James, the Dream Syndicate, and Blue Nile.
Late (1997), No City Fun (2003), Western Sides (2008), Chasing Vapor (2012)
“There are, in fact, twin guitars in American Mars, but not the kind you’d expect from a Motor City act. Instead, guitarist/vox Thomas Trimble muses darkly over cold hearts and a cold heartland while producer/pedal steel player David Feeny adds twinkling touches. “-The Austin Chronicle
“…atmospheric heartland roots rock that romps like Ryan Adams and ruminates like Joe Henry.” – Harp Magazine
“…Western Sides doesn’t aim to sound downbeat so much as honest about the long odds of life and love in the industrial Midwest, and the songs are built around hooks that manage the neat trick of creating a world of heartache that you can whistle along with in the car.” – All Music
“Western Sides is an explosion of a different kind of pent-up experience – that is, the everyday kind made up of the growth, death, boredom, discovery and everything else that falls between those low-key ecstasies and decay that make up an ordinary life.” – Detroit Metro Times
“A dynamic and studied work from Detroit-based American Mars with first rate songs from the band and exceptional production” – Freight Train Boogie
“American Mars, during the years between recordings, has become a leaner, more confusing, and profound rock & roll band by aiming for the lyrical places where only ghosts dare to whisper and the musical spaces where past, present, and future bleed into one another as the timelessness of one endless twilight sky.”-Thom Jurek, All Music Guide
“American Mars’ No City Fun is a pedal steel-laden, song-driven disc rich with gentle sadness, melodic acumen and knotty wordplay whose reference points fall somewhere between Yo La Tengo, Calexico and the Flying Burrito Brothers. In a just world, American Mars would be huge.-Brian Smith, Detroit Metro Times
“Living on the hard edge of Americana, drawing well-crafted emotional vignettes in chiaroscuro, looking at familiar things through the eyes of a stranger.”-Karen Koski, Billboard
“A sense of haunting floats throughout No City Fun, the second album for the revered Detroit ensemble. It’s a sort of unearthly heartland rock…just in time to call it one of the best albums of 2001.”-Brian McCollum, Detroit Free Press