Saint Augustine said that our hearts are restless until they find rest in God. Until then, here’s some volume for your restless heart…
2021’s Volume for your Restless Heart is the latest album from Tulsa rocker, Tony Romanello. Through the chaos of 2019-2021 he peeled back the layers of a past demo catalog and focused on refining a palette of raw energy and feel to color these 12 anthems. Pounding drums, driving bass, and musing guitars combine together in a raw warmth, with equal parts crunch and sheen. Purposeful lyrics tap into the current tension between the human condition and the modern world. ‘Rock’ is what this guy has been doing in one form or fashion for a long while, and this album embodies it: It punches. It screams. It embraces. It harmonizes. It wilts. It is meant to to be more felt than heard — all the while tightly pairing pop hooks with static riffs from this admitted (and proud of it!) fuzzed out rawker.
Playing in a number of bands between Tulsa and Norman, OK early in his musical career, Romanello crept onto the indie scene by working with members of Oklahoma alt icons Chainsaw Kittens and Flaming Lips. He dropped three solo CD’s: Lo-Fi Dreams in Stereo: Vol. I (2000), The MumbleOdd (2000), and Counting Stars (2003) to consistent rave reviews throughout CMJ Radio (Counting Stars – no. 65 Spring ’03) and international press (CMJ, Uncut, Pop Culture Press). Counting Stars even boasted the drumming of Lips’ maestro Steven Drozd as well as a full horn and string ensemble. The comparisons in the media ranged from the abstract (Jeff Buckley, Jeremy Enigk, Catherine Wheel) to the concrete (Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Queens of the Stoneage).
After bowing to requests to hit the regional alternative rock circuit, Romanello diverged from his solo work to form TRB as a tangible rock and roll unit. The band released the Shades of Grey EP (2001), Where Are You Tonight? EP (2003), and TRB s/t (2004). The latter releases garnered the band a taste of major commercial radio success (“Where Are You Tonight?” and “Better Days” added to KMYZ summer 2003 & Fall 2004) and attracted a significant amount of industry attention. The fans of their hometown of Tulsa, OK responded by voting him and the band multiple awards over this span, including Artist of the Year in 2002.
In 2005 he returned to his solo work. He released the Rock ‘n Roll Fairytales EP (2006) and Lo-Fi Dreams in Stereo: Vol. 2. (2007). In 2009, Romanello returned to his hometown of Tulsa, OK and formed The Black Jackets. During the Black Jackets’ tenure the band released the Pleased To Meet Us EP (2012) and the sonically lush full-length record, Chasing Airwaves (2016). Reuniting with several past partners-in-crime, The Black Jackets hit the local scene for almost 10 years forging a sound jettisoned by a 3-guitar assault and anchored by a pounding rhythm and bass section.