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28 North

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If you're trying to get across town in Pittsburgh during rush hour the last thing you want is to get stuck in traffic on the city's notoriously gridlock-prone stretch of Pennsylvania Highway 28 North. Getting "stuck" on 28 North the band however is quite another thing: a pleasant experience that thousands are volunteering for with each passing week. And just like it takes guts to tolerate a tough daily commute, it takes a truckload of moxie just to keep a band together for the long run, let alone make it thrive. Currently enjoying a hit single and counting the days till their new album World on Fire drops, 28 North is in the fast lane headed for Big Time and there's not a cop in sight.

Michael Lindner is the singer, guitarist, songwriter and general ringleader of 28 North, a four-piece rock band with Midwestern (Pittsburgh and Cleveland) roots that's now based in Los Angeles. Like just about every other band 28 North has had its share of problems --- line-up changes, recording pitfalls, the heeding of bad advice --- but Lindner is not big on talking about these things from the past; he'd rather tell you about the here and now while eying the future. Listen to the sad "Los Angeles" from World on Fire and you'll hear a true recounting of how the members of 28 North struggled with their move to the city, losing touch with friends, lovers and family in the process. Ask Lindner about Los Angeles though and he'll enthuse about how the band has been "bombarded with new experiences" there, including the chance to meet and interact with favorite musicians, actors, athletes, writers and artists. Lindner's ability to keep the band's passion focused on the positive is one of the main reasons that 28 North is now having a major breakthrough. That, and well, they rock pretty hard too. And it all comes tumbling out in the new music.

"Call Me Up," a tender and heartfelt declaration of love for an absent lover, is the first single from World on Fire and while it is not the only mellow tune on the album (see the aforementioned and very catchy "Los Angeles") fans who only know 28 North from the one song may be a bit surprised when the band really comes out swinging. "Monster" is sparkling power-pop, all soaring guitars and pounding drums, perfectly suited to a song about an out-of-control but still beloved girlfriend, and "World on Fire" is an updating of the classic rock FM radio hit, hinting at a fondness for bands like Aerosmith. "Gone" is another song about a relationship coming to an end, but set to a driving hit-the-road beat the song is more suited for rockin' down the highway with the windows down than it is for moping. And the guys (besides Lindner: drummer Tyler Bond, guitarist Taylor Netzler and bass man Mark Glinka) pull out all the stops for "Pride," a modern rocker with the spirit of The Who running through it, complete with Bond's impeccable channeling of late Who drummer Keith Moon. As chief songwriter, Lindner's penchant for well-written and hook-filled songs deserves much of the credit here. Still, the singer's got it right when he says, "We are, in the most rock'n'roll sense of the word, a band." With that in mind, 28 North has cleared a little room on the bandwagon for all comers; feel free to hop on at any time.

World on Fire drops on April 29.

Purchase "Call Me Up" at iTunes here

Learn more about the group here

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