Artist Spotlight: Alternative rock band Atomic Tom

Atomic Tom performs at The Belmont as part of Skype's Live Nation event at South by Southwest on March 15, 2013. (nooccar/Flickr)

Today’s artist spotlight is on alternative rock band Atomic Tom.

The band was formed in Brooklyn, New York in 2005 and released its debut album in 2010, titled “The Moment,” under Universal Republic Records.

The album received buzz after they released a video playing their song “Take Me Out” on iPhone instruments in a crowded New York City Subway. This masterfully quirky performance proved beneficial to the band, landing them a live performance spot on Jimmy Kimmel Live. The video has garnered over 5.5 million views to date.

What some might call a gimmick allowed for their legitimate album to get more attention than it might have gotten otherwise and took the band on tour for months with bands like Switchfoot and Anberlin.

A lot has changed since riding out their buzz in 2010 and 2011. The band went back to writing again and started releasing singles on an annual basis such as “Music Makes The Heart Grow Stronger,” and “1978,” accompanied with interesting lyric videos and live acoustic sessions showing their fans another side of them.

In an interview on their YouTube channel at The Standard Hotel in Los Angeles Luke White, the lead singer, said “It’s been a crazy couple of years for us in the music industry.”

It took them four years to create and release their new record, “ERA,” which can be found on iTunes, Spotify and Bandcamp; it encompasses where they’ve been in life, as a band and in the music industry.

“This record has just been this wealth of emotion and this story about fighting against all these odds for us, and moving to California was a big part of that,” White said.

In their song “1978,” White sings “Forget about closure / We’re the ones who’ve gotta be strong / Forget all your secrets / You can’t keep them all / You won’t live forever / If you never live life at all.” This song seems to talk about the band chasing what they want while still maintaining connections with the people around them. A lot of the album seems to be about taking back their strength, pushing forward and evolving as people and artists.

Atomic Tom’s music is stadium rock with a positive message and ambient production. Their new record is hopeful and inspired, rich with alternative influences and personal turmoil turned to enlightenment. Fans of Coldplay, The Killers and U2 will especially enjoy Atomic Tom’s music.

With distorted, delayed and melodic guitar pickings, tom-driven stadium drums, a driving bass line and impassioned vocals, Atomic Tom grabs your heartstrings and doesn’t let go until the end of their record’s Epilogue.

Talking on their single, White said, “‘Music Makes The Heart Grow Stronger’ is, like a lot of the songs on this new record – a song about having our backs against the wall, having these obstacles in our way."

Atomic Tom’s journey has been one of triumphs and heartbreak – reaching peaks most alternative bands could only dream of. Yet, they have always found themselves in the constant grind of making their ambitious mark on an ambiguous industry.

If nothing else, their new album “ERA” is a defiant statement of never giving up.

In “Music Makes The Heart Grow Stronger,” with a choir of blending harmonies in the background, White confidently sings, “When everyone’s against you, my friend / Don’t you feel the water, dive in / Anything is possible / Music makes the heart grow.”

At the end of the day, Atomic Tom makes one thing very clear: their music defines them, not the music industry.


Brett Steinberg is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at brett.steinberg@uconn.edu. He tweets @officialbrett.