Brian Wilson-influenced Martino Conspiracy at Otto’s in DeKalb March 31

The Martino Conspiracy, a five-piece band from Chicago, has a list of influences as diverse as a rainbow is colorful. Crediting a range of musicians—including Billy Corgan, John Denver and Marvin Gaye—frontman/guitarist Tony Martino clearly draws his greatest inspiration from Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys.

Flanked by Steve Smith (bass), Svilen Mikov (lead guitar), Tim Lydon (drums/backing vocals) and Nick Wygonick (keyboards/piano), Martino and his band unapologetically craft songs clearly inspired by the finest in mid to late ’60s Wilson family fare, from The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds to the long-anticipated SMiLE (SMiLE began as a Brian Wilson solo project in 1966, but was abandoned after about a year and not competed until 2004).

But rather than a repetitive ode to sunshine pop, Martino and the band that shares his namesake attempts to bring to light the variety of their influences with Hope In Isolation, an 11-track disc that is impressive for its attention to detail and consistently mellow, yet optimistic.

It is a sound that 23-year-old Martino seems happy about.

“I’d have to say that this record really captures everything I want to say about who I am as a person and as an artist, at least at this time in my life,” said Martino via press release. “Lyrically, everything about it is very real. I’d describe it as being what I like to call a musical autobiography. You’ll know what I’m all about after hearing the record.”

Among the highlights of Martino’s self-proclaimed musical autobiography are the shiny, melodic “Just Don’t Know” and the sensitive, yet abrasive, “Moat Around Your Heart.”

Though Hope In Isolation doesn’t hit store shelves until June 5, it is already available for download via the band’s Web site. In fact, curious Rockford-area listeners will have the opportunity to sample the playlist in person at an intimate area venue. TMC is celebrating the online release with a release party and concert at Otto’s Niteclub in DeKalb this Saturday, March 31. Said Martino: “I can’t wait to get out there and play for people again. There’s nothing like the feeling of making a connection with an audience. Knowing that you can in some way make an impact on another person with something so simple in life such as a song or a melody, it’s truly inspiring to me.”

Doors for the 9 p.m. performance open at 8 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door, though prices were unavailable at press time. For more information, visit or

from the March 28-April 3, 2007, issue

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