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In this MySpace musical age with music at your fingertips, it can be difficult to discover original and talented bands. Nouveau has managed to create a sound that is all at once catchy, rich, mellifluous and hard to define. A diamond in the rough of the plethora of other bands listed on social networking Web sites, the quintet has made a lasting impression.
With drums, bass, guitar, keyboard and violin in tow, Nouveau performed a 30-minute set of songs at the Student Center as a part of Associated Students of UC Irvine’s concert series taking place every Wednesday at noon.
Nouveau is composed of five UCI second-years, three girls and two boys. It began when second-year English major Ashley Holm, on lead vocals and keyboard, decided to incorporate the music she had written already. Holm called upon Ava Yazdani, a film and media studies major and self-taught drummer who has been playing for nine years. Yazdani’s roommate, Ariana Smith, a second-year literary journalism major, ordered a bass and within six months learned to play and became the third member of the band.
Nouveau originally started out as a three-member, all-girl band. After playing at the Knitting Factory in Los Angeles, they realized they needed to add something new to their ‘plain’ sound. Wanting to keep it all in the female family, Holm, Yazdani and Smith looked for another girl and another instrument to complete their progressive sound and developing band.
But sometimes not being able to get what you want leads to getting something even better. Nouveau got Ben Hise, a second-year biological sciences major who just happened to be a distinguished violinist.
Although the sound of Nouveau was ripening, it wasn’t complete until undeclared Chris Benton, guitarist extraordinaire, joined the band three days prior to their Student Center performance.
Calm and casual, quirky and fresh, talented and professional, the members of Nouveau embody their unique, easy-yet-edgy sound. The band plays a mythical, folksy rock. If you prefer the MySpace label, they are listed as ‘Indie/ Alternative,’ but the vocals, keyboard and violin deserve more than just that label because it does not seem to accurately fit the rich, distinct, pleasant music of Nouveau. With musical influences as varied as Elton John, The Hush Sound and George Michaels, it is no wonder that their music seems to represent a combined inspiration found in many different forms of music.
Of course, being a young, talented band, Nouveau’s mission is to make it big, but Benton on guitar reveals that he does it ‘for the love,’ while Yazdani indicates that she ‘does it for the fans

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