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Las Vegas Band Tin Toy Cars ‘Stripped’ Down For Debut Album

Yann Arnaud

The Las Vegas-based band Tin Toy Cars is releasing its debut album.

A new album is out today from a band you might have heard of, if you’re a Las Vegas local.

Tin Toy Cars formed in 2014 and has just released its debut record - "Falling, Rust & Bones."  

The band consists of a variety of Las Vegas performers, including multiple Cirque du Soleil veterans, and they joined us in the KNPR studios to talk about their music and perform a couple of songs.


You have compared the band to the atmosphere of Las Vegas itself. What do you mean by that?

Peter Fand: There is a certain element of the band that is a throw back to another time. There is a certain element of relic to this band. Las Vegas is situated in this valley surrounded by these majestic, beautiful desert mountains and if you explore through those deserts scattered throughout them you'll find these old cars, these relic cars, that are often riddled with bullet holes and weather worn and aged. And there is an interesting contrast between that as they are half buried in the sand and the dramatic debauchery that defines some perspective of what the Las Vegas Strip is all about. And this band has an element of the relic with instruments like the mandolin, violin and upright bass, which are typically associated with blue grass and old time music, but then thrown into the modern context where the song writing is very compositional and the lyrical content is more akin to someone like Paul Simon than say Bill Monroe. So, it is kind of a play on that idea.

Does the atmosphere of Las Vegas as it is now also help inspire song writing?

Fand: Absolutely, a lot of performers in this band are members of shows on the Strip and that's a very dramatic and dynamic environment where there is a very modern esthetic to every thing that we do and some times on the highest level technical extremism. 

How did you decide to come together to start a band?

Aaron Guidry: If you're doing the same thing over and over and over and over again you kind of look for other outlets, especially as a musician. As musicians we always have our hands in different projects and different things that we're doing. So when Peter and I were talking about playing some music together outside of our normal day jobs I was like, 'Yeah! Let's do it! Why not?'

You've worked in several lounge acts playing Motown hits and top 40 covers, but this band seems to help you scratch a music itch that you have:

Andrew Chute: Yeah, absolutely. It would have been probably very satisfying just to stay in this world where you can kind of go from Casino lounge and showroom to the other and work up and down the Strip. But I don't think anybody in this room really has that in mind for their career and how they see themselves fitting into the musical world. 

Is is a juggling act to have full time work and be part of this band?

Fand: I think that probably everyone in this room started playing music with the idea that they were going to have a band that was going to be the primary focus of their artistic world and some how at this stage it seems like we're arriving there. 

Brian Burns: I think it is rare to find a group of musicians with this level of experience that kind of find a project where somebody has such a distinct vision that they can be a part of. A lot of people have dreams and aspirations of putting a band like this together but due to inexperience or inability to do it, it rarely comes true. 

Where did the title "Falling Rust & Bones" come from?

Fand: "The songs on this album many of them play with the idea of falling. Falling in and out of love. Falling apart and decaying like in the song "Time to Get Away." More literally, in the song called "Down on the Bowery" where somebody falls or jumps off the Brooklyn Bridge. And that withering away and rusting and decaying of things like we talked about with the cars in the desert. And then finally in the song "Desert Dogs" there is a line that says "There may be some life left in this pile of bones" and the song talks about this coyotes or wolves gathering around the carcass of a nearly dead romance and buzzards circling above knowing that the romance is dead." 

It seems difficult to put your music into a single category:

Fand: Well, we actually feel like we are very comfortably situated in a category. And we call that category: Indie Americana. And there really is kind of category of that sort and there are bands that I think are leading the charge in that domain. It's this Americana music with a very decidedly indie esthetic. 

Peter Fand, singer/mandolin/songwriter;   Martin St-Pierre, violin;  Brian Burns, bass;  Andrew Chute, guitar;  Aaron Guidry, drums/percussion;  Briana Rossi and  Zipporah Peddle, backup singers

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Nikole Robinson Carroll is KNPR's Morning Edition host. You can hear her every morning from 5am until 10am on News 889. She also produces segments for KNPR's State of Nevada.