Lexi Noise, one of the newest rock outfits in the Charleston scene, is not afraid to experiment its way to a distinct sound.
The four-piece is composed of lead vocalist Q Wilson, guitarist Mikey Sloan, bassist Jake Mahaney and drummer Keenan Morrissey, who formed the band as students at Elon University in North Carolina. The group moved to Charleston shortly following graduation in 2021.
The band’s initial meeting was “instant chemistry,” according to Sloan, a complimentary mixture of different viewpoints.
Morrissey added, “All four of us have completely different musical backgrounds in terms of what we grew up listening to and what we enjoy. So, it’s a real melting pot.”
Emerging on the scene right at the tail end of the pandemic allowed Lexi Noise to reap the benefits of students’ cabin fever by putting on house shows and engaging restless audiences with the energy of live performance.
Eager to continue writing new original music after moving to Charleston, the band released a debut full-length album, Broadway Chronicles, in June. While the songs vary stylistically, each track exudes straight ahead rock energy funneled through contemplative instrumentation and often irreverent lyricism.
“For Broadway Chronicles, we really wanted each song to almost be like its own genre. We wanted to make as much variety as possible,” Morrissey told the City Paper.
The group released a new single, “Archangel,” on Oct. 31. The track is as close to old school rock ‘n’ roll as a contemporary indie band can get. The drawling track takes unexpected shifts in tempo and vocal power as it keeps you listening.
The initial guitar part had been written years before by Sloan, but as a slower, more melancholy acoustic riff. After bringing it to the group, they saw another vision for it, and it transformed into the iteration that is heard on “Archangel.”
“At the time, we were all listening to a lot of sort of hard rock songs with a lot of variety and a lot of dynamic switches and we wanted to do something like that. So I had the idea of bringing back that guitar riff, but didn’t know if it was our sound or not, because it’s very dark sounding,” Sloan said. “But the other guys seemed to like it and it was kind of a breeze, writing it structurally and coming up with different parts for it.”
The band’s collaborative songwriting process usually starts with the instrumental structure then moves to melody and lyrics, which primarily fall to Wilson to pen. Lexi Noise recorded both projects, Broadway Chronicles and “Archangel,” with guitar instructor, musician and producer Chris Holly in Mount Pleasant. The four of them were highly involved in the recording process, saying “it was a lot of hands on mixing and producing” despite it being the act’s first album.
For future projects, Lexi Noise wants to continue on its current path, playing with different influences while leaning into grit and grunge. “I guess we’re at a point now where maybe we found our sound, but we’d still love to explore different avenues,” Sloan said. “Currently, we’re getting into a heavier sound, an edgier rock sound.”
The group plays a show Dec. 9 at the Tin Roof in West Ashley, a venue the band said has offered integral support for lesser known bands playing original tunes. “Even like 10 people watching you, it makes it worth it,” Sloan said.
Morrissey added, “I think for us, we’re fortunate that music works as our escape. When things are getting too crazy in the world, it really clears our heads.”
Lexi Noise is excited to bring fresh energy to the Charleston musical landscape and provide a new perspective.
“We’re very different from a lot of bands and a lot of artists around here,” Sloan said. “We want to make our mark. We want to be unique, and when people see our name, they know our sound.”
Stay cool. Support City Paper.
City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.