Vegas punks perfecting sound

They make their own records.


“We made the CD cases with stamps,” says Zabi Naqshband, bassist/singer for Vegas punk rock ‘n’ roll firebrands Holding Onto Sound, sitting in his band’s rehearsal space, where the empty beer bottles tremble from the metal combo playing next door. “Bob (Gates, guitar) sat there with a rubber stamp and a CD case and physically stamped the image on the front and the back. We put the CD together, the packaging, everything. It’s very time consuming, but at the same time, if you cut corners, then people recognize that. They might be OK with it, but we want people to know that we totally care about everything.”

Earnestness never has been in short supply when it comes to this bunch, though.

You can hear it on their new record, “The Sea,” their third overall, a raw-throated yet reflective call to arms.

“We will never be quiet, we will never be calm,” singer/guitarist Bennett Mains asserts at one point, as if he were howling through a lacerated larynx, encapsulating the prevailing sentiment of an album that offers no easy answers to the many questions it raises.

The disc manages to capture the energy of Holding Onto Sound’s gigs, which are so physical, you can get winded just watching this bunch bounce about the room like they were coated in rubber.

But it also adds some detail and nuance to the band’s needle-in-the-red jams, which can overwhelm live.

“It’s stuff that we don’t even hear when we play,” says drummer Vanessa Tidwell, her heavily tattooed arms jutting out of a sleeveless black T-shirt. “I’ll be like, ‘Oh my God, did you play that?’ ”

But for all the intensity inherent in their tunes, hanging out in their practice room, which is checkered with Bob Marley, Mastodon and Hellcat Records posters, they’re all as loose and fun as their tunes are fierce and business minded.

They seem comfortable with the band that they’ve become, having played more than 350 shows in the past few years.

Friday, they leave for yet another tour and have two more already planned for the coming months.

“The band’s attitude is: ‘Don’t settle. Just keep going. Just keep working at it,’ ” says Gates, a tall, baby-faced dude in a red ball cap.

“The Sea,” then, feels like a snapshot of a band wading into increasingly deep waters.

“We’ve been trying to perfect our own little sound for a while, and I think we did it on this CD,” Mains says. “This album marks us at the height of being us.”

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at or 702-383-0476.

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