by Jeff Milo
"Music scene is crazy / bands start up / each and every-day /
/ I saw another one just the other day / ...a special new band"
-Pavement - "Cut Your Hair"
Old concepts die hard, I guess... It's 2012. Bands are dead, Jeff, get over it.
There's only music. The music. The fun being-had, the musical passion-being-shared.
Of course, bands will still be around beyond the day of this blog post, or at least curious entities (formations of players and singers) will still be deemed-thus, for years to come. But the idea of them as some sort of joint-venture, a team of architects contracted to complete whole skyscrapers'-of-albums, cement their "careers," is dead.
Are there still albums, even? No. We move too quickly for it. Songs are put-up, not released. The pageantry of four (or five) creative types churning it out together in a room and spending hours perfecting each meticulous sound strung through their blended musical arrangements does not hold up in the break-neck transit of InternetWorld.
We streamline. We become more focused. We aero-dynam-icize, and we cut away the straggling pace of waiting for everything and everyone-involved to be just right. We still wanna make it sound as stellar as it can be, though. But, people change as they grow - they out-grow t-shirts and they out-grow bands... If its time for one to end, it's time.
Woodsy, weird, chill and yet anthemic, the boys (Ryan Spencer and Adam Pressley - with Ryan Clancey on drums) harmonized with an earthy-acoustic/electro-rattled batch of buoyant pop songs, eccentric ear worms swirling together their penchants for reggae, psyche, folk, noise and various other indie-tinged experimentalism. Fresh--above all. Like, Spring-rain fresh, only in the stuffier, t-shirt tussled glow of an early summer night. Re-fresh-ing.
And...just as Prussia turns into Jamaican Queens - a few members of garage rock outfit Spitting Nickels stuck together in the days following the tragedies that closed that bands' book before-its-time -only to start a newer, yes fresher and perhaps more eclectic band: Six and the Seven's.
You can never be too sure of what will work and what won't, unexpected chemical reactions burst from the mixture of unassuming beakers.
Guitarist John Bissa says he's known his keyboardist Lawrence McCarter "since he was really young...not that he's that much older now." McCarter attended a benefit last spring, hosted at the New Dodge for Ben's Encore (a music education/community-outreach program started to honor the passing of Spitting Nickels' organist Ben Borowiak). Smitten by that majestic-fuzz-purring Hammond B3 on stage, McCarter expressed his desire to, "some day," play that thing.
"Like you do with any young player, you invite 'em over," Bissa recalls, "like, why don't we jam together?"
So he did. Drummer Jamie Gawecki came to, setting up in Bissa's place to jam. Gawecki bonded with Bissa through the Spitting Nickels'-days and thus he enthusiastically aligned with the tall, broad-shouldered guitarist to start working on this new thing, this new band, project, whatever-it-was. When McCarter shows up, he's got a guitarist-in-tow: Mike O'Brien.
That's all the elements, there. Forget that O'Brien's as young as Bissa's own daughter. "And the whole time," recalls Bissa, "I'm the one making the bigger deal out of the age-thing."
But then they started playing. "It sounded really good right away. Just because Lawrence said: 'Hey, I wanna play that Hammond Organ!', this whole band" (including, now, singer/guitarist Joey Karam) "came forward from that."
"I'm self-aware enough," Bissa said, "it's a different experience. We're all in different places in life. I think it's that common ground of: We wanna do this! We wanna do this!"
"So, it just doesn't matter what it looks like from the outside cuz we're having so much fun on the inside..."
Back before the Metro Times Blowout 2012, Six and the Sevens' released a 6-song "preview" of the songs they'd worked on in Jim Diamond's Ghetto Recorders. Now, that album's even closer to completion and inevitable release.
"There's a little bit of the cornucopia-thing going on," Bissa said of the albums' songs. "I had done a record-and-a-half with the Nickels and I walked into this studio with all of the studio-experience, other than Jamie, collectively. For a couple of these guys they were learning all the stuff-that-you-do in a studio on-the-fly."
Bissa, a chemistry-teacher by-day, had to take on the role of in-studio recording-teacher. "I told Lawrence that after you do this, you will never be able to listen to music in the same way. Once they got that experience, it was woven into their souls and then the songs started changing even more because they were thinking differently, then."
Karem brought songs he had been working on, as did McCarter, and then there were lingering tapes from Bissa and Gawecki's Nickels' sessions.
So, yes, a cornucopia. We'll hear-what-happens, sometime later this summer, when the album (tentatively titled 'Songs About Girls') comes out. In the meantime, see 'em around town as they do some "due-paying" shows, particularly the BENNYfit 2012, this Saturday.
Whatever the Boy Wonders are, or whoever, remains to be seen (though some can conjecture).
The longwinded point: It's time for the Woodbridge Pub's wonderful Merrick'N Summer Fest - June 30th -and this dynamic duo will be part of the line up of local notables, including, also, bands-made-up-of-other-bands-that-just-broke-up-within-the-whirlwind-of-the-last-two-years, like: again, Jamaican Queens, or The Walking Beat, or The Vatican. But also, steady-as-they-go-trio Pewter Cub, Ann Arbor-based Nightlife and many more.