Archive for the ‘the subjects’ Category

The Subjects – Winter Vacation

November 15, 2009

Download “Winter Vacation” by The Subjects

MP3 Courtesy of Tell All Your Friends PR

The Subjects – Daytrotter Session

October 22, 2009

It seems like every time I write about The Subjects, every time we run into another person who knows the boys from Brooklyn, the conversation and the words get epically descriptive. It becomes something of a telling or a pageant of exploits that everyone marvels upon and vicariously lives through. It’s an endless collection of stories that are larger than life and too good to be true. They often involve lethal amounts of alcohol, nights that never end and can involve older women.

The stories are hyperventilated, blurted out with great excitement because Cobra, Pickles, Joe and Dave do not live out a normal life and the even crazier part of it all is that they find a way to even go beyond the depraved and out-of-control activities that normally occur on the road for touring musicians in a constant state of boozy insomnia. They drink ALL night. They live for it. They really do. They live for gathering all of the inane and hard-to-believe stories that they somehow stir out of these cities that are far from home. They get into confrontations. They get emotional. And they have raging parties in their hotel rooms (when they have those, which is a rare night) with menopausal flight attendants. They groggily wake up the following morning after all of this – not to mention a 45-minute gig somewhere in there, where they went onto a stage and generally thrilled everyone in the room with their bouncy, smart pop that feels like summery temperatures and the time of a party – and they do it all again, starting early to get back to the deep buzz that faded out when they passed out or eased heads down to pillows or the hard wood.

Everyone who’s ever met the four men in The Subjects has stories, all of which are swollen with unbelievable twists and turns, but there’s nothing far-fetched about the band’s impeccable, if loose and tumble, songs. It’s as if all of these efforts made to get into as much playful trouble and to bait out the very last bit of abandon that any of the group might have talking to them, telling them this isn’t such a keen idea, are done so that there can be some intelligent reflection about it when things get a little calmer, when they get home and the diversions are less intensified. David Sheinkopf and Matty Pickles are singers with idiosyncratic voices that fluctuate in interesting places and tell these stories of extra level love woes and of late 20s growing pains. So many of the songs that The Subjects write are mediations on what’s before them and what’s the best way that it can all turn out, if that’s even an option.

The songs featured in this session – three of which are crisp and new since the recent release of the group’s new EP “New Soft Shoe” – are miniature bumps and bruises that involve missed signals and miscommunication. As Pickles sings during a slowed down bridge on “The Hard Way,” one of the band’s best songs to date, “I’m jealous/She’s angry/We both know that’s changing,” we hear a person (or two people) recognizing that their actions do affect others and the gravity of such heavy thoughts is paramount in so many Subjects songs. People are hurt and people are redeemed after the hurt. Wild nights ring for days and weeks and yet, the good souls at the ends of these songs find their ways to those redemptive spots, turning horseplay and gallivanting into wisdom – wisdom with jangling guitar tones and a backbeat that will start any night off and running again.

The Hard Way” (Previously Unreleased)

New Years” (Previously Unreleased)

Evening’s Autumn Bloom” (Previously Unreleased)

Right To Know OffNew Soft Shoe

MP3’s Courtesy of Daytrotter

The Subjects On Tour

October 21, 2009

Despite their clandestine and controversial beginnings (two band members were teachers and two were students at the same high school), The Subjects have managed to carve a name for themselves that sounds more like “Rushmore” than “School of Rock.” Back in 2002, guitarist Joe Smith and bassist/vocalist Dave Sheinkopf were splitting their time between writing songs and syllabi, while drummer/vocalist Matt Iwanusa and guitarist Jimmy Carbonetti were about to bust out of the same Manhattan school. Since both parties were in desperate need of a full band, they held some rehearsals and once it became clear that the quartet’s chemistry was pretty damn combustible, the Subjects were born.

Fast-forward a few years and things get a bit more complicated. The Subjects’ debut is dropped (2007’s With the Ease Grace Precision and Cleverness of Human Beings) and they hit the road, at first on their own and then with the Walkmen a few months later.

“We were always serious about playing music,” says Iwanusa, “but when we started meeting and playing with bands that were making music for a living we got to see how they did it.”

Keeping that career path in mind, the Subjects dove right into the demo stages for New Soft Shoe, firing up minimalist recordings in the style of their first full-length. Once those songs were ready for a proper studio, the band headed over to Key Club Recording Co. a couple hours outside Chicago. By working closely with Key Club’s masterful engineers, William Skibbe and Jessica Ruffins (see also: rock-solid releases from Cass McCombs, The Kills and Fiery Furnaces), the Subjects were able to whip up their wildest ideas, expanding their arsenal with everything from old-fashioned organs to honky-tonk pianos to Matt’s mom on saxophone.

“A lot of the instrumentation on this record came from stuff I learned in school—stuff I never thought I’d use,” says Sheinkopf, citing his training in classical harmony.

The first thing you’ll notice about the final product is the vocals—the way the melody in “Winter Vacation” unfolds like a spare Animal Collective A-Side; the brilliant shuffleboard beats/honeyed harmonies of “Right2Know.” Beyond that, the ep spreads the Subjects’ various strengths across the divergent tastes of four distinct songwriters in just 10 minutes. Well, divergent in terms of pulling cues from several eras and subgenres. All and all, the current state of the Subjects is as cohesive as a dictator-less band gets.

“Most of the arrangements on the first record are within the constraints of a four-piece band,” explains Iwanusa. “Now everyone’s more comfortable trying to sing and play different instruments. We all stepped it up this time.”

US Tour Dates:
Fri 9/25 – Music Hall Of Williamsburg – Brooklyn, NY
Sat 9/26 – MPMF Festival – Cincinnati, OH $
Sat 10/3 – Middle East Upstairs – Boston, MA *
Mon 10/5 – Club Cafe – Pittsburgh, PA #
Tue 10/6 – The Bishop – Bloomington, IN #
Wed 10/7 – Lager House – Detroit, MI #
Thu 10/8 – Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL #
Fri 10/9 – TBA – Lincoln, NE #
Sat 10/10 – Hi Dive – Denver, CO #
Mon 10/12 – Kilby Court – Salt Lake City, UT #
Tue 10/13 – Reef – Boise, ID #
Wed 10/14 – High Dive – Seattle, WA #
Thu 10/15 – Rotture – Portland, OR #
Fri 10/16 – Sam Bond’s Garage – Eugene, OR #
Sat 10/17 – Luigis – Sacramento, CA #
Mon 10/19 – Soda Bar – San Diego, CA #
Tue 10/20 – The Echo – Los Angeles, CA #
Wed 10/21 – Modified Arts – Phoenix, AZ #
Fri 10/23 – Emo’s Jr. – Austin, TX #
Sun 10/25 – Cicero’s – St. Louis, MO #
Tue 10/27 – The Cambridge Room @ HOB – Cleveland, OH #
Wed 10/28 – DC Nine – Washington, DC #
Thu 10/29 – Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA #

$ = w/ Chairlift, Micachu and the Shapes, Heartless Bastards
* = w/ The Soft Pack
# = w/ Bad Veins