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Google Translation of Portuguese:
"A Telephone Built For Two" - School for the Dead - 2008
Sunday. Day to recover the forces of the week, doing some work home and calm morning, and organize small (and important) nonsense that lag behind. To the soundtrack of the morning of Sunday, draws up a disc with pop melodies Jasons, humble and gentle. A good choice is the third work of the American School For The Dead, launched in 2008 called "The Telephone Built For Two".
The sound of the band is not bound to anything with your name, incidentally, is very distant. With two discs in his luggage, as follows: "The New You" 2004 and "Looks Like I'm Tall" of 2006, Henning Ohlenbusch (guitar and vocals), Tony Westcott (guitar and vocals), Max groaning (bass and voice ), Ken Maiuri (keyboards) and Max Germer (drums), the School For The Dead has the gift to go through the player quietly and let some smiles back.
The disc opens with the guitars of "Periscope", giving voice to the medium pace slow and characteristic of the band. "Feel Like I Should," could very well be on a disk of Yo La Tengo. Quietly. "This Time It Looks Good" starts as a song from Neil Young to endorse the indie pop in its place. "Save My Place", hit the chapel to catch a middle path post rock, similar to The Sea And Cake.
"Journal of Lies" is nosense and flirts with the more traditional American country music, a little reminiscent of the crazy Cake. "Back to School", has sweet melody, riff bacaninha of great guitar and backing vocals. "Boring Dream" is more roqueira and recalls the REM stage of 1984.1985. "Disgruntled Lover" is more a part of the country band, looking for any new departure from the old west saloon.
"Map" is a touch more with seventy American alternative rock of the 80s. "Superhero", brings the best letter of the disk and comes with dating back to the country, pointing out some passages of Hootie & The Blowfish. "Thinking of the Time" that closes "The Telephone Built For Two", with a marked influence of Velvet Underground, to a more traveled to the final.
The disc also includes the shares of Mark Mulcahy (Miracle Legion), Chris Collingwood (Fountains of Wayne) and Lloyd Cole, among others. The School For The Dead brings in his list of influences, the American rock underground in his side and more alternative, combining this with the current indie pop, producing a result that will not change anyone's life, but very well convinced that in a morning on Sunday.
Interview by Robert Burke.
I recently discovered what I believe is the best independent release of 2005. And I'm a hard guy to impress. The band is School for the Dead and the album is called "The New You". There's been a lot of hype about Clap Your Hands Say Yeah this year, but School For The Dead is better. This band is not just regurgitating the hot new sound of the moment. The New You has brought a huge smile to my face with it's wonderful pop sensibility, clean, straight-forward production and painterly lyrics. When I found out it was an independent effort I was seriously impressed.
The following is an interview with School For the Dead's singer/sonwriter/leading man Henning Ohlenbusch.
Robert: Where did the name "School For the Dead" come from?
Henning: Good question. I wrote a song in 1994 called "School for the Dead". The phrase dropped out of the ether right into that song. That song ended up on a solo album, which I named eponymously, "Henning's School for the Dead". When I held a CD-Release show for that album, I enlisted a group of friends, a group of my favorite musicians, to play with me. It was supposed to be a one-time band (don't most things start that way?) but it worked out so well, that we continued to play under the moniker "Henning's School for the Dead." It became clear to me pretty quickly that if we were really going to be a band, though, I'd need to get my name out of there. We reverted back to "School for the Dead."
What does it mean? It means different things to different people. I was delighted when one of my all-time favorite musicians, Jane Siberry, suggested that "School for the Dead" might be referring to life.
Robert: Tell us about the latest album "The New You". How long did it take to write and record? Who helped out? What are you most proud of?
Henning: It's always difficult to determine how long a record took to make. When do you start the stopwatch? Some of the songs on there have been fermenting for decades. Some of them were brand new.
Recording took much longer than it needed to. The whole thing was done in my own little studio, Rub Wrongways Records. The studio is also where I live. Sometimes, when you have the luxury of being able to work or not work on a record whenever you want, things tend to take a lot longer. There is no urgency, there's no meter running. But, in the end, the time put into it, I think, paid off. There were no rash decisions. We left off a couple of songs after careful consideration that may have ended up on there had we just forced the thing out. Took about two years start to finish. With lots of long breaks in between.
Who helped out? The band (Brian Marchese, Max Germer, Ken Maiuri, Tony Westcott) and I produced the thing ourselves. We recorded it, designed the artwork, and funded it on our own. This way we were completely free artistically. I can't imagine making a record any other way.
Robert: Can you describe your songwriting process? What comes first? The idea, the lyrics, the chord progression?
Henning: Yes, I can describe it, but I can't explain it. All songs seem to start in different ways. You never know what the seed might be, I have begun at all three of your suggested starting points. Lately, for the past few years, I've written a lot of my songs while walking. For me, lyrics are crucial. They are probably the most important part of a song followed by the melody that supports them. Melody and lyrics ARE the song. The rest is the frame - the foundation.
School for the Dead has been keeping a blog for the last four years called The Living Rockumentary (rockumentary.net). One snowy winter, I posted a piece about the writing of the song "Photobooth Curtain". That's the first track on "The New You". The essay is here for those that enjoy long-winded self-indulgent nonsense.
Robert: What is the current touring schedule like? Tell us about the road.
Henning: The current touring is weak. Very weak. But, hopefully, soon it will be less weak.
The road is brilliant. Everywhere you go you see people and things that remind you of people and things in your own life. Every little town is full of smiling people who you feel like you have known forever, back slappers and hand-shakers and surprise friends of friends of friends. I love the road and all the places that it leads.
Robert: What did you eat yesterday?
Henning: 2 eggs, 1.5 slices of bacon, 3 slices of toast, 14 home fries, .5 calzone, 1 salad, 2 dinner rolls dipped in olive oil and herbs, half a bowl of microwave popcorn.
Robert: Tell us about the artwork found throughout "The New You" CD?
Henning: Oh yeah. I drew those pictures. The images tell the story of a frog exploring the world through the eyes of the different songs. Or something. I wanted something very solid to accompany this album so we splurged on a 14 page booklet. It has the feel of a children's book, I think. I drew the pictures and Bassist Max put them together in a colorful artful design. It's green, just like the music. Green is the new orange.
Robert: What 10 songs are you currently listening to the most?
Henning: That's a really tough question. I've been listening almost non-stop to the current mixes of my new solo album, "Looks Like I'm Tall" and the new album from The Fawns, "A Nice Place To Be" - both of which I am working on currently. They are consuming me.
But, here's the first five that pop to my head besides those:
1. Wraith Pinned to the
Mist and Other Games - Of Montreal
Oh, and I'm just starting to check out the new Kate Bush album.
Robert: If you won a mystical contest to become a member of any band in history, which band would you choose and why?
Henning: Crazy question! Are you trying to give me an aneurysm? I'm gonna pose this to the rest of my band and see what they say on our Living Rockumentary. In the meantime, I'll have to say...hmmm. Umm...
Either the Beatles, The Kinks, or XTC, since not only did they make amazing creative music but they all have great senses of humor and a true love for what they were doing. Or maybe the David Letterman Band - cause then I would have had the pleasure of playing along with a gazillion great artists. Although, I don't know if I could deal with that scene. U2 would be fun, but what would I do? Play the melodica? That'd just be silly. Besides, I can't be that serious for that long. The Heartbreakers or the Attractions? Ooooh, yeah, the Attractions would have been cool huh? Or maybe the Cure or the Smiths? Or R.E.M. back in the day. Ahh, man, I have no idea, whatever I would chose, I'd miss the members of my band now.
Robert: Have you had a chance to write anything for the next album? When can we expect a new one?
Henning: Oh yeah. I'm always writing. I've got a solo album coming out in the beginning of 2006 and the songs are written and ready for the next School for the Dead album. We just need to get into the studio and record them. Maybe by the spring? That'd be great.
Robert: Physical media, Apple iTunes, P2P or subscription service? Which do you prefer as a way to get your music and why?
Henning: I'm on the cusp. I still feel the weight of physical media. I still turn things over in my hands and categorize them in my brain as objects. At the same time, I am listening to Rhapsody right now and I just made a marathon 13 hour drive with an Ipod and a Rio blasting one billion tunes through the car stereo. I enjoy the freedom and convenience of the wispy digital files, but I'm going to miss shuffling through records, cassettes, and CDs on the shelf. Sniff.
ThisNext.com: "the fun rhythms and smooth harmonies will chill
April 5, 2008 Spare The Rock, Spoil The Child In Studio In Studio Performance
O início deste A Telephone Built For Two tem uma sequência de 3 canções que logo fazem do álbum um must-listen: "Periscope", "Feel Like I Should" e "This Time It Looks Good". Para esse disco, os americanos do School For The Dead reuniram influências como They Might Be Giants, Fountains Of Wayne (um dos integrantes do fountains participa em algumas faixas desse album) e até The Kinks!. A Telephone Built For Two é excelente para começar um domingo, até mesmo para pegar a estrada de manhã, sem preocupações, deixando apenas se levar pelos versos inocentes e pelas melodias juvenis.
Afinal, a gente não vive do jeito que deveria..
And here is what the Google Translator suggest for Portuguese:
The beginning of The Telephone Built For Two is a sequence of 3 songs that just make the album a must-listen, "Periscope," "Feel Like I Should" and "This Time It Looks Good." For this disc, the Americans of School For The Dead together influences as They Might Be Giants, Fountains Of Wayne (one of the fountains of the members participating in some of the album tracks) and even The Kinks!. A Telephone Built For Two is great to start a Sunday, even to hit the road in the morning without worries, leaving only be carried away by the melodies and verses innocent juveniles.
After all, we do not live the way they should ..
15, 2008: IndieLaunchpad.com
* Band / Artist
: School for the Dead - mySpace
Although I only reviewed the last release from School for the Dead, back in January, it was actually released in 2004. To say I wasn't expecting to see another release so quickly after the last review was a bit of an understatement, but there in my mailbox, was the new release, A Telephone Built for Two, and I have to say, after the previous album, I had high expectations.
The CD opens with "Periscope" and that infectious brand of pop hits you square between the eyes. I made the comparison before with the Indie powerhouse group, They Might Be Giants, and indeed there is much the two bands have in common, but there is also definite School for the Dead DNA running through these songs, which is no doubt mostly down to Henning Ohlensbusch, principal songwriter, lead vocalist, guitar, etc. This guy has music in his pores and it shows. That's not to forget the rest of the band, who manage to round out the sound and remind you it's not all a one man band.
With some bands, probably quite unfairly I'm looking for that killer track, one that burrows into mybrains. With A Telephone Built for Two, I was pleasantly surprised to find not one, but three such tracks. The first is "Save My Place", a wonderfully simple song, but it really manages to burrow like a happy maggot. Next is "Journal of Lies", which has a wonderful quirky keyboard arrangement, which reminds me of the soundtrack to the kids movie Bugsy Malone. The third track is "Superhero", which I have to admit really has that hint of They Might Be Giants flavour, but it's certainly a nice condiment, making a track to savour.
There were a couple
of tracks, that felt a little unbalanced with the rest of the album.
The first of those is "Feels Like I Should" with some very
forgettable 80's sounding synth, featured at the beginning and towards
the end. The other is "Back to School" with a very awkward
country guitar accompaniment, which was certainly not my cup of tea.
It's funny though, as the song itself is very pleasant, but everytime
that guitar kicked in, I could feel those hackles rise, so to speak.
The album rounds off with the wonderful, "Thinking of A Time", which at first could be the theme tune to Flash Gordon, and then almost morphs into Dolly Parton's "9-5?. Surely two of the most incredible omparisons to be given to the same song, but it works wonderfully.
Conclusion : So
were my great expectations met? They certainly were, with more great
pop from an artist I thoroughly enjoy hearing from. Looking forward
to what the next album brings, hopefully sooner that 4 years time.December
13, 2008: Yahoo
Top 100 of 2008
Released: August 4, 2008
"Although not as gooey-sweet as 2004's The New You, A Telephone Built For Two has more than enough tasty bits to get the saliva flowing. Henning Ohlenbusch's pleasing nasal vocal and songwriting wit may remind you that you love They Might Be Giants, but here, School For The Dead deserve their own kudos."
January 28, 2008: IndieLaunchpad.com
* Band / Artist
: School for the Dead - mySpace
From power pop, to whimsy and then off to the almost ska sounding "Thug", yet it all flows and follows on exceptionally well. Of the 13 tracks on this album, I can honestly say there isn't a dud one amongst them. "Photobooth Curtain" would have to be one of my favorites, along with "Can't Believe How Fast" and "The Wichita Train Whistle Sings", which could almost be a Monkee's song, it just has that high energy, foot tapping vibe to it. Finishing up with "Goodnight", the album ends on a darker, more sombre note, but for all it's melancholy, it just can't do any wrong.
The more I got into this album, the more I kept thinking of They Might be Giants and their 1990 release, Flood. Every song stands up on it's own merits, but together they form a wonderful collection of just the most amazing tracks. This is very much a summer kind of album, but on the current freezing cold days and dark nights, it's a great way to infuse a bit of sunshine.
Conclusion : Just a wonderful album, which should grace everyone's collection. Just a little concerned that there's been nothing since 2004, which is an eternity in Indie music, but my hopes are high for something new in the near future.
5, 2008: Indiepages.com
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