In modern age of rock `n roll, there are two types of uprising bands: those who wait for the chance, and those who are creating chances. Young but experienced group of musicians from Connecticut definitely belong to those who don`t sit and wait. Their name is “The Mendition of the Quay” and as they claim: they have arrived to save the world from false psychedelia! Although they mark themselves as psych-pop band, this four-piece group is something much more avant-garde and multifarious. Multi-instrumentalists and vocalists David Elliott and Justin Martell, drummer Mike Jackman and bassist Nick Lombardo are the part of new upcoming wave of garage rock bands who strive to succeed and cement their position in modern music. In August 2012 they released their debut album “Hear is... The Mendition of the Quay” on vinyl and CD and since then perform actively most in the eastern parts of USA. This is not an album of fast guitar solos, distortion guitars and “are you ready to rock” lyrics. This is the album made of soul and positive energy that certainly won`t leave you indifferent. So, let`s pass through the songs in order to perceive the music picture of this quartet.
The album opens with bluesy “The Room of Fake Flowers”, which shows in the start that influences of this band come from 50s and 60s combined with modern approach that makes them pretty newfangled. “Do the Tree Dance (Evan's Leaves Fall Everywhere)” indicates the band`s psychedelic way of artistic thinking, as the whole band is credited for this crazy lyrics. “The Gelatin Cloud Tea Party Society” is not something you`ll hear on TV or radio every day, but is surely something you NEED to hear in order to catch it and understand the atmosphere that’s being created by this band. Band also released music video for this song that is available on YouTube. Song “Birds (Second Dream)” is a poem, about life and things that surround us, rolled up in psych-rock. Specially for “It`s Psychedelic Baby”, the composer and writer of this song, as well the producer and recorder of the album - David Elliot, speaks about what inspired him to write it.
“Birds (The Second Dream)” was a concept I first started exploring while having lunch with my Uncle on his back porch. He's retired now and spends some of his time watching birds. He has all kinds of feeders and such back there. I was watching the birds with him one day in the Summer, and I began to explore the widely-held notion that just because birds can fly, that they are somehow free. Certain species could probably look at the human race and say that we are free because of our technologies, but are we really? Who knows. We have no idea what the lives of birds are like. Anyway, the song is half about birds, half about making bad decisions, and having to live with those decisions.
Fifth song from the album “M.O.S” accompanied with Justin Martell`s voice and ukulele, David Elliot`s banjo and Mike Jackman`s drumming, is a great “old school” song in the best manners of Woodstock era bands, followed by great instrumental “The Odyssey of the Quay” played on a guitar by Elliot. His “Ship to Shore” is a great, personal tune written in the best manners of singer-songwriter era. The track “Not me”, as claimed by David, was another writing research.
“Not Me” was a really fun writing experience for the band. I wrote the music, and we all wrote the lyrics, in one creative burst. This music for this was actually recorded live, save for vocal and bass guitar overdubs. The room we recorded it in is constructed very obtusely, and there is a point where the ceiling comes down into an angle with one of the walls. So I actually pointed just one large diaphragm condenser microphone facing that angle and we all played in that direction, very loudly. I thought it sounded great in a raw way. We had a vision for this song that it would be a quintessential garage tune geared towards being mad at some dame who had just broken your heart. We all each probably had someone in mind when we wrote the song. We usually close our shows with this one. If you can still hear anything by the end of it, we've done something wrong.
“R.M. Crump Returns from His Outing at Flossie Pop's Boutique” is the extension of band`s creative trip, leaving the listener in good mood. Unique and hardly describable - must hear!
Next song, “Crystalline Textures” written also by Elliot was inspired by some nearly apocalyptic experience.
“Crystalline Textures” is one of my favorite songs that I've written. It was entirely influenced by a really bad ice storm that happened when I was in my senior year of college, in Massachusetts, December 2008. It was really surreal and unlike anything I had ever experienced. It rained really heavily all afternoon and night, and then the temperature dropped and everything froze over. All of a sudden, trees all around us just started falling to the ground. My roommate and I took a walk around the campus during the worst of it and I was just entranced over how everything was just frozen over and crystalline. The area was deemed in a state of emergency by the government, and the power went out for what must have been over a week. It was honestly just total destruction. During the outage, I wrote the song on my banjo, which was the only instrument I had handy. The first thing I did when the power came back was record a demo of the track in my bedroom. The banjo track was done in one take and ended up being in the final version of the song. Our drummer Mike always jokes about how apocalyptic the song is, but it was written in the midst of devastation, so it isn't too far off.
Full of act song “Uncle Lettuce and the Saucy Alabaster Meet the Paisley Brigadier (Butterscotch Pop)” comes next and sounds more like a product of a long night experimenting jam session, as the lyrics are contributed by all recording band members, although the music was written by David. With words “Spaceship is about to land, we`ll be back to you again…” the closing track called “The Sun-Drenched Voyage” is announcing the end of this fun and interesting music journey, provided by The Mendition of the Quay, great uprising band which doesn`t care about music trends and standards.
“The Sun-Drenched Voyage” was another one we all wrote together. We sort of think of it as our anthem. It really sets the mood, which is ironic because it is the final track on the album, but we almost always open our shows with it. It's sort of a nice summation of what just happened on the album. It makes references to the other songs. Much of it is self-aware delusions of grandeur. "The oceans will flood the land / at the sound of this groovy band." We thought that was a pretty funny line. As if our absurd album would cause some sort of damnation for non-believers of psych-rock while simultaneously saving all true believers in what pretty much amouts to a space vessel that's being driven by us, presumably to another planet. We hope you will join us!
In addition to this avant-garde psychedelic quartet`s debut album review, I asked David a couple of questions regarding their perception of today`s psychedelic music, plans and music influences.
David, you mentioned that your band has arrived to save the planet from false psychedelia. Where do you think psychedelia is going right now?
This was something that back in 2008 we thought really summed up the whole project. It kind of aligns itself with the sentiment of The Sun-Drenched Voyage. I feel that the term psychedelia is frequently misappropriated by certain types of music that isn't really psychedelic but just kind of weird or trancey. I actually think the state of true psychedelia is in very good shape today. I love a lot of current psych bands, such as The Black Angels, White Fence, The UFO Club, Tame Impala, etc. There are a lot of great bands making phenomenal psych music and we are pretty much throwing our hat in the ring to attempt to do the same. So to get back to your question, it's more our attempt at helping to bring REAL psych back.
How do you plan to promote your debut album "Here is" in modern age? Does this kind of music have its place on the TV, or are the internet and live gigs the only way?
Promoting an album in the modern era is very strange, indeed. I think much of it has to do with the availability of near-professional home recording (which we, ourselves, benefit from). It's great that so many bands are making great music in their homes and putting it out on the web, but at the same time, it makes it that much harder to stand out to an audience. The playing field is basically completely level for unsigned bands. As for whether our music has a place on TV, I think all of the members of our band are pretty much in agreement that it is very much a niche genre. Our live show is infinitely more accessible than our album. It's weird, but pretty rocking, and you can definitely dance and psych out to it, which we love. We are far weirder in the studio. It probably has a place on TV. We have found that people appreciate what we're doing when we have a chance to show it to them. It's getting that chance that is the hard part! The internet and live gigs certainly help.
Who are your role models, or idols?
We all have different influences and idols. Personally, I have always been captivated by the studio works of Curt Boettcher and Gary Usher. Particularly, 'Begin' by the Millennium, the Sagittarius album 'Present Tense' and the Chad & Jeremy album 'The Ark.' They keyed into some kind of magic that is almost impossible to imitate -- I wouldn't even try. I also love 'Ogden's Nut Gone Flake' by the Small Faces. The giddiness of it always puts a smile on my face. It's psychedelic but also really good-natured and positive at the same time. Some of my best-known influenced include Jefferson Airplane's 'Surrealistic Pillow,' Moby Grape's first album and 'Part One' by the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. Also all the psych stuff that the Tower label put out in the mid to late 1960's. I'm also really just a big fan of '60's pop and garage. I started collecting records when I was very young and have never looked back. Countless singles and albums have influenced me. I could rewrite my answer to this question probably a thousand times over.
Justin has been a lifelong fan of Tiny Tim and has even written a book about him that will be published in the near-future. It is considered the all-time most definitive document of the man and his music. There is so much more to him than what most people know! Justin also really digs Donovan.
Mike loves the Beach Boys and is an avid Beatles fan. He has a pretty encyclopedic knowledge of the Beach Boys. It's very impressive!
Lombardo, who joined us after we recorded our first album and is now our full-time bassist, loves Jack White and Bob Dylan, and also late '70's punk rock.
What would be the message for readers of It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine?
My message for readers of "It`s psychedelic baby" is to simply keep doing what you're doing. If you're on this site reading about music, you've already got it more figured out than most people. Psych music has always been the most rewarding type of music to me, and this is where you will find the best!
Interview & review made by Andrija Babovic/2013
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