Believe in Sound
The Thousand Pities formed around the songwriting and ears of Matthew Davis. In the late '80s and early '90s, Davis fronted the Western Massachusetts band The Vestrymen, whose pair of independent records (on Absolute A-Go-Go and Vertebrae Records) garnered ecstatic reviews and plenty of college-radio airplay. After seven years of Econoline van touring 'Äî and sharing stages with acts as Aimee Mann's 'Til Tuesday, Robyn Hitchcock, Green Day and Belly 'Äî Davis called it a day in 1994, retiring his brand of jangly-guitar power-pop and heading off in non-musical directions. In 2006, after a dozen years trying to ignore the songs that kept knocking on the door of his musical id, Davis began playing, writing and recording again, recruiting old bandmates and new friends from his adopted New Jersey home turf to contribute their talents. The result is The Thousand Pities, whose personnel includes guitarist Michael Carlucci (formerly of N.J. college-radio darlings Winter Hours and current leader of East Of Venus, which also features members of The Feelies and The Bongos), keyboardist Billy Donohue (another former Vestryman, who has also played with John Cale, Inger Lorre and New Brunswick/Jersey shore favorites The Blasv©s) and drummer Ken Meyer (of long-lived New York City group Life In A Blender). Rounding out The Pities' sound are guitarist/singer Matt Friedlander (whose rv©sumv© includes N.J.-based indie-rockers Painted Birds and garage-bashers The Miscreants) and bassist Racine Romaguera. On The Thousand Pities' debut album, BELIEVE IN SOUND (OverPop Music), released on March 22, 2011, Davis' reenergized talents and reborn enthusiasm for all things Rock are on full display. The father-of-three has delivered a batch of songs that grapple with 'grown-up' matters while still rocking along with youthful exuberance to the sound of jangling, chiming guitars, twinkling pianos, and swirling Hammond organs. The self-produced effort, recorded mostly in Davis' attic studio, owes a sonic debt to many groups that have been inspired by the layered, textured pop-rock of the late-'60s Beatles and Beach Boys 'Äî from Big Star and R.E.M. to Yo La Tengo and Wilco. Standout tracks include the mid-tempo 'What If Everyone Is Wrong?,' driven by Carlucci's snaky guitar riff and a mv©lange of vocal harmonies; 'Last Glittering Thrill,' a rollicking power-pop call-to-arms extolling the pleasures of playing in a band; and 'Super-High Moon,' a melancholy folk-rock number highlighted by delicate acoustic strumming and heart-melting strings. Serving as the centerpiece to BELIEVE IN SOUND is the title track. The psychedelic anthem shimmers and oozes with a variety of aural confections while delivering the message: 'To make noise is to be alive, and what better way to proclaim this than loudly, with amplified instruments and voices!' Besides The Pities' core lineup, Davis enlisted a handful of other collaborators to bring his labor of love to fruition. Adding some studio wizardry to bring a sonic sheen to the tracks was Mark Alan Miller (The Pernice Brothers, Lloyd Cole, Dinosaur Jr/J Mascis, Thurston Moore, Dar Williams). Shared lead vocals on the wistful 'Point Pleasant' were provided by Cucumbers singer-songwriter Deena Shoshkes, while Feelies drummer Stan Demeski wove atmospheric percussion into the spaced-out interlude 'From The Air.'