Friday, July 2, 2010

Casual Listening: Pillowhead

Outside, it looked like just another nice house in a picturesque housing development called "The Pines."

I got out of my car; camera, pen and notepad in hand, and walked toward the door.

It was a nice summer day and I was following a of a bear of man, a drummer with self-proclaimed "big hands" named Matt .. or Mateo, I'm not sure he or I knows which.

Once through the door I was met by a surreal scene. In place of furniture in the living room, it was full of mic stands and cables. Various music gear was strewn about the house; on the kitchen table, in the den and so on, all leading to the ultimate gearhead paradise, a DIY recording studio in the basement.

I was on assignment doing a profile on a local band, alt/rock act Pillowhead.

They just got finished recording their second self-produced EP "The Bad Sleep Well" that they recorded in the basement (and in other rooms) of Matt's house, where he and childhood buddy, Pillowhead lead singer Paul, "spent a lot of time" growing up.

"Paul lived here for three years, so we're basically brothers," Matt said.

Paul and Matt played in a bunch of garage bands growing up. One, Horse In A Box, lasted five years and did fairly well before goin their seperate ways.

Matt attended Emerson College to study film and he and Paul stopped talking for a time. Meanwhile, Paul played with a regionally successful band The Loyalty and Matt moved to L.A. to join friends from film school and record as a session drummer in Hollywood.

But he returned after a year to join a band in Saratoga Springs. He later left that band and probably won't talk about it if you asked him.

In the meantime, The Loyalty had run its course and split up. Paul and Matt reconnected and formed Pillowhead.

Pillowhead are, from left, bass/keys/guitar Colin Miner, lead singer Paul Hake, lead guitarist Jared Piper, and drummer Matt (or Mateo) Vosganian.

As is only natural, my first instinct when I recieved an e-mail from Matt was to check out their MySpace.

I discovered a band that was obviously talented and although young (the oldest member, lead singer Paul, is 24), were very mature as musicians.

But, I'll be honest, I didn't spend much time listening at first. I went through a very brief emo/punk/alt-rock phase: Jimmy Eats World, Yellow Card, Less Than Jake, and a harder edge band called Senses Fail. But, I had the naive preconception that once you've heard one emo/alt rock, you've heard them all.

But after meeting Matt and Paul and seeing how down-to-earth and driven they were as musicians (and learned they loved Band of Horses and My Morning Jacket), I returned to the MySpace page and discovered more complex themes, both musically and lyrically than I'd heard before. Not to mention, a tight cover of The Postal Service's "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight."

They are giving their music away, literally, on their MySpace page, so you'd be ill-advised not to check it out.

Don't let their outside appearance fool you.


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