Saturday, June 28, 2008

Modey Lemon

Modey Lemon from Spin magazine

Modey Lemon is a 21st century garage rock band spiked with a swirl of metal (Think of a Jimi Hendrix/Who/Clash mashup.) They're known for a driving beat and dark, literate lyrics.

The group formed in 1999 as a duo. The first lineup consisted of Phil Boyd (guitar) and Paul Quattrone (drums), then more or less students at Pitt. They'd both moved here to go to school, Quattrone from upstate New York, Boyd from near Harrisburg.

They had been playing together since the '90s, having met in a band in 1998 before stripping it down to a blues-rocking duo the following year. They stumbled across the inspiration for their name while playing on the sidewalks of the Strip, where they sorta bonded with the moldy lemons at their feet.

In short time, the pair gained a reputation around town for wild live shows. Drummer Quattrone pounded the skins like Keith Moon channeling John Bonham while Boyd ricocheted like a Super Ball across the stage.

"Modey Lemon," the group’s debut on A-F label, appeared in early 2002. The band supported the album with tours of the U. S. and Europe.

Prior to the mid-2003 Birdman release of their second, heavier, album "Thunder + Lightning," Boyd and Quattrone added Jason Kirker on bass and Moog synthesizer. He also produced the album and still engineers their studio efforts.

After touring to support the album, Modey inked a deal with Mute Worldwide label, the UK home of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Einstrzende Neubauten, and Depeche Mode. Their video of the track "Predator" aired on MTV2 in the UK.

Their third album "The Curious City" was released in mid-August 2005. The cover art is a 60's-psychedelic homage to Pittsburgh’s skyline. The album's title came from the group rediscovering its roots and home after months on the road.

The band ended 3 years of vinyl silence with their new record, "Season Of Sweets," released on Birdman this month. It was the last session cut in Pittsburgh's Brass Foundry. It's a bit more punk synth than psyche as Modey Lemon stretches its wings.

The trio has performed with The White Stripes, The Von Bondies, the Blues Explosion, Oneida, the Warlocks, the Icarus Line, and Dinosaur Jr.. They still tour heavily, in America and Europe (they have a pretty nice following in England.)

Boyd and Quattrone also participate in a side project, Cobalt Black, formerly The Four Seasons Boys, and both sit in with local band Grand Buffet. Quattrone also plays the kit for Black Snake.

Why do Modey Lemon and other alt rock acts succeed here? Quattrone told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review it's "Because a city like Pittsburgh is so far off the national radar as far as the spotlight goes, I think people just do things to have a good time, and aren't self-conscious about looking cool."

"In my experience, if you even try to do something pretentious -- which is kind of a must if you're in New York, where attitude is the No. 1 thing -- you get laughed at here."

And keepin' it real is Modey Lemon's M.O.

The group's going ons are chronicled at My Space - Modey Lemon

Modey Lemon - "Bucket Of Butterflies (2005)

No comments: