Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Jay Sad Disappears & Show # 449

On February 19th 2013, Jay Sad released his full length album entitled Disappears. The album is an eleven track construction of songs ranging from genres such as lo-fi Indie Pop to Alternative and a variety of atmospheric sounding concoctions. Jay Sad has released several recordings starting in 2002.  A full length album was released in 2005 entitled High. It was his only commercially released album. All other releases since then have been on a more low key scale, mostly copies being passed around to friends and fellow musicians or being distributed online. It should also be noted that from approximately 2006-2012, Jay Sad (or Jason Sadlowski) owned and operated the Chemical Sound recording studio in Toronto along with another musician and friend Dean Marino (from the band Papermaps). The studio closed its doors after twenty years of operation in February 2012. Disappears is one of the last recordings to come from the beloved Toronto studio.

The band for this album was primarily Dean Pomeroy (drums, vibraphone), Rob MacDonald (guitar) and Jay Sad on vocals, guitar and a variety of other instrumentation. The album also features guest musicians from The Elwins (Mathew Sweeney), Dilly Dally (Katie Monk), and Drew Smith (The Bicycles). Disappears first seven tracks were recorded live to analog tape by Dean Marino who also helped to produce those tracks. The other four songs on the album were produced and recorded by Jay Sad. Given an internet-only release, Disappears starts off with the song “Three Floor’s/It’s Over”, which is the first of many architectural based song titles and structures found on this album. The song starts off on a heavy note with its dirty Alternative fuzzy sounding guitars and feedback as the drums keep a steady, yet sleazy pace in the background. "Good Health” follows next with its playful drumming, fuzzy bass and reverb drenched vocals. In addition to this, the song also features guest vocals from Katie Monks of Dilly Dally. The song is reflective, but caustic with lyrics such as “I was only trying to help/to keep us in good health for you”. “Only You” features Pop dynamics, it also portrays an almost Jazz trio vibe. As you listen to this song you can feel it as it was recorded, live to analog tape as the drums roll on, it is an almost rain sounding dynamic while bass, xylophone, guitar and vocals fill in the rest of this songs forecast.

“Home” is a slow paced yet melodic track seemingly about a relationship. The song captures the feeling of being away from home and feeling at home at the same time. With lyrics such as “This is home Toronto/For a while studio”, one can’t help but think of the connection to Chemical Sound that these lyrics evoke. “Shortwave In Spanish” is built up with a Spanish radio broadcast transmission as guitar arpeggios filter in and the song builds up to its late night feel while the lyrics “And in time I’m learning/And in time I’ll be fine” the songs lyrics and atmosphere build around the listener. Lyrically, the song portrays finding new forms of relevant communication in the modern world.

As the album wraps up, “Moving Day” calms the listener with its atmospheric Pop song grooves, acoustic guitars and distorted distant sounding drums. The final song on the album “Wood & Plaster” not only completes the album, but also the architectural building theme we were first introduced to with “Three Floor’s/It’s Over”. This song evokes experimental Musique Concrete influences as the background is filled with an intense distorted static landscape, while vocals and guitar fill in the rest of this nine minute piece. Lyrically the song is a reflection of the past and the present with lyrics such as “If you could go back you surely would/its something that you’ve thought of for a while/the memories that you have will all be gone”. The lyrics, as the title emphasizes, are about the making up of a structure whether physical or emotional. It poses the question of "if you were to take away the wood and plaster that makes up an important part of your past what would happen?" But as the song carries on we see that if you were to rebuild part of the past you would lose something. As Disappears ends we are reminded of the albums musical and lyrical structures that are built up around us. These songs suggest a growing or building, if you will, towards a new beginning, something different. Even if it means you have to disappear for a while from parts of your past that have been built up in order to get there.

The following questions were done between myself (Dave Konstantino of Revolution Rock) and Jay Sad of the band of the same name. We talk of the bands recording history and the making of Disappears:

RR: When was this album recorded and how long was the process? Who did you work on this album? For example producers, musicians?

JS: Seven of the eleven songs were recorded live by producer Dean Marino at Chemical Sound in 2 days; with Dean Pomeroy on drums and Rob MacDonald on guitar. He put us straight to tape: 2 guitars and drums. A few things were added here and there, but those 7 songs are pretty minimal / live.

The other 4 songs…

Three Floors and Good Health were done at Chemical by me.

Moving Day and Wood & Plaster were recorded at my place on my 4-track cassette deck.

Three Floors: Dean Marino played drums on this one, I added everything else. Originally this song had me playing 3 floor toms for the drum track, but then Marino did a really good job adding a real drum track.

Good Health: This is all me, except Katie Monks (Dilly Dally) sings in the last bit.

Home: Matthew Sweeney (The Elwins) added the some back-up singing in the verses.

Spirit Remover: Katie Monks (Dilly Dally) added vocals near the end of the song.

Can't Watch TV: Drew Smith (The Bicycles, Dr. Ew) added vocals to this one.

Shortwave in Spanish: Dean Marino added bass.

Moving Day: Matthew Sweeney (The Elwins) sings the chorus and added some piano.

Wood & Plaster: This was all me.

I got James Hicken to master the record for me. I also sent him a recording of an antique toy with instructions to play with the sound and put it in-between some songs at his discretion. The 7 band songs were recorded in 2 days in 2011. I don't know exactly when the other stuff done, around the same time though. Dean mixed the songs he recorded, but because it was hard to find the time it took us about a year to finish. And then I had other stuff to deal with so it was months later that I finally put it on the internet.

RR: How would you compare your new album 2013’s Disappears to 2012’s Demonstrations? Going back a bit further you had a full length album called High in 2005 how do the two differ?

JS: I hope that every record is better than the last. Technically (and sound-wise) the albums are different; but I'm always the same me.

The sound of "Disappears" is because of Chemical Sound.  While I was there I really wanted to try the live band thing because some of the best albums I've recorded at Chemical were live.  Working with Dean Marino pushes me to be more solid and accessible. Rob MacDonald and Dean Pomeroy are both trained musicians, so they also push me to be more precise with playing and structuring the songs.  They also add their own thing.  It's the most collaborative album I've done.

"Demonstrations" is a compilation of demos I did in the time between "Goes" and "Disappears".  Almost everything on "Demonstrations" is done in my apartment on a four track cassette machine.  I did it all by myself, and I guess that gives it a more personal feel than the studio stuff.  It's also more experimental. It was actually done with a very limited amount of gear; so I would do things like run an acoustic guitar through a broken mixer to get distortion, or record vocals in a stairwell to get reverb.  A lot of the time I would write the song right into the tape; verses the studio stuff where the songs are planned beforehand.  Also, a lot of the songs were taken from my contribution to a group I was in called "song club / song of the week".  This group was me and a few others musicians: members of The Elwins, The Bicycles… Every Monday we would send each other a new song. Since you had to do a new song every week, you ended up with some pretty wacky stuff.

"High" was the first and only album I actually manufactured and released. I sent copies to a few radio stations and reviewers, put it on CD baby, had a release show… "High" was done mostly by me alone.  Dean Marino helped, mixing a couple of songs, and adding drums to one song.  And drummer Silvana Bruni played on two of the songs. I also had an album between "High" and "Demonstrations" called "Goes".   "Goes" was recorded pretty much all by myself at Chemical. Dean Marino helped with some of it and Rob MacDonald played some guitar. I also had Krista Muir guest vocal on one of the songs.  I did it over the first couple years Dean Marino and I had Chemical. I never really officially released this record; I just made a handful of CDR copies.

There is also a series of CD's before "High" called "Spring 02", "Summer 02", "Fall 02", "Winter 02" [ie. I refer to them now as "02 demos"].  These were mini CD’s I made with hand screen printed cases.  Also, I made a few custom printed box sets. The "02 demos" were done by me alone on my 4-track cassette deck in 2002. These CDs are very lo-fi sounding.

Jay Sad Discography…

- Spring 02
- Summer 02
- Fall 02
- Winter 02
- High: 2005
- They Stole My Computer
- Goes 2008
- Demonstrations 2012
- Disappears 2013

RR: What do you plan to do musically with Jay Sad in the future?

JS: I'm doing a "Jay Sad" show on April 17 at the Drake Hotel in Toronto.

Also, I'm writing and recording a new album with James Hicken (Wallscenery demos).  And I've started a new band with a female singer.

Listen to Jay Sad music here:

The Play List:

1. The Cave Singers – It’s A Crime
2. Twin Library – I Dare You To Leave
3. Neil Jarvis – Figure It Out
4. The Human Beings – An Inside Look
5. The Levis – Hear What I Say
6. The Bloody Five – (I Wanna Go To) New York City
7. Raised By Weeds – Fun And Games
8. Raised By Weeds – The Telephone
9. The Visible Targets – Just For Money
10. Pin Group – Ambivilance
11. Suuns – Edie’s Dream
12. Toy Love - Sheep (Live At The Gluepot 1980)
13. Link Wray – New Studio Blues (The Epic Sessions 1958-1961)
14. Legato Vipers – Angel Dust
15. The Bell Peppers – Bouddha
16. The Bell Peppers – 1959
17. Jay Sad – Three Floors/It’s Over
18. Jay Sad – Only For You
19. Jay Sad – Shortwave In Spanish
20. Diamond Rugs – I Took Note
21. Devo – Love Without Anger
22. Talking Heads – Electric Guitar
23. 999 – Emergency
24. The Clash – Radio Clash (Live Bonds Casino, NYC June 9th, 1981)

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for March 26. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

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