Over the past three years, the members of Brooklyn's ageless Life in a Blender have been skidding to their deaths-off a cliff-plunging into the deepest parts of their souls. With their clatter boxes and aural shape-shifting devices, they've rounded life's perilous curves, and scraped off the sonic debris of fear and doubt, ultimate joy and hysteria. They rose up out of the blackest waters and ground their sounds into their latest album, Homewrecker Spoon on Fang Records.
The title track takes a moving crane shot down into a little girl's night in the woods with her mother and her paramour as they go skinny dipping. Does the night smell of a heated heroin spoon or a bad boyfriend? Let your ears overflow with dread. Down you go into the flume of sound and now you're soaked and you've ruined your clothes. It's no secret. You're careless and to blame. Listen to Homewrecker Spoon, and feel the cold sweat of desperation pool in the small of your back.
The album features the honest violin bowing of Rebecca Weiner Tompkins, Dave Moody's deft strokes along the cello, Mark Lerner's tasteful bass-fingering, the incessant yet spectacular drumming of Ken Meyer, the other-worldly guitar-playing of Al Houghton, and Don Rauf, the burly songbird, crowing at your sill.
Blame Chicago or Tom Jones or the beginnings of old TV game shows, but Life in a Blender brought in the big brass for this album, and you'll feel the punch of the Colony Collapse Horns [Jackie Coleman (trumpet), Kevin Moehringer (trombone) & Gavin Smith (alto sax)] throughout the recording. The album also features the piano of Ed Pastorini of Elysian Fields and 101 Crustaceans and the singing of Jane Young from The Cheesebeads. It was recorded at Dubway Studios in New York, produced by Al Houghton, mastered by Scott Hull of Masterdisk, and the cover art was drawn by the budding 11-year-old outsider artist Leo Rauf.
Suggested most chewiest, choicest cuts: Go To Man, Homewrecker Spoon, Hoot Owl, The Answer, and The Rain Makes Me Thirsty.
WHAT: Life in a Blender returns to the Living Room with a gyroscopic performance of tunes from their new album, "Homewrecker Spoon."
WHEN: Saturday, December 3, 2011, 9:00 p.m.
WHERE: The Living Room 157 Ludlow Street, NYC, 212.533.7237
THE LIFE OF LIFE IN A BLENDER
A SHORT HISTORY For over 25 years, Life in a Blender has been the canvas for singer and songwriter Don Ralph's blackly comic landscapes. The group has released seven albums ranging from screaming punk to orchestrated chamber pop, and has brought the high theatrics of its live act to stages from Berlin to Austin to Toronto to Brooklyn and Seattle.
Don Ralph formed the band with high school friend Dave Moody (then bassist, now cellist), and within a couple of years had acquired the drumming services of Ken Meyer. Guitarist Al Houghton and bassist Mark Lerner joined in 1992, and violinist Rebecca Weiner Tompkins signed on in 1993. While the band's core lineup has remained remarkably constant for the past 18 years, the list of former members, guest artists, and collaborators includes Ralph Carney (Tom Waits), Chris Butler (The Waitresses, Tin Huey), Chris Rael (Church of Betty), Jonathan Gregg, John Linnell (They Might Be Giants), Gavin Smith (Les Sans Culottes), and Olivier Conan (Chicha Libre, Las Rubias Del Norte).
Life in a Blender's songs have appeared in at least two films: "Friend from Quebec" was featured in Michael Moore's Canadian Bacon, and "Mobile Wash Unit" appeared in Sara Lamm's documentary, Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox.
DON RALPH (VOCALS) loves W.C. Fields, Preston Sturges, and Nikola Tesla. He lives with his lovely beekeeping wife, Monique, and his cartooning, surrealistic son, Leo. He has written books under the name Don Rauf, including Killer Lipstick and Other Spy Gadgets. He is the proud founder of The Blowhole Theater, an annual Brooklyn variety show featuring the Blowhole Theater Players and their characters Puckerballs the Garbage Can Elf, Scottish Jesus, and Abraham Lincoln.
AL HOUGHTON (GUITAR, VOCALS, PRODUCER, ENGINEER) cut his teeth on innumerable shards of New York's music, including the more enduring They Might Be Giants, Antony and The Johnsons, and Enrique Iglesias. He can generally be found at Dubway Studios, NYC, or at home in Manhattan with his wife, the artist Sky Pape.
MARK LERNER (BASS, VOCALS) has led the bands Flat Old World and Rosine and has recorded with Mark Donato, John Linnell, Uncle Rock, the Good Loser Club, and many others. He is a graphic designer and lives in the Catskill Mountains of New York.
KEN MEYER (DRUMS AND CYMBALS) has played with an embarrassing number of embarrassing bands in the NYC area. He is also an audio engineer and an amateur papyrologist.
DAVE MOODY (CELLO) loves a great pop tune.
REBECCA WEINER TOMPKINS (VIOLIN AND VIOLA) has played and recorded acoustic and amplified four- and five-string violin and viola with Life in a Blender, Chief, Scott McClatchy, Patti Smith, Jim Malone, Standpipe, Stage Shadows, Dayna Blitz, Louie Fleck, Eddie Skuller, Menthol Kings, Mark Donato, Canoeful Of Strangers, Zane Campbell, Mary Connolly, Stellan Wahlstrom, Paul Page, Clockwork Robin, Carrie Nation, Dreamhouse, Waldo County Line, Bluegrassachusetts, Tuna Canyon Boys . . . .
Life in a Blender Members Emeritus include the estimable Mel Melon.
Stream music: Life In a Blender's new album "Homewrecker Spoon": http://music.lifeinablender.net/album/homewrecker-spoon