Another year. Another Q Division Holiday Party. Another wonderful set from Abbie Barrett. Another heartwarming rendition of “Abbie Barrett Makes Christmastime And Every Time A Better Time” by Brendan Boogie.
Scott Janovitz is one of my favorite songwriters in town. With The Russians, The Great Bandini, Dragstrip Courage or solo, the guy is a should-be hit machine. His set in support of Erin & Rob’s medical emergency fund, featuring Matt Burwell on drums, was a mix of promising new tunes and some Bandini favorites. I’m happy.
Its been a while since we’ve posted any live videos here on Daykamp Music. So, here’s a quickie of Scott Janovitz And The Young Adult Novels performing the title track off of his latest EP, Fall In. It’s good. Don’t take my word for it. Hit the play button.
Oh, the photos from this show are right here.
Fall In EP
Picking up where The Russians left off,* Scott Janovitz returns with an EP of layered power pop that may just melt the 100 inches of snow that fell on my heart this winter. The warm inviting sounds of “Fall In” belie the song’s less sunny undercurrents. Scott singing “Hear it in my voice now it’s ringing true/Hear it in my voice/Listen to my voice” in the damn-near-perfect second verse provides one of those subtle little songwriting twists that make my giddy. The Fall In EP is loaded with those moments. Like the unusual two-line-plus-twinkling-melody verses of “The Worst.” Or the chorus postscript tacked on at the 2:50 mark of “The Big Reveal.” The end result is magnificent. It’s good to be warm again.
Where to get it:
* That’s a very good place to pick up from.
The Russians are the brainchild of Scott Janovitz. On this 2007 EP, Scott and his comrades-in-rock created 17 minutes of musical escapism.
The songs here are exceptional. Scott’s songwriting has always been a cut above. These songs ranked among his finest work at the time. “Your Only One” is an instant attention grabber with its piano and vocal intro. “Taking Noise Away” has a beautifully evolving chorus. “Talking To Yourself” has a gentle verse and a power pop chorus.
Pianos, guitars, accordions, handclaps and “aaahs” weave an intricate musical tapestry. It’s a complex mix and The Russians make it sound easy. The vocal layers call Brian Wilson’s production to mind. The seamless song transitions wouldn’t be out of place on Wish You Were Here. The guitar leads in “Your Only One” sound like they came straight off of Revolver, the bassline of “Crashing The Party” from Abbey Road. The Russians look to the past to create their modern rock sounds.
Half of this four song EP would end up on 2010’s stellar Crashing The Party. The other two songs, as well as the thoughtful sequencing, make EP.02 worth checking out.
Where to get it:
I said most of what I needed to say about The Russians in my recent love letter to the band. Friday night the band rocked a little and rolled a lot. Man, do I love these guys…
The sky is bluer than you know.
I want you to love this record as much as I do. I want you to get all caught up in the weight and introspection. I want you to be washed away by the harmonies and the layers of guitars. I want you to hear a songwriter at the top of his game. I want you to understand what a great opening track “The Record’s Over” is. I want “Not So Loud” to end up on all of your mix tapes. I want you to groove to “Sober and Un-Upsetting” and “Make It Easy”. I want you to bask in the sunshine of “You Know”. I want “Talking To Yourself” and “Crashing The Party” to devastate you. I want “Lovesickholiday” to bring you home. I want you to listen to Crashing The Party. I want you to love The Russians.
I want you to be happy.
Where to get it:
After catching Sidewalk Driver opening for The B-52s* at the House Of Blues, I rushed over to the Kenmore Square T stop in an effort to get to The Middle East in time to catch The Russians. You’d be hard pressed to find a band in town with better songs than Scott Janovitz and his cohorts. It had been a long time since I’d had a chance to catch one of their sets. I needed a fix.
I walked into the Middle East Upstairs during the band’s second song. It was dark. Really dark. A couple of those fake candles they put on the tables in restaurants would have provided more light than the club’s red stage lights. It fit the music, I suppose. The songs came off a little darker and heavier tonight. “Not So Loud” packed a particular punch. The Russians covering Elliott’s Smith’s “Bottle Up And Explode” is certainly something I wouldn’t mind hearing more often. The band even debuted a new song, which is the best thing Scott Janovitz has ever written. At least I hope so. He threatened to break up the band if it wasn’t. So, it was. This world needs The Russians.
* Bikini Whale was better.