Speed the Plough: February 25, 2016 HiFi Bar

March 17, 2016

[photo by Neil deMause]

Correspondent Neil D writes:

Explaining Speed the Plough’s connection with and distinction from the Feelies is a bit daunting, but here we go: The band first began as the Trypes, a Hoboken band that grew to incorporate Feelies’ guitarist/vocalists Glenn Mercer and Bill Million when their main band went on hiatus during the early ’80s. When the Feelies reformed in 1985, Mercer and Million took bassist Brenda Sauter and drummer Stan Demeski with them; when the Feelies went back on hiatus in the ’90s (after Million moved to Florida to become a locksmith at Disney World), Sauter and Demeski rejoined what was now known as Speed the Plough, only to depart again in 2008 when the Feelies re-re-formed. This left Speed the Plough with no actual Feelies veterans, but a who’s-who of the Feelies family tree, with Demeski’s brother-in-law John Baumgartner (keyboards, vocals), sister-in-law Toni Baumgartner (vocals, flute, clarinet, glockenspiel), son John Demeski (drums), and nephew Michael Baumgartner (guitar, vocals) all on board, along with Cindi Merklee on bass/vocals and Ed Seifert on guitar/vocals. And there’s a family feel to the shows as well, with everyone trading off on lead vocals and writing credits. (“Ed’s Song,” appropriately, is actually written and sung by John Baumgartner.)

Speed the Plough’s music itself is a somewhat more distant cousin to the Feelies’, with the similarities including clean melodies layered over crisp percussion, though much more varied in tone and instrumentation — there aren’t all that many glockenspiel solos in Feelies songs, for starters. This appearance, at Manhattan’s quickly-becoming-beloved HiFi Bar (in the former Brownies space, run by former Brownie Mike Stuto), was a record release show for Speed the Plough’s new LP “Now,” which the band played through in its entirety, followed by an encore of the title track from their 2010 album “Swerve.” The show was recorded with a mix of mics set up on the booths opposite the stage and the HiFi soundboard, and is an excellent capture of the intimate sound in that space, with not too much chatter filtering in from the bar area adjacent.

Download the complete show: [MP3/FLAC]

Stream the complete show:

Speed the Plough
HiFi Bar
New York, NY
Soundboard > Sony PCM-M10 > WAV (24/48) + CA-14 cardioid mics > Church Audio ugly battery box > iRiver H320 (Rockboxed) > AIFF (16.44.1) > Sound Studio (light EQ and mixing) > FLAC (16/44.1) > Tag > FLAC
Recorded and mastered by neil d

01 Matt Davis intro
02 S.O.S.
03 Midnight in the World
04 Garden
05 Be With You
06 Because
07 More and More
08 second set intro
09 Hey, Blue
10 Buttermilk Falls
11 Miss Amelia (for Carson McCullers)
12 On A New Day
13 Telegraph
14 Ed’s Song
15 Swerve

Pick up “Now” and other Speed the Plough goodies (their 2014 retrospective “The Plough and the Stars” makes an excellent starting point for acquainting yourself with their three-decade back catalogue) at: http://www.speedtheplough.com/

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