20 February 2008

Band of the Week: Computer Perfection

Band: Computer Perfection
From: near Detroit, MI
Sound: jangly indie pop with sunwashed synthesizers
Similar Artists: Bishop Allen, Evangelicals, Michael Andrews, Broadcast
Listen Now: "Able Archer"

Let's get one thing clear: as much as EAR FARM maintains a solid focus on all manner of music, I've never shied away from sharing my love for a few key movies. Usually this happens in relation to the music within them; sometimes, just to let you know where I'm coming from, I'll drop a quote or two from one of my favorite films. Most obviously/frequently, and at the top of my list of favorites, is The Goonies. There's always been a well-known quote from the film here/on the sidebar of this site at the top right; another here. In fact, EAR FARM was nearly called The Goondocks. Don't tell anyone. It was also nearly named after something to do with the music from another of my favorite films, Me and You and Everyone We Know. Man, I love that score. But enough about me - just use this background information to imagine my joy when a band from Michigan got in touch with me and listed The Goonies amongst their influences; when the first song that played on their MySpace page sounded as though it'd fit in perfectly on Michael Andrews' score for Me and You and Everyone We Know. I was like this :)

Computer Perfection hails from just outside of Detroit, Michigan, does indeed list The Goonies in their MySpace list of influences, and is made up of Amy Bem, Gene Corduroy, Little Tommy Daniels, and Nathaniel F.H. Burgundy IV. The bio on their MySpace explains: "Until recently, Bem & Corduroy lived in Brooklyn while Burgundy and Little Tommy Daniels resided in the exurbs of Detroit. As 4 members of PAS/CAL, the comrades often traveled between both cities for recording sessions, performances and late-night meals. A cozy old apartment in Red Hook served as the satellite recording facility for several songs, and was the setting for many Computer Perfection demos. Bem & Corduroy recently parted ways with their beloved 3rd floor walk-up, making tracks back to the Renaissance City with a baby daughter in tow. Mr. Nathaniel F.H. Burgundy IV, heir to the Burgundy fortune, returned from a two year quest ("mystical studies" & "mystical bird-watching") to join Bem & Corduroy in residence at the new Pinecrest division of the Romantic Air Recording Company in Ferndale. By way of fate, coincidence, and careful planning, Little Tommy Daniels had already taken lodging within pedaling distance. And so the band plays on, on occasion."

Thank goodness for these occasions that find Amy, Gene, Little Tommy Daniels, and Nathaniel F.H. Burgundy IV together making music as Computer Perfection. They've so far produced a quartet of songs that have been spinning 'round the clock at EAR FARM central for a couple of weeks now, including two songs that just about everyone reading this is certain to adore. Oh you'll like these songs alright, "I'll stake my Pulizter on it." (don't get confused, this one is from another movie altogether - anyway, stop staring at my movie quote and click through to get to the music!)

The first song posted below, "Able Archer", is the band at its most poppy, accessible, and guitar-forward; yet it's also a study in nuanced melancholia. Beginning with a series of gentle builds, the song begs you closer with hushed vocals and a perfect balance between the organic guitars/drums and synthesizer touches throughout. There's some power behind the percussion and a touch of Johnny Marr in the guitar work. Start here if you can't get enough of the mood that pervades last year's extremely popular Juno soundtrack. It's okay, I like (most of) that soundtrack too (out, out damn Moldy Peaches).

"Silence Is A Shadow's Dream" continues along the same quiet beautiful path forged in "Able Archer", but does so with a touch more reverberated informality. The song is equal parts Hazelwood/Sinatra, Belle & Sebastian, jazz influence, and Computer Perfection. As the melody wanders about, the rhythm section drops fills with wicked skills. Listened to together, the duo of these first two songs offers a nice hint at what we can expect as the band writes more music together.

The third song below, "The Strange Echo", is where you should head for your extra-melancholic synthesizer fix. As I've already mentioned, this song is very much in line with the Michael Andrews score to the film Me and You and Everyone We Know and I love it. Equally impressive, in a completely different (yet strangely similar) manner, is the band's cover of the Greg Kihn Band classic "The Breakup Song (They Don't Write 'Em)". Do yourself a favor and visit their MySpace page for an entirely worthwhile listen.

Given that Computer Perfection's official bio didn't offer a complete explanation of what makes them who they are, of why this band personifies two of my favorite movies, I got in touch with a few questions via email. You can find their collected responses below with three MP3s for your listening pleasure below that.

EAR FARM: Alright, basic band question #1 - where did the band name come from?

Little Tommy Daniels: I'm glad you guys called me. Otherwise I would've just been at home watching [American Idol], singing along to myself.

Burgundy: I know I already had a piece of pie, but can I have a brownie, too?

Gene: For years I was trying to find this toy I had when I was ten. I didn't know how to find it because I only knew what it looked like. After searching the internet to no avail, I saw it on TV on the Discovery Channel & discovered it was invented by the same guy who created the game Simon.

LTD: Right, so you’re a dork.

EAR FARM: How would you describe the band's sound? Have there been any descriptions by others that you find particularly accurate?

Gene: A goldmine miracle.

Burgundy: A little bit of a mix of the following: folk, pop, the brighter side of psychedelia, bleepy synths, restless hearts, optimistic melancholy.

LTD: Smooth.

EAR FARM: How & when did you all get together?

LTD: Gene came to my house one day. Then Burgundy showed up at Gene & Bem's house & I was there. Are these brownies fresh?

Burgundy: Basically, we had to come together. It was inevitable. How does the universe come together? It just does.

Gene: About three years later than we should have.

LTD: That's kind of cynical.

Gene: I'm sorry, that's not hopefully optimistic. Wait, erase that. Autumn of 2007.

LTD: We were & are all members of PAS/CAL.

EAR FARM: What's the music scene like where you guys are living now & how would you compare it to Brooklyn?

LTD: The music scene around here really is like a craft show. You know the same people that are at every craft show every year, you know?

Burgundy: Actually, I feel like a lot of younger indie rock/pop oriented bands have popped up lately. I've been such a recluse lately I hardly know what anyone sounds like.

Gene: I never went to a single show in Brooklyn.

LTD: Wait, I want to add to my answer.

Gene: Can we move on to the next question?

LTD: There's a school of rock in the county.

Burgundy: 'County'? Let's say 'area'. I feel like only policemen talk about counties.

LTD: I talk about counties. Will you change it back? I want it to say 'county'.

EAR FARM: How old is your daughter & are there any plans to make her a full-fledged member of the band?

LTD: My daughter is sixteen, but we don't speak.

Gene: She's a year & a half. Um, yeah, she's gonna be the future singer. That's why we gave her her middle name [Astrud].

EAR FARM: What are Computer Perfection's plans & goals for 2008? Are these demos the seeds of a forthcoming full-length/EP? Any touring/live show plans?

Burgundy: We intend to be to our ideal weights by April 1 & to be ready to play some fun shows.

LTD: Yes, a beautiful full-length plant.

GenLTD:e: What did you just say?

LTD: Do I look like Robert Plant?

EAR FARM: Why "The Breakup Song"? Was this a collective decision to cover this song or did one member in particular just NEED to cover it?

Gene: I just felt like I needed to do it.

LTD: Did I play drums on that?

Gene: Ha ha. Matt Jacobson [head of Le Grand Magistery Records] was going to put out compilation of break-up songs.

[Note: This song has electronic drums. Hence, Gene's response.]

EAR FARM: You list The Goonies under your MySpace influences. That really tugs at my heartstrings. So, why The Goonies & can you draw a parallel between certain band members & certain Goonies?

Bem: I'm Stef. LTD is Chunk. Burgundy is Mama Fratelli. Gene is Sloth.

Gene: BABY...RUTH?

Burgundy: I was trying to tell Gene this story about an old coworker name Ruth & his only response was a poor imitation of Sloth that honestly sounded more like a mentally retarded Scooby Doo.

LTD: I don't wanna be Chunk. Put 'I don't wanna be Chunk.'
Alright Little Tommy Daniels, then I'll be Chunk. All alone at my computer. In the dark...

    "I'm not all alone in the dark. I like the dark. I love the dark... But I hate nature! I HATE nature."
But I do like computers. I LOVE computers. And I love Computer Perfection. You will too.

"Able Archer"
"Silence Is A Shadow's Dream"
"The Strange Echo"

Visit Computer Perfection on MySpace (go there and listen to their version of "The Breakup Song").
In the recent past, the following bands have been featured as EAR FARM's Band of the Week:
Goes Cube
Magic Arm
Drink Up Buttercup
The Big Sleep
Pete and the Pirates
Dead Confederate
Throw Me The Statue
Screaming Tea Party

See the entire list of bands featured as EAR FARM's Band of the Week HERE.