Grant-Lee Phillips w/ Philip B. Price at The Parlor Room
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DOORS OPEN AT 7PM.
“I’m drawing on the urgency of the moment,” reflects Grant-Lee Phillips. “The things that eat away in the late hours…”
That urgency inspired the headlong rush of Widdershins – available February 23 via Yep Roc – in which Grant-Lee Phillips invests the insight, nuance, and wit that has distinguished his songcraft over the past three decades in a riveting dissection of today’s fraught social landscape. Beneath the moment’s tumultuous veneer, Phillips uncovers resonances spanning centuries – patterns echoing from the present day to the distant past. Its twelve tracks were cut largely live in the studio with the sharp trio of Phillips (guitar, vocals, keyboards), Jerry Roe (drums), and Lex Price (bass) serving as messengers. Says Phillips, “This moment is explosive, volatile, and heightened. It’s important to me that the music reflect that...”
By turns sardonic, provocative, and illuminating, Widdershins (produced by Phillips and mixed by Tucker Martine) delivers its poetic truths through Phillips’s peerless melodic sensibilities, carefully balancing intensity and vulnerability. A now seasoned songwriter and performer, with more than two decades' experience first as frontman of the acclaimed Grant Lee Buffalo then as an accomplished solo artist, Phillips awakens comfort and hope by shining light into darker corners. “I hope to express my faith in people, my faith in the good ideas we’re capable of, and that regardless of what opposition we face, the fact that we can surmount these things,” he concludes. “We can stare them down, laugh at them, belittle them, and drive the darkness back into a hole.”
Philip B. Price is best known as the lead singer and polymath behind the New England-based melancholic folk/pop band Winterpills, but his CV stretches far back into the late 80s and draws on minimalist/jagged art-rock, lo-fi pop, power pop, dance-noise, post-punk, pre-emo, flowery brit-folk, and hooky shoegaze.
Price’s early years in music were spent partly in collaboration with electronic musician Antony Widoff (who worked with David Bowie, U2, David Torn), a colleague from Bennington College. Price also performed live with Glenn Branca acolyte Jonathan Bepler (Music for Cremaster) while at Bennington and composed several instrumental pieces for dance performances.
Post-Bennington, with Widoff, he formed the upstate NY art-rock quartet Memorial Garage (1986-1989). After recording 2 albums for SF-based Top Records and an unreleased 22 song live album, the band broke up in 1989.
A short-lived collaboration with drummer Jerry Marotta (Elvis Costello, Peter Gabriel, Stevie Nicks), bassist Michael Nunziata and keyboardist Harvey Jones (Ellis Paul, Sara Lee) yielded the release of a 4-song EP titled Weatherless. Price then retreated into his home studio where over the next 6 years he self-released 8 albums of diverse and often devastatingly emotional and confessional rock.
Now relocated to New Hampshire, in 1992, bassist and fan Max Germer approached Price about forming a band based largely on this raw pop material, and The Maggies were born. The band endured several line-up changes, but between 1993 and 2002 released 8 albums and 2 EPs of loud, harmony-based shimmering and inspired power pop and became regional stars, signing to Jerry Harrison’s short-lived label (GarageBand Records) though larger success eluded them.
After The Maggies ended, Price released two more solo albums (13 Songs For Right Now in 2002, and Honey In The Chemicals in 2003, both on Brooklyn-based Listen Here! Records) and toured extensively behind them (with John Wesley Harding and others) until the Winterpills came together in late 2003 with Flora Reed, Dennis Crommett and Dave Hower. The band signed to Signature Sounds in 2004, have released 7 critically lauded albums and toured worldwide. The band has made it onto MOJOs Top Ten lists and songs have been featured on many TV shows, including Showtime’s Weeds and NBC’s Grey’s Anatomy.
Currently on a semi-hiatus from Winterpills duties, 2018 saw the release of a huge amount of this wide-ranging back-catalog material (12 albums total) in preparation for an all-new solo album in late 2018, his first solo outing since 2004. A ‘best of’ collection of the unreleased solo material was released as a 2-CD set on Signature Sounds.
Price will release his first solo all-acoustic album since 2004 in the summer of 2019.
Price also has collaborated with author Jonathan Lethem, indie rock legend Walter Salas-Humara, and has been in two bands with Fountains of Wayne frontman Chris Collingwood (including his current project Look Park, on Yep Roc).
His spare, riveting live shows, with his quavering irish tenor, spidery guitarwork and dense wordplay, manage to make intimacy feel massively anthemic, and grinding rock seem like a close-whispered romantic inside joke. - Quynlyn Demitrus
The Parlor Room
32 Masonic St
Northampton, MA, 01060