October 17, 2014

A GOOD JUDGE OF MATERIAL

Matt Turk again taps movie pal David Dobkin as producer

Matt Turk_by Christina Torpie.jpg

While attending New York University more than 20 years ago, Matt Turk remembers seeing eventual Hollywood A-listers Brett Ratner and Philip Seymour Hoffman around campus.

He didn’t know those guys back then, but Turk was close with another NYU student at that time who has since done pretty well for himself in Hollywood: David Dobkin, the director of the recently released film The Judge, as well as The Change-Up, Fred Claus and Wedding Crashers.

“We were roommates,” Turk recalls. “I was in a band called The Hour, and David was a fan of the band. When we did a national tour, he came on the road as a roadie and a soundman.”

Lately, Dobkin has served in a different role for Turk: as his producer. Their latest studio collaboration is the recently released Cold Revival, New York singer-songwriter Turk’s follow-up to the 2010 covers project American Preservation.

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October 13, 2014

FEELING MORE LIKE HERSELF

Amanda Kravat resumes music career with new EP

Amanda Kravat_Photo by Nathaniel Johnston.jpg

For someone who's had her share of personal and professional setbacks over the past 15-plus years, Amanda Kravat is quick to laugh when talking about some of those experiences.

She’s totally serious, though, about the circumstances that ultimately contributed to the end of her extended hiatus from a music career.

“I was having debilitating panic attacks, and none of the medication or therapy I was offered did any good until I started writing songs again,” Kravat says. “I literally felt like I was suffocating. I had no idea that without songwriting, I’m not really myself. I guess painters paint and dancers have to dance, and I kind of didn’t realize I actually had to be saying something.”

What she has to say musically can be found on the new four-song EP, AK, her first release of any kind since the 2002 solo album Wrong All Day, which followed her stint as the frontwoman for Marry Me Jane.

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October 07, 2014

BEAUTY AND BALANCE

Ellis Paul on new album, side career making children’s music

Ellis Paul_by Jack Looney.jpg

Whenever he’s writing one of his main-catalog albums, Ellis Paul tries his best to prevent any compositional crossover with his sideline career making children’s music, and he succeeded with his latest, Chasing Beauty.

Paul says he spent about a year and a half composing Beauty, which was released in early September — at the same time, as it turns out, that a re-release of his 2012 children’s album, The Hero in You, arrived in stores, paired with a hardcover illustration book.

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October 01, 2014

SCRUFFY THE CAT — THE GOOD GOODBYE: UNRELEASED RECORDINGS 1984-1990

Quality comp highlights the band’s versatility and soulful side

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Many career-spanning rarities collections merely serve as companion pieces to an artist’s catalog, and in the best cases include unreleased or scarcely heard gems and cover songs that make the anthology worthwhile.

Then there is The Good Goodbye: Unreleased Recordings 1984-1990, a set of odds and ends by ’80s Boston rockers Scruffy the Cat that proves to be all of those things, with a bonus, yet bittersweet, twist. While most of the 23 offerings are outtakes or live-in-the-studio renditions of tunes that appeared on the band’s proper albums, the inclusion of a half-dozen impressive tracks from the band’s final recording sessions suggests it had one heck of an album in the offing, had the group not disbanded soon after that August 1989 trip to the famed Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tenn.

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