| pApAs fritAs is:
When Half A Cow Records heard pApAs fritAs' latest album, they decided to make an exception to their commitment to supporting Australian-only artists and release Buildings and Grounds, Half A Cow's first non-Australian release since Bettie Serveert's classic first album Palomine.
pApAs fritAs was formed in Somerville, Massachusetts in late 1992 by three Tufts University undergraduates. Mere kids at the time, the band's three members - guitarist Tony Goddess, drummer Shivika Asthana and bassist Keith Gendel - have watched each other grow into adults over the past seven years. During that time they've also released two stellar pop albums, made videos and television appearances, recorded a slew of singles and compilation tracks, toured with the likes of Blur, The Cardigans and The Flaming Lips. Unforgettable experiences, all. But it is this passing of youth in the face of an inherently youthful art form that most informs their current perspective and latest album, Buildings and Grounds.
Named after a college janitorial service that Tony and Keith both worked for, Buildings and Grounds is a true hybrid. Most of the record's instrumental tracks were recorded at the band's Columnated Ruins studio in Gloucester, MA, on the same analogue equipment used for their last long player Helioself But the vocals and much of the post-production work were done at friend and producer Paul Sanni's digital 24 track studio in nearby Somerville. This marked the band's first foray into the digital realm, and the record's synthesis of old and new technologies is indicative of the sounds they yielded.
Which isn't to say that Buildings and Grounds is pApAs FritAs' "electronic record". In fact its clearest distinction lies in its refusal to adhere to any single musical paradigm. Buildings and Grounds transcends what Goddess refers to as the "genre pieces" of their previous albums and finds him claiming his own voice. Goddess has synergized his influences (Fleetwood Mac, The Band, Sly and The Family Stone, the Philly International posse among them) and gained a deep understanding of the quality that links them all - that an artist must do more than embrace genre, he/she must advance it. "We still have our big bouncers" says Goddess, referring to the ultra-catchy, three minute pop that pApAs FritAs is known for, but without question, Buildings and Grounds is the most kaleidoscopic pop the band has ever conjured. Goddess continues, "This is our longest album, and you can tell we gave ourselves more room to breathe this time around. The chord changes are more sophisticated, the songs are musically more rich," he pauses and laughs, "and therešre more solos!"
Two of the band's core doctrines - one, that a song is not just a song, it's also an event; and two, that the sound you feel is just as important as the sound you hear - are further advanced on Buildings and Grounds. More prosaically, the album is quieter, groovier and full of adult love songs, written by people who are starting to become experts on the subject. Both Keith and Shivika contribute their own compositions to Buildings and Grounds with "Vertical Lives" and "I'll Be Gone" respectively, which only adds to its myriad charms.
Half A Cow Records is proud to release the third long player by a band that label boss Nic has been watching closely since 1994 when he first saw the band perform at the Middle East Cafe in Boston and purchased their first seven inch. Back then Nic and the band corresponded with each other and Half A Cow was keen to release their early 4-track cassettes on ceedee (something he still hassles the band about to this day!) and upon hearing Buildings and Grounds called them up and said "This is your best record youšve made! Send over the contract!"
Buildings and Grounds will be released in early May with the first 300 store orders bonused with a 4 track cd featuring "Far From An Answer" and three exclusive songs. Available from "Shopping" and at the following stores:
NSW: Hum (North Sydney, Chatswood, Harbourside, Darlinghurst), Mall Music (Brookvale), Sandy's (Dee Why, Manly), Raiders (Liverpool), JB Hi-Fi (Parramatta), Cd Warehouse (Surry Hills), Plum Music (Bondi Junction), Impact Records (Canberra), Land Speed Records (Civic), Shop(Belconnen, Woden, Civic)
VIC: Gaslight, JB city, Borders, HMV city
QLD: all HMV stores, Skinnys, Rockinghorse, Toombul Music, Sunflower Broadbeach, Sanity Wintergarden, Canelands Music, Cosmic Music