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Amy X Neuburg (&Men)


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Experimental, intelligent pop

Status:

Most recent album, Residue, 2004

See also:

Amy X Neuburg's site

Racer Records' Amy X Neuburg site

IS Productions, Amy X Neuburg & Men's own site

Comparisons:

A little like Björk's electronic pop, though her vocals are not at all that far out. (Neile)

It's a somewhat strange comparison, but probably the strongest and most obvious influence on the band is '80s-era King Crimson. (neal)

Covers/own material:

Own with some covers

General comments:

Amy X Neuburg writes intelligent, hook-ridden pop tunes, that are musically intriguing. I love her way catchy songs like "Take your eyes out", "This is the last", "Real world", "Nothing", "Into that hole", "Utechma"—these are amazing songs that stick in your head the instant you hear them, but not because they're novelty songs—they're just so fun and well-constructed. She has a lovely voice—it's not outstanding, but she uses it well within the constructs of her songs. I offer a drum machine warning for some of the earliest tracks on Songs 91 to 85, though, for those who can't stand them. To me they work well in this context (hey, this is inventive music), but I know others can't bear them in any context. They are not present in the later songs on Songs 91 to 85 or on her subsequent work. (Neile)

Comments about live performance:

Their live show has a healthy dose of jazz/cabaret thrown in. There are slides to accompany most of the songs, one band member does back up singing and a hell of a lot of dancing. There is a stick player, and some other odd instruments show up as well. Amy X plays a set of drum pads, and the "keyboard" player plays something that is laid out like a keyboard, but consists all of pads. (Sorry for my lack of technical expertise on names there.) He played it with mallets, often holding a pair in each hand as if he were playing a vibraphone. And he also played the "light stick", which is something so baffling I can barely describe it. It's sort of an un-theremin. He holds a wand, and depending on button pushes and apparently spacial location, he controls pitch, tone, samples. I was actually almost convinced that he just set a tape running and waved his arms around, but I've been assured that it sounds different at different shows. It's too bad the show was rushed, because the music was a blast. There's definitely a wacky element mixed in with the instrumental virtuosity. I certainly encourage people in the bay area to see some of her other shows. (neal)

Recommended first album:

Songs 91 to 85 if you're interested in offbeat pop, Utechma if you're interested in something even more offbeat. (Neile)

Recordings:


Songs 91 to 85 (by Amy X Neuburg)

Release info:

1992—racer records, 2443 Fillmore Street #202, San Francisco, CA 94115, U.S.A.—1006

Availability:

See CD Baby or Amy X Neuburg's site

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Amy X Neuburg—all songs written and performed by her, except (see next area)...

Guest artists:

Herb Heinz—guitar (on 4 tracks)

Comments:

Some really catchy stuff on this! I really like most of Songs 91 to 85. There are a few forgettable songs but the rest are wonderfully memorable and lively and funny and good music. One song I haven't been able to keep out of my head for long since I first heard it a couple of years ago is "Take your eyes out". (Neile)

Utechma (by Amy X Neuburg & Men)

Release info:

1995—racer records—1009

Availability:

See CD Baby or Amy X Neuburg's site

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for lovers of off-beat pop

Group members:

Amy X Neuburg—lead vocals, electronic drums, keyboards
Men: Joel Davel—MIDI mallets, lightning motion sensor instruments, vocals
     Herb Heinz—guitar, bass, stick, vocals
     Tim Root—keyboards, vocals

Produced by:

Amy X Neuburg

Comments:

omigodomigodomigod, why did i take so long to pick this album up?!? bent pop. is it any surprise she's from the west coast? two thumbs! (woj@smoe.org)

This disc gets extra weirdness points. At first I thought I didn't like this much because this isn't like the really catchy songs I loved on Songs 91 to 85. It's something new & different, and equally (and more consistently) good. Great and varied percussion and rhythms. It's techy in its use of electronics, but not boring. My only quibble with it is the slightly silly joke of the title song: "Utechma" = "you take my". Believe me, the album is worth a listen. And more than one. (Neile)

Genius art-rock...weird and compelling. I love this one. (stjarnell@yahoo.com)

Utechma is indeed a fine piece of work. (jsorva@niksula.hut.fi)


Sports! Chips! Booty! (by Amy X Neuburg & Men)

Release info:

1999—racer records—1019

Availability:

See CD Baby or Amy X Neuburg's site

Ecto priority:

Recommended for lovers of raucous, almost cabaret pop

Group members:

Amy X Neuburg—lead vocals, electronic drums
Men:
     Joel Davel—MIDI mallets, lightning motion sensor instruments, vocals
     Herb Heinz—guitar, bass, stick, vocals
     Tim Root—keyboards, vocalsHerb Heinz—guitar, vocals
     Joel Davel—MIDI mallets, lightning motion-sensor instrument, vocals
     Micah Ball—Chapman stick, vocals      J.T. Quillan III—vocals, ambient personality

Produced by:

Amy X Neuburg

Comments:

This is a little raucous for me to listen to a lot—I have to be in the right mood. This is one of those albums that makes you to see them live—they sound like they have so much fun that it would be an event. (Neile)

          popcorn  smile  cabaret  brain  marimba  solarium  kick  ass
          riot  kangaroo  rock  twinkle  skirt  roller  coaster  party
Several reviews here rave about the album Utechma, but the newer and very different Sports! Chips! Booty! hasn't quite got the praise I thought it deserves. So I decided to enthuse about it a bit. As I soon found out, however, the album beggars my abilities of sentential expression, and I was reduced to using isolated nouns.
     I may have failed to make my point up there. Just in case, let me rephrase in adjectives:
          eventful  intelligent  funny  quirky  catchy  sarcastic  crazy
          dramatic  witty  unpredictable  progressive  amy  amier  amiest
     I rather like it. (jsorva@niksula.hut.fi)


Residue

Release info:

2004—Other Minds—CD 1007-2

Availability:

See CD Baby or Amy X Neuburg's site

Ecto priority:

Must have

Group members:

Amy X Neuburg

Guest artists:

Produced by:

Amy X Neuburg (5 songs produced by Amy X Neuburg and Herb Heinz)

Comments:

This is one of those albums that takes you over and consumes you utterly. It creates its own universe. Amy X Neuburg encompasses a myriad styles and emotions here. Vocally she's operatic, quirky, calm, seductive, angry...any feeling you could care to think of she's got the voice for it. If there's such a thing as a perfect album then this is it. From the funny, philosophical "My God" to the brilliant "Life Stepped in" it's all great. It's Neuburg's masterpiece. Her other albums are all worthwhile, but this is where she proves all she can do, and that's a lot. (stjarnell@yahoo.com)

Further info:

Contact Amy X Neuburg & Men at: IS Productions, P.O. Box 3856, Oakland, CA 94609, U.S.A.

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DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2010-03-26 17:56:49.
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