Professor Epstein and his librarians (photo by Kelly Davidson)

Professor Epstein and his librarians (photo by Kelly Davidson)

The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library is the sort of band (yes, it’s a band) that makes one nostalgic for the Baroque Era. Ah, those were some heady days, weren’t they? It all started when Prof. Epstein (of Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, Neutral Uke Hotel, The Motion Sick, The Positronic Rays, and oh yes, he actually *is* a Professor of Audiology – and a scientist) decided last year that he wanted to do something different. He’d conduct an experiment, gathering together a large group of musicians (through advertisements on Facebook and on Craigslist, which sounds scary enough in itself), with the stipulation that they never before performed in a rock band, and would put together a rock band. Or rather, a Baroque-pop orchestra. Make that an all-female (well, except for him) Baroque-folk-alt country-pop orchestra. When he first advertised this new ensemble, I vaguely recall seeing the facebook page and band name, and thought that it might be some kind of geeky music archival project he was starting. Not even close.

(credit: Joe Kowan)

(credit: Joe Kowan)

What we have here is not someone’s basement of dusty old records, but rather a collection of musical influences beautifully distilled by his lovely academic staff of librarians; interpreters with a classical approach to pop music. The result, as evidenced on their debut album, Volume One, is breathtaking. Lavish instrumentation combines the usual suspects – guitar, bass, drums (courtesy of his partner and Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling co-conspirator Sophia Cacciola) – with the exotic (ukelele, trumpet, organ, thunder stick, melodica, glockenspiel, kalimba, flute, viola, violin), rich harmonies and lyrics clever and thought provoking, as well as whimsical:


“I was bored, I was lonely
so I read you til the end
but I would not recommend you to a friend
the right reading level, just the right twists and bends
still, I would not recommend you to a friend.”
4th Grade Book Report Blues

A few songs we’re greeted by an absolutely gorgeous cover of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ “The Weeping Song”. Epstein said of his decision to include it as a desire to have something a bit darker on the album, to balance it out. It certainly adds a great deal of gravitas, but it’s also such a perfect fit for their instrumentation and haunting vocals; they bestow this lovely song with gothic elegance.

Their next performance will be April 20 at Brighton Music Hall, a stellar bill with one of Michael’s other bands, the inimitable Neutral Uke Hotel, and Golden Bloom a.k.a. singer and multi-instrumentalist Shawn Fogel.

“We were so proud for using such big words
we were born on the right half of the earth
and as it circles like the vultures in the sky
I grow my cover ’cause I’ve got something to hide
sometimes I find it strange that I’m alive
and even stranger, stranger that I’ll die.”
– Stranger

official site | facebook | twitter | youtube | blog | Green Light Go Music Publicity

share this: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail