The Polyphonic Spree
Sweet Lee Morrow, New Fumes
600 I Street Northwest
Washington, DC, 20001
The Polyphonic Spree
"When the Polyphonic Spree first appeared in 2000, the Dallas symphonic pop group was as much a band as a "happening," in the 1960s sense of the word. The Spree's two dozen members took the stage in flowing robes of snowy white, an appropriate backdrop for their happy and uplifting blend of pop, orchestral rock, and minimal touches of gospel. The costumes changed over the years, but the Polyphonic Spree's message remained consistent, drawing comparisons to the Flaming Lips and the Beach Boys with a smidgen of lively Godspell-like attitude thrown into the mix.
The Polyphonic Spree were founded by vocalist Tim DeLaughter, who fronted the band Tripping Daisy until 1999, when a drug overdose killed his bandmate Wes Berggren. Tripping Daisy subsequently folded, and DeLaughter pulled together surviving members of the group for the Polyphonic Spree, a massive collective that admitted more than 20 new members into its fold. The group put together a demo entitled The Beginning Stages of...the Polyphonic Spree and distributed it to fans during a holiday performance; a Dallas-based indie label, Good Records, later issued the release. Boasting a ten-member choir, two keyboardists, percussion, bass guitar, flute, trumpets, trombone, violin, French horn, theremin, pedal steel, and an electronic effects wizard, the band had little trouble carving out its own unique niche.
DeLaughter emerged as the group's musical director and lead vocalist, and the Polyphonic Spree hit the road with more than a dozen full-sized vans. Despite the cumbersome nature of touring with an immense lineup, the band drew attention with its cathartic performances, including a gig during 2003's Reading Festival. The single "Follow the Day" was featured in Volkswagen commercials as well as the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind soundtrack, which helped the Polyphonic Spree earn even more exposure. The group's proper debut, Together We're Heavy, was co-released by Good Records and Hollywood Records during the summer of 2004, garnering the Spree additional accolades despite a vicious review by Entertainment Weekly.
Released in 2007, the Wait EP found the band moving in a darker, slightly more atmospheric direction, and the band returned that summer with The Fragile Army, a reprise of the vibrant Technicolor sound of its earlier work. The band now sported black military outfits with red crosses stitched onto the front, signaling a newfound darkness that flecked The Fragile Army with brief flashes of melancholy and textured rock. As before, the Polyphonic Spree took their tent revival-esque show onto the road, and the Live from Austin, TX CD/DVD captured their strength as a live act later that year." - Linda Seida, AllMusicGuide
Sweet Lee Morrow
A born visionary, Jesse "Podunk" Hester wrote songs for many years, patiently honing his craft.. In 1998 he began performing locally (in Dallas, TX) as a solo act and also assembled a full band, known as Sweet Lee Morrow @ the time... It was during this period that his melodic brand of Indie Folk began to take shape... influenced by the likes of Tripping Daisy, David Bowie, and The Beatles, et al. Rather abruptly, this creative period was cut short by the beginning of an experience that would shape both art and artist. In 1999 Podunk joined The Polyphonic Spree, led by former Tripping Daisy front man, Tim DeLaughter.
Over the next four and a half years, Podunk would traipse endlessly around the US, Canada, and Europe with The Spree. Full of inspiration and approaching fatherhood, Podunk left The Spree in 2004 to focus on family as well as writing and performing his still blossoming call. He re-located to Austin, Texas in August of 2006. Today, his work is in full stride and backed by the support of Dallas based Indie singles label, goodrecordsrecordings.com, he performs as Sweet Lee Morrow nation wide as a solo act and also at times with the accompaniment of friends who's instruments range from guitar to pedal steel, or even things as minimal as harmony and glockenspiel.
Bringing brutal sincerity in his words, his songs are carried in a vehicle fueled by melody and taste. Quite the under-spoken yet grandiose resolve that can only be the summation of a gentle whisper that screams at your heart and soul. Music and videos can be found @ www.sweetleemorrow.com & www.goodrecordsrecordings.com.
Daniel Huffman is the sole creative force of NEW FUMES. Huffman has lent his talents to a multitude of diverse bands. He was a member of the 90s space rock outfit Comet as well as the Bitches Brew-loving improv group Ghostcar, and he's been a touring guitarist for the Polyphonic Spree. He's been part of the touring entourage for and a collaborator with the Flaming Lips. With the release of NEW FUMES' Bump and Assassination, Huffman finally gets the opportunity to submerge listeners into a sonic world purely of his own imagination.