The Singleman Affair
Health&Beauty, El Is a Sound of Joy
1354 W. Wabansia Ave
Chicago, IL, 60642
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM
The Singleman Affair
"The End of the Affair" was recorded and engineered by Andrew Hernandez in an abandoned barber shop, where the band had built a recording studio to capture the more intimate moments of the new material as a live collaborative effort as well as utilize the larger space to capture all of the musicians together. The songs the band tracked live in the barber shop studio became the foundation of the “End of the Affair.” These songs were then augmented by various late night session at Daniel Schneider’s home recording studio, utilizing an expansive collection of vintage microphones and a 1970's EMT plate reverb that harnessed both the urgency of the full band recordings as well as the delicate intimacy found in some of the acoustic guitar and vocal tracks. All of these recordings were then handed off to long time Singleman Affair stalwart (engineer/producer) Graeme Gibson, who mixed the album, following some additional recordings to create the dynamic sounds that make up “The End of the Affair.” Additional musicians who contributed to this record were Gillian Lisee (Cairo Gang), multi-instrumentalist and drummer Graeme Gibson (Fruit Bats, Disappears, Houndstooth), and viola and banjo player Liz Payne (Town and Country, The Zoo Wheel). The End of the Affair will be available June 16th as a collaborative release between Cardboard Sangria Records and Strange Weather Records (on LP/CS/DL).
In the years that followed the release of their second album, The Singleman Affair performed almost exclusively as a live band, integrating the different moods of the first two records into a live experience. The musical relationships established by the band formed the foundation of their third full-length album, “The End of the Affair”, a new, frenetic emotional tryst that personifies darker, heavier tones within their dense psychedelia. What was once the singular bedroom recordings of Daniel Schneider is now a full multidimensional band, backed by Adam Vida on drums (U.S. Maple), Gary Pyskacek on guitar and pedal steel, Jacob Smith on organ, and Sam Wagster(Cairo Gang, Fruit Bats) on bass. The band mixes influences from late 60s British folk, early 70s stoner psychedelia, outsider noise art, surrealism, film noir, and their own love of improvisation and experimentation. Thematically, “The End of the Affair” is a meditation on anxiety and the fleeting faces seen through the eyes of an aging folk troubadour. From the Stooges-esque opener “Be This Way”, inspired by (Luis Bunuel's) surrealist masterpiece “Un Chien Andalou”, one hears the worried notes of a man never finding the morning light, of never waking up…”Lets open every eyelid/lets cut them open brightly” which resonate with the image of a singular eyeball being sliced open referencing the notorious eyeball-slicing scene found in "Un Chien Andalou". The bombastic single, "Gray Hairs", highlights a Fairport Convention ideology refracted through a verbose John Cale lens, raising the frustrations of aging ("And my hair it starts to gray/As I fade away") to a boiling point by the furious culmination of the song. One of the most crushing singles on the album is “In Response”, a song that cuts past pretense, leaving one reflecting on the raw, naked realities of a relationship that just didn't work, showing both sadness and resolve: "You can shine so bright, and hang out with the lights/but the lights don’t shine anymore.” Themes of personal frustration and loss, are further explored in the quiet paranoia found in the Floydian jam “I Know a Witch”, where notes of distrust culminates in a final night of furious passion as can be heard in the dense synth heavy outro. The album concludes with the fated sea shanty “Lady of the Sea”, where the listener finally finds acceptance within these tales of anguish and longing, as echoed in the repeated mantra “I will remember you…I will remember you…” A final sense of peace and realization. This is psychedelic music stripped of artifice, imagery of bitterness, loss, and beauty. The true anti-hero who never wins.
Health&Beauty is a long-standing musical project based in Chicago. It has chilled out inside the realities of DIY tours, living and making records in rehearsal spaces, exploring musical possibilities and trying to connect. Health&Beauty travels widely in the world of sound but always arrives at the word Heavy.
Formed by Brian J Sulpizio (vocals/guitar), of Ohio, USA, in the early 00’s, Health&Beauty trickled lyrics inspired by Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Mirah and Phil Elvrum through a guitar/bass/drums quintet, sounding unabashedly like Sonic Youth. They splashed in Chicago but a record of the live group never materialized as they made the effort to record themselves. Bandmates moved on but Sulpizio finished recording the songs in a dilapidated warehouse in Garfield Park, on Chicago’s west side, while also beginning to record some friends, becoming more comfortable with the computer and multitrack recording as an instrument. The record sucks but lessons were learned.
Enamored with the listening-oriented musicianship of Chicago’s AACM, Umbrella, and certain realms of noise, Sulpizio took note and began to rethink his approach to songcraft and arrangement. Meeting Ben Boye (keys) during this transition, they began playing together and were able to move the music into more exciting realms of rhythm and harmony. They made WINTERMAGIC with drummer Marc Riordan and bassists Toby Summerfield and Andrew Young, with guest appearances by other friends. This record, still incorporating a great deal of computer magic, became a sort of benchmark to be met by a live incarnation of the group in the future, while OUR LADY and GUNS explored Sulpizio’s and Boye’s collaboration in stripped-down form.
Frank Rosaly joined with Sulpizio and Boye in 2012. The band popped, with written interplay at an all-time high and the fluidity of the three parties’ individual skill to not only represent the musical ideas they brought together, but to push them and pull them apart and smash them back together in a never-ending exploration of what it means to Have a Song. We are not talking about a jam band, but about a band whose songs can shift meaningfully within their structures. Health&Beauty workshopped the songs on NO SCARE for months to bring them to the place they are on the recording, with Theo Karon running the session. Performed live, the songs on the record take on new life while soon-to-be recorded material gets a bath in the free space.