Photo by Mark Stern Photography
You know Boston’s own Alex Stern as the current guitarist for Big D and the Kids Table, singer and guitarist for The Pomps, guitarist for Void Union, and keyboardist for Nick and the Adversaries. He’s previously served as guitarist for The Sterns, The New Collisions, Obi Fernandez, and Mass. Hysteria. In fact, he handled guitar detail for Thaddeus Merritt Trio’s most recent performance. The point is, you’ve probably seen him perform before. Because he’s not busy enough with all of these projects, he also performs as “Alex and Friends” and he’s committed to posting one song each week in 2015. This sounds like a new trend as bands like They Might Be Giants are also releasing a new tune every week this year.
The first is the power pop song “Hurt Like Me” posted on bandcamp on Monday, January 5. The associated artwork is simply a bike, and while the lyrics of the song convey the feelings of someone who’s been burnt one too many times by those who “think they’re better then us,” it’s clear there’s some physical pain derived from a cycling accident or two. As a cyclist myself, I can attest to the number of friends involved in hit-and-runs.
Lest you think this is just an excuse to post old demos and b-sides, we confirmed with Alex that these will all be studio recordings. He promises that the music will be varied, much like the projects he’s involved with. He’s assured us he’s “not going to simply set up a zoom recorder every Sunday, record a Specials song with a ukelele and say ‘I did it!'” To be fair, I think he could do this once or twice and we’d all be okay with that. He recorded “Hurt Like Me” in February of 2014 at Q Division and Mad Oak studios. The second tune will be a cover of The Misfits’ “Angelfuck.” You can listen to that tune now as part of the most recent episode of the Mutiny on the Microphone podcast. It will be posted to bandcamp next week.
As an amateur musician, I find the “song a week” thing to be incredibly intimidating and ambitious, but it actually provides and opportunity for someone like Alex.
As far as the origin of the idea; I just felt it was time for me to do something that didn’t allow me to hide behind a band name. If it rules, I get the accolades. If it sucks…try again next week. If I just released an Album or an EP, I would be working an old school model of trying to promote a release, rather than just being excited about the fact that I’m a songwriter/performer. If that makes sense?
It makes a ton of sense, actually. As a fan, I just want more tunes. If the album release model is a hinderance, why commit to it?
You can see Alex and Friends perform at TT the Bear’s on Friday, January 16 with Los Elk, The Shills, Great Woods, and Slowdim. Alex will be supported by Jameson Hollis on bass (The Pomps, Have Nots, Stray Bullets), Casey Gruttadauria on keys (The Pomps, Big D, Destroy Babylon, among others) and Zak Kahn on Drums (The Sterns, The New Collisions). The show starts at 8pm but they perform around 10:30. Join the Facebook Event. Check out the calendar for more local shows. Like Alex Stern Music on Facebook.
Further Reading: 12 Questions with Alex Stern via Reverend Guitars