WALTER SICKERT AND THE ARMY OF BROKEN TOYS
WALTER SICKERT & THE ARMY OF BROKEN TOYS
"There is a curious blend of mischief and morbidity in Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys, as the duo of Sickert and Edrie are called. They garnish their ominous doom-folk with the theatricality of a demonic circus troupe. Past performances have included storytellers, fire-eaters, glass-eaters, contortionists and, of course, Edrie's broken toy army." Boston Herald
"Holy Damn this is so good...if Jim Morrison is walking the afterworld, he surely must audition for this band. And I shall be the one to tell him to!" The Noise
"Somewhere between hell and your own bedroom", Walter Sickert and Edrie let you know how it feels to be broken. Boston's Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys offer their broken toy wisdom with the help of the WIRETOOTH animals and their Broken Toy Army of 9-15 artists, who "roll in with their burlesque dancers, leers and winks and Hieronymus Bosch tableaus of living mannequins and props and while they play you accept decay, laugh at sex and revel in life. When they roll out again you feel empty". Dark, witty and hard hitting, they will "confound the mind while amazing the senses" with their new CD SteamShipKillers, releasing June 01, 2010.
The band formed when principals Walter Sickert and Edrie dealt with the turmoil and loss that came after their spouses took a road trip together and never returned. Framing the forests of their songs around love, betrayal and heartbreak, the band says their music is for anyone who has ever been broken.
Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys have been making as much noise nationally as they do locally. With a steady foundation of coverage by Boston press including The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, the Noise and The Phoenix; the Army of Toys has also been featured nationally on NPR's Here and Now, All Songs Considered and on MuchMusic. The band was honored to be featured at NXNE music Conference in Toronto, Canada where they also won Best International Song for the track "Pale Horse" by Toronto Magazine. In addition, Walter has been featured for the last five years as a part of the RPM challenge sponsored by New Hampshire's The Wire.
SteamShipKillers kicks off with a ruckus of a track "A Friend in Goddam" which was created on the band's third European tour. "We were in Amsterdam and the place we were staying had a glassed conservatory in the middle of this beautiful garden," says Edrie, where they "found a beautiful grand piano that Walter started to play just as a soft misty rain began to fall. We felt a little like Alice exploring Wonderland happening upon the Mad Hatter tea party."
The track "Cataclysm" is a dramatic, churning maelstrom on a vast musical ocean whose waves come crashing down, leaving one simply stunned. Proving the band's instrumentation is just as eclectic as their recorded tracks; "Cataclysm" features not only the standard guitar and drums but also features violin, viola, clarinet, upright bass, accordion, ukulele and melodica.
The "rollicking, raunchy sideshow of jolly, wheezing menace and delight" live experience of Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys have taken the band across the US and beyond, playing such revered venues as the Hynes Convention Center for First Night, Symphony Hall in Boston, 930 Club in DC, Webster Hall in NYC, Royce Hall in LA, NXNE in Toronto, the Stone Pony in NJ, and the Melkweg in Amsterdam etc. Their live antics have earned them a headlining spot at Steampunk World's Faire 2010 and opening spots alongside international contemporaries the Tiger Lillies and Amanda Palmer at several venues. The band has also taken the experience of their live shows online, with a redesigned and highly interactive Website known as the WIREFOREST. With this new album and tour plans in the US and Europe, there is so much more to come from the WIREFOREST the wiretooth animals are hungry!
Jaggery is an experimental art-rock collective who work the dark edge of a genre-defying musical style (darkwave jazz? siren rock?). fronted by Boston-based singer/songstress mali sastri ~ whose training in the expressive arts discipline Voice Movement Therapy is evident in her global-sized voice ~ the band suggests a classical, organic, avant-jazz-oriented Cocteau Twins or a "white witch" counter to the haunting Diamanda Galas. mali's voice can be a leaf floating in the breeze, and then become an Earth-shaking, Everest-sized volcano. she is flanked by a rotating lineup of musicians and instrumentation including daniel schubmehl's west african approach to the drum kit, with jazz influences, tony leva's funky upright bass, rachel jayson's deft and classical viola, and petaluma vale's celtic harp and backup vocals. this "exotic musical mobile" evokes what Alice Coltrane's "Journey in Satchidananda" might sound like with Bjork singing over the top of it. the band's repertoire bridges the delicate and explosive ~ from haunting lullabies to furious, mixed-meter rants; tightly-woven compositions in odd time signatures to catharsis-inducing, barn-burning mini-epics (oft-times within the same song). the sound is rich, organic, captivating, both dark and triumphant. Jaggery (the word comes from the dark brown, Indian sugar) has toured across the east coast, and has released two recordings, the 2004 in lethe ep, and the 2006 full-length polyhymnia. their first music video ('O Scorpio) won their director "Most Promising New England Filmmaker 2009" at the Boston Underground Film Festival.
There is always a hint of menace and reservoirs of force haunting the corners of Eliza Rickman's voice, whatever register it occupies. Her presence on stagewhether she wears flowers in her hair, or stuffed birds; whether she plays a toy piano or a grand pianois an enveloping, soft darkness, impossible to ignore. It is quite a surprise that Rickman didn't even realize she could sing until after she earned a degree in orchestration from Azusa Pacific University, because her voice is the most enthralling and salient feature of any on the tracks from her new album 'O, You Sinners'. And this is saying something, considering her deftness as a pianist and her subtlety as a composer. Like Kate Bush's work, or like PJ Harvey's album 'White Chalk', the arrangements on 'O, You Sinners' are edged with dissonance. Like Andrew Bird, she favors pizzicato strings over junkyard percussion and complex lyrical melodies. Indeed, Rickman's co-producer Mark Greenberg is a frequent contributor to Bird's albums (as well as to Wilco's 'The Whole Love' and to the Grammy Award-winning Mavis Staples's album 'You Are Not Alone').
Religious themes pervade Rickman's workher album is, after all, titled 'O, You Sinners'. She is the daughter of a pastor, and started playing piano in church at the age of 13. But like one of her great influences- Nick Cave- her writing belies ambivalence about religion. Good and evil; love, both God's love and carnal love; sinners and saints; desire and repentance, all find a place in Rickman's songs. They lurk behind the scrim- whatever stage she sets. The coin of her realm is stamped with the will of God, and whether you are a doubter or a believer you must deal in her currency if you want her to ferry you ashore. "O, you sinners" she sings, "hear me." And how could we not listen?
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