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With our back turned to the chorus
We can all be a brontosaurus
We’re a little bit true, a little bit fiction
Thrown a bone of self-contradiction
On their new EP, The End Times Spasm Band become prophets against nostalgia. It’s an odd ambition for a swing revival act, and songs like “Archæologies” become dire warnings from a band who could easily retreat into mere re-enactment. Instead, vocalist Lyndsy Rae and guitarist Bart Helms look toward science and turn-of-the-century poetry for a vocabulary that avoids clichés and celebrates the present as well as the past.
BAUDELAIRE emerged during the first unexpected snow storm of December 2013. Isolated in a studio in Illinois, the band was able to focus on the mood of each individual track. The EP was produced by Joshua Estock (The Illegitimate Sons) and engineered with Jon Pines (Billy Bragg and Wilco, Of Montreal), who used the space of the studio and vintage mics to capture and contribute to the performance.
The EP is the band’s first recording with the rhythm section of bassist Andy Rice and drummer Ryan Holquist. The departure of the previous rhythm section left the band’s future uncertain, and Lyndsy and Bart credit the veteran duo’s energy and spontaneity with renewing their faith in the band.
In spring 2009, Lyndsy and Bart began performing as The End Times Spasm Band Their first EP, #2, on Chain Smoking Records, established a lyrical focus on science and anti-lovesongs, such as “I Don’t Roll Like That” which was featured in the documentary (A)Sexual. In 2011, they released a full-length album, HIGH WIRE LOVER, and the single, “Black Coffee.” By the end of 2012, the band had performed in 18 states and had appeared live on WBOI’s Meet the Music and WDVX’s Blue Plate Special. In 2011, 2012, and 2014 they headlined Buskerfest, a celebration of street performance in their hometown. After a year of setbacks, the band took time away from the road to reform and reroute. BAUDELAIRE is a long-awaited return to the studio.
The French language title-track, “Baudelaire,” is vocalist Lyndsy Rae’s first sole writing credit for the band. The melody and double rhythm guitars were inspired by Django Reinhardt, but the lyrics concern the horror-tinged poetry of French decadent Charles Baudelaire. “After studying Baudelaire’s poetry, I was jolted to create a song warning readers of his infections work lurking on the shelves, waiting to be indulged by the next generation,” says Lyndsy.
The trans-Atlantic connection is no mistake; for The End Times Spasm Band, early jazz is less a style choice than a symbol of modernity and creativity. Helms’ songs “Little Bird” and “Archæologies” directly confront nostalgia and the re-enactment minded ambitions of other swing bands, while simultaneously referencing his own poetic heroes in H.D. and Walt Whitman.
For those once living now dust
Through the afternoons that shaped your bones
Is the beauty of lines enough?
“We’re not just hi-de-ho-ing like Cab Calloway did,” says Lyndsy. “We want to take our roots and create something new, something individual. We see our music as a bridge to connect his time to the present – as well as connecting the people from the present to our shared past.”
The End Times Spasm Band are pursuing various projects to take advantage of the rare opportunities, collaboration, and new ideas which frequent touring made difficult. The band delayed the release of the EP for one such project: composing an original jazz score for the film NOSFERATU, which was performed at a sold-out showing at Fort Wayne’s Cinema Center.
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For print: coming soon. (Contact us!)
“One of the things that’s fun about the End Times Spasm Band – aside from their simple tendency to have fun, of course – is the band’s ability to find so many divergent flavors within a single song. […] You’ll find each allusion slipping through your fingers just as you think you’ve got a hold on it, only to be replaced by another. In the end, you’re going to have to admit that this stuff just might be something new.” – Evan Gillespie, Whatzup
“It’s the effortless lyrical and musical wit that keeps the band from becoming just a novelty act. Filled with plucky narrative songwriting and heartbreaking characters, the band’s period-style originals are both authentic and fresh.”- Emma Downs, The Journal Gazette
“Lead singer Lyndsy Rae Patterson is a spitfire, a ball of energy endlessly prancing and kickstepping across the stage in a crazed fusion of jazz moll and rag doll puppet with half her strings cut off.” – Paul F. P. Pogue, Nuvo.
“These youngish bucks (and doe) provide fine entertainment for you eyes and ears.” – Andy Bean, of the Two Man Gentlemen Band
Interviews and Reviews
- Low Down Swing: The Sounds of The End Times Spasm Band. E.A. Poorman, Fort Wayne Reader.
- Review of Baudelaire. Evan Gillespie, Whatzup.
- The End Times Spasm Band Updates a Horror Classic with New Music. Julia Meek, WBOI.
- A Halloween Horror to a Different Tune. Kara Hackett, The Journal Gazette.
- The End Times Spasm Band. Larry, Dieselpunks.org.
- Leave the Porch Light On. Kyle Melton, Dayton City Paper.
- Review: End Times Spasm Band. Paul F. P. Pogue, Nuvo.
- Early New Orleans Jazz Comes to Cliff Bell’s. Lawrence B. Johnson, The Detroit News.
- Do the Time Warp. Deborah Kennedy, Whatzup.
- Review of #2. Mark Turney, Whatzup.
- Review of #2. Sepiachord.
- Witty Swing of Spasm Band No Gimmick. Emma Downs, The Journal Gazette.
- End Times Spasm Band Puts the Hot in Hot Jazz. Ben Larson, Fort Wayne Reader.
- Baudelaire (2015). Self-released.
- High Wire Lover (2011). Chain Smoking Records.
- #2 (2009). Chain Smoking Records.
FESTIVALS & OTHER SPECIAL EVENTS: Nosferatu: An Original Score (2014), Buskerfest (2014, 2012, 2011), Sol Fest (2012), Free Range Music Festival (2012), Bottoms Up Burlesque’s Dream a Little Dream (2012), Second Sunday on Main (2011), Elwood Concerts in the Park (2011, 2010), Roots and Rhythm Festival (2010), RiverFest (2010), Record Store Day – Wooden Nickel (2010), Fort Wayne Museum of Art Grand Re-Opening (2010)
VENUES: Acoustic Coffeehouse (TN), Arnold’s (OH), Artmosphere (LA), Barley Street Tavern (NE), The Bee’s Knees (ME), The Bishop (IN), The Black Sparrow (IN), The Brass Rail (IN), Churchill’s (MI), Cliff Bell’s (MI), Coffee Amici (OH), Columbia Street West (IN), Double Wide Saloon (TX), Green Lantern (KY), Gulu Gulu Cafe (MA), Hideaway Saloon (KY), Hirewire Lounge (GA), The Lemon Grove (OH), Locals Only (IN), The Melody Inn (IN), Mojo’s (MO), MOTR Pub (OH), Ottawa Tavern (OH), The Paddy Wagon (Ky), Preservation Pub (TN), The Purple Fiddle (WV), Quencher’s Saloon (IL), Radio Radio (IN), Replay Lounge (KS), Schlafly Bottleworks (MO), Sentient Bean (GA), Skinny’s Ballroom (TX), Tidball’s (KY), Trouser Mouse (MO), The Vault (MO), The White Rabbit (IN), Woodruff’s
LIVE RADIO APPEARANCES: WBOI Meet the Music (2012, 2011), WDVX Blue Plate Special (2012), WBOI Little Brother Radio (2010)