“Multi-talented multi-instrumentalist Scott Janovitz comes up with a super-eclectic bunch of tunes couched in a breezy summery sound well worthy of your attention. Please allow The Russians to invade the shores of your imagination.” -Graham Parker
"Crashing The Party is a collection of smart, memorable pop songs that stand up to repeated listens. The Russians hit that sweet spot where clever and heartfelt overlap." -Tom Perrotta [author of Election and Little Children]
When working in a musical collective, what better moniker than The Russians? Boston’s Scott Janovitz found an apt name, as his project incorporates an army of collaborators to record the pop gems he writes in between stints touring with and producing other acts. Fortunately, this group of friends - including Mike Gent (The Figgs, Death Vessel, Juliana Hatfield), Mike Piehl (Letters to Cleo, Martin Sexton), Rob Dulaney (Sarah Borges) and Russell Chudnofsky (Lori McKenna) - are among the most creative musicians Boston has to offer. The collegial group includes no less than 15 players and production personnel; the end result is an album of unforgettable, hook-packed songs that feature shimmering melodies and driving guitars seamlessly combined with 21st Century loops and sonic embroidery. The Russians managed, between their myriad other projects, to record a full length album, Crashing The Party, which will be released digitally and on CD July 13th, followed by a vinyl LP.
A Boston native, Janovitz has played with a cavalcade of artists over the years and is known for his early band, Dragstrip Courage. After disbanding that outfit, Janovitz spent several years as a sideman to some great artists, including the legendary Graham Parker (with whom he continues to tour), Garvy J (Elevator Drops, The Rentals), The Figgs and Yep Roc artists Jake Brennan and the Confidence Men. Meanwhile, Janovitz was holed up in his own Moontower Studio in Cambridge, slowly developing the songs and sound that would soon become The Russians. With the release of their debut EP came a tour with ex-Replacement Tommy Stinson and The Figgs. The band subsequently performed with such great acts as Radar Bros., Sam Roberts, Evan Dando, Dave Derby, Mary Timony, and Dear Leader.
With the aid of co-producer Darren Ottaviani, himself a longtime member of the band, The Russians continued to develop in the studio, with influences ranging from Phil Spector, McCartney and Pink Floyd to Beachwood Sparks, Teenage Fanclub and The Flaming Lips. In October of 2007, Janovitz released a second EP (appropriately titled EP.02), co-produced by Will Kennedy (The 88, Spearhead) and featuring songs mixed by Kennedy and Paul Kolderie (Morphine, The Pixies). While touring and operating Moontower, in his spare moments Janovitz continued to write and invite members of The Russians in to record, finally selecting ten songs out of the dozens put to tape to create Crashing The Party. The generosity of spirit and respect for music shared by this band of uber-talented friends shines through on Crashing The Party. There is something to be said for working with your comrades.
Scott Janovitz: vocals, guitars, piano, organ.
Patrick Emswiler: vocals, guitar.
Mike Quinn: organ, piano.
Ben Hedlund: drums.
Darren Ottaviani: keys, percussion, sounds.
The Russians Numero Uno EP (tour only - 2005)
The Russians EP .02 (2007)
Crashing The Party LP (2010)
Crashing the Party LP Review - Blurt Magazine
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Never mind the geographical references implied by their name; the Russians are a Boston-based ensemb...Never mind the geographical references implied by their name; the Russians are a Boston-based ensemble whose leader, Scott Janovitz, honed his licks backing Graham Parker and New England native sons like Jake Brennan and the Figgs. However, with Crashing the Party, those seminal influences are overshadowed by an obvious affinity for the Beatles, a fact that's all so evident at the outset with "The Record's Over" - which, by any measure, is an unusual title for a song that starts off the album.
Fortunately, Janovitz doesn't hold to a standard set-up, nor does he fashion himself as merely a Fab Four revivalist. While there's a strong hint of psychedelic suggestion throughout - ""Not So Loud" and the title track especially - the band shows a knack for grinding riffs, cool grooves and soft-pedaled harmonies. They're also adept at the occasional twist of a phrase; "I want to meet your enemies, I want to take them home with me," they croon on "Talking to Yourself," a rather odd bit of reassurance. Not surprisingly then, Crashing the Party provides the Russians with a grand entrance, one which suggests the celebration's just beginning.
Crashing the Party LP Review - Innocent Words
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Cambridge, Mass., has always had a rich history in music and it only seems to be getting richer with...Cambridge, Mass., has always had a rich history in music and it only seems to be getting richer with the release of The Russians' "Crashing the Party."
The Russians are the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Scott Janovitz who has a pool of talent to craft beautioful hook-filled pop songs. Mixing deft guitars and electro-loops, Crashing the Party is a shimmering summer soundtrack.
Calling on several local heavyweights - Mike Gent (The Figgs, Death Vessel), Pete Caldes (Juliana Hatfield, Mike Viola) – Janovitz may draw comparisons to the Beatles or even the Flaming Lips, but this veteran Boston muscian has put together a free-flowing 10-track record which harvests many influences over varied genres.
Opening track “The Record's Over” is a quirky modern-day Beatles song with Janovitz’ floating airy lyrics. “Not So Loud” is an electro-driven song until out of the blue Janovitz adds a horn section at the end and surprisingly it works. Janovitz turns balladiere on the soft rocker “Talking To Yourself “ and fleshes it all out on the guitar infused track “Sober and Un-upsetting” and we are just four tracks into Crashing the Party.
Normally you won’t find this much musical texture in an entire record, let along the first 15 minutes of an alabum. Despite its randomness of musical styles, Crashng the Party soars to the highest of high highs and falls back down to a smooth balance. Janovitz has done an outstanding job making a record that is not only fun on the first listen, but for many more listens to come. Look out kids, the Russians are coming and it could be the sleeper hit of the year.
LP Review - Powerpopaholic
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A few doors down from fellow Bostonian Oranjuly is a five-piece alt rock band called The Russians. L...A few doors down from fellow Bostonian Oranjuly is a five-piece alt rock band called The Russians. Lead by frontman Scott Janovitz (former Gram Parker sideman), the band is a neo-psychedelic delight. The ironically named "The Record's Over" sounds like a Beatles meets Flaming Lips hybrid, it's a brilliant standout track. Each strum and slow beat strings together random thoughts like "Weren't we listening to The Beach Boys and dreaming?"
The songs float along a dreamscape that draws the listener in right away like the laid back "Taking To Yourself" with catchy hooks that draw comparisons to Ken Stringfellow. The subtle groove on "Sober and Un-Upsetting" leads to a wonderful horn filled break and multi-track chorus. It shifts in tone from slow ballad pop to alt. country, synth-pop all have flavors from his previous experiences with Parker, The Figgs and others. It gets a bit meandering at times, but ultimately satisfying with strong melodic tracks like the acoustic "Measure Out Our Space" and Big Star influenced "Make It Easy." The album ends with the slow anthemic "Lovesickholiday," a hidden gem with it's sweet harmonies and not one single filler here. A highly recommended headphones album if there ever was one.
The Russians Are Coming To Sonicbids Spotlight
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The Russians Are Coming To Sonicbids Spotlight May 30, 2008 Story by: Liz Pelly This week's CMJ...The Russians Are Coming To Sonicbids Spotlight
May 30, 2008
Story by: Liz Pelly
This week's CMJ/SonicBids Spotlight Artist is the Russians, a five-piece alternative rock band from Boston. With songs that have been rightfully described as updated takes on the Beatles sound, or a simplification of the Flaming Lips' intricacies, the Russians have self-released two EPs, and hope to tour later in the year after the release of their debut LP.
On the band's most recent EP, many of the songs are ones that frontman Scott Janovitz has been working on since as early as 2002 in his studio in Cambridge. Eventually, he started playing the songs live with some musician friends from around Boston, and the Russians were born.
Janovitz says that his other projects have influenced the Russians' simple, stream-of-conscious songs: a collaborative band called the Great Bandini, which is more "guitar-rockin" than the Russians; The Figgs, where he plays keyboard; and Graham Parker's the Latest Clowns, with whom he has toured and recorded.
"I think there can't help but be some osmosis between the different projects I do, but I really try and keep them unique from each other," says Janovitz.
"I love Boston," he says, confirming he has played his best shows in his hometown, despite having toured all over the country and overseas. "I feel like it's all circumstantial though. I could go back to one of these places and maybe have a terrible time. But if there are twenty people there who really give a damn, it's going to be good."
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The Russians' founder Scott Janovitz is a veteran of the Boston music scene and recently lent his ta...The Russians' founder Scott Janovitz is a veteran of the Boston music scene and recently lent his talents to Graham Parker as one of the Latest Clowns, so the well-crafted pop of their second EP should come as no surprise. They aren't shy about their love of the Beatles (even segueing each song into the next a la side two of Abbey Road), but they draw on a range from vaudeville and baroque pop to power pop to ambient. The best part is that they find their own voice in their hooks. They might draw a lot from some great bands, but in the end, it's their signature catchiness that makes this EP a great listen.
Set is 45-60 minutes long and features mainly original material, with a steady stream of unique, spaced-out covers of pop favorites.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.