The Vowels began in 2002, shortly after Damion Jurrens (guitar, vocals) and Scott McDowell (bass) dissolved the McDowells, a twangy NYC outfit whose drummer mysteriously disappeared after a gig in May of that year. By chance, they met up with Sean Greenhalgh (drums) at a bowling alley in Queens later that summer. The three hit it off from that first whiff of lane lube, and began writing dozens of songs about Damion’s desire to kill his neighbors.
Those early songs were collected on In Cahoots with the Vowels, a skittish debut from the somewhat unstable trio. After playing shows to crowds of confused hipsters around NYC, they recruited Tyler Sargent (guitar) to help add something extra to the mix. His incredibly loud amplifier caused tension with his band members, whose puny equipment was quickly rendered powerless. After a show at the Velvet Lounge in DC that featured a bombastic on-stage knife fight, Scott disappeared into the city. He is presumed dead, or maybe just living somewhere in New Jersey.
The group forged ahead, promptly throwing away its entire back catalog of 30+ songs. They began jamming every week, but quickly realized that jamming is for hippies, and focused instead on writing actual songs. A shared love of loud music and junk food solidified their sound, and a new band was born. Too lazy to find a new bass player, they decided to settle for being a two-guitar trio. Too lazy to change their name, they decided to continue recording as the Vowels.
The Word on the Street is a much more focused affair than its predecessor, featuring 11 songs with more confidence and intensity than could possibly be expected from such a group of sloths. Gone are comparisons to XTC and Devo, replaced by Sister-era Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. circa You’re Living All Over Me. Even with influences rooted solidly in the Reagan era, the Vowels’ new sound is surprisingly fresh and forward-thinking. Never content to rely on established sounds or melodies, they dance to the beat of their own drummer. Literally. Sean’s beats are unique. So there.
Damion - Guitar & Vocals
Tyler - Guitar
Sean - Drums
In Cahoots with the Vowels* (The Sea Isle Recording Company, TSI-009), released 01/04
Tuft EP -- not released due to legal issues
The Word on the Street (TBA)
*Many songs from In Cahoots received airplay on over 100 college radio stations nationwide. We charted on about a dozen stations.
It *is* art
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"Buy this CD for tight musical dynamics and great guitar interplay in line with Television and bands..."Buy this CD for tight musical dynamics and great guitar interplay in line with Television and bands like that. Smart lyrics throughout add icing on the cake.
The Vowels prove Nerd Rock lives… and it can sound an awful lot like art."
We look forward to it, too
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"...there are some worthy tracks on a disc whose theme seems to be relations with friends and neighb..."...there are some worthy tracks on a disc whose theme seems to be relations with friends and neighbors. To wit: "Unseen Priorities," which could easily find itself being played on college radio all over the country, with its plaintive vocals and sturdy hook; and "Deborah Met the King," a fantastic story that includes a mention of Elvis, and a fabulous guitar interlude. With luck, the Vowels will continue to explore their more raucous, experimental side in the future. I look forward to hearing what they come up with."
Where the hell are we?
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"It rocks for the sake of rockin'... If you gave this record a listen and then were asked where you ..."It rocks for the sake of rockin'... If you gave this record a listen and then were asked where you think they came from. Some songs would urge you to guess the seedy side of Nashville. Maybe a midwest, raised-on-country small town. Kids of the 80s Southern California punk scene perhaps. The present New York City rock scene would definitely not be the place you would try to fit these guys in."
We don't hate us, either
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"This NYC band plays straight-forward, guitar-centered rock... If you saw this band in a bar, you wo..."This NYC band plays straight-forward, guitar-centered rock... If you saw this band in a bar, you wouldn't hate them..."
Our typical set list consists of 10-12 songs. For example, our next show includes the following songs:
Not Going Anywhere
Can I See You?
Pants Don’t Fit
Word on the Street
Joan of Arc Island
Talk About Something Else
Ric Flair is a Dead Man
There are no upcoming dates at this time.