When an emerging independent rock band is called Skeletons in the Piano, launches their career with an album titled Certain Slow Murder (2008) and blows everyone away with their first official label collection (on Magnetic Eye Records) Please Don’t Die, their obsession with expiration might give off the impression they’re a heavy metal band. Proponents of the psychedelic grunge movement, the band’s unique “dirty haunted rock” sound is influenced by old world music, blues and rock. Scorching the stage and studio alike with a vibe somewhere between Black Sabbath and The Doors, but with fully modern sensibilities, they bring howling vocals, blistering riffs, complex rhythms, dance and art to every show, creating a mood and casting a spell.
They are perhaps the only rock band in the world whose music was compared in a major online review (BucketFullofNails Blog) to “a modern distillation of composer Richard Wagner’s self-termed music dramas…fusing musical, poetic and dramatic elements into a sound both original and classical in nature…lending itself to the theatre of the mind.” Skope Magazine had this to add, “Skeletons in the Piano is unapologetically awesome and I appreciate their commitment to originality and their sound. Musically diverse as they come.....this one will have people talking.”
Spurred on by their dedicated fanbase to create captivating multi-media stage performances--including grainy silent movies and live art created by local artists and raffled off at shows-- Skeletons has filled The Putnam Den to capacity multiple times in their home base of Saratoga Springs, NY, in addition to expanding their scope with gigs at The Big Easy in Portland, ME, The Knitting Factory in NYC, Café Da Vinci Bar in Deland, FL, and opening slots for national artists like Phantogram, Dax Riggs, The Sword, Fishbone, The Black Angels, Paleface, Black Taxi, Primer 55, The Wombats, Vic Ruggerio, The Goddamn Gallows, and Paranoid Social Club.
Eli Hargrave - Electric Guitar & Vocals
Eric Donovan - Drums
Dustin Alexander - Bass guitar and backing vocals
Jeff Ayers - Electric Violin and Keyboards
Brad Thibideau - Banjo, Electric Guitar
Katara Peterson - Cosmic Dancer/Percusion
Certain Slow Murder - LP 2007
Keys - EP 2008
Stranger on a Damned Staircase - LP 2010
Long Pig - EP 2011
Please Don't Die - 2013
1. THE PRICE PUT ON YOU
2. MEMORY LANE NEEDS A GARBAGE MAN
3. DISPOSABLE TELEVISIONS, DISPOSABLE GUNS
4. DIGGING UNDERNEATH THE HOUSE
5. LONG PIG
6. THE BLOOD BEYOND
7. LOOSE KITES IN HARBOR
8. OH, ROSE
Skeletons in the Piano, Please Don't Die Album review
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Music industry fact: The farther removed you go from inherent musical expectations; the more people ...Music industry fact: The farther removed you go from inherent musical expectations; the more people start talking. That should usher in a bevy of conversation surrounding Skeletons In The Piano and their commitment to their eclectic approach to their sound. Eerie and psychedelic-tinged, their moniker of “haunted hard rockers” is apt as evidenced on their latest release, Please Don’t Die. The eight-track album highlights the band’s myriad influences ranging from Old World sentiment to Blues and Rock. The musical journey that ensues is edgy, dark and damn exciting.
“The Blood Beyond” opens the album and plods along through the initial verse work with slight bent-note Blues guitar and Eli Hargrave channeling Morrison. But as the intermittent horn blasts and backing instrumentation carries the track, you get the feeling it’s building toward something. That something occurs with a full aural assault, as the track becomes a heavy agro track in both the static-y electric and Hargrave eschewing Morrison melody for Lane Staley-esque screams. “Disposable Televisions, Disposable Guns” again opens to solo Blues guitar notes and slight backing percussion. Unplugged plucks and electric wail join the cacophony before rasp vocals take the track helm. The dark air appears on this one continuing the eerie ethos of the album. The heaviness again joins as the demeanor of the track changes from down tempo to rocker. “Loose Kites in Harbor” features a bouncing opening bass line and intricate drum fill work and assumes the role of up tempo from the get go as the vocal wail and agro guitar join the fold through the time change before the guitar explosion solo at the midpoint. “Memory Lane Needs A Garbage Man” opens to chug guitar, Wurlitzer style organ and tin can vocal delivery. This one also blasts out of the gate and reveals the clever lyrical matter to match the equally inventive title selection. Hargrave again channels Staley near effortlessly, considering the unique voice and range that was the late Alice In Chains singer. More electric ushers this one through to the track finality.
Admission: This review is completely biased in that I really think this is a breath of fresh air. Is that strange to say in regards to the dark ethos of the album? Maybe. But Skeletons In The Piano is unapologetically awesome and I appreciate their commitment to originality and their sound. The musicality is tight but all over the place and each track is a surprise in that you can never exactly pin down where any given track is going to take you. Musically diverse as they come… this one will have people talking.
Skeletons in the Piano Come Alive on Please Don't Die - BEST NEW RELEASE
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Skeletons in the Piano Please Don’t Die Magnetic Eye Records, 2013 It’s not like it’d be hard to ...Skeletons in the Piano
Please Don’t Die
Magnetic Eye Records, 2013
It’s not like it’d be hard to imagine, but let’s say Tim Burton decided to set a film in a creaky 1930's traveling carnival, and Johnny Depp (naturally) would be be the lead. Probably the big top barker with an opium addiction and a fondness for betting money he doesn’t have on baseball.
Well Skeletons in the Piano sound a lot like what the band backing the trapeze acts and lion tamer in this film would sound like. Hypnotic and hellish, smooth and overblown; antiquated and modern all at once, the songs lurch back forth from a demented cabaret to full bore rockers. Shifting in rhythm and feel, nothing ends where it starts, and everything is it’s own dramatic passion play.
“Loose Kites n the Harbor” at times feels like it could have come from the Dropkick Murphy’s, but not really. There’s just precious little else to compare Skeletons in the Piano to. There’s some nice call and response between the guitars and violin at the end.
“Disposable Televisions, Disposable Guns” starts off moody and picks up the pace into a more aggressive animal. “The Price Put on You,” and “The Blood Beyond,” are solid stand out tracks. They begin modestly rusticated before evolving into more electrified stomps.
“Oh, Rose”is a great example of crossing styllistic lines. The violins melodies sound as though from a mournful Irish reel, but the rhythm is solid slabs of metal.
“Memory Lane Needs a Garbage Man” is about as close as the band comes to a straight ahead rock song. And it’s a fun left turn. Elijah Hargrave sounds like Ian Gillian singing a Paul Revere and the Raiders number. Jeff Ayers organ and Eric Donavans snare fills carry the song.
At times , with the more involved songs, it feels as though Iron Maiden has taken on members from Riverdance and there’s a great deal of free form jamming taking place. All of it is grandiose in its scope and delivery. Skeltons in the Piano demands a great deal from those listening and even more from the musicians performing.
Album Review: Please Don't Die
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Perhaps the most apt description I can give Please Don’t Die is it’s a modern distillation of compos...Perhaps the most apt description I can give Please Don’t Die is it’s a modern distillation of composer Richard Wagner’s self-termed “music dramas.” Fusing musical, poetic and dramatic elements into a sound both original and classical in nature, Skeletons in the Piano may belong to a genre all their own. Please Don’t Die certainly lends itself to the theater of the mind. Like Wagner’s operas, Please Don’t Die should be staged as well as heard.
Please Don't Die Album Review
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[With their new albumPlease Don’t Die] they have shredded all the rule books of what Rock and Roll i...[With their new albumPlease Don’t Die] they have shredded all the rule books of what Rock and Roll is supposed to be. Like mad scientists they have gathered parts from many genres and created a colossal monster of a sound unlike anything you’ve heard before that will cast its spell on you.
Such a Warm Welcome Back to Skeletons in the Piano
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Skeletons sounds like Lyle Lovett thrown down an abandoned well. It’s like Nick Cave if you lured h...Skeletons sounds like Lyle Lovett thrown down an abandoned well. It’s like Nick Cave if you lured him into the sunshine. It’s a little bit Jeff Buckley, and I’d never say that lightly. Elijah Hargrave’s vocal delivery and acute, keening, totally controlled waver toward the ends of his phrases calls the legend to mind, and so does the the guitars’ presentation. It’s a little bit The Killers. Ok, maybe imagine Jeff’s there, wailing on voice and guitar, in an almost rag-time acid jazz saloon band with half The Killers and some of The Violent Femmes after they sat around listening to Orgy for a couple of days. I’m still not doing this justice. Press play on this band immediately and please share the joy with your friends!
2011 Readers Poll
#1 Best Local Capital Region Rock Band Metroland Reader's Poll 2011
Editor's Best of the Capital Region 2011
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Best Alt-Rock Band Every performance by Saratoga’s Skeletons in the Piano—who’ve gigged steadily ...Best Alt-Rock Band
Every performance by Saratoga’s Skeletons in the Piano—who’ve gigged steadily around the region the past year—is more of a happening than just a show, livened up by shimmering onstage belly dancers, grainy silent movie projections and artwork being created in real time. That spirit of vibrant creativity, penchant for ’90s alt, and a swirling blend of dark hippie-hardcore rock, is what sets the Skeletons apart from the rest of the brooding-indie-rock pack.
Review of Stranger on a Damned Staircase by Skeletons in the Piano
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Vocally, Elijah Hargrave was everything I expected. His voice was amazing. He captured the deep thro...Vocally, Elijah Hargrave was everything I expected. His voice was amazing. He captured the deep throaty sound of the late Jim Morrison along with the incredible range and style of Ian Gillian.
Skeletons in the Piano Album Release
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“Stranger on a Damned Staircase” by Skeletons in the Piano There’s the old “thinking man’s metal” c...“Stranger on a Damned Staircase” by Skeletons in the Piano There’s the old “thinking man’s metal” cliche, and then there’s this Saratoga Springs four-piece’s twisted vision of a second album. The songs go from fist-pumping hard rock one minute, spaced-out keyboard, violin and guitar soundscapes the next, all framed by frontman Elijah Hargrave’s massive vocal presence.
Editors Best Of Capital Region 2010
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Best Throwback to 1992-Skeletons in the Piano For a few years in the early-’90s, as Nevermind was b...Best Throwback to 1992-Skeletons in the Piano
For a few years in the early-’90s, as Nevermind was breaking grunge to mainstream audiences, it seemed like every type of music that had been popular up until that point crashed into each other. Bands like Alice in Chains and Faith No More brought ’70s doom and ’80s thrash together with pop and psychedelic sensibilities to help birth the term “alternative rock.” Saratoga’s Skeletons in the Piano sound like a product of that time, recalling those bands but also the Melvins and the Doors. Heavy, weird, and way cool.
Memory Lane Needs a Grabage Man
Disposable Televisions, Disposable Guns
The Price Put on You
The Old Hound Dog
Lap of Light
We Are Even
Aiding the Cyclops
I’m Sleeping Still
Leave it Bleeding
Road Sign Song
Loose Kites in Harbor
Digging Underneath the House
The Blood Beyond
There's a Catcher's Mitt where your Head should Be
Eleanor Rigby – The Beatles
You Got It – Roy Orbison