Baby Strange
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Baby Strange

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Apr
29
Baby Strange @ Jarrods

Attleboro, Massachusetts, USA

Attleboro, Massachusetts, USA

Apr
21
Baby Strange @ Kitty O'Shea's

Beverly, Massachusetts, USA

Beverly, Massachusetts, USA

Apr
07
Baby Strange @ Jarrods

Attleboro, Massachusetts, USA

Attleboro, Massachusetts, USA

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Bands To Watch in 2003
Boston Globe
January 16, 2003
BABY STRANGE | 'We try to be all about energy'
At a recent show in Rhode Island, Eric Deneen, Baby Strange's serpentine singer, ended his band's set by writhing on and rolling off a pool table (just another night at the office). The crowd loved it - even the burly bouncer-type dude who had been giving the band the evil eye all night. Apparently, Deneen's climactic free-fall to the floor as the guitars, bass, and drums crashed around him in a blistering crescendo struck a chord.

"We try to be all about energy and people feel that," says Deneen, who's prone to giving himself over to the heat of the moment. "Even if people don't like us personally, they'll hear where we're coming from and it's usually music they can relate to. That's our whole thing - heartbreak you can dance to."

There's plenty of the former on Baby Strange's latest release, a five-song EP called "The Make-Out Sessions," that may incite you to do the latter. The band hustled into the studio to record the EP after "Action," a disc it initially made as a demo to land it gigs, got a glowing response.

Baby Strange is named after a song by '70s glitter-rock icons T. Rex, so that should give you some idea of where it's coming from. Though the players don't wear gold lame suits, eye makeup, or sing about banging a gong and getting it on (well OK, the last is a thematic preoccupation), Baby Strange takes its stylistic cues from both the glam-dusted age of British pop and full-throttle mid-'60s American rock. Add to that the epic sweep and romantic grandeur of '80s UK groups like Echo and the Bunnymen and the Smiths.

Deneen says the comparisons accorded Baby Strange, which also features guitarist Kris Ehrig, drummer Ryan Ennis, bassist Jason Horvath, and lead guitarist Hugh Wyman, can be both a blessing and a curse.

"That's how people write you off - that what you're doing isn't unique because you remind them of something else," Deneen says. "It's frustrating, because you have to [provide] some sort of familiarity for people. Nine times out of 10, if a new song's on the radio - even if it's really good - if they haven't heard it before, people are going to turn [the dial] until they get to that Rod Stewart song they know all the words to."

If the band gets its way, those same folks may sometime soon find themselves humming the words to a Baby Strange tune. A few labels outside of Boston have expressed interest, Deneen says, but so far the group is content to continue writing, performing, and turning as many heads in the audience as possible. Even if that means bouncing off every pool table in New England. One thing's for certain: You won't feel cheated after catching a Baby Strange show. "Oh yeah, we like to play," Deneen says of the adrenalin rush on stage. "If I didn't have these guys to play with, life would not be as much fun."
- The Boston Globe


MUSIC SCENE: Strange, but rockin’ ‘Makeout Session’
Issue Date: September 27, 2002
By JAY MILLER: The Patriot Ledger

If you like The Strokes, The Vines , The Hives and Coldplay, check out Boston’s own Baby Strange. This past year has seen critical hosannas for these bands - and the big comeback album from Oasis - which all share a kind of Beatlesque, melodic pop-with-punky overtones.
Baby Strange is touring to celebrate the release of their second CD, the 5-song EP ‘‘The Makeout Sessions.’’ They perform at Bill’s Bar in Boston tonight, and at Tis Was in New York City on Saturday. Last night the quintet played The Call in Providence. It’s in the ear of the beholder, of course, but Baby Strange plays multi-layered melodic rock with plenty of punk insouciance and infectious hooks.
If some rock fans immediately think of The Strokes and The Vines when they hear the new Baby Strange CD, others will hear echoes of Oasis. One reviewer has likened them to T-Rex, and classed them as glam rock.
‘‘When we started out our goal was to be a Rolling Stones-y type of band, with a little U2 influence, as well as The Verve and David Bowie,’’ said guitarist Kristoffer Ehrig. ‘‘Glam rock like Pulp and the London Suede were not necessarily our main influences. I think it all goes back to 1960’s rock, and it’s hard not to sound British when you sound like that era.’’

Baby Strange got together when Ehrig and a high school friend and bandmate from Connecticut, bassist Jason Horvath, met lead guitarist Hugh Wyman, a Texas native, while attending Northeastern University. Drummer Ryan Ennis of Hanover also joined at Northeastern.
Several vocalists came and went. Then they auditioned South Boston’s Eric Deneen.
‘‘When Eric walked in, before he’d sung a note, we knew he looked the part of the kind of frontman we needed,’’ Ehrig recalled. ‘‘He looks like he’s done nothing but listen to The Stooges and The Stones, barely eats enough to live, and needs to play rock and roll to survive. I know what I like, whether it’s Mick Jagger, Jim Morrison, Bono, or Iggy Pop, and Eric seems to have the best of all of them.
‘‘He was also very assertive and focused about what he wanted to do musically, and that was also very attractive to us. He’s taken on a major role in determining the course of our music.’’ Deneen writes all the lyrics, and usually the basic song structures. The whole band collaborates on bringing the songs to life.
‘‘Eric is the type of musician who only wants to sing his own lyrics,’’ Ehrig noted, ‘‘and he’s adamant about that. Anything else feels fake to him.’’
Baby Strange - the name comes from a T-Rex tune - soon got a foothold in the Boston club scene, and have been performing regularly for two years.- The new disc has some compelling music to demonstrate Baby Strange’s success at emulating their idols. The chiming guitar textures and otherworldy aura of ‘‘Why Didn’t You Fall?’’ evokes the best of Oasis. The harder-driving ‘‘Hotel Motel’’ would stand as a good example of Stones-and-Kinks influenced rock, while ‘‘If I Didn’t Know Better’’ neatly combines tastes of U2 and more recent punk-poppers like The Vines.
‘‘Shred played us on WBCN,’’ said Ehrig. ‘‘We’d just banged out eight songs in two days, hoping to get some better gigs. The response was surprising, to say the least. We only made 1,000 copies, and those sold out pretty fast.’’ The CD is now out of print.
While many praised the raw sound of ‘‘Action,’’ the band felt it was too primitive and rushed. ‘‘We wanted to take some time in the studio, do some first-rate production, and have something we could push to major labels,’’ Ehrig admitted.
‘‘That’s why we ended up with what we saw as our five best songs, rather than padding it out to album length with a lot of filler. We’re writing all the time, however, and we have three new songs already. I wouldn’t be surprised if we had more music out within the year.’’
That longing for a major label deal is legitimate. While many bands today find the indie label route, or producing and selling their own CDs, to be an easier path, Baby Strange aims for the big time.
‘‘Obviously we have nothing against indie labels, and in fact Matador and Rough Trade are two of our dream labels,’’ Ehrig pointed out. ‘‘We’re not picky in that sense. But we want our music heard by as many people as possible.’’
It’s been a rapid rise for Baby Strange, with the quintet opening for The Vines’ first Boston shows earlier this year, as well as for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and the Mooney Suzuki.
‘‘I’m extremely encouraged,’’ Ehrig said. ‘‘To see the Vines album take off like it has, and now Mooney Suzuki has a Nike ad on TV, even Coldplay - a softer, poppier band than us - sold 150,000 of their new CDs in the first week. This kind of rock is hot, and we’ve gotten great responses almost everywhere we played. Maybe someday soon it can be us selling records like that.’’
- The Patriot Ledger


STUFF @ NIGHT
Electric warriors
Baby Strange get it on
BY JONATHAN PERRY

THEY’RE NAMED AFTER a T. Rex song, so even if they weren’t as splendid as they are, Baby Strange would still be, at the very least, a band with good taste. Lucky for them, and us, they’ve got far more than that going for them, even if people are just now beginning to notice. Let’s start with lead singer Eric Deneen, a lanky, jittery, constantly imploding presence on stage who looks and sounds as if he subsists on a strict diet of nothing but primo British pop mixed with a side of American rock circa 1966. Hard to believe he was the last guy to join the Boston-based band.

" We really couldn’t have hoped for a better singer, " says guitarist Kristoffer Ehrig, whose outfit opens for the Mooney Suzuki March 22 at T.T. the Bear’s. " He had the best voice and the best stage presence of anyone I’ve ever played with. It’s easy to say, ‘Gee, it would be great if Mick Jagger and Iggy Pop, together, were our singer.’ And now they are. "

But what’s a frontman without the right band to back up all that attitude with guitars, bass, and drums? When they’re in full sonic flight, Baby Strange can sound like a thunderstorm or a volcano, flashing black and red, crashing one moment and blazing the next.

It’s fairly amazing to consider that Action, the group’s eight-song self-released debut, was recorded in two days flat at Somerville’s Q Division Studios with minimum cash and maximum flash. The band members themselves were surprised with the outcome — and the reception it’s received.

" The thing about this album is, we went in to make a demo and we were pretty happy with the result, " says Deneen (Baby Strange also includes drummer Ryan Ennis, bass guitarist Jason Horvath, and lead guitarist Hugh Wyman). " And then [DJ and Sky Bar booking agent] Shred played a couple of songs on the radio. So we packaged it as our first release, but that wasn’t our original intention. The first time I heard it, I was just cringing about little things that we didn’t have time to fix. But I see now what other people see. " Ehrig says the band wanted to record a " calling card " to give to clubs who might book them. " We had been playing a lot of shows, and the universal consensus was that it was starting to work, " he says. " So we said, ‘Let’s just get the feel of our live show down.’ "

" We always thought of it as either a really good demo or a pretty crappy record, " adds Ennis with a grin. The group continue to be astonished when visitors to their Web site (www.babystrange.com) who have bought the disc compliment them on the " great production " of Action — even though the musicians insist that not only wasn’t there time for " great production, " there weren’t actually any producers on hand except for the band members themselves. Perhaps some of those fans are confusing production with atmosphere and attitude. That the disc has plenty of.

The first track, " Getting It On, " is an obvious nod to their namesake ( " We were hoping that no one thought we were a T. Rex cover band, " says Deneen), but it also channels the hip-shaking sex-swagger of hormonally hopped-up outfits like the Dandy Warhols, the Jesus and Mary Chain, and the London Suede. The tune — a glittering, electrified slab of carnal rock candy — is bracing and immediate. It sounds like nothing less than a manifesto of sex and style. " We never really had a talk about what the sound of the band was going to be, " says Deneen. " When I write something, I’ll just throw it to these guys — throw it to the wolves — and they’ll come up with something that’s not at all what I had in mind. And it’s always better. "

In fact, Baby Strange say they’ve been writing reams of new material and are jonesing to record a full-length follow-up to Action. " I think we’ve evolved a lot in the last year, " says Jason Horvath. " Our songs have gotten better — and not that we didn’t have our own sound, but I think we really have Baby Strange’s sound now. " The band points to a high-profile — and, in hindsight, pivotal — gig last August opening for the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at T.T. the Bear’s. It was a performance, they say, where everything coalesced on stage — and everyone in the audience knew it. " It was a big step for us, " says Horvath. The band are currently working on a new single that they hope may attract attention outside of Boston. A record deal with Sony or Columbia Records, they say with frank optimism, would be nice. Who knows? With real, honest-to-goodness rock and roll bands like the Strokes and the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (not to mention U2) signed to major labels and doing well, the timing just might be right for another rock band with good looks and strong hooks. " I don’t buy into the whole indie-rock ethic, to be honest with you, " Deneen says. " I have to compare it to the great painting that’s in the coatroom. We’re not going to be satisfied with that. The goal - Stuff @ Night [Boston Phoenix]


Huskies breed a 'strange' beat
By Bobby Hankinson
Published: Wednesday, June 9, 2004

Nearly two years after the release of their EP, "The Make Out Sessions," Boston-based rock quintet Baby Strange is back with a full length follow-up that is sure to leave listeners blown away. The band continues to deliver rock n' roll so hot it threatens to melt headphones.

Comprised of Ryan Ennis (drums), Jason Horvath (bass), Hugh Wyman (lead guitar), Kristoffer Ehrig (guitar, vocals) and Eric Deneen (vocals), Baby Strange formed in 1999. Horvath had previously played with Ehrig and met Wyman at Northeastern University their freshman year. They completed their lineup by posting flyers looking for other musicians. They got their name from a song by T-Rex, another group the members of the band were fans of.

"Picking names is impossible; you go through a million of them and we were just like, 'Baby Strange, that sounds cool,'" Horvath said.

Baby Strange's latest recording, "Put Out," maintains, as Horvath described, the band's "sweet and sour" flavor -- combining up-tempo music with somber lyrics. This album is the band's first on Primary Voltage Records, as well as their first time working with former drummer for Letters to Cleo and producer Tom Polce.

"This was a very different experience," Horvath said. "What we did was two months of pre-production before we even recorded. Tom came to our practice space two or three days a week and we just went through every little piece of every song, so we were super tight. We did it over a four-day span and pretty much recorded it live."

That live energy runs rampant throughout the album from the opening beat of the title track, "Put Out." The song brandishes a guitar riff that sounds similar to the solo-esque style of Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney sandwiched between a danceable rhythm and Deneen's raspy yell.

The band switches gears for the next track, "Jukebox Queen," a slower, bluesy rock ballad harkening back to the classic rock sounds of the Rolling Stones or Aerosmith. Reminiscent of a long drive, this song has the potential to become a sing-a-long classic along the same lines as Elton John's "Tiny Dancer."

Baby Strange keeps it raw and intense through "Your Favorite Song" and "Everybody Wants You" before the slightly poppier "Broken Heart Mechanic." However, the album's stand-out track, "Hot Damn" shoots out from the middle of the album and forces listeners to tap their feet and bob their heads. This homage to Las Vegas is three minutes and 38 seconds of pure rock, ending with Deneen screaming "I had pocket Aces," a line that is sure to stick in anyone's head long after the album is through.

The next track, "Ghost," could easily be heard on any radio station between artists like Jet and The Strokes. It's straightforward combination of rock and pop makes it very listenable and gives it widespread appeal. It's the perfect song to be followed by "Suicide Girl," whose name alone is an indication of how heavy the track is.

"Suicide Girl" is dark and brooding, but the fast backing further encapsulates the sweet and sour taste Horvath described.

"Cynthia" reverts back to the band's slower, ballad style. While more angsty than "Jukebox Queen," this song still carries the same element of '70s rock. However, the album ends with the same ferocity as it started with in "Nobody Knows You" and "Everywhere I Go."

With the release of "Put Out" and their move onto Primary Voltage Records, Baby Strange is mounting to take on the Boston scene and beyond.

"The whole goal is to get out to more people," Horvath said. "It's been four and half years. Every year -- bigger steps, bigger crowds, better records."

Up next for Baby Strange is the "Put Out" release party with Aaron Perrino, The Information, the Model Sons and a special surprise guest on July 16 at the Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge.
- Northeastern News


Northeast Performer
Baby Strange - The Make-Out
Sessions
Recorded at Q Division
Studios Produced by Brian
Brown and Baby Strange
Reviewer -Peter Hanlon
T.Rex was a sleazy rock band who sa songs about banging
gongs to get it on and that they "want to call you/ I want to
ball you/ Oooh all night long." Baby Strange, named after
the T.Rex tune with that second line, seems like five nice
guys that want to add some of that same sleaze to their
sound. With a whole lot of ambition and an inside-out
knowledge of how to create accessible rock'n'roll hooks,
Baby Strange looks to be hell-bent on large-scale success.
Their self released EP The Make-Out Sessions is a solid
combination of British sneer and NYC strumming mixed in
five different batches in search of the perfect formula.
Opener "If I Didn't Know Better" is all Brit-pop with a comedown
break used to great effect a couple of times before
the chorus kicks in. "Why Didn't You Fall" has some nice
chiming guitar and slinking bass to accompany the lyrical
melancholy, but "Hotel Motel" is the highlight with a
relentless tom drum propelling the band as they tear it up
in their most unrestrained moment on the EP. The rawk is
followed by "It's On" which sounds like a dark Travis or
Coldplay tune, and "Ups and Downs" finishes up with the
patented Cobainian chorus pedal guitar sound and
dynamic shifts. Baby Strange are a rock band that's easy to
like; their songs are catchy, the lead singer's got good
pipes and just enough attitude, and the band has the latest
quasi-garage sound down cold. It's a little troublesome
when a good young band starts talking about record sales
and their dislike of the indie-rock ethic in various printed
interviews just a demo and an EP into their career. The
Make-Out Sessions is a strong debut (their full-length
demo got some decent attention) with enough hooks to
invoke the Gallagher brothers' envy, but it wouldn't hurt to
take a minute and reread "The Problem With Music" by
Steve Albini and enjoy their own ride; they've got the talent to
take care of themselves for a while longer.
- Northeast Performer Magazine


Recorded at Q Division
Studios Produced by Brian
Brown and Baby Strange
Reviewer -Bill Ribas
Review of "The Make-Out
Sessions"
March 2003

This may sound strange, but I was hooked and loving this band by
the first eight bars. "If I Didn't Know" begins as a kind of amalgam
of early Stones and Velvet Underground, with loose guitar
chording, as Eric Deneen's Brit snarl takes the helm. By the
chorus, you get a feel for the old glam-rock days, which isn't too
much of a surprise, as the band's name can be found in a T. Rex
number. With the second cut, "Why Didn't You Fall," you get a
sense that U2 may be an influence of sorts, as the guitar work
chimes, the bass pounds, and the vocals stack up. By the third
song, "Hotel Motel," the band draws on the Stooges as mentors,
with a raucous, out-of-control sound. But do I still like them? You
know, even with the identity crisis, I'll put money on these guys,
sure, because odds are, should they find their own sound, they
can take it to the bank.
- NYRock.com E-Zine


What’s Up
Dec/Jan Issue
Recorded at Q Division
Studios Produced by Brian
Brown and Baby Strange
Reviewer -Kier Byrnes
Review of "The Make-Out
Sessions"
Baby Strange - The Make-Out
Sessions
Today I was in a Doctor's office Waiting room reading an
article in The New Yorker. It was about this whole new rock
and roll movement, focusing on bands like The Vines,
White Stripes and The Strokes. About three hours later, I
am listening to Baby Strange and wondering why these
guys had been left out of the article. Baby Strange has the
grit of early Brit rock like The Stones or The Kinks, with the
attitude of the 70's New York punk scene. My favorite is the
hook-laden "Hotel Motel". It's as fast as it is furious, as it is
fun. I went to their web site to get some more info on these
guys and checked out their pictures. If this Deneen
character doesn't have the makings of a modern day rock
star, I don't know who does. I'm sure we'll hear more of
these guys.
- What's Up Magazine


Our Rating: 7/10 stars by: Tim Peacock

BABY STRANGE are a quintet from one of Rock's finest Eastern US Seaboard strongholds, Boston, Mass. According to their website they've been plying their trade for the past four years or so and workng steadily on building the all-important fanbase. There has been a previous release, but the new "Make Out Sessions" is your reviewer's first taste of their elixir.

And, for a band based in the city that's previously given us alarmingly original talent like Pixies and Throwing Muses, there's a strangely Anglophile slant to Baby Strange's sound, which surprises more when you consider these five songs were hothoused by Bill Janovitz producer Brian Brown.

It's not necessarily a bad thing, though. Sure, brash opening tune "If I Didn't Know Better" has more than a measure of Oasis-style swagger, and singer Eric Deneen giving it plenty of loose-lipped Jagger attitude, but there's always room for anthemic tunes such as this, and with chilling lyrics like "I'd put a slash on each damn wrist," the track takes on a predatory, lustful hue and is all the better for it.

Things get more interesting as you proceed, too. "Why Didn't You Fall?" is another song with a big chorus, The Edge-style guitar harmonics from Kristoffer Ehrig and Hugh Wyman and a yearning feel and the frantic pounding, Strokes-y crunch and mad-eyed vocals on "Hotel Motel" suggests Baby Strange will have little problem fitting in at present.

Meawhile, if you were worried about "It's On" being a cover of the song with the same title by long-forgotten baggy Londoners Flowered Up, then panic ye not, because this "It's On" is a slow(ish) regretful thing, with cavernous guitar splurges from Wyman and a tangibly defiant attitude. "I knew I should justa told you to fuck off, but that's easier said than done" spits Deneen before the band slide into the diseased chorus. Pretty good, all told.

For me, though, final track "Ups And Downs" is probably the best thing here. Emotionally scarred and convincingly steeped in atmosphere, it throws guitar shapes initially more in keeping with early New Order than anything from the Britpop era, and even when it brings in the chorus it sounds nicely different. I've no idea if they've more where this comes from, but I sincerely hope they have. It's affecting stuff and no mistake.

I'm not entirely convinced by some of these songs that Baby Strange have yet conjured a persona entirely their own, as some of the references on "The Make Up Sessions" are too obviously drawn from easily recognisable sources such as Oasis and The Stones. Nonetheless, these are still confident, cocksure tunes and at least on the basis of the last two tracks here, they are developing into something interesting which may well deserve further perusal a year or so further down the line.
- Whisperin' and Hollerin' Magazine


Discography

* Action [EP, 1999, Self-Released]

* The Make-Out Sessions [EP, 2002, Self-Released]

* Your New Favorite CD [Compilation, 2003, Primary Voltage Records]

* Tomorrow Never Happened [Compilation, 2004, Man with a Gun Records]

* Put Out [LP, 2004, Primary Voltage Records]

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Baby Strange shows America a new definition of cool in their latest LP, Put Out. Setting themselves apart from the recent crop of next-next-next-Strokes understudies, Baby Strange seizes upon the sounds of Motown and 1960's British arena-rock, creating a niche enigmatically described by Earlash as, "Terse, trashy, ornate and refined."

Baby Strange's brash new sound is the silver lining from a medical emergency which once threatened to silence lead singer Eric Deneen. Sidelined from their usual twenty-gigs-a-month schedule while Deneen recovered from surgery, the band discovered old Motown LP's. Once described solely with analogies to The Rolling Stones, The Who, and Oasis -- Baby Strange emerged revitalized with a new blueprint for their sound. Pairing their gritty guitar rock with seductive soul rhythms, and tailoring a new look as the bloodshot redux of early-60's vocal groups, Baby Strange emerged stronger-than-ever from their brush with disaster.

Put Out is Baby Strange's debut LP -- following on the success of 1999's Action EP and 2002's The Make-Out Sessions EP. As finalists in 2003's WBCN Rock and Roll Rumble, Baby Strange earned broad recognition in their hometown of Boston.