Better Pills

Better Pills

 Albany, New York, USA

Stripping pop structure down to its rawest elements, Better Pills create tense minimalist songs that don't sacrifice melody to dissonance or pure volume. Better Pills are the rhythmic drive and alien cool of Gary Numan united with the teen angsty lyricism of the Violent Femmes.


Better Pills came together in the middle of 2011 when Brent Gorton expressed a desire to his friends Andrew Sullivan and Phil Pascuzzo to start a band combining the minimalist sound of early 80s synth pop with the rhythmic jolt of 60s Stax/Volt recordings. The band quickly set to writing new songs, and the resultant album "Blood Chant" was released on the group's own label, Stab! Stab! Records.

The band relies on Andrew Sullivan's keyboard to set the mood for each piece. Even though most musicians would call his keyboard a piece of junk, Andrew manages to wrestle out a great number of expressive tones from it, bolstering the sound with an army of effects pedals to soften its voice to a modulated echo or raise it to a hysterical scream. The relationship of man and machine is akin to an old coot and his clunker pickup; it isn't pretty but it does the job very nicely.

Phil Pascuzzo, graphic designer by day (he did the cover for Pulitzer winner "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, among others), combines the straight ahead beat of Jim Keltner (solo Lennon) with the syncopated jazziness of Hugh Grundy (Zombies).  

The final piece of the puzzle is the aforementioned Brent Gorton on vocal & bass guitar. Brent is the band's lyricist and comes up with the basic blueprint for the songs.  He also oversaw the band's foray into recording. Setting up a small jungle of microphone stands, Brent's meticulous ear crafted a wedge of off-kilter rock; both simple and spare while sounding as full as bands using four times as many tracks. The majority of the recording was done live in order to maintain the spontaneity of sound.

The method of creation may be slapdash, but the final product is not. The emphasis is on melody & rhythm. Better Pills create songs to be remembered, something that sticks in the head and demands to be sung in the car, hands drumming frantically on the steering wheel while fleeing the police; songs that will get you through (depending on your lawyer) that long bid in the slammer or your next Jazzercise class.

Influences: The Cars, Squeeze, Joy Division, Roxy Music



Written By: B. Gorton

Caroline, it's fine if you want to stay the night. I've got a room that's comfortable and I think you'll be all right. I don't know why you scare me so- is it something in your eyes? That makes me feel like you can tell what's going on in my mind. oooo oooo. Your moving lips are telling me a secret I forgot. Your hands wrap around my neck before i can drop. I always said it would come to this if we went on for too long and now it's finally happening, you can't say I was wrong. Watching pictures by satellite. I don't think I can make it through the night.

Pyramid Scheme

Written By: B. Gorton

I've seen it all before they're walking out the door why should I care? Unwilling to give in a moment they'll write their own thoughts over mine. I've played this act for a long time it seemed all right for a while but it's really not. It's falling apart and breaking and taking everything with it that I've got. I'm tired, tired of waiting. By now the time should have come, I've tried but apparently not hard enough. Pushing up against locked doors, looking through windows of stores i can't afford. Maybe something will happen just once, something nice that i could take home and think about instead of standing in line while everyone else gets exactly what they want. I'm tired. Tired of waiting.



Released January 2014 on Stab! Stab! Records


Released September 2014 on Chrome Dreams Records & Tapes

Set List

Our typical set runs 40 minutes and is comprised of all original numbers by Messrs. Gorton, Sullivan & Pascuzzo. We are very energetic and appeal to both the rock and pop audience.