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The best kept secret in music


"A Cool Noise"

Let's cross country to New York. Breakup Breakdown are a band taking inspiration from the garage. The track She Went Black IS Rob Tyner on vocals. I mean this is not someone sounding like the late MC5's vocalist - it is his spirit come back to earth. Ok, the political lyrics have gone but every inflection, every imperfection in the voice is as good. Wonderful, wonderful stuff. The combination of genuine Rhythm & Blues and Goth and just great energetic music is electric. If Jimmy Page and Robert Plant had heard this then they would have formed Led Zeppelin as a tribute band.
- A Cool Noise

"Mish Mash Indie Reviews"

Sometimes a guilty pleasure can make you forget about feeling guilty, and Breakup Breakdown does just that. Let's face it, these guys (and gal) are unapologetic about their pouting and preening garage-band glam---they know exactly what they're doing.
The band careens through the three short and sweet songs on this single, pulling out every trick in their glamour bag. The music struts along, showing off the group's pop tart pedigree, as lead singer James Sparber conjures up the spirit of every ego-centric frontman who ever pranced across the stage with a wink and a nod.
This is like the junk food of music and will probably rot your teeth, but in the end who cares when you're having this much fun? You can always regret it in the morning.
- Mish Mash Indie Reviews

"Rancid News (UK)"

This is sophistiglam, full kilter rock n roll with enough 60s psych, lazy lounge keys and Strokes bravado to keep their loose get-up trip, trip, tripping over the pages of the NME for months. - Susan Glib


Unlike a lot of self-consciously retro-sounding bands, the Break-Up have a number of tricks up their sleeve, from the Doors-esque keyboard freakout in Waiting for the Snow to the great 60s-sounding chorus on She Went Black to the Led Zeppelin-esque Don't Save Me. Breakup Breakdown seem to be a band exploding with ideas, practically clamoring to fit them all into this EP's scant eighteen and a half minutes.

As a result, She Went Black sounds truly inspired, like the band is having an absolute blast writing and playing these songs. Time will tell if Breakup Breakdown can maintain this level of exuberance in their future releases, but if they manage to pull it off this EP could be the start of something really big. - Julia Popescu


In less than a year, the NYC five-piece Breakup Breakdown have established themselves as one of the top bands in NYC-which says a lot given the current tenants of the city. Formed from members of bands such as Creme Blush, Girl Harbor and Blue 88s, Breakup Breakdown knock out five smoking stripped-down rock songs with flair on She Went Black. The opening
title track kicks off with dirty bass and light drums before the guitar, keys and vocals swing in bluesy hot fashion. The chorus contains backup vocals by the sole female member,keyboardist Allie L., which adds nicely to the feel of the song. Probably the most distinctive element, though, is lead singer Jamie S.'s vocals that
translate an intensity and honesty that is hard to fake. To be honest, I'm very surprised I haven't heard this song on the radio as it has top-flight video potential. The other four songs follow suit in a very
close way. Although, "Don't Save Me" starts with sluggish bass and generally non-descript rambling, the heavenly melodic chorus brings the song through the clouds. The chorus alone should get the song play.
Though this EP should and has done much for the band, apparently their live show is where it's at. This is the type of band that music needs
to revive the slipping and generic garage rock sound.
- J. T.


From the instant Breakup Breakdown’s Jay H. pumps up the buzz-saw bass intro to kick off the set at Sin-é you just know things are gonna get raucous. And when Greg Altman brutally slams the skins into action and Jeff Mensch launches a screeching guitar assault, only the steady, solid keys of Allie L. seem to keep this suddenly awakened rock ‘n roll animal from tipping over the precipice in the wild throes of passion. Amid the aural attack, Jamie S. struts the stage, pumps his fist, glances above as if for divine inspiration and then launches into it, not so much because it’s time, but because what has to be said has to be said – NOW! That undeniable urgency is at the heart of Breakup Breakdown’s sound. They aren’t weaving stories here. They’re sanctified witnesses jumping to their feet to boldly testify - loudly and directly from the soul. That approach doesn’t come as a surprise from this bunch. But what is surprising is just how tight Breakup Breakdown are. This might in part come from their recent cross-country mini tour – including a recording session in L.A. – with the requisite van breakdown in no-man’s-land on the way
back to New York City. Lots of strange gigs in strange places and living on the go can quickly tighten things up.
The songs they did this night from their CD She Went Black were virtually indistinguishable from the recording. Of course added was the visual element (and this band does look cool) and the roar from the stage vibrating the floors and walls of the joint also added to the excitement. Control while seeming out of control. It’s rock ‘n roll slight of hand that bands like the Stones and NY Dolls were masters of. And that brings us to Sparber's voice. There’s certainly shades of Jagger/Johanson in there, as well as a good deal of Dictators era Dick Manitoba’s braggadocio – all by way perhaps of more contemporary disciples. Despite all that, James has one of those rare instantly recognizable rock voices that is clearly his own.

Breakup Breakdown are a fun band to drink in excess to, and with that relentless, driving beat – doing the nasty to ‘em seems like a natural, too. It’s more than a refreshing shot in the arm for a scene that continues to be flooded with sexless, meandering whiners in T-shirts and (gulp!) baggy shorts and where it all too often seems like we’re watching a (yawn!) band rehearsal rather than a rock event. This is New York City for God’s sake – you know, the big stage? Breakup Breakdown realize it and use that stage as a platform to launch their gritty, street-wise brand of rock ‘n roll played at full intensity.
- Jeff Rey, Neon NYC
- Jeff Rey

"Long Gone Loser (Australia)"

They’re from Brooklyn, NY and we all know why Brooklyn is cool, don’t we? That’s right. It was written on the jacket Marky Ramone was wearing when I met him. Damn straight! Breakup Breakdown play garage rock that no doubt has them lumped into the heap with The Strokes, Jet, etc. and that’s the problem when something cool becomes huge: too many bands and hardly anyone notices the good ones from all the crap. Fuck The Strokes, roll over Jet, I’ve got my hooks on these cats. Good songs, groovy vibe, and I bet they sweat by the bucket while on stage. Reason being is that I swore while listening to it there was drips of it all over my desk. Actually no, that was where I spilt my water. Whatever, these cats are good! Five tracks, check ‘em out at: - Damo

"Interview for Verse-Chorus-Verse (UK)"

1. Within seconds of hearing your music, I thought 'BOMP power pop fronted by Robert Plant'. Discuss.

Yeah, from what I know of BOMP bands, that’s kind of as non-specific as saying we’re influenced by the Stones. But I’ll admit that doesn’t make it any less true. As for Robert Plant… first of all, I’ve gotten Steven Tyler comparisons twice (derogatorily), so thanks, I guess. Secondly, I like singing high and loud, because it cuts through on stage, and we try to make our recordings reflect the show. That’s the same style as those guys, so yes to Robert Plant.

2. After half a century of rock'n'roll, what is it really like being in a band? Does it have a point? Are your parents shocked? (or in bands?)

We travel all over. We play music. People are nice to us on the road, so that’s good. It’s hard or impossible to work a regular job, but none of us are interested in that. Our parents range from thrilled to resigned to absentee.

3. Cite three examples of classic rock'n'roll.

1. Otis Redding at Monterey Pop
2. Bjork and PJ Harvey covering “Satisfaction” at the ‘94 Brit Awards
3. The Damned’s appearance on The Young Ones

4. Do bands of your kind realise that you sound remarkably like bands of the 60s? Is it conscious and deliberate?

We actually know some bands that clearly draw entirely from late-60s/early-70s-garage- and-blues-rock who are offended at being called “retro.” They insist they’re just playing rock and roll like people have for decades. I think that attitude is either extremely disingenuous or depressingly stupid. We use sixties tropes, because we love some of those sounds. There’s no denying that we use sixties tones, we have old amps and an organ and electric piano. We harmonize. We partly started this band to use that arrangement. The decision was never made to write 60s garage music, but you can end up playing any style with our instrumentation and it will always evoke the sixties to some extent.
The songs on our current EP are the first songs we wrote when we started Breakup Breakdown, and they are probably as sixties as we will get. The songs we are working on for our full-length have progressed past - or at least expanded on - this initial sound.

5. Don't Save me reminds me of The Saints and is a kind of proletarian power pop where Stevie Wonder meets The Stooges. Or am I being outlandish?

Do you mean, do I think you’re wrong? No. And we’ll take Stevie Wonder as a compliment.
As far as the rest goes, everyone gets the Stooges as a comparison point these days. Probably even Deerhoof. The only Saints song I like is “Know Your Product.” Jeff and I have covered it before in another band, maybe it wore off on us. I do like the phrase “proletarian pop,” at least the way I imagine you mean it - whereas here in the States it means Bruce Springsteen or Kid Rock. And finally, yes, I think you’re being outlandish.

6. How much better would life be if compact discs had never been invented?

Seriously? Umm, I like CDs. I assume this is a vinyl thing? At the very least, CDs and CDRs provided the first way that bands could make decent, affordable mixdowns of their home recordings.
Album art would be the one real problem with CDs I guess. And I miss sides.

7. Having a member of the band photographed wearing tight red jeans is
a masterstroke. Did you have a band meeting to sanction this or was it
spontaneous? And where did he get them?

Jay really wears tight red jeans. Even before he was in bands he dressed like that. Those particular pants he got at Beacon’s Closet, a used-clothing store in Williamsburg.

8. Do you, as I do, find the moose an especially endearing animal? If not, which animals do you like?

I had a friend who grew up in Alaska until he was in high school. He told me they warn kids there that if you see a moose you should curl up in a ball and remain motionless or the moose will probably kill you. And even if you do that, they’ll still probably kill you. Moose are mean and dangerous. Having said that, I think that Bullwinkle is a true American hero, and on balance I have no problem with moose.
My girlfriend pretty much dies when she sees a Dachshund, I find that endearing. But I really like geese. Foie gras is my poison.

9. Name one instance of your committing flagrant theft of an idea from
a band/song that has influenced you?

So many… on the current EP, She Went Black, we plagiarize X-Mal Deutschland no less than 15 times. See if you can find them.

10. You have three minutes left to live? Which single do you play?

“Shivers” by The Boys Next Door.
- Jeremy Gluck

"The Link"

. Like the feeling I got when this guy I dated only wanted to "be friends," my heart was on the verge of breaking when I found out that the Mooney Suzuki wasn't actually going to perform that one hot New York night. Then some guy comes up from behind me and says, "…You know, my band is playing." Slightly annoyed at the intrusion, I ask, "Yeah? What's the name of your band?" "Breakup Breakdown." Intrigued by the prideful assertion he had for his band, I figured I'd stick around. I got the EP in return.
Problematic and doomed relationships are presented in a simple and matter-of-fact way with this EP. This is most notable in the opening title track, where the problem with retrograde is addressed and resolved: "She went black / She was never supposed to go back / While I kind of liked being with her, yeah /Sometimes I wish she never went back / It was kind of like being in school, yeah/… and I never liked being in school, yeah." Subsequently, the rest of the EP hit close to home for anyone who's ever had to deal with shitty ordeals in relationships.
She Went Black is a good sign of things to come for rock 'n' roll. Poignant lyrics (for rock 'n' roll's standards, of course), amalgamated with driven bass lines, pee-worthy shrills, noise-complaint worthy geetar riffs and a good dose of sultry synth sounds. The result is that state where conviction and music collide thus resulting in wanting to rock out (and dance, if you wish). It sure made the subway ride home eventful and briefly confirmed that good things can come out of shitty situations.
- Mercedes La Rosa

"Gun Street Radio"

. Let's use the American Idol analogy: it doesn't matter who's band you are at a venue to cheer on...if Breakup Breakdown are on the bill, they are the La Toya London contingent. In a completely different league from most New York groups, the 5-piece has risen from the ashes of [three NYC bands] and continues to win over new fans (us included) wherever they play. Their songs are solid, tuneful, sexy, and executed with assurance that's bound to impress any music fan with a sense of fun. Plus, they realize they aren't playing to a room of blind people and perform/dress/jump around accordingly. - Steve


She Went Black E.P. from Cordless Recordings
1. She Went Black
2. Dracula
3. Shiny Eyes

She Went Black 7" Single from Cordless Recordings
A-side She Went Black
B-side The Ballad of Stiv Bators

Tonight E.P. from Cordless Recordings
1. Tonight
2. Blue Dots
3. Museum Floor
4. There's Nothing That You Can Do, Now.

Tonight 7" Single
A-side Tonight
B-side Hard To Love

She Went Black has received extensive airplay both on college radio and streaming online music sites.


Feeling a bit camera shy


I happened upon BREAKUP BREAKDOWN on NYC's Lower East Side completely by accident. I asked an acquaintance who the next band was and he said they were on Cordless, Warner's new e-label and they were kind of a garage rock band. Hmmm, I thought. A major new e-label? Interesting! Garage rock? Harrumph! We've all fallen victim to the overexposure of bandwagon jumpers, and that night, I feared further victimization.
The racket began with the customary cross stick count of 4 and a terrible beast was unleashed upon me. From Sabbath’s evil and the Stones’ sex was my right foot won and taken by a spell of tapping.

BREAKUP BREAKDOWN’s lead singer James Sparber has absolute command of the stage, peacocking about, carefree in a 3 piece suit dragged from a gutter, further filthifying his dark mop on its way over his crown, beer in hand glued, howling a throaty call that is at once Grit and Glam. Thus, the first verse sent the length of the right leg into a state of vigorous heel tapping, resulting in a brusque head bob, accompanied by a furrow-browed stare.

Keyboard and backing vocals are handled by the stunning bleach-blonde Allison Langerak, who is prone to beaming and pogo-ing frantically in place like the next contestant on the Price is Right. Her vocal is a precocious, irresistible brat demanding more cake, but with laser guided pitch. Dare I say this stimulus worked the pelvis into the grooving, which set off a chain reaction of Full Body Dancing of which I was not aware I was at all capable. Nor was I alone…

The room torched and pillaged by the fury of Jeff Mench’s chugging guitar and the rhythm section’s (Jay Honstetter on bass, Davy Hamrick on drums) ceaseless assault, but it was over the course of the set that the full versatility of the band was revealed. Not at all content to rest on the laurels of perfectly executed garage swagger, many of the songs incorporate a much more angular feel, injecting their hip-shimmy into the stark, stiff straightness of the post-punk feel of the Wire -- Depeche Mode continuum. Add into the equation the drunken glee-club country-fried harmony that Langerak offers and you realize BREAKUP BREAKDOWN is a more complex beast than you thought, when the sheer power of their set was turning your ass out on the dancefloor.

Say what you want about genres and trends and styles. BREAKUP BREAKDOWN embodies that great duality that defines rock n roll: total control and surgical precision in a drunken, apocalyptic sloppiness; barely, but perfectly controlled raw human explosiveness.