Crazy Mary
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Crazy Mary

New York City, New York, United States

New York City, New York, United States
Band Rock Alternative

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"Kynd Music Review of Thirsty For Cool"

Crazy Mary is the classic dirty New York indie band. You know the group: They should have been famous years ago but, well, commercial radio and our MTV culture suck so it never happened. They stayed the course, however, even if it meant playing surrounded by the stench of stale beer and urine and having to listen to that crazy guy who’s always in the third row screaming obscenities.

And more than that they were your favorite band in college; full of just enough edge balanced with just enough common sense to string some cool grooves together. You drank to them, got laid to them, smoked to them and saw them every goddamn weekend down in the Village at that little shit-hole club. Then you grew up, moved to the suburbs and became what you used to hate. You didn’t stay the course, my friend.

And now, Crazy Mary has returned, somehow, to save you.

And they do it with the intimate sharp-edged voice of Chrissie Hynde (Pretenders), the rollicking horns of Madness, a wonderfully dry rhythm section and the crunchy droning guitars of the Velvet Underground. Goddamn, has it been 7 albums already?

The best part is that the album, Thirsty for Cool, is what you always knew it would be. It is tinged with enough musical influences to make your old Music Appreciation professor’s head spin. There is Mod Pop, 70’s punk, Americana, straight out blues rock and that wonderful attitude. You worshipped the guys and loved the girl because they oozed cool from their every pore and they still ooze it, just now it comes out of your speakers. You close your eyes and are back in the Village walking past The Strand...
Dave Terpeny, Sr. Editor - Kynd Music


"NBT Review of Water On The Moon"

When did new wave get this dirty, and oh I mean dirty in the way that MUST be taken as a compliment, like a kid that has spent his summer playing hard and exploring every abandoned warehouse, every enticing exotic cave and ditch and field, the dirt is a badge of honour is EARNED, defines the very soul of the free spirit.

Here the dirt is in the details, you THINK you are listening to a hard rock track, and suddenly there are slithers of alt country organ coiled sly within the throbbing motor of the melody. You THINK you are listening to a raw outtake of perhaps a Blondie b-side and then new wave morphs into no wave shudders from classic boogie into something sweet and now and possibly fatal.

It�s as if Grace Slick and Karen O were sisters and fronted an alternate universe version of the Replacements.

Well until the next song that is, then suddenly we are transported into the stranger era of our pop music history and we go progressive we feel folk, the ballad becomes this driving twisting epic thing, music to play when storms threaten.

Sometimes, just as you are feeling at home with Em Z�s bawdy take on the rocked rolled vocal, the band get eccentric, the harmonies get abstract and the mood gets spiky creative.

This garage band has a garage that has not only oil stains and wounded tunes, but shattered TVs, blistered comic books and stranded buckets full of soul.

Get twisting now - Next Big Thing


"Mark Kirby's review of Knuckehead"

There’s retro and there’s retro. Biting a past musical style is all there seems to be left, though I’ll never say never. Some just use this as an excuse for creative laziness and lack of imagination. Others are curious. Crazy Mary has had their own musical journey; from the raw psychedelia of Velvet Underground and Cramps influenced debut record “Passion Pit” and the following “She Comes In Waves,” through the twisted, MDA-drenched re-mix record “Astronaut Dub,” all the way to “Burning Into The Spirit World,” where they hit their stride with a focused, powerful, and original sound. I dare say, musical maturity that doesn’t rust and creak at the hinges is a welcome change. Call this, their most recent, and possibly last, recording, their own “Exile on Main Street.” It’s just as exploratory (in it’s own context), even more so; it also codifies and integrates their musical story this far. While the Stones explored the blues, Crazy Mary uses the past thirty years of rock in all its phases and permutations to draw from. It’s a deep well and the Crazies, in defiance of the aesthetic of the bland product.
From the first notes of the first song, “Invisible,” you know that they’re coming’ high and tight with their fastball. Special guest violinist Walter Steding, starts with a flowery intro of a line warped by echo. The band kicks into a hard rock groove, circa 1973. And the lyrics are darker than most on the previous record, the visionary “Burn Into The Spirit World.” It’s not just in the incessant, dissonant angst of the guitar chords or the burnt-grass fiddle, but the lyrics that convey a grim, existential view of “the thousand pin pricks” (read “The Revolution of Everyday Life” by Raoul Vanegiem) of the modern life: “Off to work, I’m runnin’ late, the scene’s the same, just change the date . . . My job it sucks I waste the day, I’m trapped because I need the pay/ broken dreams they shadow light, the mirror smashed upon my stripe / pick up the pieces falling down, I cut my feet my hands are bound/ I pictured things so differently, it’s not how it’s supposed to be.” But theirs is not the darkness of grunge band heroin chic or fashionable paralysis. By the end of the song they’re screaming in anger at the post-911, post prosperity that is the new New York, after the touchy-feely moments passed and grim reality shoved us back into our isolated lives of quiet desperation. “I am not invisible / I am not invisible / so stop lookin’ through me like I’m not even there.” There’s more, like the conga drum brake at the end of the song and the added tag at the end of the song, but I don’t want to spoil it for you.
They still have visions, too, of how things should be, which is refreshing considering the de rigeur bleating of the screed of hopelessness that all so-called indie bands have indulged in for, like, what, twenty years now? Jeez! “I Wake Up Dreaming” comes from the burning land of the spirit, like a shaman’s vision. But of course it’s the shamanism of the average person in everyday life. From the easy rock beat to the rising, open guitar chords to the soaring vocals of singer Sophia Jackson and the late George Kerezman, this is the sound of yearning behind the innocent dreams of 60's rock. “ I see the moon stand in the summer sky at night I go to the sound by sea the north star burning I dream of a perfect world a clear blue sky and grass and tress I dream of sunrise . . . reflecting off of a sparkling sea / I wake up dreaming / I wake up dreaming / I see the drums and bass they dance the night away/ they look about the room for someone they can play/ I dream of perfect world of laughing children playing games / a world of summer breezes where the countries have no names / I wake up dreaming . . .” Of course, being New Yawkers, they are grounded in concrete-and-steel reality. “Some day the dream will end and all this will be gone / I mourn the dream but time will end and life will carry on /my face is in the mirror and the mirror’s in my face and then my face just disappears without a trace.” But just like the visionary artists they are, they pursue, or at least, celebrate the dream. “I dream of a perfect world of music playing everywhere a world where people live there lives and never have a care I wake up dreaming.” The music, the subject, how the lyrical story unfolds are perfectly matched, providing a lesson on how rock and pop are properly done.
Another cut, “Angel in Disguise, ”also provides a lesson in song craft. It has that unmistakable Crazy Mary groove. Like bands in the hey day of rock used the blues and R&B to fuel their white-boy bands, Crazy Mary creates a feel and sound that underlie their clever adaptations of rock styles. Call it psychedelic grunge funk. It indie-rocks a little, with a lurching hunk of soulful fatback. And like the best rock songs they take something low down, like the moment of horny, turned on chemistry and celebrate that transcendental aspect at the core of the moment. “Sh - Dream Forge


"Mark Kirby's review of Knuckehead"

There’s retro and there’s retro. Biting a past musical style is all there seems to be left, though I’ll never say never. Some just use this as an excuse for creative laziness and lack of imagination. Others are curious. Crazy Mary has had their own musical journey; from the raw psychedelia of Velvet Underground and Cramps influenced debut record “Passion Pit” and the following “She Comes In Waves,” through the twisted, MDA-drenched re-mix record “Astronaut Dub,” all the way to “Burning Into The Spirit World,” where they hit their stride with a focused, powerful, and original sound. I dare say, musical maturity that doesn’t rust and creak at the hinges is a welcome change. Call this, their most recent, and possibly last, recording, their own “Exile on Main Street.” It’s just as exploratory (in it’s own context), even more so; it also codifies and integrates their musical story this far. While the Stones explored the blues, Crazy Mary uses the past thirty years of rock in all its phases and permutations to draw from. It’s a deep well and the Crazies, in defiance of the aesthetic of the bland product.
From the first notes of the first song, “Invisible,” you know that they’re coming’ high and tight with their fastball. Special guest violinist Walter Steding, starts with a flowery intro of a line warped by echo. The band kicks into a hard rock groove, circa 1973. And the lyrics are darker than most on the previous record, the visionary “Burn Into The Spirit World.” It’s not just in the incessant, dissonant angst of the guitar chords or the burnt-grass fiddle, but the lyrics that convey a grim, existential view of “the thousand pin pricks” (read “The Revolution of Everyday Life” by Raoul Vanegiem) of the modern life: “Off to work, I’m runnin’ late, the scene’s the same, just change the date . . . My job it sucks I waste the day, I’m trapped because I need the pay/ broken dreams they shadow light, the mirror smashed upon my stripe / pick up the pieces falling down, I cut my feet my hands are bound/ I pictured things so differently, it’s not how it’s supposed to be.” But theirs is not the darkness of grunge band heroin chic or fashionable paralysis. By the end of the song they’re screaming in anger at the post-911, post prosperity that is the new New York, after the touchy-feely moments passed and grim reality shoved us back into our isolated lives of quiet desperation. “I am not invisible / I am not invisible / so stop lookin’ through me like I’m not even there.” There’s more, like the conga drum brake at the end of the song and the added tag at the end of the song, but I don’t want to spoil it for you.
They still have visions, too, of how things should be, which is refreshing considering the de rigeur bleating of the screed of hopelessness that all so-called indie bands have indulged in for, like, what, twenty years now? Jeez! “I Wake Up Dreaming” comes from the burning land of the spirit, like a shaman’s vision. But of course it’s the shamanism of the average person in everyday life. From the easy rock beat to the rising, open guitar chords to the soaring vocals of singer Sophia Jackson and the late George Kerezman, this is the sound of yearning behind the innocent dreams of 60's rock. “ I see the moon stand in the summer sky at night I go to the sound by sea the north star burning I dream of a perfect world a clear blue sky and grass and tress I dream of sunrise . . . reflecting off of a sparkling sea / I wake up dreaming / I wake up dreaming / I see the drums and bass they dance the night away/ they look about the room for someone they can play/ I dream of perfect world of laughing children playing games / a world of summer breezes where the countries have no names / I wake up dreaming . . .” Of course, being New Yawkers, they are grounded in concrete-and-steel reality. “Some day the dream will end and all this will be gone / I mourn the dream but time will end and life will carry on /my face is in the mirror and the mirror’s in my face and then my face just disappears without a trace.” But just like the visionary artists they are, they pursue, or at least, celebrate the dream. “I dream of a perfect world of music playing everywhere a world where people live there lives and never have a care I wake up dreaming.” The music, the subject, how the lyrical story unfolds are perfectly matched, providing a lesson on how rock and pop are properly done.
Another cut, “Angel in Disguise, ”also provides a lesson in song craft. It has that unmistakable Crazy Mary groove. Like bands in the hey day of rock used the blues and R&B to fuel their white-boy bands, Crazy Mary creates a feel and sound that underlie their clever adaptations of rock styles. Call it psychedelic grunge funk. It indie-rocks a little, with a lurching hunk of soulful fatback. And like the best rock songs they take something low down, like the moment of horny, turned on chemistry and celebrate that transcendental aspect at the core of the moment. “Sh - Dream Forge


"Shaun Dale's review of Knucklehead"

Knucklehead is Crazy Mary's fifth album, a landmark achievement for any indie band. Actually, it's a landmark that most indie bands are better off never achieving, since so many of them seem to run out of ideas somewhere around track four of their second release. That's hardly the case here, though. Knucklehead is, among many other things, Crazy Mary's coronation as the kings (and queen) of creativity.
I haven't always loved everything about every Crazy Mary release, but that's really part of their charm. They take real chances on every album, mixing and matching genres and playing on a musical tightrope stretched between genius and failure. Sometimes they end up closer to one end of the rope than the other, but when you're constantly exploring new territory a few false leads are bound to come along. What they do well they do so well that simply repeating their most successful ideas a dozen times on a single disc would give them the kind of cohesive, polished effort that the dull normals of the world crave. Crazy Mary is rarely normal, and never dull.
This time around they call on help from avant garde violinist Walter Steding, mandolinist Jason Spittle and the The New York Horns brass and reeds unit. Thus fortified, they attack everything from the flower power pop of "Let's All Have A Party" to "When The Shit Hits The Fan" with a hint of Memphis soul, from the Ali Baba on hash mood of "Land Of The Jagged Mountains" to the 12 bar blues of "Still Water," with stops along the way at points familiar and points found somewhere past the 'here be dragons' markings on the mainstream musical map. In other words, the music is all over the place, but you'll want to visit all of the places it's over.
Over the course of five albums, Crazy Mary has progressed from an "I wonder what they're up to this time?" band to a "I can't wait to hear what they do next!" band. They keep moving, sometimes forward, sometimes sideways, sometimes in directions uncharted, and if there's a spark of adventure in your soul, you'll want to follow along.
- Cosmic Debris


"Shaun Dale's review of Knucklehead"

Knucklehead is Crazy Mary's fifth album, a landmark achievement for any indie band. Actually, it's a landmark that most indie bands are better off never achieving, since so many of them seem to run out of ideas somewhere around track four of their second release. That's hardly the case here, though. Knucklehead is, among many other things, Crazy Mary's coronation as the kings (and queen) of creativity.
I haven't always loved everything about every Crazy Mary release, but that's really part of their charm. They take real chances on every album, mixing and matching genres and playing on a musical tightrope stretched between genius and failure. Sometimes they end up closer to one end of the rope than the other, but when you're constantly exploring new territory a few false leads are bound to come along. What they do well they do so well that simply repeating their most successful ideas a dozen times on a single disc would give them the kind of cohesive, polished effort that the dull normals of the world crave. Crazy Mary is rarely normal, and never dull.
This time around they call on help from avant garde violinist Walter Steding, mandolinist Jason Spittle and the The New York Horns brass and reeds unit. Thus fortified, they attack everything from the flower power pop of "Let's All Have A Party" to "When The Shit Hits The Fan" with a hint of Memphis soul, from the Ali Baba on hash mood of "Land Of The Jagged Mountains" to the 12 bar blues of "Still Water," with stops along the way at points familiar and points found somewhere past the 'here be dragons' markings on the mainstream musical map. In other words, the music is all over the place, but you'll want to visit all of the places it's over.
Over the course of five albums, Crazy Mary has progressed from an "I wonder what they're up to this time?" band to a "I can't wait to hear what they do next!" band. They keep moving, sometimes forward, sometimes sideways, sometimes in directions uncharted, and if there's a spark of adventure in your soul, you'll want to follow along.
- Cosmic Debris


"All Music Guide Review of Knucklehead"

AMG REVIEW: When it comes to music, the term "self-indulgent" can easily be used in a derogatory fashion. But self-indulgence isn't necessarily a bad thing; in fact, it can actually be a plus if the artist's creativity is at a high level. Jazz great Ornette Coleman, for example, can be very self-indulgent, but he's so imaginative that his excesses can be forgiven—or even enjoyed. The term "self-indulgent" easily describes Crazy Mary's Knucklehead, which is every bit as goofy, bizarre, quirky and eccentric as their previous release, Burning Into the Spirit World. It's also memorable and highly creative; Knucklehead is self-indulgent in the good sense. Drawing on influences that range from Frank Zappa to the B-52s to all kinds of ‘60s music, Crazy Mary provides alternative rock that is off-center yet oddly infectious. The New Yorkers' appreciation of ‘60s music (everything from psychedelic rock to the girl group sound to Memphis soul) is strong, but tracks like "Brian Jones" (an ode to the late Rolling Stones guitarist, who died in 1969), "Invisible" and the Stax-tinged "When the Shit Hits the Fan" don't sound dated—Knucklehead is still a product of the post-‘80s alternative rock world. Crazy Mary knows how to combine influences from different eras, and they also know how to be totally unpredictable without sounding confused or unfocused. The band will bring a strong Middle Eastern influence to "Land of Jagged Mountains" only to turn around and acknowledge blues-rock on the 12-bar "Still Water", and whatever they do, Crazy Mary has no problem being distinctive and recognizable. Knucklehead is an appealing addition to the New Yorkers' catalog—excesses and all. - All Music Guide


"All Music Guide Review of Knucklehead"

AMG REVIEW: When it comes to music, the term "self-indulgent" can easily be used in a derogatory fashion. But self-indulgence isn't necessarily a bad thing; in fact, it can actually be a plus if the artist's creativity is at a high level. Jazz great Ornette Coleman, for example, can be very self-indulgent, but he's so imaginative that his excesses can be forgiven—or even enjoyed. The term "self-indulgent" easily describes Crazy Mary's Knucklehead, which is every bit as goofy, bizarre, quirky and eccentric as their previous release, Burning Into the Spirit World. It's also memorable and highly creative; Knucklehead is self-indulgent in the good sense. Drawing on influences that range from Frank Zappa to the B-52s to all kinds of ‘60s music, Crazy Mary provides alternative rock that is off-center yet oddly infectious. The New Yorkers' appreciation of ‘60s music (everything from psychedelic rock to the girl group sound to Memphis soul) is strong, but tracks like "Brian Jones" (an ode to the late Rolling Stones guitarist, who died in 1969), "Invisible" and the Stax-tinged "When the Shit Hits the Fan" don't sound dated—Knucklehead is still a product of the post-‘80s alternative rock world. Crazy Mary knows how to combine influences from different eras, and they also know how to be totally unpredictable without sounding confused or unfocused. The band will bring a strong Middle Eastern influence to "Land of Jagged Mountains" only to turn around and acknowledge blues-rock on the 12-bar "Still Water", and whatever they do, Crazy Mary has no problem being distinctive and recognizable. Knucklehead is an appealing addition to the New Yorkers' catalog—excesses and all. - All Music Guide


"Ane Erlandsen's review of Knucklehead"

I think the band-members will be glad to hear that I think that they have brilliantly many ideas to work with, and that they’re extremely original in their approach… If you’re looking for something a little different from what you’ve been spoon-fed through the radio lately, I’d advise you to get Crazy Mary’s newest album “Knucklehead” – it’s a great trip through some very cool 60’s inspired psychedelic Zappa-like tunes mixed with the alternative rock of today, heavy on guitars, organs and violins. - Past and Present Webzine


"Ane Erlandsen's review of Knucklehead"

I think the band-members will be glad to hear that I think that they have brilliantly many ideas to work with, and that they’re extremely original in their approach… If you’re looking for something a little different from what you’ve been spoon-fed through the radio lately, I’d advise you to get Crazy Mary’s newest album “Knucklehead” – it’s a great trip through some very cool 60’s inspired psychedelic Zappa-like tunes mixed with the alternative rock of today, heavy on guitars, organs and violins. - Past and Present Webzine


"Ben Ohmart's review of Burning into the Spirit World"

I remember this band for 2 reasons. 1. The music is like nothing I've heard before. 2. The lead singer is afflicted. Sophia Jackson has a method of delivery that is like David Bowie's dead wife: an ethereal, alt-pop vocal that languishes between gothic and heavy-hit surf (minus the blues repetition). That makes her as hard to forget as your best Living Dead film, especially when she's floating through new Eastern-spooked tunes like 'Crazy Mary (But I'm Not)', and the witch doctor approved 'Monkey Magic Medicine' which promises more than The Residents ever managed to deliver.

(The 3rd unofficial reason I remember them is that Crazy Mary was a main character in The Thin Man Goes Home, a component of one of the best mystery-comedy series ever. Go rent it. Okay, back to the music.) That first cd I heard was called She Comes in Waves, and it made an impression. Truly unique acts don't come often, but they know where to park.

Some have called Crazy's blend psychedelic, garage, Velvet Underground, Blondie, The Cramps, and the ever-popular alt-rock. Depends on the listener. Myself, I tend to hear an audio Swiss army knife, incredibly varied and spitting in the face of classification. Except that it ain't straight pop. Oh no. How else would they be racking up an AMAZing amount of college radio play from sea to shining sea? With the cd came pages and pages of telling airplay lists from the past several years, a feat I wonder if even our old Beatles are collecting up from today's spastic youth.

Though the lucky 13 songs here are studio grown, a true taste of their live side careens through titles such as 'Dose Me On Up,' a duet with guitar-man Charles Kibel. Nick Raisz likes to keep time like a jazz drummer in clogs, and George Kerezman busies a bass against a 3rd raised voice. Together, the pitch is like odd socks, blue and black together, and to the colorblind like myself you can barely tell who's who.

A few stats: their Astronaut Dubs release has played 360 stations, charting on 27 stations in the top 30. They have been on a couple comp albums, have gigged the hell out of NYC (like Luna Lounge and Acme Underground), and The New York Press calls them 'hip and crazy get down on your knees voodoo dancing.'

Crazy Mary is like that Wonderful Brown Sauce you see entrusted to Chinese menus. You're not sure what the hell's in it, but it's a singularly strange, exotic and at times full moon taste that's hard to take a doggie bag on. You wanna turn to the next track and finish it all in one place
- Muse's Muse


"Ewan Wardhami's review of Burning into the Spirit World"

All indications from the primitive cover would have you preparing your boda bag for the next desert tribal festival. And if you read my last CM review (and I know I did) you'll be expecting to throw this out with all the useless 12 inch double extendo dance space remixes. Well, my 60's psychedelic garage surfing minion, luckily for you, and me, and Crazy Mary, this here's the real deal. They were just screwing around with all that astronaut crap, trying to throw us off their scent. The fantastic bass lines I was talking about are so much better when the other instruments are in agreement with them. Yes, Sophia Jackson still occasionally sings off-key, but in the context of a true and actual song, it's endearing.
On "The Rain In Memphis" she breaks her stiffness for a distorted chorus from a lonely pay phone. Charles Kibel's fuzzy guitar follows her story, instead of leaving her alone in the rain. And sweet, welcome tunefulness on my beloved bass thanks to George Kerezman. It's full of energy and purpose that matches the angry walk in a nighttime storm. "Voices Of Freedom" is a little more stoic and hymn-like with its rich organ and anthemic tone. Kerezman affirms this with folk-singer backing vocals. Meanwhile, I am again reminded of Flaming lips by weird, wormy synthesizer making sure the song is not taken too seriously. Seriously cool, however, comes in "Monkey Magic Medicine." Electric sitar (now obligatory) and know-it-all arrangement make it a fun and sinister opium den full of trenchcoats. It follows a "Love Potion #9" theme all the way to Cairo.
Namesake "Crazy Mary" is dark outsider folk in a Nick Cave vein. Slow, plodding and creepy, the vulnerable Mary is nuts in a sympathetic manner. "My friends all say my mind is on vacation. Paranoid delusions I have got. The doctor says I must take medication. My friends all say I'm crazy, but I'm not." Each clever verse drags with anticipation, waiting on edge to discover what lies around the next corner. The surf guitars echo throughout while the slow eastern arrangement coils and rattles when it reaches bottom. "Freak Out" is great mind-altered surf a la Breakfast With Amy. Sounds like Peter Fonda fronting The Trashmen. And just because I haven't mentioned him doesn't mean Nick Raisz is a slouch on the drums. He rolls and crashes like the tides. This time, the imbedded dub noises work.
The lowercase X styling of "Dose Me On Up" are staccato beats and bisexual vocals without the Exene dissonance. Crispy drums and crunchy guitar hail from a bygone post-punk era. Jackson circus tents on every other line of the chorus and brings it down for Kibel to catch her on the return. The 2 chorded story flips in similar fashion, "It brings me down, tosses me round. It's dragging my ass to the wrong end of town." Kerezman's spooky, distorted delivery is backed by warbling Hammond and clean bluesy guitar on the ultra-cool "It Calls Your Name." Some of these foreboding fables are in a Squirrel Dub Zipsters bent. It's hard to tell if the narrator's pointed finger is warning or threatening. Springy surfabilly guitar with plenty of wah wah adds a back-alley backdrop.
The hippie-folk dreamscape of "Confusion Reigns" is sentimental and pretty. But for me also pretty boring. Kerzeman and Jackson's stunned vocals plow the same row until she throws an occasional seed. "Moon Song" on the other hand is prettier and ends too soon. Kibel plays lovely tropical acoustic tones and Jackson croons sweetly over the soothing bass. Then some self-abusive barnyard fun that would make The Hickoids proud. "Chicken" features slide guitar, harmonica and a lot of Ween silliness, "Choke your chicken now. Let me show you how. Grab that chicken 'round the neck. Shake it like a nervous wreck." "Astral Telepathy" sounds like wind chimes while watching the stars. Spacey, but still retains the idea that it's taking you somewhere. They allow for a lot of depth and lift out of it with angelic builds. And if that didn't doesn't get Jack Horkheimer's telescope extended, "Voyage To Uranus" sure will. Actually, it just has an oscillating synthesizer. The rest is pretty straight instrumental which only slightly resembles the Hitchhiker's Guide theme without the banjo. The Pentecostal hoe down "Dance With Snakes" is an altar call to that most holy sacrament, "Born in the backwoods of Georgia, by and by. Falling in trances shaking on down in the name of God." As Moe the bartender once said, "I was born a snake handler, I'll die a snake handler."
I think they send out the EP so expectations will be low for the album. Then they hit you with all this fun stuff and you're floored. But Crazy Mary, I'm warning you, these songs are your children (or 116 cats). Don't leave them stripped and exposed like that again or I'll turn your asses in.
On a surfer scale one being Gidget and ten being The Big Kahuna: Burning Into The Spirit World rates an eight, Moon Doggie
- Hybrid Magazine


"Ewan Wardhami's review of Burning into the Spirit World"

All indications from the primitive cover would have you preparing your boda bag for the next desert tribal festival. And if you read my last CM review (and I know I did) you'll be expecting to throw this out with all the useless 12 inch double extendo dance space remixes. Well, my 60's psychedelic garage surfing minion, luckily for you, and me, and Crazy Mary, this here's the real deal. They were just screwing around with all that astronaut crap, trying to throw us off their scent. The fantastic bass lines I was talking about are so much better when the other instruments are in agreement with them. Yes, Sophia Jackson still occasionally sings off-key, but in the context of a true and actual song, it's endearing.
On "The Rain In Memphis" she breaks her stiffness for a distorted chorus from a lonely pay phone. Charles Kibel's fuzzy guitar follows her story, instead of leaving her alone in the rain. And sweet, welcome tunefulness on my beloved bass thanks to George Kerezman. It's full of energy and purpose that matches the angry walk in a nighttime storm. "Voices Of Freedom" is a little more stoic and hymn-like with its rich organ and anthemic tone. Kerezman affirms this with folk-singer backing vocals. Meanwhile, I am again reminded of Flaming lips by weird, wormy synthesizer making sure the song is not taken too seriously. Seriously cool, however, comes in "Monkey Magic Medicine." Electric sitar (now obligatory) and know-it-all arrangement make it a fun and sinister opium den full of trenchcoats. It follows a "Love Potion #9" theme all the way to Cairo.
Namesake "Crazy Mary" is dark outsider folk in a Nick Cave vein. Slow, plodding and creepy, the vulnerable Mary is nuts in a sympathetic manner. "My friends all say my mind is on vacation. Paranoid delusions I have got. The doctor says I must take medication. My friends all say I'm crazy, but I'm not." Each clever verse drags with anticipation, waiting on edge to discover what lies around the next corner. The surf guitars echo throughout while the slow eastern arrangement coils and rattles when it reaches bottom. "Freak Out" is great mind-altered surf a la Breakfast With Amy. Sounds like Peter Fonda fronting The Trashmen. And just because I haven't mentioned him doesn't mean Nick Raisz is a slouch on the drums. He rolls and crashes like the tides. This time, the imbedded dub noises work.
The lowercase X styling of "Dose Me On Up" are staccato beats and bisexual vocals without the Exene dissonance. Crispy drums and crunchy guitar hail from a bygone post-punk era. Jackson circus tents on every other line of the chorus and brings it down for Kibel to catch her on the return. The 2 chorded story flips in similar fashion, "It brings me down, tosses me round. It's dragging my ass to the wrong end of town." Kerezman's spooky, distorted delivery is backed by warbling Hammond and clean bluesy guitar on the ultra-cool "It Calls Your Name." Some of these foreboding fables are in a Squirrel Dub Zipsters bent. It's hard to tell if the narrator's pointed finger is warning or threatening. Springy surfabilly guitar with plenty of wah wah adds a back-alley backdrop.
The hippie-folk dreamscape of "Confusion Reigns" is sentimental and pretty. But for me also pretty boring. Kerzeman and Jackson's stunned vocals plow the same row until she throws an occasional seed. "Moon Song" on the other hand is prettier and ends too soon. Kibel plays lovely tropical acoustic tones and Jackson croons sweetly over the soothing bass. Then some self-abusive barnyard fun that would make The Hickoids proud. "Chicken" features slide guitar, harmonica and a lot of Ween silliness, "Choke your chicken now. Let me show you how. Grab that chicken 'round the neck. Shake it like a nervous wreck." "Astral Telepathy" sounds like wind chimes while watching the stars. Spacey, but still retains the idea that it's taking you somewhere. They allow for a lot of depth and lift out of it with angelic builds. And if that didn't doesn't get Jack Horkheimer's telescope extended, "Voyage To Uranus" sure will. Actually, it just has an oscillating synthesizer. The rest is pretty straight instrumental which only slightly resembles the Hitchhiker's Guide theme without the banjo. The Pentecostal hoe down "Dance With Snakes" is an altar call to that most holy sacrament, "Born in the backwoods of Georgia, by and by. Falling in trances shaking on down in the name of God." As Moe the bartender once said, "I was born a snake handler, I'll die a snake handler."
I think they send out the EP so expectations will be low for the album. Then they hit you with all this fun stuff and you're floored. But Crazy Mary, I'm warning you, these songs are your children (or 116 cats). Don't leave them stripped and exposed like that again or I'll turn your asses in.
On a surfer scale one being Gidget and ten being The Big Kahuna: Burning Into The Spirit World rates an eight, Moon Doggie
- Hybrid Magazine


"J Sin's review of Astronaut Dubs"

Typically the better Indie rock bands have the kind of sound that’s hard to nail down in a description. With that said who the hell knows how to describe Crazy Mary. Their sound sways amid electronics and trippy guitarwork along with cascading drums. Their singer reminds me a bit of the Clash and early punk yet it’s not quite that obnoxiously British. Being from New York probably lets them be this obscure and yet achieve a great sence of musical style. With a tribute to Johnny Thunders how can you go wrong? - Smother E-Zine


"J Sin's review of Astronaut Dubs"

Typically the better Indie rock bands have the kind of sound that’s hard to nail down in a description. With that said who the hell knows how to describe Crazy Mary. Their sound sways amid electronics and trippy guitarwork along with cascading drums. Their singer reminds me a bit of the Clash and early punk yet it’s not quite that obnoxiously British. Being from New York probably lets them be this obscure and yet achieve a great sence of musical style. With a tribute to Johnny Thunders how can you go wrong? - Smother E-Zine


"Randy Krbechek's review of She Comes in Waves"

Crazy Mary, She Comes in Waves (Humsting Records) - Sorry, West Coasters. New York City continues to turn out the most interesting, challenging, experimental pop. And so it is with She Comes in Waves, in which the spirit of Arthur Lee (from Love) transports itself to NYC and makes college rock.
Crazy Mary consists of guitarist Charles Kibel, bass player George Kerezman, drummer Nic Raisz, and vocalist Sophia Jackson. Rounding out the band is Richard Morbid on guitar, vocals, and Hammond organ.
The band says they met each other while working at the Bronx Zoo - drummer Nic Raisz worked in the ape house, while Charles Kibel and Richard Morbid worked in the aviary. George Kerezman drove the Bengali express (the Zoo's monorail), and singer Sophia Jackson handled snakes.


In addition to the zoo connection, the band was plugged into NYC's alternative music scene. Bass player George Kerezman says that he roomed for awhile with M. Doughty of Soul Coughing at the east end of Spring Street. Says George, "Doughty and I used to jam. Every time one of his albums come out, I compare the jams."
That experimental, dreamy sound comes across on "Cancer on the Photograph" and "Paris 1944," both swirling around the seductive vocals of Sophia Jackson.

She Comes in Waves was recorded during a four-day period at Coyote Studios in Brooklyn, New York. The energy shows: The title track is a sweet ditty that draws in a Lou Reed beat, while "Shock Me" is the album's strongest cut, with a smooth slice of alternative pop.
Also listen for "No Resistance," a heads-up rocker, and "Shot by Bullets," which shows influences of the old Velvet Underground.
- CD Shakedown


"Randy Krbechek's review of She Comes in Waves"

Crazy Mary, She Comes in Waves (Humsting Records) - Sorry, West Coasters. New York City continues to turn out the most interesting, challenging, experimental pop. And so it is with She Comes in Waves, in which the spirit of Arthur Lee (from Love) transports itself to NYC and makes college rock.
Crazy Mary consists of guitarist Charles Kibel, bass player George Kerezman, drummer Nic Raisz, and vocalist Sophia Jackson. Rounding out the band is Richard Morbid on guitar, vocals, and Hammond organ.
The band says they met each other while working at the Bronx Zoo - drummer Nic Raisz worked in the ape house, while Charles Kibel and Richard Morbid worked in the aviary. George Kerezman drove the Bengali express (the Zoo's monorail), and singer Sophia Jackson handled snakes.


In addition to the zoo connection, the band was plugged into NYC's alternative music scene. Bass player George Kerezman says that he roomed for awhile with M. Doughty of Soul Coughing at the east end of Spring Street. Says George, "Doughty and I used to jam. Every time one of his albums come out, I compare the jams."
That experimental, dreamy sound comes across on "Cancer on the Photograph" and "Paris 1944," both swirling around the seductive vocals of Sophia Jackson.

She Comes in Waves was recorded during a four-day period at Coyote Studios in Brooklyn, New York. The energy shows: The title track is a sweet ditty that draws in a Lou Reed beat, while "Shock Me" is the album's strongest cut, with a smooth slice of alternative pop.
Also listen for "No Resistance," a heads-up rocker, and "Shot by Bullets," which shows influences of the old Velvet Underground.
- CD Shakedown


Discography

Passion Pit (EP) 1998
She Comes in Wave (LP) 1999
Astronaut Dubs (EP) 2000
Burning into the Spirit World (LP) 2001
Knucklehead (2002)
I'm Not Going to Stop Touching it (EP) 2003
Thirsty For Cool (LP) 2004
Nuclear Lipstick (LP) 2007
Water On The Moon (LP) 2010
Dreaming In Brilliant Color (LP) 2012

Photos

Bio

Crazy Mary carries the flame for a time when downtown Manhattan was at its post-punk apex – gritty, smart, artful, edgy and sexy, before its soul was taken over by corporations. But true to the ideals of the era from which they emerged, the band remains fully engaged with the modern, eschewing sentimentality and nostalgia. Their new album, Dreaming In Brilliant Color (Humsting Records 2012), carries their music forward and keeps their mélange of psychedelia, tribal music and Velvet Underground inspired no wave very much alive and well.

Crazy Mary began in 1998, founded by guitarist and songwriter Charles Kibel, a veteran of the Lower East Side rock scene, and drummer Nick Raisz. With seven studio albums to their credit (and two remix albums), the band has enjoyed extensive college radio play, favorable reviews in the New Yorker, the Boston Globe, the Village Voice, and by NBC Nightly News anchor, Brian Williams. In addition, they’ve played several festivals, including CMJ, the Howl Festival, the Nemo, Midpoint and others.

With their third album as full time members under their belt, Em Z on lead vocals, and especially Walter Steding on fiddle, Bring their unique impact on Crazy Mary’s sound. The Australian native Em Z’s intense and driving vocals have brought a new dimension to the band. And Steding, who has been contributing to the band since 2002, has now become a full time member, bringing the full depth of his talent, experience and pedigree to the band.

Introduced to the band by Blondie founder Chris Stein, Steding was a pioneer of the No-Wave movement in the late 70’s, the leader of the TV Party Orchestra, Glenn O’Brien’s TV-show house band, in addition to recording with luminaries such as Robert Fripp and Jim Carroll. A solo artist in his own right, Steding was managed by Andy Warhol, for whom he worked as a painting assistant from 1980 up until Warhol’s death in 1987. Warhol produced Steding’s solo album, thereby earning Steding the distinction of being one of the two artists Warhol ever produced – the other one being the Velvet Underground.

Steding brings an incredibly emotional style to the band, and his term for the way his style of playing is “hand diatonic glissando,” a way of sliding into the notes on his fretless violin. As he explains, “I use every note in the scale and I hit every vibration – so I can cover the spectrum of both western and world music. I try to play something that you’re familiar with but is also beyond the familiar.” where Steding’s fiddle runs run the gamut from the melodic to the atonal, reminiscent of John Cale’s viola work in the Velvet Underground.

Produced by Kibel, keyboardist Parker Reilly and longtime engineer Michael Caiati, Dreaming In Brilliant Color spans the gamut from full out rock to contemplative. With the luxury of having played together with the same linup for five years Crazy Mary has tightened and honed their current sound as begun on Nuclear Lipstick. Legendary photographer Marcia Resnick captured the band for the cover photo.

The Genisis of Dreaming In Brilliant Color began in April of 2011 when Kibel purchased a 1963 Gretch 6120 and in a fit of inspiration, composed seven of the songs featured on the album in a day and a half, and the sweet tone of that guitar, the same one that John Lennon plays on Rain, is captured in the body of the songs. The band is eager for people to hear the new directions their music has gone. As Charles Kibel declares, “We want to get the new album to as many people as we can. We’re eager to perform it live. On Dreaming In Brilliant Color, Crazy Mary has found the right people to play the right songs at the right time, taking the band to a new level, with a spirit reminiscent of the times when art and music create something seminal.