The Cyanide Valentine
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The Cyanide Valentine

Band Alternative EDM

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Feb
24
The Cyanide Valentine @ The Annex

New York City, New York, USA

New York City, New York, USA

Feb
16
The Cyanide Valentine @ Gulu Gulu

Salem, Massachusetts, USA

Salem, Massachusetts, USA

Feb
15
The Cyanide Valentine @ The Pill

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

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Music

Press


"On Let It Rot, Jake Zavracky of the Cyanide Valentine comes across like one of those normal white guys who court, and overcome, the world's corruption in high-'80s movies - Jeff Daniels and Roy Scheider and Christopher Reeve weren't exactly heroes; they obviously wanted something bad to happen and were surprised when it did but they got some nice action......Zavracky tries to seem decent enough to hate himself for taking money from his parents so that he can slink back guiltily to the "dirty city"; in exemplary high-'80s style....he knows why he should play the victim when it's his woman who is the despicable whore. "I'm feeling thrown away/I've been selfish and all I've done is take" he sings, so moral apathy might just save him. And the music hopes to transcend cliche, suggesting the swagger of some flawed hero whose feigned grandeur is inseparable from his failings." - The Village Voice


Believe [us] when we tell you that this man needs a good dose of Ritalin to calm the demans that inhabit his new-wave vocals. We concluded this after listening to ''Let It Rot". This new album seems to suffer an identity crisis, but what a marvelus problem to have.....fearsomely eclectic.....lays claim to the throngs of Michael Jackson, Prodigy, and guitar arena rock -- usually in the same song." - The Boston Globe


he Cyanide Valentine's leader, Jake Zavracky, has been a pillar of Boston's music community for the past 10 years - at 6-foot-5, almost literally. Norwood native Zavracky, a former member of Boy Wonder and Quick Fix, said he finally feels like he's moving forward instead of just standing tall.

"It's been so long since I've had a steady band," Zavracky said.

Sitting at J.J. Foley's in the South End, Zavracky delved into the Cyanide Valentine's evolution.

The group started out as a quintet in the winter of 2004. At first its electro-rock sounded like a blend of Maroon 5, the Postal Service and Michael Jackson. That lineup played only six shows before the band thinned into a duo of Zavracky and keyboardist Wendy Mittelstadt.

"The personnel was just too busy to promote the album we were going to put out," Zavracky said.

Instead of crying in their keyboards, Zavracky and Mittelstadt replaced their departed band mates with electronic sounds and recorded the Cyanide Valentine's debut album, "Let It Rot" (Primary Voltage).

The duo kept at it until Zavracky embarked on a solo project in December of 2005.

"It was basically just me doing karaoke," he said. "My friends called it Jakeoke and it was very silly. I started to feel that I was never going to be happy with any one thing."

Next came a stint with Lovewhip, but Zavracky said his "control freak took over."

Zavracky set about putting together a new edition of the Cyanide Valentine. He recruited two pals, drummer Christopher Nathan Keene and bassist Brendan Reilly, for the rhythm section. An acquaintance at his day job mentioned that his girlfriend sang. Voila! Kate Papineau joined the fold.

"It was instantly good," Zavracky said. "It's such a refreshing feeling to be able to play without a dark cloud over everything."

Fans can check out the new music on the band's Web site, where they can download the band's new CD, "The Three Sides of the Cyanide Valentine," at no cost. And if you can't make out the words, no problem: The Web site has scrolling lyrics so you can understand what songs like "Nosferatu" and "Ghosts of Boston" are about.

Is the first tune a tip of the hat to the classic vampire film?

Nah. Zavracky said his lyrics are about "being a nonconformist, as most of my songs are."

The band: Jake Zavracky (voice, guitar), Kate Papineau (voice), Christopher Nathan Keene (drums), Brendan Reilly (bass)

The sound: Dreamy, electro-rock

The show: The Cyanide Valentine plays tonight at Gulu Gulu Cafe in Salem and tomorrow night at South Boston Open Studios. Go to www.myspace.com/cyanidevalentine.com for more info.

The music: Listen to tracks from "The Three Sides of the Cyanide Valentine" at www.bostonherald.com and www.myspace.com/cyanidevalentine or download the album for free at cyanidevalentine.com - The Boston Herald


Ah, free albums. They are a pure thing of beauty. To listen to the material in its entirety you are not even forced to dish out cash, make a trip to one of the few remaining quality record stores, or engage in a gruesomely awkward conversation with the middle-aged dude behind the counter. Click, extract, listen; it is a great convenience that capitalizes on our technological age, even if it makes us more immobile and economically stupefied in the process. Better yet, some of these free releases are actually worthwhile. I say this because, simply put, many free albums are often given an unfair reputation. Why would an artist put out their work for free if it is truly quality? Wouldn’t they be able to capitalize on a profit if it was really worth the listen? Well, believe it or not, not all musicians are money-hungry corporate numskulls. I cover independent music for a reason. In this field, there are talented acts like The Cyanide Valentine who release entire full-length albums for free online. Why? It’s simple: Instead of having their moods influenced by how padded their pockets are, the five-piece from Boston gets more satisfaction out of gaining fans and seeing (or hearing about) their faces lighting up with joy after listening to their music. In a perfect world, this would be an artist’s first and foremost goal.

Such a respectable philosophy likely led to The Cyanide Valentine’s decision to release their second album, The Three Sides of the Cyanide Valentine, for free online. You can download it as one big .ZIP file (60MB) by clicking here. Led by the keen songwriting of vocalist and guitarist Jake Zavracky, The Cyanide Valentine are a blend of futuristic indie-pop and polished alternative-rock. Influences in the vein of The Flaming Lips, Radiohead, Air, and even My Bloody Valentine are most prevalent, with the additional instrumental prowess of keyboardist Kate Papineau, bassist Brendan Reilly, violinist Hannah Theim, and drummer Christopher Nathan Keene influencing their sound’s atmosphere in the utmost regard. The clashing fusion of guitars and synths are often the most proficiently utilized, with the vocals of both Zavracky and Papineau whimsically controlling the group’s dominantly dark sound. Zavracky has airy, somewhat thin vocals that are somewhat reflective of Wayne Coyne or Thom Yorke, with the frequent occurrence of downcast synths and brooding backing vocals providing for an engagingly haunting experience. His songwriting allows for diversely intuitive stylistic transitioning, whether it be in his tendency to write introspectively sullen ballads or the occasional . Throughout the entire duration of The Three Sides of the Cyanide Valentine, all are performed in top form.



A remarkable tendency for fantastically catchy pop gems is showcased in “Neanderthals”, easily the album’s most accessible and upbeat track. As the verse sees Zavracky’s vocals glide over the slight murmur of a bass synth and the gleeful stride of an acoustic guitar, he soon picks up momentum in a chorus where a burst of effervescent synths and parallel backing vocals immediately become the most prominent features. “They won’t make us crawl, they’re all Neanderthals,” Zavracky sings repetitively during the chorus, one of the album’s brightest moments. I was hooked from the first listen onwards and I believe that this song has a chance of hitting it big, free or not. The concept is simple but startlingly precise, relaying a largely forgotten belief that wealth and ego do not define a person’s success in life; it is a perfectly suitable subject considering that The Cyanide Valentine’s gem of an album has been released free for the picking. With a Flaming Lips influence being most prevalent in “Neanderthals” in particular, it sounds like a resounding success to me. In enjoyable contrast, there are songs on the album like “Milk in the Guitter” and “Sugar Coma” that capitalize on psychedelically influenced atmospheres, providing a lush and richly serene soundscape through the use of delicately implemented synths and acoustical instruments.

The leading guitar progression and echoing synths in “Sugar Coma” are steadily paced and, in turn, the collaborative vocals of Zavracky and Papineau are excellently woven together into a dream-like aroma. With the relaxing mood attributing a major role in the song’s eventual success, “Sugar Coma” truly sounds outstanding in its mold as a relaxing lullaby for the remaining hippies out there. It is a pure flashback to the graciousness of delicate ’70s psychedelic pop in the finest form. However, despite the success of “Neanderthals” and “Sugar Coma”, my favorite track on The Cyanide Valentine’s free release is undoubtedly the exotic “Nosferatu”. Taking its name from the cult German silent film depicting a vampire in chaos, it is The Cyanide Valentine’s best use of psychedelic atmospherics and vocal-driven hooks. The song twinkles its way through a repeating guitar line, synth bass, and - obscuresound.com


Jake Zavracky heads a new crop of Cyanide Valentine" musicians as he celebrates the release of "The Three Sides of the Cyanide Valentine' (free to download on their site), a less bombastic pop affair than CV's 2005 stellar debut, "Let it Rot". Blasts of 90's dance drill down still peak (sic) through but on the whole Zavracky offers a more tempered softer electronica, filled out with a s Sgt. Pepper psych wash - Boston Metro


They say if you don't like the weather here, just wait five minutes. The same might be said of the music of Massachusetts native Jake Zavracky and his band The Cyanide Valentine, who continue to defy stylistic expectations on their second release, The Three Sides of the Cyanide Valentine (available for free download now at cyanidevalentine.com). It's a record that volleys seamlessly between genres from track to track, and often within the same song. Whereas the band's debut was a mash up of bass-heavy funk and pensive acoustic ballads, Three Sides finds Zavracky leaning on a decidedly more electronic approach, with washes of synth feedback coloring the hypnotic guitar loops. "Neon Skyhustler," a song that echoes the dreamier work of groups like Air is one case in point. Elsewhere, the band hews closer to a psychedelic formula like on standout tracks "Nice and Horrorshow" and "Neanderthals," the latter complete with gorgeous harmonies and sexy backups from new band member Kate Papineau.

"If I had to choose one song to represent the whole album it would be 'Neanderthals'" Zavracky says. "I love the way Kate's voice sounds on it and it's probably one of my better choruses. At least, I think so." But, he adds, "I have really shitty taste in music though." Having spent a lot of time talking about music with the Boston rock veteran over the years, I can vouch for that statement. Good thing for us it doesn't apply to the music he makes, and Three Sides, like most of his past work in CV and his former band Quick Fix, is packed from front to back with memorable choruses.

So what are the "three sides" of the band, then? "Oh christ," says Zavracky. "I suck at doing this. The first side is dense electronic rock with breathy vocals. The second side is dreamy atmospheric pop with a lot of Beach Boys-esque harmonies. Side three is kind of folky and finger-picked with hushed boy/girl vocals. I would say it's dreamy, melodic electronic rock with a lot of harmonies. I mean it's really split up into three sides, hence the title, each side slightly different from the one before. But one thing I'm really bad at is describing my own music. I've never been a good salesman."

"I think if you look at our two albums separately there is a unifying thread," he continues. "There's very little that unifies the two. I think the new one is actually somewhat cohesive, by my

standards anyway. It doesn't jerk you around as much as the last one did, which is an approach I like as well. The next thing will probably get back to that sort of all-over-the-place-ness."

Credit the genre-hopping to a "sort of A.D.D.," he says. "On top of that I think I have

a subconscious desire to be totally unsuccessful. Because if I really wanted to be successful I would make a record where every song sounded like the one before it, like every other band these days. That is marketable. But I usually just tend to think of things in terms of songs, not styles. Most of the artists I admire had a lot of stylistic changes throughout; it seems like a recent thing that bands have had to be one thing and one thing only in order to be marketable. And most of the time I don't like those bands."

After experimenting with a few different incarnations of the band, Zavracky has fleshed out the lineup with the addition of drummer Christopher Nathan Keene and bassist Brendan Reilly alongside Papineau on vocals and keyboards. "I am an asshole and nearly impossible to deal with and it doesn't take people very long to realize that," Zavracky explains. (I'll vouch for that part too!) "So I have a little trouble keeping bands together. Kate, Chris and Brendan are all great musicians and fun people to be around though, no doubt about that. It's definitely working like I want. Better than I even hoped for actually."

That shows in the band's live performances, which have allowed Zavracky to more fully realize and reproduce the complexity of his recorded output. But even still, the album is stuffed with so many layers of melody and countermelody, sound effects and electronic glitches, that it would benefit best from a closed headphones listen. "Ideally people would listen to it on headphones," Zavracky explains. "I made it specifically with that in mind. I think it's a really good album to listen to on the bus or the train when you're trying to tune the rest of the world out, which is the way that I would always listen to it while I was making it. I hope it's something people can get lost in." - Dig (Boston Free Weekly)


Discography

"The Three Sides of the Cyanide Valentine" (LP) (2008)

"Let it Rot" (LP) (2005)

"Freaks" (Single) (2005) Received national radio and streaming airplay.

"You are the Focus" (Single) (2005) Received national radio and streaming airplay.

"Natural Born Liar" (Album Track) (2005) Featured on the ABC TV program "One Life To Live" (2007).

"Where Did You Come From" (Unreleased) (2007) Featured on the CW TV Program "Aliens in America".

Photos

Bio

In late 2007 the electronic rock band the Cyanide Valentine made headlines in their hometown of Boston by releasing their stellar second album "The Three Sides of the Cyanide Valentine" for free. Since then, in only 2 short months, over 3000 people around the world have downloaded it.

*Led by the keen songwriting of vocalist and guitarist Jake Zavracky, The Cyanide Valentine are a blend of futuristic indie-pop and polished alternative-rock. Influences in the vein of The Flaming Lips, Radiohead, Air, and My Bloody Valentine are most prevalent. The vocals of both Zavracky and Kate Papineau whimsically control the group's dominantly dark sound, woven together into a dream-like aroma. Papineau's vocals go so extraordinary well hand-in-hand with Zavracky's; it is a match made in heaven.

To download the album "The Three Sides of the Cyanide Valentine" or the debut album "Let it Rot" for free, go to cyanidevalentine.com.

*Taken from obscuresound.com