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The best kept secret in music


"Album Review"

ALEX SNIDERMAN - Alex Sniderman (Real O Mind)
His label boss (rightly) makes the point that most artistes writing the term "singer-songwriter" in the box when picking up their unemployment benefits are a little on the lightweight side, but I'll be damned if Alex Sniderman isn't Matthew Sweet with balls.

Confusing parallel? Consider this: Sweet has had some fucking great bands (Richard Lloyd and Robert Quine have filled guitar duties) and some clever, moving songs (the "Girlfriend" album, for instance, pushed his claim to mainstream fame to the fore without fatally costing him his cred). Four tracks on this, Alex Sniderman's first real album, boast the talents of Wayne Kramer, both as producer and guitarist - and in our book you don't do much better than that. Television's Billy Ficca's along on drums for four others, so Alex has no problem attracting great players. But whereas Sweet delved deep into country ballads before moving to the West Coast, hiring session men and fading off our radar screens, Sniderman actually comes FROM Nashville - and does his level best to avoid anything that even smells like hay. Hell, he hates country music so much he moved to Brooklyn! He's also a lot grittier and vocally edgier than Mr Sweet and, consequently, the ride's more interesting.

But this is about the music, not names, and Alex Sniderman's songs are economical, sardonic and real. While I bought "Girlfriend" for the guitars, I'd listen to "Alex Sniderman" for the songs (although the playing is first class too.) They definitely grow. The opener, "She's Emotion", boasts a (Kramer) lead break that's as taught as anything Lloyd or Quine managed for Sweet. "I Need a Life" is lyrically sharp and musically compelling with some nice guitar tone from Sniderman. His playing is simple but tasteful throughout, actually.
Lyrical moments to remember - there are a few but I'll settle for this one in "N.O. Groove": "Yeah I'm pissed off but it's better than being pissed...on". "Barry White" sounds like it was worked up while busking and retained all of its street smarts. "Combat Boots" is a 12-bar blues with some great imagery while the "Taxi Driver" overtones of "Jodie" makes for the best star trib since fellow New Yorker Kevin K's "Jennifer Love".

The "Paralyzed" here is not the Legendary Stardust Cowboy song and it's more Garland Jeffreys than Matthew Sweet. And the "Stranded" is not a Saints cover, although you might draw a tenuous comparison to some of Chris Bailey's solo stuff (most of which has been done under the Saints banner).

There are four bonus tracks and while "Can't X-Plain" sounds like a demo, "I Don't Mind" features some characteristic Billy Ficca explorations around the kit and squalling guitar from Sniderman and Kevin Salem. "Say Hello, No Goodbyes" gets along on the back of a classic Ficca feel and swelling, open chords.

Can't say I'd ever heard of this talented New Yorker before (neither had Real O Mind Records' Geoff Ginsberg before Brother Wayne's road managed wised him up) but I have a feeling there'll be more chapters to come. This is an album worth exploring. - The Barman - I-94 Bar Australia

"Kramer Picks Out The Jams"

Wayne Kramer produces and plays guitar on Alex Sniderman's eponymous debut...
MC5 legend Wayne Kramer has provided guitar and produced the debut album by unknown NEW YORK songwriter ALEX SNIDERMAN.

Kramer plays guitar on four tracks on Sniderman's eponymous debut, which was recorded in four days and is available via his website, at Also on his site are two tracks available as MP3s, 'She's Emotion' and'Jodie'.

Sniderman said of his experience of working with Kramer: "He's poor and famous. And immensely talented. It was an honour to work with such a brilliant musician, and wonderful person."

A spokesperson for Kramer told "At the moment Wayne is working as a producer and A&R man with a number of bands, he is involved with the website in an A&R capacity. He enjoys helping out if he can."

Kramer has just finished producing and playing bass on a track for Mudhoney. In addition to this he partially produced the John Sinclair & His Blues Scholers 1996 record 'Full Circle', which he also guested on as a guitarist.

A spokesperson for Kramer added he is about to begin production work on a record by LA band The Streetwalkin' Cheetahs, who are Kramer's "proteges" and who he has been working with consistently over the last two years.

MC5 released a best of compilation, 'The Big Bang! The Best Of MC5', in March through Rhino. The album featured their first three singles together for the first time, as well as material spanning their entire career. - New Musical Express, England

"Brooklyn-based Alex Sniderman Sings Truth Over Peanut Butter"

Listening to Alex Sniderman's self-titled album with songs that cross between punk exuberance and heartfelt longing, I felt that something dark and sinister might motivate the Fort Greene singer-songwriter. Especially with quirky love songs, like Jodie, dedicated to actress Jodie Foster. (He sings, "I promise no president will get shot.") Also, introspective lyrics like, "I need a life. Not just something to do. I wanna be someone. But I can't remember who," almost always indicate a hidden, tortured soul. Even fun-loving Weezer frontman, Rivers Cuomo, dealt with crippling depression. I expected a similar confession from Sniderman - maybe he recently kicked heroin or something devasting that compels his stark, honest lyrics to be half-hidden between fast and fierce guitar chords as if to protect a secret.

"I love stoop sales," Sniderman confesses. I'm teased about it, but I love stoop sales. It's the only thing that would get me up early in the morning. You can gauge how cool a neighborhood is by its stoop sales."

This shocking revelation is revealed after Sniderman offered me a peanut butter sandwich as pre-interview sustenance. (It’s a known fact that peanut butter has redemptive power and can only be used as an agent of good.) If Sniderman is harboring any skeletons in his closet, they’ll be sold at the next stoop sale.

Born in Ann Arbor, MI, Sniderman and his family moved to Murfreesboro, TN when he was eight years old. His father was a theater professor and initially Sniderman thought he wanted to be an actor, but a love and talent for music soon took over. "My first band in high school was called the Whining Art Fags," he says, "I didn’t do much in it. Basically played the harmonica badly and that was it. But from that point on, I knew I wanted a creative life."

Sniderman used to hang around the theater department where his father taught. Sniderman’s humble take on his own talent stemmed from watching his dad deal with dozens of theater prima donnas. "Just because you can do something well, doesn’t mean other people care. I try to keep integrity and creativity at the foreground of my music. That might not make a hit record but it would be honest," he explains.

"Don’t get me wrong," Sniderman continues, "I-d probably be ecstatic if some boy-band wanted to do one of my songs, but if not, it's okay. I don't think there's a magic formula to a hit single. It's whatever people happen to pay attention to."

Pay attention to Alex Sniderman. And have a peanut butter sandwich.


"All Music Guide Review"

Calling Alex Sniderman [+] a singer/songwriter may not be the most accurate description you could come up with -- he writes songs and he sings 'em, but most artists burdened with that description either don't or can't rock, and that's certainly not the case with this guy. With Wayne Kramer [+] in the producer's chair (and occasionally on lead guitar), Sniderman's debut album certainly has its fair share of rock cred, but if you're expecting a blast of Detroit-style high energy, that's not quite on the agenda, either. Instead, Alex Sniderman [+] might best be described as power pop with <I>cojones</I>; Sniderman's songs are the thoughts and obsessions of a regular guy who digs cool woman and isn't quite sure how to get 'em (but that's not to say he isn't still trying), and his music is lean, wiry rock & roll that's big on hooks without forgetting the importance of a good slab of guitar crunch as a side dish. And Sniderman's voice blends a Stones-y snarl with the heart, soul, and passion of a nice guy who doesn't mind baring his soul every once in a while. If you've ever dug Paul Westerberg [+], Tommy Keene [+], Slim Dunlap [+], Tommy Womack [+], or Ben Vaughn [+], there's a space in your record collection for Alex Sniderman [+], and even if you haven't, if you dig a good song played with grit, passion, and a sense of humor, you'll find something to like in this album. [The 2002 re-release on Real-O-Mind makes a good thing even better by tacking on four bonus tracks (featuring Billy Ficca [+] on drums and Kevin Salem [+] on guitar) and a video for "She's Emotion" you can play on your computer's CD-ROM drive.] - All Music Guide

"Listen Up"

Alex Sniderman
Alex Sniderman (Real O Mind Records)

By Ken Shimamoto

Philadelphia-based Real O Mind is the brainchild of former band manager and All Music Guide scribe Geoff Ginsberg, a man with an enthusiasm for basic rock, whether it’s high-energy Detroit jamming or rootsier, No Depression-sounding stuff. On this reissue of a hideously rare Y2K release, laden with bonus tracks, the two strains meet and get friendly.

Alex Sniderman, a Tennessean singer-guitarist-songwriter transplanted to Noo Yawk City, recorded the bulk of the tracks in his hometown of Murfreesboro, Tenn. (any Civil War buffs in the house?) with ex-MC5 guitar terrorist and latter-day boho solo artist Wayne Kramer on the boards. The four bonus tracks were recorded in Brooklyn with a band that included onetime Rolling Stone “songwriter of the year” Kevin Salem on guitar, ex-Television drummer Billy Ficca, and bassist Scott Yoder from legendary NYC roots-rockers the Blue Chieftains (whose Real O Mind release ... That’s All is worth seeking out).

Sniderman has a workaday rock voice that’s too musical to be classified as “punk.” His songs combine Stooge-like guitar damage with singalong hooks a la Paul Westerberg in his sloppy-drunk Replacements days or megaplatinum industry boat-rocker Tom Petty (see: “Every Day”). Their lyrics betray a somewhat skewed sensibility in lines like “I wanna be someone, but I can’t remember who” (“I Need a Life”), “All the duct tape in the world can’t mend my heart” (“Combat Boots”), and “My heart burns for you like a burning cross in a Klansman’s dream” (“Jodie”).

The best hooks belong mostly to the new tunes. Besides the opening “She’s Emotion” (a blast of raunch reminiscent of the Stones when they were still alive), the ‘Mats-ish “Stranded” and “Can’t X-plain,” and the bittersweet “Golden Boy” (an ode to a ladies’ man on the way down) demand the most repeat plays.

- Fort Worth Weekly


Eureka E.P.
available on


Feeling a bit camera shy


Tired of staring down at his shoes and replying “I just play under my own name” when people asked him what his band was called, Alex Sniderman formed Eureka! with longtime drummer Melissa Houston and bassist Scott Anthony. Sniderman’s songwriting combines Elvis Costello’s wry wordplay with Keith Richards’s rawk raunch, while the band evokes a shotgun wedding of Memphis power pop icons Big Star with the incendiary thunder of Neil Young and Crazy Horse.

While Sniderman’s songs are still the focus of the group, he knows his tunes wouldn’t pack the same punch without the collective power of three musicians playing as one musical mind. “When Melissa and I first played with Scott it just clicked. It instantly felt like all the pieces suddenly fit together. We were all a bit blown away,” says Sniderman. The three musicians’ chemistry onstage and on record makes for edgy, passionate, and exciting rock ‘n’ roll that is nothing if not real.

Eureka!’s three members are lifelong musicians each with varying experiences. Alex Sniderman was discovered playing with The Tone Def White Boys at a Nashville club at 19 by The MC5’s Wayne Kramer. Kramer was so impressed with Sniderman’s songs that he produced and played on Sniderman’s self-tilted debut. Scott Anthony is a well-respected bassist and producer/engineer who has worked with everyone from David Poe to Daniel Lanois. Drummer extraordinaire Melissa Houston has played with a variety of acts from bands and singer/songwriters (Heather Shayne Blakeslee, The Hillary Step) to dance companies, in addition to working as a session musician with producer Jimi Zhivago (Rufus Wainwright, Ollabelle).

Eureka! is a band of music lovers and lifers who believe there is no greater joy than making good noise with good friends. Come along for the ride why don’t you?