frog
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frog

New York City, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2014
Duo Rock Cabaret

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"They’re a duo from Queens and they’re not jerks. They also wrote a song that I like to think might be about one of the more introspective story arcs of “The Punisher” but I’m pretty it’s sure not really. On January 1st 2013 they released one of the year’s best albums, so let’s just see what 2014 brings. “LAST NIGHT I FUCKING KILLED A MAN…AND YOU KNOW, IT DIDN’T CHANGE SHIT.”' - 7bit Arcade


" At first they’re an angsty Neil Young, smashed off his face on cheap beer, before they grow into a feral rasp that sounds like whoever is delivering them is being hung over the edge of a cliff by his dungaree straps and told to sing for his motherfucking life." - Gold Flake Paint


When I was growing up I always wanted to be someone else. Not in a “RARRR I HATE MY LIFE” way (I’d save that for later years), just that when I hit thirteen I suddenly realised that books and films and music were actual gateways to other lives. Lives that I wanted but would never be able to have. And I ached for them. Physically ached, in my gut. I think it started when I defied bedtime rules and watched Stand By Me for the first time one late Friday night and found myself crying when River Phoenix fades away… Wherever it came from, it stayed. Way into adulthood when I should know better. It’s still there now. Not quite as palpable; I still like to drift away in to different worlds – mainly American ones involving wide-open vistas and big rivers – but these fantasies only really last for the duration of whichever song/record has transported me there.

As soon as I heard I Nancy Kerrigan I was gone. And not just for five-minutes, but for days. It just hit me, hard, and I don’t know why. It’s by a two-piece called Frog and it came out on Brooklyn’s Monkfish Records - and that’s all I know. I don’t know who they are, if it’s their first release, how it was received, whether Pitchfork listened to it. Nothing. I don’t want to know. I want that teenage romance with this album, the way it used to be when you were just given some record by a band you’d never heard of and it changed your life. I know all the information is right there in Google but it can keep it. It’s just me and Frog.

‘Nancy Kerrigan‘ is a love song about the US Figure Skating Silver Medalist at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics. Of course. But that’s pretty much irrelevant. It’s a love song, first and foremost, and it’s bone-crushingly good. No attachment to time or place (despite the subject) it just exists and its weird and its beautiful in ways I’m not sure of. It was so good, in fact, that I didn’t want to listen to the rest of the record. It sustained me, I didn’t need more. I could live with just Nancy Kerrigan. But life’s a risk right? So in I jumped…

And oh what sweet relief. The opening one-two of ‘Ichabod Crane‘ and ‘Arkansas‘ beat any fears out of you with sheer brutal brilliance. The first couple of minutes of Ichabod bounce along on an almost country twang that slowly builds in to a blast of distorted garage rock that will have you scrambling for the doors. The vocals are glorious. At first they’re a young Neil Young smashed off his face on cheap beer, before they grow into a feral rasp that sounds like whoever is belting them out is being hung over the edge of a cliff by his dungaree straps and told to sing for his motherfucking life. Arkansas is just as thrilling. Again the band playing as if their very lives depend on it, while still finding time to write hooks that will punch you in the heart.

‘Jesus‘ is a bar-room stomp that lightens the mood somewhat and contains weirdly fun lyrics about Jesus jerking off to a Sears Catalogue at the age of 12, before a chorus of “Ooh-ooh-oohs” breaks through the din. Then it’s time for ‘Nancy Kerrigan‘ which sits side-by-side with the show-stopping ‘Space Jam’. Together the two tracks take-up half of the records 32-minutes but not a single second is wasted. Guitars rise and fall, creating space for the vocals to breathe before slapping us back in to life with a meaty sock to the jaw.

The eight-minute build of Space Jam is especially wondrous. Quite where it comes from I’ll never know, but its awe-inspiring. The initial My Morning Jacket-esque build of the track suddenly interrupted, allowing the vocals the clarity they’ve been fighting for the whole time. “There’s a bar outside my window and it’s playing My Sharona. It’s Christmas time, I think so, and the air feels just like home.” GODDAMMIT. It’s just a tidbit, but something about the delivery is just devastating. Why? Absolutely fuck knows. It just is. From there, the track swells and builds into a behemoth. When the drums kick back in around the seven-and-a-half minute mark it’s all I can do from lying face-down on the carpet and bawling my eyes out.

The other-wordly charm then departs for the closing two tracks. ‘Rubbernecking‘ veers between pure isolation and beautiful guitar lines. “Last night I fucking killed a man. Last night I fucking killed man, but you know it didn’t change shit” they sing halfway through, completely changing the shape and mood of the track, bringing an almost-psychotic edge to the fore. Closing track ‘Nowhere Band‘ feels like something of a throwaway track. It’s a sub three-minute acoustic strum, but think of it as the records closing credits and it works perfectly fine.

So that’s it. Frog by Frog. I don’t feel like I’ve even begun to scratch the surface of it. I don’t understand some of it. I don’t know what it’s trying to tell any of us. But then that’s certainly part of its charm. I already feel like I’ve been listening to it for years. Like I’ve grown and changed with it. It transports me somewhere else. It makes me daydream of people and places I’ll never know, just like Stand By Me did all those years ago. It makes me restless, it makes me feel alive and sometimes it makes me want to just sit and sob – and I have no fucking idea why. But I’m OK that. There are some things that we’re just not meant to know. - Gold Flake Paint


Let’s not jump to any grand conclusions just yet as this is Frog’s first release (7 track self-titled EP) and anyway they have a little way to go in the catchy promo pic department. The Queen’s duo of Tom White and Dan Bateman might just be out to snag a generation not yet aware of They Might Be Giants and they’ve made a bright start (their website has a top level domain for Christmas Island). ‘Ichabod Crane’ has a (school)masterly sense of the absurd, which might sound like fingernails down a chalkboard for some but there is beauty to be found amongst the carnage. More of this and they could spawn a legion of imitators. KD - Mp3Hugger


Artist: frog
Hail From: Queens, N.Y.
Song: 'Nancy Kerrigan'
Album: frog [Bandcamp]
Sounds Like: Mountain Goats, Grandaddy

In Their Words: "'Nancy Kerrigan' is actually the first song we wrote together as a band. I loved the Olympics as a kid and when the whole media frenzy with Tanya Harding and her started up I have very distinct memories of watching the drama unfold with my mom. It's a funny moment when these touchstone media events happen, because all the kids that grew up around then like me have these very personal feelings and emotions associated with something that had nothing to do with them other than it was on TV when they were little." -- Singer Dan Bateman

Listen to 'Nancy Kerrigan'
- AOL Spinner


Frog, an offshoot of indie rock band Uncles, is going to make you look twice at New York City's Queens borough. Their latest single "Nancy Kerrigan" carries sparse instrumentation, while singer Dan Bateman's haunting croon crawls out from under the covers of a reverbed Murphy bed.

The singer's sad illustrations of houses adorned with American flags invoke a very Midwestern sentiment, which the alt-country twang of Bateman's vocals supports. "God bless the state of Texas/And the Dallas Cowboys blue," he cries in falsetto as the drums begin to ramp up. It's simple, it's elegant and you haven't heard anything like it yet in 2012. - AOL Spinner


Discography

frog by frog- LP
Ichabod Crane- Single

Photos

Bio

Frog is a two person band made up of Dan Bateman and Tom White that lives in Queens, NYC. They met playing together in the band Uncles, one day no one else showed up to practice so they switched instruments and called it Frog. Frog writes exuberant pop songs mostly using electric guitars, keyboards, glockenspiels, police sirens, and primitive drums. Lyrically, their songs contain nods to olympic athletes, Washington Irving characters, nervous breakdowns, biblical figures displaced into lewd modern times, and the ups and downs of living in the swamp. Their debut album was self-recorded inside an old non-functional bowling alley underneath a coffee shop in Astoria, NY and was released on Brooklyn-based Monkfish Records in May 2013.

Band Members