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Not much is known about the shadowy figure of Jeff Lipman except that he has a timegun and isn’t afraid to use it. I’m not sure what this timegun is, but the artwork on this album includes a nice illustration and a number of schematics. The timegun, however, is not listed as one of the instruments played on this latest album from 20to20 Soundesign.

As is the case with much of the output from 20to20, this album refuses to fit any single genre and brashly revels in its eclectic nature. The instruments are, for the most part, the usual collection of guitars, upright bass, piano, organs, drums and saxophones. Those recruited in playing these instruments include Kent Klee, Jim Steele, Aaron Winebrenner and Tommy Myers, plus songwriter Lipman who also sings and plays guitar. Studio guru Bob Phillips adds other instrumentation and a judicious amount of studio treatments and textured musical noise. While in many hands these tools become a standard rock album with touches of R&B, the Lipman touch is a bit more expansive, delving into a variety of forms with great melodic appeal.

“Ego,” with its jangly guitars, upright bass, piano, Mersey beat and fun first-person egomaniac lyrics, will leave you happily singing “It’d take an army just to satisfy me / And my ego we go dance a silent victory.” Growling dueling saxophones and zooming saucer sounds make “Caught” a sonic pop delight, while “O My Lord” jumps into a fast country hoe-down shuffle with lap steel and lots of twang. The slow, sad “Hollows” bears a George Harrison influence with portamento guitars, harmonica and lyrics of regret, sliding nicely into the delicious two-part vocal harmony of “Walk Your God,” a sparse song of clean guitars broken by spacey synths and gritty NASA transmissions. Despite the swirling tribal anthem rhythms of “QNA” (“We’ve got questions / We want answers!”), the Spooky Tooth swagger of “Free,” the piano lounge of “Traffic” or the flanged Floyd nod of “Crux” (where a heart monitor provides the beat), the songs somehow hold together amazingly well, forming an album instead of a disparate collection of tunes.

One final word of warning: This album is a grower. Slap on some headphones and give it more than three listens, and suddenly you’ll find yourself singing along with the angsty “Big Bro,” reveling in the distorted horns and groovy rhythms and hoping that Jeff Lipman’s Timegun will take you back to the beginning of the album once the final track winds to a halt.

Copyright 2005 Ad Media Inc.


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Lipman, Informers hit stage

By Amy Oberlin

FORT WAYNE — Jeff Lipman and the Informers made their first public appearance at Battle of the Bands 2 Thursday at Columbia Street West in Fort Wayne.

Lipman, of Angola, formed his band after releasing his CD, “Timegun,” with a slate of area musicians.

“I made the record myself first then I set out to put the band together,” Lipman said.

Bassist Aren Winebrenner, a Kendallville resident, was on the ground floor of the effort, also playing on the recording, done at 2220 Studios in Fort Wayne by Bob Phillips.

“Aren Winebrenner and I have been playing together for quite awhile,” said Lipman, whose musical background dates to his junior high school days.

“I was kind of the song writer of the group, of those people,” said Lipman, 31. Among those jamming in the Angola area in the ’80s and early ’90s were Josh Hornbacher, now operations manager at Tri-State University’s radio station, WEAX 88.3; Josh Ayers, who runs a studio in Auburn; George Smallwood, now a Nashville, Tenn., resident remaining in the music circuit; Chad Clark, an engineer in Chicago; and Dredlevel’s Tim Romine, of Angola.

Lipman’s played with a variety of groups, living in Nashville for awhile himself, and has written an impressive number of songs. “Timegun” is a sampling of them, recorded mainly with guest artists.

Those playing on the recording include Jim Steele, well-known in the Fort Wayne area for his work with jazz bands, and Kent Klee, who Lipman describes as a “seasoned professional.”

After “Timegun” was released, Lipman put together the current band, with Winebrenner being a sort of shoe-in for bassist. Winebrenner has lent the bass notes to Katzenjammer and Grateful Groove, as well as the Mimi Burns Band, a Celtic rock group.

“We auditioned a number of different drummers and didn’t have a lot of success,” said Lipman. They located Dan McCoy, of Hesston, Ind., who plays with Winebrenner in the Mimi Burns Band, which is currently on a bit of a sabbatical. McCoy has also been in the band Splash of Steel. In addition, McCoy performs with an active Caribbean, Jimmy Buffett-style group called Now and Then.

They found their guitarist, Matt Tackett of Fort Wayne, through his work with Katzenjammer. He’s also played with a band called Orange Opera.

Through weekly practices, they’ve put together three hours of live music. It’s all original and well synchronized.

McCoy said Lipman provides him with a creative outlet.

“He’s doing something new,” said McCoy. “The songs are different. They’re very unique, I think. I think a good portion is marketable.”

As a review of “Timegun” written by Whatzup’s Jason Hoffman said, Lipman’s sound can be catchy.

“One final word of warning: This album is a grower,” Hoffman wrote. “Slap on some headphones and give it more than three listens, and suddenly you’ll find yourself singing along with the angsty ‘Big Bro,’ reveling in the distorted horns and groovy rhythms and hoping that Jeff Lipman’s ‘Timegun’ will take you back to the beginning of the album once the final track winds to a halt.”

The Informers’ music is self-described as a “stylish blend of rock, blues, folk and jazz.”

While Lipman wrote the music and the songs, his band mates get artistic license as well.

“They have their own input. Everybody’s got their own personality,” said Lipman. He said the band’s name will eventually drop the Jeff Lipman and become just The Informers. He kept it to segue from the CD to the live band.

Battle of the Bands 2 judges put The Informers in eighth place (out of 60+ bands) on their scorecard, along with Gypsy and Tri-State Killing Spree, which had performed on prior Thursdays. Jeff Lipman and the Informers... have a chance at the Wildcard Round on July 14.

Following their maiden voyage onto the Columbia Street West stage, Lipman said The Informers are ready to get out on the road and into some of the northeastern Indiana clubs.

The CD, "TIMEGUN" is available at the Sound Cellar in Angola.



"TIMEGUN" - LP - 2004


Feeling a bit camera shy


THE INFORMERS' sound is a rich mixture of influences ranging from jangley guitar pop, to uptempo blues romps to moody introspective ballads. Smart lyrics combine with intriguing sonic landscapes to create stylish songs that defy categorization.
THE INFORMERS' catchy, original numbers swing, shift, pulse and float often growing on the observer with every listen.
Ample doses of energy, charisma, and professionalism set this group apart from the pack. Their attention to detail and proper repect to their influences of every genre give their music a "realness" sometimes overlooked by other bands. THE INFORMERS offer highly melodic song structures which are at once recognizable and inventive, at the same time deep enough to engage listeners to really listen.

THE INFORMERS' line-up is the key to their distinct sound.

Percussionist DAN McCOY, 32, lives in Ft. Wayne, IN. Dan has been involved with the local music scene for years lending his rhymic prowess to successful groups such as Mimi Burns Band, Splash of Steele, and Now and Then. McCoy has a tastefull and diverse bag of rhythms that lend THE INFORMERS it's stylish and swinging backbeat.

Upright bassist AREN WINEBRENNER, 31, has the perfect blend of power and finesse. Whether plucked or bowed, Aren lays down the backdrop, keeping the music full and pulsing. Aren has held up the bottom end with groups such as The Grateful Groove, Mimi Burns Band, Katznejammer and countless others.

Songwriter JEFF LIPMAN, 31, has the pulse of THE GROUP. An Angola, IN native, Jeff has been writing since boyhood. Having spent his songwriting internship in the critical bars of Nashville, TN, Jeff learned to remain inventive and write from the gut. Now, with his first full length albumn of original music and a quality backlog of original material, Jeff Lipman and THE INFORMERS are ready to spread the word with energetic, moving original music that swings, rocks, sways and stomps it's way through the deep and divers influences of it's members.