Incognito Sofa Love
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Incognito Sofa Love

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"....a heartfelt repertoire of modern funk fed by the roots of classic rhythm and blues, something that George Clinton would get up and dance to." - Mystic River Press


32 | INCOGNITO SOFA LOVE Hot Pink

"Originally released in 2006, ISL's sophomore album was scattered with catchy melodies, sweet riffs and often strange lyrics about anything ranging from threesomes to coral reefs. After being signed to Tribe Records, Hot Pink got reworked, adding a whole new feel to a record that was previously just good songs collected on disc. The record somehow stays consistent while bouncing between heavy funk, barroom blues-rock, Beck-like playfulness and segues that mimic Mule Variations-era Tom Waits. No one but this band could pull this off and yet I feel they haven't even created their swan song." - Music Is My Radar / WCNI


"In this world of labels, categories and classifications, it’s
terribly refreshing when a band comes along that defies
hackneyed tags, and concocts their own singular brew of
music. One such group hails from New London,
Connecticut - the stylishly named Incognito Sofa Love
(or ISL as the hipsters call them). After fully inhaling
their new CD release “Hot Pink”, the varied sounds
therein range from jazz fusion to soulful funk, with even
a little profanity-laced hardcore punk rock thrown in just
to scare the grandparents. In fact, so different is the
sound that ISL makes, they were compelled to come up
with a label of their own to describe it - SPUNK! In the
Land of Incognito Sofa Love, spunk is defined as “an
exploration through and combination of improvisation,
or Jam, and intricate, painstaking songwriting”. Of
course when I was in Junior High it meant something
else entirely. But I digress.

ISL walks that tenuous tightrope of employing oldschool
vintage sensibility with a post-modern edge in
execution. Aside from the classic sounds used
throughout “Hot Pink”, which include a lot of wah-wah
and mellotron (sadly misspelled in the disc’s liner
notes), the topics covered in the song lyrics conjure up
all sorts of vices enjoyed well over thirty ago by the
masses. Track titles like “White Powder”, “Pour Me
Your Love” and “Red Light” should speak for
themselves.

The disc kicks off with the appropriately entitled “Hot
Intro”. This groove laden instrumental would be quite at
home serving as incidental music behind some Marilyn
Chambers / John Holmes porn flick circa 1972. In fact
so hot is the track, that a plaintiff wail of “oh that’s
soooo hot….” can be heard punctuating the song’s
fadeout. Oh yeah, now that IS hot...

“White Powder”, the band’s ode to the popular
crystalline tropane alkaloid, is built around a funk-rock
feel, which periodically metamorphosizes into a doubletime
hardcore headbanger’s delight. “White powder
pilin’ up my life so rough - White powder let me be,
there’s just so much of you it makes it hard to see – snow
snow snow, everywhere I go, I just can’t seem to get
away”.

Continuing on the disc’s thematic jaunt of debauchery
and revelry, “Pour Me Your Love” poetically correlates
receiving the love of a good woman with getting
sh#tfaced. “It’s time to drown away my sorrow and just
get high, cause I don’t know if I can make it through or
just get by – Because my cure it ain’t no pure grain, it’s
just your love and my endless flatter”.

And to complete the trifecta “Red Light” encompasses
the fantasy of most red-blooded males, unless of course
I’m completely misreading the song’s abstruse subtext:
“How much fun with two of us can happen, make it three
and our time will be snappin’ – I can’t even fathom the
fun that the three of us will be havin once the three of us
get cozy together”.

All in all, Incognito Sofa Love’s “Hot Pink” is a creative
little CD with some really cool musical performances.
From all reports, the quartet are doing it to audiences
nightly in and around their native New London area with
great results. And if all of this isn’t enough to convince
you, consider the following. ISL is running a “Show us
your sofa” contest, where you submit a picture of your
sofa and the winners will have THEIR own personal
“love sofa” incorporated onto one of the band’s official
ISL T-shirts.

To paraphrase the exalted, meritorious poet laureate
Paris Hilton, “Now that’s hot......”" - Motif Magazine


"Incognito Sofa Love is like an old friend to the Sunday night crowd at the Captain Daniel Packer Inne. Everyone knows the members of ISL, say hi as they walk by, and ask about new songs.

There are some "every weekers" at the bar waiting for the band to start, those who hang out every Sunday night downstairs at DPI to see the band. The band members finish setting up their gear - they’re ready, especially since bassist Justin Credabel is wearing a robot helmet and guitarist and singer Rob Jensen has a rainbow wig and a red clown nose. It is almost Halloween, remember.

Incognito Sofa Love has been together for about seven years. It was formed from another band, CoCo Joe, and the side project offshoots of its members, the Mystic Five and the State Pier Project.

The band made up its own word for its sound, fending off those annoying, "What kind of music do you guys play?" questions - "Spunk." Or you can call it "PostPunkJazzFunk," but only when said at top speed.

"It just rolls off the tongue," Jensen said.

ISL is made up of Rob Jensen, 24, on guitar and vocals, Justin Credabel, 28, on bass and vocals, Adam Demorest, 29, on saxophone and vocals, and Michael Winslow, 28, on drums.

Jensen is from Stonington and now resides in Mystic. Demorest is from Stonington and now resides in New London, where Credabel also was born, raised and still resides. Winslow is from Waterford and now resides in the Stonington Borough.

Jensen works at Charlestown Package Store in Charlestown, R.I., Winslow works at Dodson Boatyard in Stonington and Demorest is a bartender at the Oasis Pub in New London.

The band has played in a number of surrounding states, and has built a massive fan base in Southeastern Connecticut. They have played every possibly location in New London and Mystic.

"When we started we were a lot quieter," Jensen said, which originally landed the band gigs at places in town where loud, fast and heavy bands weren’t really welcome.

And DPI has been great to the band, Jensen said, and the relationship has benefited all. The band has played DPI every Sunday night for the past five years, save for only a few nights when the band played other gigs. But the downstairs bar/dining room has the "best sound of any room in the area," Jensen said.

"The scene is just amazing," said Credabel. "And our fan base has been great. We’re writing new songs for them, to keep the people from being bored."

ISL was recently signed to Tribe Records, one of few local bands to land a contract. Getting signed to a label has definitely opened doors and affected the band and its sound, Credabel said. The band has new merchandise and the members have bought new instruments and pedals, allowing them to experiment with sounds previously out-of-bounds.

But of course, "you have to deal with a lot of L.A. crap," he added.

ISL made a record a few years ago (which was "mediocre by our standards," said Jensen) and another named "Hot Pink" last July. The band was signed two weeks after the release. Their first album on the label was a re-release of "Hot Pink," remixed and re-mastered.

In the last six months the band has probably averaged a show a week (besides the weekly DPI engagement), and has probably played 800 shows throughout its life, Jensen said.

The band is now planning to begin recording another album in January, and hopes to plan a tour starting soon, perhaps reaching up as far as Chicago.

Concertgoers may also delight in another new ISL feature - dancers. Credabel said he always dreamed of dancers.

They’re hardcore, they’ll do the whole set," he said. "(Having dancers) was always my dream, from the beginning."

(One is his wife Davana, the other’s named Amy.)

The band also has the influence of a scientist on its roster - Credabel is a kind of "rock star in the coral reef world," Jensen said, and runs Applied Sustainable Aquaculture, a 501c3 nonprofit. He also works at the Marine Science Magnet High School in New London. His day job has crossed into his musical life, producing songs like "Goniopora," referring to a species of coral he managed to keep alive for more than a year, which usually lasts months or less out of its native habitat.

Credabel has now been married to his wife Davana for eight years and has two children, 6 ½-year-old Ona and 4-year-old Isara.

From the mouths of bandmates - fans don’t have to worry about the group splitting soon.

"You start (playing music) when you’re young, the more you want to do it, the more you don’t want to do anything else," Jensen said. "It’s like a religion."

If there is no show scheduled, "I don’t know what to do with myself on a Friday or Saturday night," he said.

"It’s like crack," said Credabel of being in the band. He took a trip to Florida two years ago, "and after a week I was going nuts." He finally sought out an open mike night at a local bar and sat through hours of crappy music to have a chance to play.

"We’ve just be - Westerly Sun


"Adam Demorest, the sax man in New London freak jazz rock band Incognito Sofa Love, said that for this Sunday’s show at Mystic’s Daniel Packer Inn, the group expects the audience to be “sexy on purpose.”

“They are normally sexy,” Demorest assures, but the band wants to make sure this time.

ISL will celebrate five years of its Sunday 10:30 p.m. residency at the small basement pub.

Demorest promises an extravaganza, though could not confirm that the band would bring along its signature dancing robots.

The band tries to tone it down for the cozy confines of the DPI, but matters “tend to get loud at the end of the night.”

ISL are currently remastering an album for the Los Angeles label Tribe Muzik due out later this year." - The Day Newspaper


"most of the New London bands have punk influences... Incognito Sofa Love, a jam band, alternates between horn-driven instrumentals and hard rock." - The New York Times


Discography

LPs:
Hot Pink (2007, Tribe Records)
SofaSoGood (2002, self released)

Compilations:
Towers Of New London Vol. 3 (2004, Cosmodemonic Telegraph)
Towers Of New London Vol. 4 (2007, Cosmodemonic Telegraph)

Photos

Bio

Incognito Sofa Love, also known simply as ISL, hails from New London, Connecticut. The band has been together for eight years, playing gigs and adding heads to their ever-growing fanbase steadily throughout New England.

The band self-released their debut record, SofaSoGood, in 2003 with no distribution, except their tour van and word of mouth. Engineered by Andy Stackpole (Mos Def, Living Colour), SofaSoGood would sell out of its initial 1000 copies and gather enough buzz to be noticed by ABC World News Now, who would have the band perform live on their program. Ron Corning would later comment that ISL was "really a jazz funk!"

After three years of anticipation, the band finally released their follow-up, Hot Pink, in 2006. Hot Pink was recorded in part by Fuzz (of Deep Banana Blackout), who took a liking to their music immediately after playing a show with them. Two weeks after the release of Hot Pink, they were approached by Los Angeles label Tribe Records and signed quickly thereafter.

With the backing of Tribe Records, Hot Pink would later be remixed and Doug Sax (Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Aretha Franklin) would take on the remastering of the album. Hot Pink was released in the fall of 2007 to massive praise - both in the press and the public.

ISL's versatility is one reason for their success so far. The band can play a small jazz bar one night, an indie rock club the next and an open-air arena jam festival the night after that (it's been done). They have played all over New England and toured and performed with the likes of Deep Banana Blackout, Soulive, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, The Slip, OK Go, Girl Talk, Jason Isbell (of Drive-By Truckers), Wesley Willis, Rolla, Joey DeGraw and Granola Funk Express.

{{ VENUES }}

Toad's Place - New Haven, CT
AS220 - Providence, RI
Nectar's - Burlington, VT
ABC Studios - New York, NY
Knitting Factory - New York, NY
Whiskey Dix - Philadelphia, PA
Common Ground - Burlington, VT
Club 218 - Philadelphia, PA
Sully's - Hartford, CT
Skybar - Boston, MA
The Bitter End - New York, NY
Lion's Den - New York, NY
Alchemy - New Haven, CT
The Wheel House - Narragansett, RI
Powder Mill Barn - Enfield, CT
El 'N' Gee - New London, CT
The Oasis - New London, CT
Kenny's Castaways - New York, NY
Trash Bar - Brooklyn, NY
Daniel Packer Inne (6 year residency) - Mystic, CT

{{ COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES }}

Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Cambridge, MA
University of Connecticut, Storrs - Storrs, CT
Connecticut College - New London, CT
Providence College - Providence, RI

{{ FESTIVALS }}

Adirondack Mountain Music Festival - Lyonsdale, NY
Floralia (Connecticut College Spring Festival) - New London, CT
Sailfest - New London, CT
I Am Festival - New London, CT