John Biz
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John Biz

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"John Biz Plays Eclectic Hometown Gig at CMJ"

His back to the audience, John Biz fiddled with the knobs of his Gibson SG as he moved it a little closer to the amp looking for that perfect feedback sound. As if on cue, Biz turned around, smiled wryly at his hometown Brooklyn, N.Y. crowd and launched into his trademark type of scorching grunge rock anthems. The CMJ crowd at Brooklyn Bowl was dumbfounded, impressed and mesmerized by the onslaught.

You have to forgive Biz for not being a household name. Since 2003, he's been a busy man, writing, recording and self-releasing a steady stream of critically well received EP's and full albums on his Industrial Park Records label. The collection is eclectic, ambitious and impressive, and by mid-set it became immediately obvious why a legendary producer like Steve Albini (Nirvana, Cheap Trick, PJ Harvey, Pixies) would want to work with Biz and record his last two studio albums, 'The Happiest Days of My Life' (2006) and 'Vida' (2008). To put it bluntly, John Biz is raw talent personified. His musical output is a mélange of heartfelt acoustic folk, teen angst-infused power pop, old school classic rock anthems and urgent punk riffs that explode with emotional intensity and serious musicianship.

Backed up by the able rhythm work of Ween drummer Claude Coleman Jr. and the steady melodic bass playing of Ross Hendler, John Biz and band personify the music scene right now: passionate, disparate, confused, raw and extremely talented. Biz bookended the set with acoustic songs from his recent effort, the six-song EP 'Aloha,' which is comprised of outtakes from the Steve Albini-produced 'Vida' sessions. The songs have a more folksy, quiet and reflective approach that's also a little rough around the edges at times, but indicative of a new sound and direction that will be fascinating to watch evolve. Biz is certainly an artist music fans should keep an eye on. -

"tXXXs Demos – John Biz"

"Biz is definitely all over the map on this one, yet it undeniably works."

Full Review:

Published: 2008/12/02
by Matt Brockett
tXXXs demos – John Biz

tXXXs demos – John Biz

Vida – John Biz and Higgins

Industrial Park Records

If you come across an artist you’ve never heard before, and have the chance to introduce yourself to their music through both a stripped-down solo demo and a polished full band studio album, trust me, just embrace the opportunity. Such a surprise fell into my lap when asked to review John Biz's tXXXs demos as well as Vida, his collaboration with Higgins, an NYC-based band also signed to Industrial Park Records, the label the incredibly prolific Biz founded for himself and his friends.

First off, the tXXXs demos showcase the music of John Biz in its absolute purest form: just a man, his voice and his guit-box, making some beautiful noise. It’s a great raw, no frills introduction to Biz’s songwriting style and his myriad influences, as evidenced by a number of creatively executed cover tunes like his gritty and punchy rendition of the Wipers’ “This Time” and his emotionally-charged version of the late Syd Barrett’s “Dark Globe,” which drips with genuine love for the song. On the other hand, on Biz’s cover of Neil Young’s “Tell Me Why,” the song would have worked so much better if he just sang it as himself, and not as himself trying to sound like Neil. The majority of the original songs that appear on the demos are gentle and emotional (“Buried Alone”), at times even dreamlike (“Tu Tone Blue”), yet many of them also maintain a certain punch and driving urgency throughout (“Cut Rite Chainsaw”).

While the term singer/songwriter seems to commonly be mentioned in discussions of Biz, on Vida his music is really a far cry from the sounds and moods that typically come to mind with that blatantly overused description. If the tXXXs demos are the bare skeleton of John Biz’s music, Vida—engineered by the legendary Steve Albini—is most definitely the meat on those bones, and the full band environment gives him the chance to fully showcase the potential of his songwriting. On several tunes, especially the instrumental “Lover’s Lane” and the punky yet exploratory “%,” Higgins proves that Biz signed them to his label and invited them to record with him for good reason, as they effortlessly move from dizzying speeds and intricate climaxes into bouncy slow grooves on a dime.

If forced to lump all the songs on this rather far-reaching record into a single category, the best fit would most likely be alternative rock. From the fuzzy and distorted, yet oddly melodic grunge sounds of “Lonely Girl,” to the almost 1950s crooner style and tight horn arrangements of the poppy and catchy “Sweet Tooth,” to the heartfelt high notes of “Shake The Dead Leaves,” Biz is definitely all over the map on this one, yet it undeniably works.

With his cover of Hot Snakes' “Plenty For All" Biz’s teenage punk rock years rear their head in the form of a killer tune with a balls-out vocal delivery. This same spitting, punkish vocal style is only hinted at for a few lines on the rocking “Amplifier,” and is just one of many secret weapons Mr. Biz apparently keeps in his back pocket, ready to go at a moment’s notice. Biz has a penchant for distorted guitars, as even the more subdued numbers are not without some sort of fuzzy effects. This taste for explorations in distortion and his tendency to lean towards the heavier side of rock likely influenced Biz’s decision on a producer. For those of you who were hip in the 90s, Vida contains all the “raw yet polished” power one would expect from a Steve Albini production. And for those of you who weren’t hip in the 90s, Google Albini and educate yourself. - –

"Matt Pinfield, 101.9RXP"

"Great stuff from John Biz. He's got a really cool album out called Vida. Man this is really cool - the whole album. Check it out."

– Matt Pinfield, 101.9RXP - Live on air comment re: John Biz

"John Biz @ CMJ 2008"

"Indie rock to accompany your morning subway trips for months. First it's like, then it's love."
CMJ Festival Guide 2008 - CMJ Festival Guide

"John Biz / Higgins - "Vida" (2008)"

"Don't speak. Just listen to the intros of John Biz's 'Spider Bite' and 'Reduce It To Something' and appreciate how heartfelt instrumentals (recorded by Steve Albini) can tell a story without any words. Within upbeat pop tunes, unexpected horns and subtle bass compliment distinct guitar riffs. Biz seems to enjoy switching from quick to slow tempos, which keeps listeners' interest, attentive to the scarce but important words in most of his tracks."
–The Deli Magazine

John Biz, named The Deli Magazine Artist of the Month, October 2008 - The Deli Magazine

"John Biz / Higgins - "Aloha" (2008)"

"There will surely be lip synching fans galore."
– -

"John Biz / Higgins -"

"Several influences saturate this record from start to finish, all resembling some of the solidest bands around... be sure to pick up a copy of Vida."
–Verbicide Magazine, Spring 2008


"His thoughtful delivery will call to mind Jonathan Richman with a side of The Replacements, updated for the new millennium of listeners reliving the same frustrations and longings those original alt daddies articulated so well."
–Bands On The Rise, Verbicide Magazine, Winter 2008


"John Biz is worth a listen if you too prefer The Pixies and GbV to… well, whatever shitty band your dumb kid thinks is cool."
–Verbicide Magazine, Fall 2007 - Verbicide Magazine

"John Biz - The Happiest Days of My LIfe (2006)"

"A dirty, exciting and high volume trip through one of the city's hippest minds, and as such, shouldn't dare be missed by anyone that even pretends to have their finger on the pulse of the underground music scene."
–The Deli Magazine, November 2007 - The Deli Magazine

"CMJ 2007"

"Industrial Park Records, the East Williamsburg-based label run by John Biz, a workhorse of a man who not only spent the entire showcase last night at the Tank... introducing and promoting the artists, thanking everyone who’s been supportive of them, but also performing two sets himself. He's certainly no one-trick pony."

John Biz:
"A melodic and folk-inflected group."
–Allmusic CMJ Crush Band - CMJ 2007

"John Biz @ CMJ"

"John Biz [is] a talented young man with varying musical interests. I'm getting the feeling that Biz has a challenging time sitting still; which is good for us music fans. He's got several musical persona and founded a label on top of it all to put all this great music out."

ALSO (from the same night)

CMJ07 Recommendations - Industrial Park Records Label Showcase, featuring John Biz, National Seashore, Higgins, Super Monster, Bones of Davey Jones, and Norris.

Then it was on to the Industrial Park Records showcase at The Tank - a great way to end the night.

"Said it before, but I was reminded tonight during the Industrial Park Records CMJ showcase at the Tank: steal global, buy local."
– -


John Biz - tXXXs Demos (2009)
Industrial Park Records

john biz / Higgins - Vida (LP)
Industrial Park Records
recorded/mixed by Steve Albini

john biz / Higgins - Aloha (EP)
Industrial Park Records
recorded/mixed by Steve Albini

john biz parmesan- American Awesome EP
2007 Industrial Park Records
Recorded and Mixed by Mike Moebius
@ Moonlight Mile, Hoboken

john biz - Demos for Burt Reynolds EP
2007 industrial park records
recorded/mixed 2006 by Travis Harrison

National Seashore - Love Is the Only God I'll Ever Believe In (2007)
genre: Folk
All Song Lyrics By Woody Guthrie, Performed By National Seashore

National Seashore (self titled)
genre: Folk
All Song Lyrics By Woody Guthrie, Performed By National Seashore

john biz - The Happiest Days Of My Life
2006 industrial park records
recorded/mixed 2005 @ Electrical Audio, Chicago
by Steve Albini

john biz - the B-Squad Leaders
2005 industrial park records
recorded/mixed 2003 @ kill todd now, brooklyn
by john biz, christopher hill and matt robnett

john biz - the elephant in the room
2005, industrial park records
recorded/mixed 2004 @ kill todd now, brooklyn
by john biz, christopher hill and matt robnett

shake faithful - empathy
2001 industrial park records
recorded/mixed 2003 @ some factory in brooklyn
by complete amateurs



Good Bio:

Industrial Park Records

New John Biz record due Spring 2010 ... preview tracks now!

The ever-prolific John Biz is back in the studio again, working on the follow-up to last year's Steve Albini-produced two-fer, the Vida LP and accompanying Aloha EP. This time around Bizzo has enlisted the production help of longtime friend and Budos Band member, John Carbonella, as well as the musical talents of Claude Coleman Jr and Dave Dreiwitz of Ween (among others). Though the record will be stylistically diverse, it is conceptually unified by themes of love–the ways in which we find it, keep it, lose it and carry on without it. This is a highly personal record, as all of the material was written in the aftermath of a devastating breakup, the emotional turmoil of which has proven to be fertile territory for the singer-songwriter. "We've got a mountain of material to work through," Biz says, "and we're going to finish all of it before we decide what will make the final cut, so it will be an interesting process." From blistering punk rock tunes to pretty vintage-rock ballads to psychedelic synth-folk freakouts, this record will have something for everybody.

Head over to Biz's EPK page to sample some of the new cuts:

Read a review of Bizzo's recent performance at Brooklyn Bowl:

Evil Bio:
Oh man. Another god damned band bio. I'm just gonna cut to the chase here. I've lead an interesting life and I've worked with so & so and all that fun shit. Yes - I could and should try and impress you by dropping all kinds of impressive names, but I really don't think it amounts to a hill of beans. Just listen to the music - it's all there and that's all that counts.

I consider myself an urban folk artist with a country background. Growing up I started with punk rock, fell in love with jazz and blues (and expanded from there), but my songwriting style translates all of my influences through a folk format. As a composing artist I don't know where I'd be without Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie - all of my material starts on an acoustic guitar and songs are heartfelt but have a sense of humor and humility. My live bands are almost always different, and based on the combination of musicians, any song could have various musical translations. I like to keep things moving and keep existing material changing in new and colorful ways.

That said, any recorded or live music of mine is just a snapshot of a much bigger picture, kind of like a frame in a movie. My upcoming record, called RUN is a perfect example of all of this. It is very cinematic and while each song leads into the next, few resemble each other.

My music is always different; I'm always pushing outside my comfort zone. That's just where I'm most comfortable. My band is always different. I'm always recording a new record. You'll never see the same show twice with me, and I'm always taking risks. I might be pure evil. I'm just not sure. One thing I'm sure of though is that I'm fucking going for it. Hope ya dig the tunes. Thank you kindly.