Jon Epworth & the Improvements

Jon Epworth & the Improvements

BandRockPop

2007 East Coast Music Award Nominee - "Alternative Recording of the Year" Halifax, NS based indie rock band with influences from early british rock/pop and modern indie rock, stressing lyrical and musical integrity.

Biography

Whenever we perform, which is often, there is a moment during one of our songs, no matter how many times we've practiced or played it, whether it be in front of hundreds of fans or ten persons unfamiliar with our repetoire, when I believe we all share a genuine, collective smile; therein lies the secret to a beautiful musical group. That is what we have. That is what we mean to each other on the stage.

"To the pear shaped men and women living in these downsize-era urban discotheques
all your dreams are covered in cheese
waiting for your giant royalty cheques …"
-- Extra Fries

Jon Epworth makes an impression. But he is not merely out to impress, and this distinguishes the Halifax songwriter from many other frontmen. He nudges (and sometimes jostles) us out of our complacency. Whether being carried godlike onto the stage by a procession of rock slaves or exploring serious questions through absurd humour and raucous rock, Epworth compels and challenges beer-numbed minds, straddling the line between musical performance and performance art.

Although Jon Epworth has performed in diverse bands over the past 12 years, his previous two albums (MM/DD/YY, 2002 and Two Sessions, 2005) were performed solo and recorded according to a DIY ethic. His songs, however, began to diverge from previous musical efforts and he began to look for a fuller sound. The resulting union of Epworth with his accomplished band, The Improvements, and the release of their debut disc Wet on Wet, marks an explosive twist in Halifax music mythology.

Consisting of Jason Vautour (guitar), Shane Kerr (bass), and Mike Belyea (drums), the Improvements is a collective of veteran Maritime musicians unified by a love for smart soul and pop-saturated rock. The newly-formed group proved to be game for the challenge of Epworth’s new material, their eclectic backgrounds and expert musicianship providing depth to his initial offerings.

As the band’s material grew, recording prospects loomed. Ultimately choosing to work with revered Halifax engineer Laurence Currie (Thrush Hermit, Buck 65, Wintersleep), the band rolled up its sleeves to work on what would become the incomparable Wet on Wet (2006). Recording the tracks live off the floor ensured that the frenetic energy of their live performance remained intact.

As walls of rhythm build and fall under explosive guitars and dynamic vocals, it quickly becomes apparent that this record offers more than cheap aesthetic thrills. “Epworth sounds fully in command on the album,” a full-length Coast cover story notes, citing “fantastic production” and “strong songwriting” as key elements of the album’s appeal. From the subtle craftsmanship of “Extra Fries,” to the arresting power of “Gone,” the album fuses into an urgent sound that is nothing but rock ’n’ roll. The scrappy guitars and lush vocals of “Please Stop Celebrating” and “Static Receiver” lead the pop charge on the disc, while the brooding darkness of “The Guilt” and “1st Platoon” and deliver a more sombre tone (“His hair is sticky and his eyebrow's cut/ the eye beneath it is swollen shut / due to lack of restraint and a wicked tongue/ that's where these decorations come from” – 1st Platoon).

The result? Wet on Wet is a work of diverse elements shaped into an impressively focused unit, not unlike the musicians who made it. And the future is promising: the record has already earned a nomination for the 2007 East Coast Music Awards “Alternative Recording of the Year”, as well as a trio of nods from Music Nova Scotia for Group Recording of the Year, Alternative Recording of the Year, and Album of the Year. An international press campaign will follow on the heels of a worldwide digital distribution agreement through IODA (Independent Online Distribution Alliance) beginning early in 2007. With constant touring, newly acquired Canadian distribution from Sonic Unyon (physical), and a national video and single to be launched in January 2007, Jon Epworth and The Improvements are set to unsettle us--one show at a time.

Lyrics

Please Stop Celebrating

Written By: Jon Epworth


Please stop celebrating now cause everybody lost the war
Johnny American is fucked up beyond the point of love anymore
They're crying in the streets cause their minds have been diseased
from seeing children burned to death
not how it's supposed to be but hey it is man

Chorus:
please stop celebrating
baby just wanna come home

no need to tell you president
that you'll fight to the death because he already knows
the best and the brightest and the most charming
are the kids that he chose
trying to defeat where strangers shouldn't be
check for bombs in urinals every time you pee that's how it is man

Chorus

The Body

Written By: Jon Epworth


The body a temple
the body is evil
we evil embody free easy greedy

when power is given to people unhindered
their minds full of pablum
covered up in white talcum

Chorus
I'm writing letters
of recommendation
approving your proposal
to elect this citizen who's of sound mind and healthy body

weak bladder
weak mind
youth strong
decides

Static Receiver

Written By: Jon Epworth


I snapped my head around and thought I would go crazy
why do you feel the need to kick and punch me baby?
you've got an attitude like living in me is a joke
there will be some disdain when I refuse to poke

you want the everyman who's so concerned with fitness
throw daddy's money at the preparation hit list
forget the money and forget the institution
you want some candy not a social contribution

this is a station ID
you give my station a squeeze
this is a station ID
what do you want from me

Discography

MMDDYY (2002)
Two Sessions
Wet on Wet (2006)

Distributed in Canada through Sonic Unyon
Digital distribution through IODA (worldwide-2007)

Set List

Please Stop Celebrating
The Body
Extra Fries
Golden Age
Cities
Strobes
For Many Years
Why Do it
Arteries
Say You Don't Care
Gone
The Guilt
Babies
One

One Set
45 - 1:20
Two Sets at
45 Each

Covers are Possible if required but not typical