Logan 5 and the Runners
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Logan 5 and the Runners

Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Band Alternative Rock


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Cocktails, anyone? Take one part Pulp, one dash Bowie, and one measure of Longpigs ’96 (dig deep), combine under neon with electronics and glam and wallop! You’ve just mixed your first Logan 5. Keen as mustard and tingling with a touch of James Bond sophistication, the Boston five-piece arrive as a bright purple antidote to gloom, best enjoyed flaming in loud bedsits where you can get yourself drunk on gusto. You’ll struggle to ignore this record if you are now or once ever were a pouting teenager, put it that way—especially if you had to do it from the greyer side of the Atlantic. Frontman David Berndt is staging a brush-war resurgence of Britpop, making good on the lycra idealism of his lookalike, Michael York from slushy Orwell opera Logan’s Run (1976). Yes, it’s a resemblance so deep-set he even worked it into the name of his band, effectively consigning them forever to the evil English twin role in the face of their nemesis’ niceness. Get set for a costumed duke-a-roo that’s smart enough to tone down on the catsuits and catawalling that eventually killed off the Darkness. These guys obviously want to live a little longer than Album #1.

So, taking their cues from the diamonds of nineties Britpop and the seventies strutters who inspired them, the Runners represent the third generation of despondent glam—the one that’s big on wireless interaction and licks that will light up Guitar Hero. Berndt can go from Jarvis Cocker coy to hip-slinking sleaze in the time it takes to find the cheat for extra distortion, and “Girls of the Internet” works like a YouTube best-of for his mentors: everything from T-Rex videos through to the Killers all whisked into a powerhouse of guitar froth. It’s designed to get you piqued (which is probably why it was given the opening slot), but from there on in Featurette becomes a non-stop party cruise of the Runners’ favourite hang-outs. “Subtitles” in particular is bound to make a few mixtapes; a sway of slow Satriani and audience lighters that likens love to a foreign-language indie film. “Who plays me / And just how likeable am I / ‘Cause when the German and French / Run together in my head / The subtitles are speaking out the truth.” Yeah, I’ve been there too. The rockier nuggets hold their own as well, with “Take Me With You”—which may or may not be a reference to the last line of Starman (1984)—giving us Eno-era Roxy Music with Ferry told to behave himself. “Like a cigarette I could drop you anytime,” ponders Berndt while skuzzy rapids run past him, faster than Bowie with a surf tan. Looks like the Thin White Duke made it across the pond after all.

Will Logan 5 live beyond thirty, though, and could their bright alloys stretch to a further LP? Put me down as a “think so.” They certainly know their shit: check out the keys from Jean De Florette (1986) hidden in the opening of “Passing the Time,” better known to British lads as the theme from the Stella Artois adverts. And there’s a Belle & Sebastian trumpet solo to die for on “Neely O’Hara,” but there’s something so relentless about the whole affair you can’t help but feel suspicious. It’s like someone’s taken you back to the silver age of Radiohead, back when Thom Yorke still wore leather, and you know that any minute now the present will start tapping its wristwatch. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just on edge because I dipped out on Pulp’s Different Class (1995) at the time due to my being busy failing metalwork, doomed to go on as the ambient soundtrack man. On that basis, I’ll tell you this for free: they could use Featurette in the victory scenes for when Hollywood turns Flight 1549 into a disaster movie. No horseshit. - Coke Machine Glow


By MATT PARISH | January 13, 2009 |

There’s a song on Logan 5 and the Runners’ first album, Featurette, where Dave Berndt sings, “I wish I could see you at night/Naked through your window.” It’s a quick, dirty come-on that gets more sinister and weird the more you hear it — especially since you can’t tell whether the sentiment is coming from a smooth operator hitting the club scene with an unbuttoned shirt and a chest full of hair or a horny teenager with a fledgling moustache in an anonymous chat room.

The Runners, who are self-releasing Featurette this Saturday at Great Scott, are a two-year-old band from Boston with their feet planted firmly in this city’s long-established Anglophile scene. On record, Berndt has this throaty Jarvis Cocker thing where he ends every other line with “Yeeeeah . . . ,” as if he were cranking out Soloflex reps inside a reverb chamber. It’s an intimidating thing to imagine walking in on.

When I sit down with three members of the band at Bukowski’s Tavern on Dalton Street, it’s a bit like meeting the men behind the curtain, the guys sitting back at the controls while their avatars do the posturing on stage. Everyone picks at a plate of steamy ranch fries. Guitarist Nick Balkin has just stepped in from his nearby desk job at Berklee; drummer Mark Beaulieu is carrying a brand-new hard drive he’s just received in the mail. (The line-up is rounded out by keyboardist/trumpeter Chris Barrett and bassist Mike DeLisle.)

“You can’t just get up there and be the same guy that was at the office all day,” says Berndt. “You’ve got to free yourself up to say things you normally wouldn’t say and do it like you mean it. You could say the same thing into a microphone with no band behind you and it would be a little different.”

Berndt’s alter ego came about when friends noticed his more-than-passing resemblance to Michael York, the thickly maned star of the 1976 sci-fi flick Logan's Run. York’s Logan is a straight-ahead guy who tells Jenny Agutter’s Jessica, “You’re beautiful. Let’s have sex.” Brendt’s Logan seems more like the guy who’d spend the night staring at a girl across the room, pondering how much like a lit, bitter cigarette his inevitably hopeless fling will be.

Still, borrowing the name is a start. Featurette is a gallery of cocky adolescent spite, defiant mood swings, and persuading girls to do things their parents don’t know about. Which would make it weird if it were, like, the guy from your office singing it.

“I’d love to say it was all off the cuff, but I don’t know,” allows Berndt. “If you have a sort of character to start off with, it helps. You have the songs written — I know what I’m going to say, so when it’s time to say it, I better say it like I fucking mean it.”

Balkin (whose parents banned rock music from his stereo until eighth grade) has a simple take: “Glam was always about getting on stage and becoming something else.”

The quintet — who’ve done time with many of Boston’s more creative pop acts (the Shelley Winters Project, American Girls Club, and Christians and Lions among them) — strutted into Pete Weiss’s Verdant Studio in Vermont last summer with a nitpicky plan for the album (they had already recorded it once on their own for practice) and a few uninterrupted nights to run free with Verdant’s hodge-podge stockpile of keyboards and guitar pedals. The result supersedes its own glitter. Yeah, it’s a Britpop record: there’s dancing-in-your-bedroom beats, that propulsive sort of industrial-fan-in-the-face energy, and huge instrumental outros cascading to the finish. But the cold synths and strangled guitars make it seem the songs would be at home playing in a rusty flying car from Blade Runner. It’s the little things — the guitar cables fraying to shit in “TV,” the morbid electronic drone mobs in “Girls of the Internet” and “Someday,” the errant trumpet melodies all over — that combine for the biggest differences. This is more than a genre exercise.

The Runners save the best surprise for the end with “Supernova,” which just sounds laden with Brit-’90s throwback potential. What we get instead is a mopy love story with a sweet tinge of ’70s country soul. The hushed Rhodes keyboard shuffles around like something in a made-for-TV Muscle Shoals recording. It’s a long way from London.

“I was a latecomer to the whole ’90s Pulp and Blur and Libertines and stuff,” says Berndt, almost apologetically. Fans should be thankful — instead of a tribute act, we have a group throwing the whole thing into a neurotic disarray, not from an elitist high but from a deep-down scavenger low. Unassuming as he might seem, Berndt makes a great desktop commando. “I just got into the idea of having the balls to say what you want to say.” - The Boston Phoenix


January 8, 2009 by Laura Bettney
Filed under Albums (and EPs)

On their debut album Boston five-piece, Logan 5 and The Runners (David Berndt - vox, guitar, Chris Barrett -keyboards, trumpet, Marc Beaulieu -drums, Mike DeLisile -bass and Nick Balkin -guitar), have managed to convey a retro, Velvet Goldmine-esque swagger mixed with the fresh exuberance and sleaze of the more glam aspects of Brit pop; at once channelling the witty sarcasm of Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker and the softer, melodramatic facets of Bowie.

For example, opening track “Girl of the Internet” opens with the drone of synths and the low rumbling of a beautifully simplistic, catchy bass line. Berndt’s vocals on the early verses here perfectly display that laconic, bored drawl exemplified by Cocker, and these verses progress with an increasing glam-rock strut towards an outstanding chorus with an anthemic Brit-poppy chord progression that is instantly memorable. The crashing guitar chords that start dropping in around the two minute mark almost serve to demarcate the retro chic of the opening from the rest, which sparkles with a vibrant modernity, bringing the sound firmly into this century.

“Subtitles” displays a more laid-back, bluesy Bowie or Eno-era Roxie Music feel, with a suitably funky bass line. The vocals, and in fact the song as a whole, display the kind of theatricality one expects of Bowie (particularly in the Ziggy Stardust era), with bells chiming in the background betraying the melancholy lyrical content to come, which is delivered with dramatic flair by Berndt who drawls over the top of a shimmering guitar line, ‘She is dead!’ The end of the song is marked by a drum and bass pattern reminiscent of a heart-beat slowing down and then fading into nothing at the end.

“Driveway” opens with a high hat heavy, disco-inspired drum pattern with swirling synths creating the backdrop. This drops down in the mix to make-way for lascivious vocals, very reminiscent for me personally of UK glam-punk noisemakers Pink Grease. However, the song quickly leaves behind its grimy Brit-pop edge and shows its true pop sensibilities, particularly in the sparkly, Summery chorus which talks of finding ‘someway to get out of here tonight’. Again, this is a song of two distinct parts, and two distinct moods; the pricklier, dance-y verse section, representing I guess a more modern edge with its party beats and reverb and then there’s the saccharine sweetness of the chorus. It can be difficult to meld such different influences and styles, but the band do it very well.

Album closer, “Supernova”, is a mellow, almost folky tribute to the end of the world,”when all the stars go supernova”. There’s some nice vintage sounding keyboard sounds heralding the start of, and continuing throughout, the second verse and after it a bittersweet, lilting guitar solo with synths hovering just behind creating the sound, supposedly, of the world ending in a rush of gentle static. What a nice way to go! - adequacy.net


by Victoria Welch on January 17, 2009

It would be easy to take a listen to the drawn-out synth introduction to "Girl of the Internet," the opener to Logan 5 & the Runners' debut album, Featurette and jump to the hasty conclusion that the local product is another one of those would-be Brit-pop outfits located on the wrong side of the Pond.

But keep listening. While this five-piece has nailed down the shiny swagger of that genre, they also bring to the disc the ability to deliver top-notch elements of garage, indie, straight up rock and alt-country. In other words, they have a knack for drawing from typically distinct sounds and musical philosophies to create something altogether different, a sound that not only keeps a listener guessing about what's going to come next, but nodding her head in appreciation when that next natural progression arrives. Featurette is an album that, by the time bluesy closer (and album highlight) love tune "Supernova" crescendos and cuts out, the listener is already ready for whatever this band wants to bring to the table next. - bostonist.com


by Jed Heneberry, Managing Editor, January 17, 2009

In these tough economic times we could all use a bit more glam in our lives. Enter Logan 5 and the Runners, a Boston band promising "Electro / Glam / Rock" with their new album Featurette, which they will debut this Saturday at Great Scott. For lead singer David Berndt and company, it all comes down to attitude.

"I think starting with the lyrics and what I'm trying to convey, it does need a certain degree of confidence to back it up," Berndt says. "But I also think there's some humanness too, the voice I'm singing from - there's some cockiness there but I think it's someone that you'd still want to come up and talk to."

Much has been said about Berndt's voice already, comparing him to heavyweights David Bowie and Jarvis Cocker. While Berndt is flattered by the comparisons, Logan 5 and the Runners are not interested in trying to sound like anybody else. In fact, people may be surprised at some of his singing influences.

"I really like Belle and Sebastian and the swagger that comes from that, which people might not realize," he admits. "I wouldn't say I'm trying to do one certain style or another, but anybody is going to be influenced by one thing or another. I do have respect for my influences."

The band, which is filled out by Chris Barrett on keys and trumpet, Mark Bealieu on drums, Mike DeLisle on bass, and Nike Balkin on guitar, do wear their influences on their sleeves, those influences being Pulp, David Bowie, and Roxy Music among others. But the band has gone about glam in a very organic way. How organic? They recorded Featurette in a barn in Vermont.

"We didn't have the crush of our day to day lives pulling one person out or another person out," he explains. "It made it more of a band record than it could have been if we recorded it up in Cambridge or something. Everybody was coming in and out of the studio commenting on different things. It may not sound like it was recorded in a barn but we had a vibe of what it would be like if we actually got paid to do this."

While the surroundings provided ample opportunity to work together as a band, there were still moments that needed a special approach to get the grittiness and roughness that is present on the record. "I did some vocal takes in my basement," admits Berndt. "I turned all the lights off and really put myself in the place of the lyrics and where they was coming from."

That roughness is present in the vocals as well as the guitar and keyboard sounds, and although the band is tight, things don't ever necessarily seem polished. Which is a very good thing. "I think that's more of an attitude thing," says Berndt. "As a singer I don't have a distortion pedal on my voice or anything, but I try to sing that way."

Fans can look forward to hearing the album fairly faithfully represented on Saturday night, walls of sound and grit and all. In particular be on the lookout for "Neely O'Hara", a standout tune that tours all of the band's various sounds and is based on a character from Valley of the Dolls. It happens to be Berndt's favorite tune as well.

"I think we just want to deliver," says Berndt. "We want to put on a really good show, that's what I always wanted this band to be. Something that people would enjoy going out and watching. A show that they're not sure what they're going to go out and see."

Logan 5 and the Runners have already delivered a cohesive glam album in Featurette that is sure to make people in Boston take notice. Great Scott is the next stop, and if they carry the same attitude with them to the stage then fans are in for quite a treat. Eight bucks is a bargain for this glam. - bostonmusicspotlight.com

Music fan or not, your average child of the '80s responds to "David Bowie" with "spandex bullfighter pants with visible package." This Saturday Logan 5 & The Runners hope to short-circuit that reptilian reaction and reveal Boston's new glam rock scene. As for male camel toe, the night includes a glam costume contest where the prize is a Labyrinth action figure. Seriously. Dave Berndt the singer and Nick Balkin the guitarist fielded our questions.


D: There's been a recent run on Hootenanny of high-heeled pink boots and extra-small men's shirts.

N: I don't think Boston knows it yet.

D: I have a pair of silver boots on order. It matches the shirt I just got at Forever 21.


D: We're bringing the best aspects of a rock show and a theme party. It's basically been my aim all along to wear heels and makeup in public, and parking at Jacque's is too hard.


D: They should put on what they normally wear to a Boston rock show and then take it off and grab something from their female partner's wardrobe instead.


D: There's something about sci-fi and glam that goes together. Silver glitter. It's a short distance between shooting that blaster and picking up that microphone.


D: Spandex is more David Lee Roth.

N: The hair bands of the '80s are to glam like Nickelback is to Nirvana.

D: Glam is about pushing boundaries.

N: You don't have to put on makeup and dress as a woman. It's about the attitude.


D: He's too big for Forever 21.

N: I was going to wear PJ bottoms with the feet built in. That's glam to me.


N: I'm going to sliiiide.

[Glamstravaganza! with Logan 5 & the Runners, Ad Frank & the Fast Easy Women, Me & Joan Collins, Sidewalk Driver. Saturday, 12.8.07 at Great Scott. 1222 Comm. Ave., Allston. 9pm/21+/$8 greatscottboston.com]

- The Dig


Featurette (January 17, 2009)



Logan 5 and the Runners are a Boston-based electro-glam rock band known for a dramatic live show that includes Moogs, loops, and platform boots. Their acclaimed, self-released debut album Featurette, recorded over 10 days in a rustic Vermont barn, was released on January 17, 2009.

The press says: "Keen as mustard and tingling with a touch of James Bond sophistication, the Boston five-piece arrive as a bright purple antidote to gloom" - Coke Machine Glow. "A retro, Velvet Goldmine-esque swagger mixed with the fresh exuberance and sleaze of the more glam aspects of Brit pop" - Delusions of Adequacy. "The result supersedes its own glitter. Yeah, it’s a Britpop record ... but the cold synths and strangled guitars make it seem the songs would be at home playing in a rusty flying car from Blade Runner" - the Boston Phoenix. "... could take on the indie club as easily as it could the arena" - the Weekly Dig.

Singer/guitarist David Berndt named the band after cult 70s sci-fi movie Logan's Run when several friends pointed out that he looked "a lot" like a young Michael York – the actor who played "Sandman" Logan 5 in that film. While L5ATR don't have songs about heavy-handed sci-fi with political overtones, much of their music is inspired by cinema. The trashy epic "Neely O'Hara" is dedicated to a character from Valley of the Dolls, "Subtitles" compares love to a foreign language indie film, and Featurette's cover art is an nod to La Nouvelle Vague.

The sound on Featurette is sometimes called "retro-futuristic," which could be in reference to the band's liberal use of ancient synths like the Optigan, a Mattel-designed adult toy organ from the 70s, and the Crumar, a back-breakingly heavy early 80s monosynth used by the likes of Duran Duran and Sun Ra.

L5ATR formed in 2006 after Berndt split with ex-Shelly Winters Project collaborator and Boston rock icon Rick Berlin. Chris Barrett plays keyboards and trumpet, Mike DeLisle plays bass, Marc Beaulieu plays drums, and Nick Balkin plays guitar.

Contact: Nick Balkin, 617.365.7382, thebalkin@gmail.com