Man in a Crowd
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Man in a Crowd

New York City, New York, United States

New York City, New York, United States
Band Pop Americana

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"American Songwriter Daily Discovery: Man in a Crowd"

ARTIST: Man In A Crowd

SONG: “Why Should They?”

BIRTHDATE: 09/11/1988. Yep.

BIRTHPLACE: Morristown, NJ

AMBITIONS: Making music that speaks to as many people as possible for as long as humanly possible. I’d also like to visit all 50 states and see as many awesome things as I can.

TURN-OFFS: Pretentiousness, ignorance, sports hatred, indecisiveness.

TURN-ONS: Confidence, ambition, bright eyes, sundresses, musical ability.

DREAM GIG: A sold-out Madison Square Garden. How cool would that be? Looking up at that 1993-94 Rangers Stanley Cup banner while playing songs that I wrote.

MOVIES I’VE SEEN MORE THAN ONCE: Good Will Hunting, The Dark Knight, Shawshank Redemption.

CELEBRITY CRUSH: Carrie Underwood.

WHAT MAKES A WOMAN SEXY: In addition to having “great assets” and all that good stuff, I like a girl to know what she wants. Also, just being easy to lounge around with is a big plus. I’m super neurotic about most things in my life, so it’s always a breath of fresh air when I find someone who instills a sense of calm in me.

5 THINGS EVERY MAN SHOULD OWN: A bottle of Johnny Walker Blue Label to be enjoyed only on special occasions, MLB The Show video game, Mark Messier: Leader, Champion & Legend on VHS, a Keurig, and deodorant.

THINGS I LOVE THE MOST: Making music, epic facial hair, good books, good girls, wacky conspiracy theories, NY Mets, NY Giants, NY Rangers, roller coasters, and coffee.

I WROTE THIS SONG: about one of those days where you really get down on yourself. It’s about a lot of things that I do in my personal life that I know don’t make any sense. I romanticize relationships and sharing moments with others, but I also really like to just be left alone. Sometimes finding that balance can be very tough and make you question yourself and your personality. There is a lot of imagery like that on our record. This is probably the “low-point” song on the record, with the other tunes lending themselves more to explaining the long journey out of that mindset. Writing songs is my outlet for a lot of these introspective feelings. I think it’s important to acknowledge your own flaws and then work to understand them. Becoming more self-aware is part of growing up and evolving into a happier, more mature person. So this song is that long, hard look in the mirror.

Listen to “Why Should They?” from Man In A Crowd at American Songspace. - American Songwriter


"Unsigned Corner: Man in a Crowd"

Name: Man in a Crowd (Matt Talmage - Vocals/Guitar, Meg Riley - Vocals, Dan Semenza - Keys/Piano, Peter Recine - Guitar, Ian Tait - Bass, Chad Elrod - Drums)

Sounds Like: A sensual blend of Counting Crows, Augustana, Limbeck, and Jimmy Eat World. Rock 'n roll with equal parts pop and alt-country for good measure!

History: The band came together in December of 2010 while Matt was writing songs for a solo project, then titled Matt Talmage & The Giddyup. Matt had previously worked with Dan and Pete on projects in high school and asked them to play with him on a couple of shows. The three started writing together and fleshing out the songs Matt had been working on. Pete introduced us to Chad who brought an absolutely over-the-top energy to the band immediately - he's a crazy person. Ian came in to hog out on the bass and Meg was a friend of the band for a long time and her and Matt had been singing together just for fun. As the songs began to get more complex vocally, it became a no-brainer to add her in on vocals and allow us to focus heavily on vocal work and harmonies. It took a year to really solidify everyone's role in the band but as we became closer as friends and better at writing together, we started treating the entire thing as a very cohesive unit with everyone having a say in writing the tunes. After playing shows and working up some buzz in NYC for a year or so, we started writing for the record and then headed into the studio in Boston. Six months later, we released our debut album, Don't Paint Your Days So Gray on October 23, 2012. Since the album release and its sold out release show at the Bowery Electric in NYC, we've been focusing on increasing our visibility to anyone and everyone that will listen, booking shows for the rest of 2012 and beyond into 2013, and growing keeping our live show tight and energy-packed.

Something Special: Matt loves the Mets, the Rangers, and the New York Football Giants and hates the rain, raisins, and choosing a place to eat; Dan and Ian are often mistake for brothers and both love the Green Bay Packers; Meg absolutely dominates at Scrabble and loves her cat Yoshi more than she will ever love anyone in the band; Pete is particularly fond of double dirty Chai lattes (and really anything else dirty that he can get his hands on); and Chad is very fond of assigning nonsensical nicknames to each of the band members (Socks Johnson and Double Barrel Riley come to mind). The band as a whole has a general affinity towards a nice whiskey.

Where to Find: www.maninacrowdband.com, facebook.com/maninacrowdband, and twitter.com/maninacrowdband.com

Future Plans: Now that the album has been released, we are concentrating on being the best band that we possibly can be. That means playing all of the shows we can in NYC and the Northeast, making sure our live show is always tight, energetic, and not to be missed, and building up a regional fan base here in New York and online. Right now, as a relatively young band, we want to get into a position to take this to the next level and get in front of a larger audience, so we are doing everything to ensure that we can do this 100%. If the opportunity presents itself, we're ready to jump in a van and start touring - we want everyone to be a part of the Crowd! We'll also be releasing a lot of new stuff in the coming weeks - live performance videos, acoustic songs, etc.

UC Takeaway: "We hope people will see the honesty and heart that has gone into writing these songs, putting them to tape, and playing them live. We are extremely proud of the record - all of the harmonies are natural and untouched, every guitar solo was done a million times over until it was perfect, and many of the tracks were recorded live. But we don't think anyone's really experienced Man in a Crowd until they've seen us live - that's where we'll be jumping around the stage, screaming our lungs out and stamping our feet, and encouraging audiences to sing every word with us. In a fickle industry that seems to have lost its identity and cannot come to grips with the changes that face it, our goals are to bring some honest songwriting to the game and an unforgettable live show." That's a message form Man in a Crowd, and it makes a good point. In a tough industry, you have to know what your strengths are and be able to play to them. There are so many different things bands and solo artists can focus on throughout their careers, such as recording music, live show, marketing and publicity, merchandise, a schtick of some sort, etc. But you don't need to do it all; in fact, if one area isn't your forte, you're better off seeking out help and putting in your effort in where it'll be more useful. Of course, it doesn't hurt to expand your repertoire, so in your spare time, try to add to your resume of skills, thereby allowing you to do more in the future while remaining independent. Alright, enough of that - think about what your strong suit(s) may be and listen to - Unsigned Corner


"Man in a Crowd Hometown Article"

Four young musicians from Monroe performed with their band, Man in the Crowd, at The Bowery Electric in New York City during a release party for the group’s debut album, "Don’t Paint Your Days So Grey."

A sold-out crowd of 200 people, including family and friends of the Masuk High School graduates, attended the milestone event on a Saturday night at the lower Manhattan club.

Band members from Monroe are Matt Talmage (Masuk ’06), vocals and guitar; Dan Semenza (Masuk ’06), keyboards; Ian Tait (Masuk ’07), bass; and Peter Recine (Masuk ’06), lead guitar and vocals. Meg Riley, a 2006 Trumbull High graduate, provides vocals, and Chad Elrod, of Seattle, is on the drums.



'We really liked working together'

Talmage, a 2010 graduate of St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia with a degree in marketing, said he turned to his high school friends when he decided to start a band. For a while, Talmage was writing songs and performing solo shows with his acoustic guitar at open mic nights.

“When I looked at starting a band, I recruited people I knew back in high school,” Talmage said.

The Monroe musicians were all involved in Masuk’s music program. “We really liked working together,” Talmage said.

Tait and Recine went on to study music in college and currently work full-time as professional musicians. Semenza and Talmage are both employed in the marketing and advertising industries. All band members except Tait now live in New York City.



Rock/pop style

Although the lyrics of all the tracks on the album are written by Talmage, all of the band members collaborated on its musical compositions.

“The music is Americana-style rock with a lean towards pop,” Semenza said. He said fans of bands such as Augustana, Counting Crows and the old Wilco should enjoy the album.

[The album cover.]

The album cover.
“I’ll write a basic outline — with a chord progression and lyrics, the skeleton of a song — and we collaborate on how to add in all of the layers,” Talmage stated.

"Don’t Paint Your Days So Grey" was created over a two-year period. Talmage began writing lyrics around the same time his college career was “winding down.”



Adjusting to the real world

In penning songs about this important time of transition, Talmage conveys an optimistic message about change. “It was a huge adjustment to step into the real world,” he explained. “It was about maturing and growing up. Being back in Monroe after graduation made me feel like I’d come full circle.”

Along with a feeling of uncertainly, though, Talmage learned lessons about change. “I learned that the tides will turn if you just wait,” he said. “Part of the fun is not knowing what the next will be.”

According to publicity material, the 12-song CD is “about looking in the mirror. It’s about learning to live with the imperfect person who is looking back. It’s about the kind of twilight that exists between youth and whatever comes after it.”



How the band was named

The majority of the album was recorded in Boston. It was there that the band acquired its name.

“I was thumbing through a photography book that was in the studio and looking at photos of crowded New York City streets in the 1950s and 60s,” Talmage recalled.

(Story continues below)

[Man in the Crowd band members are, from left, front: Dan Semenza and Meg Riley; back: Peter Recine, Matt Talmage, Chad Elrod and Ian Tait. Four members — Semenza, Recine, Talmage and Tait — are Masuk graduates.]

Man in the Crowd band members are, from left, front: Dan Semenza and Meg Riley; back: Peter Recine, Matt Talmage, Chad Elrod and Ian Tait. Four members — Semenza, Recine, Talmage and Tait — are Masuk graduates.



The band members initially joked about calling themselves Man in a Crowd. Talmage said they thought the concept was “cool,” and as they headed back to New York, the idea stuck with them.

Semenza added, “We also thought it was appropriate because we all came to New York City after college, a place where 9 million people live, and we founded this one band out of a crowd of musicians who are playing in bands in the city.”



Hope to perform live more in future

"Don’t Paint Your Days So Grey" was partially financed by a fund-raising campaign on Kickstarter.com. Though they declined to give final production costs, Semenza said, “It’s definitely pricey to produce an album.”

Their dream is for the album to be successful and lead to full-time concert work. “Hopefully, the album will do well and we can hire a manager and someone to do public relations and marketing for us,” Talmage said.

Currently, Semenza is responsible for the group’s publicity. “We’d like to be able to open for some larger bands,” Semenza said.



To learn more about Man in the Crowd, go to facebook.com/maninacrowdband. - The Monroe Courier


"Album Review - Man In A Crowd - 'Don't Paint Your Days So Gray' - Out Now"

Eastern US six piece Man in A Crowd have been honing their brand of Americana tinged rock for a couple of years now, attempting to distill their genuine love of writing and playing music into this debut album. The result is a strong collection of 12 songs which retain a stringently upbeat sensibility, tracks which will keep fans of soft rock tapping their toes throughout.

Whether they're using the full band sound of 'Like the World is Ending' (track 5) or the lighter guitar picking of 'Make a Change' (track 4) or 'A Little Too Far' (track 6), Man In A Crowd display a refreshing lack of pretention on this LP. There are no self-conscious attempts to subvert a genre, or experiment with the formula which has brought success to so many bands before them - instead they write tracks that would settle safely into radio playlists the world over, with upbeat grooves that demonstrate an infectious positive streak.

All this means is that, while you're unlikely to find anything here you haven't heard before, this is still an album which deserves your attention. Harmonies soar over singalong choruses, electric and acoustic guitars blend to create an upbeat string of major chords. To compare the album to the more positive aspects of Counting Crows' output wouldn't be an injustice, as Man In A Crowd share a similar sound, though arguably with a more bluesy feel.

Overall this is an album which could potentially appeal to rock fans of all ages. The production is excellent, and some of the stylistic choices are taken firmly from 21st century influences. Meanwhile, the chord patterns and feel of many of the songs could be taken from traditional country records. It's an interesting mix, and a difficult line to tread - using familiar tropes while trying to create something new and exciting. In this case, it's the pure positivity of the songs that wins through. In the real world many of us are facing tough times at the moment, and this album is a place where you can gain a bit of respite from all that - and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Review by Steve Boniface - My Dad Rocks (UK)


"Man in a Crowd Album Review"

It’s official. The clocks are turned back, the leaves have gone out blazing and a chill has settled in. It’s November ( Movember, if you’re the ‘stache growing type) and the big beats and huge hooks of summer are growing quiet. Depending on where you live, you’re probably staring down at least two or three months of gray skies, maybe snow, maybe ice and slush, maybe a cold or two.

How about a little upbeat Americana to get the gloomy months off to a glowing start?

Enter: Man In a Crowd. The New York City based band pulls inspiration from late 90s/early 00s alt-rock without ever feeling derivative or – to put it bluntly – as boring as many of the artists that ruled radio at the time. It’s a bit Matchbox 20/Nine Days/Counting Crows, but shot through with the rambunctious honesty of The Replacements.

First single “Stuck” jumps right in to the rock n’ roll deep end with a crackling hook, warbling organ and a galloping chorus.

Each song feels equally lived in, drenched in harmonies and honest to a fault. Opener “Wine and Excuses” might pack even more gale force into its three and a half minutes than “Stuck,” especially when singer/songwriter Matt Talmage’s vocals are doubled down on by Meghan Riley’s own set of pipes.

And lest you think every track is a barn burner, I’ll leave you with an shuffling slow jam – for the days that are just too cold and too gray (whether you painted them that way or not) for dancing.

Make sure to check out Man In A Crowd’s Facebook and Twitter, along with a in-depth interview at Property of Zack. - Music Without Labels


"Man in a Crowd - Don't Paint Your Days So Gray Album Review"

For a person that typically stays away from country music, reviewing this album was treading very close to that line for me. The official genre of New York’s Man in a Crowd is indie rock / Americana. I suppose with my liking of folk groups like Mumford and Sons and The Lumineers it was only a matter of time before bands in Man in a Crowd’s sphere began infiltrating the sound-waves in my vicinity. While I’m still getting used to the sound, I can say that Man in a Crowd accomplishes their goal well. That is, their goal is to provide some fun listening to multiple audiences. The cross-appeal of this band is strong, but they are still not for everyone.

Like I said, the “listen-to-everything-but-country” crowd may be a bit harder to win over. With the twang in happy-go-lucky sounding “Wine and Excuses” some people may be inclined to shut the record off. Most, however will find it enjoyable.

“Stuck,” more of a jam-rock song in the vein of Moe. or indie reggae/rock group Lionize is a good song for a new fan to start with. It eases you into the Americana sound, with plenty more indie rock to go around. Rhodes make an appearance (hence the Lionize reference). Rhodes may be one of the most unlikely versatile instruments. The prominent ambient alt-rock group MUTEMATH uses them extensively in Odd Soul – but I digress. Diversity continues in the Fleet Foxes sounding “Make a Change,” and “Like the World is Ending” instrumentally sounds like a remix of Third Eye Blind’s “Semi-Charmed Life.” This is probably personal preference, but for me the best part of the album is in the middle. However, I find this to be a refreshing deviation from the norm (highlights include “Wake Up” and “A Little Too Far”). Much like the album started, “Tides” ends the album with twang, albeit in a more subdued form. The balance of the meat of the album is all over the aforementioned spectrum. The plus side is that with an audience as wide as Man in a Crowd is likely to appeal to, people’s favorites will be spread evenly among the 12 songs on the record. What won’t be debatable however is the well-interwoven male and female harmonies and the objective musical talent of the band. While it may take awhile to affirm their musical identity, Man in a Crowd has certainly released a promising debut.

Score: 3.5/5 - I Am Tuned Up


"Man in a Crowd - Don't Paint Your Days So Gray"

It’s Saturday night and you are in the car with your lady-friend, heading out for your weekly date night. What you need now is a soundtrack – but it has to be common ground. You fiendishly roll the wheel of your iPod looking for something that she’ll enjoy: how about the latest Circa Survive? Nope, she didn’t like Anthony Green’s voice (a potential relationship ender, but don’t worry about that now. You need to focus). That new Converge album? Not a chance in hell. The Menzingers? Too gritty. Hot Water Music? That’s even grittier, get a hold of yourself! The panic begins to set in. “I don’t want to listen to acoustic cuts the whole night again, but what else is there?” you ask yourself. The Sounds? No, we listened to that last week. Gah! You better hurry, because you know if something isn’t picked soon, your stereo is doomed to another night of Rhianna, Top 40, and techno.

And to think, all of this could have been avoided if your iPod had been home to Man In a Crowd’s latest album, Don’t Paint Your Days So Gray. The band’s début album is a refreshing mix of Jimmy Eat World styled rock, Americana, and (oddly enough) pop-country. I know that the latter might come off as a slight to the band, and they would probably disagree with the inclusion of it in my description, but it is actually an interesting and endearing part of their charm. Rest assured, while DPYDSG has flashes of pop-country, it would in no way sound at home on a country radio station next to Garth Brooks and Faith Hill (are they still relevant? This writer could not be more unaware).

Man In a Crowd kick the record off with an intro that features the band singing multiple harmonies over simple piano chords. I am a big fan of intro songs, but they are frequently abused by artists that draw them out into uninteresting pseudo-songs. Thankfully, that is not the case with ‘End of the Road,’ a snug 40 second-long teaser that fades nicely into ‘Wine & Excuses,’ the second track on the album. ‘Wine & Excuses’ is MIAC at their best. It seamlessly blends the aforementioned genres into one streamlined three and a half minute song, while also showcasing the sweet harmonies of lead singers Matt Talmage and Meg Riley. In fact, it’s songs like this one and ‘Like the World is Ending’ that make this a great date night album – nothing says “adorable couple” like duel vocal parts. On tracks like these, Talmage and Riley blend their voices into one cohesive vocal masterpiece that allows their choruses to absolutely soar.

The album has its fair share of rockers, and they are all worth listening to, but it’s the slow burners that really show MIAC hitting their stride. ‘A Little too Far’ has the band sounding like an alt-country Josh Ritter. The guitar work of Peter Recine is top notch, as he is able to ensnare the listener with sounds reminiscent of whale calls, which supplement the song’s quiet beginnings and effectively contrast the powerful outro . If ‘A Little Too Far’ gets your juices going, be sure to check out ‘Make a Change’ and ‘Why Should They?’ for more sweet slow rolling tunes. You will be glad you did.

On ‘Ellie,’ a minimalistic sound shows off the songwriting capabilities of MIAC. Talmage, Riley, and Co. happily remind everyone that all you need for a great song is a little acoustic guitar, a simple drum track, and the ability to write a pop hook that will stay in your head for days on end. The band pushes this concept even further on ‘Tides,’ only this time around it’s just acoustic guitar and saccharin-sweet melodies.

Another highlight worth pointing out is the mid-tempo rocking of ‘Wake Up.’ The song pairs a catchy guitar riff alongside some of the album’s most thoughtful lyrics. One can’t help but think of what Talmage has gone through as he sings, “Wake up , wake up. What are you waiting for my brother? Get yourself up out of bed and put one foot in front of the other. Things will get better.” These words are indicative of the sincerity that flows through every song on the album, and they make for a listening experience that extends beyond head-bopping. Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Dan Semenza’s ivory tickling on the first verse (it’s actually keys he is tickling, but that doesn’t sound nearly as cool). It’s not that Semenza is challenging Yanni for fastest fingers, so much as he’s able to create a memorable piano melody that dominates most of the verse without sounding out of place. The majority of the song is driven by a fairly heavy guitar riff, and that touch of piano in the song’s opening pushes it from just-another-rock-song, to truly memorable.

Although DPYDSG features plenty to write home about, it is not without its faults. There are a handful of lackluster moments on the album that leave me either wanting for more alt-country or more….identity. There are a couple songs (notably ‘Stuck’ and ‘Take the Edge Off’) that aren’t bad songs, but that could have been pushed out of filler terr - Type in Stereo


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

We love making music and playing shows. Were not that good at writing third-person biographies and comparing our sound to a synthesis of indistinguishable post-genres. We hope our songs will get your feet stomping, your knees knocking, and your heart pounding because thats
what they do for us. Dont Paint Your Days So Gray is our first album. We wrote it over a period of two years in living rooms, basements, rehearsal studios, and dive bars. We recorded it over a period of four months in Boston and New York City. Its about looking in the mirror. Its about
learning to live with the imperfect person who is looking back. Its about the kind of twilight that exists between youth and whatever comes after it. Its the culmination of years of searching for direction, and the realization that there really isnt one. Were really proud of it and hope youll give it a
listen.

Band Members