Michael Zapruder
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Michael Zapruder

Band Alternative Singer/Songwriter


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"...one of the inheritors of Leonard Cohen's crown of thorns, Zapruder explores themes of isolation and eros without the customary whine." - LA TIMES

"Pitchfork Review"

"... beautiful folk-pop ballads resonant of the voice of Rufus Wainwright and wordplay of Andrew Bird" - Pitchfork Media

"Amplifier Review"

"It's probably not too much of an overstatement to hang the "genius" tag on multi-instrumentalist Michael Zapruder." - Amplifier

"Magnet Review"

"...vast and varied…akin to hearing Rufus Wainwright croon over Andrew Bird's simmering string arrangements." - Magnet Magazine

"Village Voice Review"

"...a damned fine singer-songwriter (and guitarist and pianist) from San Fran, Zapruder's little song-nuggets evoke Rufus Wainwright and newer Elvis Costello." - Village Voice

"Performing Songwriter Review"

"This record belongs on the shelf between Lennon's Double Fantasy and Westerberg's 14 Songs. Go get it." - Performing Songwriter

"Forkcast Review"

There are those who will suggest, with varying degrees of self-awareness and (intentional) hilarity, that an entire generation of media-bombarded, entertainment- and style-obsessed young people is essentially making the same mistake as the Baby Boomers: assuming that the stuff we buy can define us. What people who earnestly hate on blog-hopping 20-somethings don't get, and Michael Zapruder probably does, is that-- unlike our parents' generation-- even if we thought we could be defined by things we acquire, we still wouldn't actually pay for them. Sean Fanning is our Bill Gates. We'll devour your content, but good luck coming up with a business model.

On "Ads for Feelings" (they're trying to make us think we can buy happiness, maan), from his forthcoming Dragon Chinese Cocktail Horoscope, Zapruder combines the sort of horror and bleak humor familiar to anyone young enough to have survived both the War on Terror and "Crank That (Soulja Boy)". "Like a terrorist victim in Europe, I staggered out in a horrible Speedo," he intones. Zapruder, who is also the music curator for the Pandora internet radio service, recorded 2006's New Ways of Letting Go with a cast of 20 musicians, including members of Camper Van Beethoven and the Decemberists; "Ads for Feelings" has free-jazzy woodwinds and lush, eerie orchestration to match its minor-key strums and rock backbeat. But it's Zapruder's wry observations that subtly reveal themselves as the song's anchor: "I know a man who has a witty opinion/ And it's a truly insufferable thing," he notes. Hey, our generation never said we were witty. Just wittier than whoever is still running the world.

http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/article/download/142899-new-music-michael-zapruder-ads-for-feelings-mp3-video - pitchfork media Forkcast


Michael Zapruder - Dragon Chinese Cocktail Horoscope (Upcoming Release)

Michael Zapruder's Rain of Frogs - New Ways of Letting Go (Howells Transmitter 2006)

Michael Zapruder - This is a Beautiful Town (Ex/Or 2002)

Michael Zapruder - 52 Songs (52 Songs, 1999)



When you're asleep, you're you. When you wake up, you are, as well. But how that works, how we can be as ethereal as vapor at night, and then feel so solid during the day, is more than a little strange. That mysterious, single, connecting thing that persists through all of our states of mind is elusive, and worth seeking.

In Dragon Chinese Cocktail Horoscope, the new record by Michael Zapruder, we just might hear that thing speak. Dragon is a record of contrasts and oddities that moves with easy dreamlike logic from the everyday to the everynight, presenting opposites without attempting to resolve them. In the process, it offers a glimpse of wildness at the core of humanism.

Zapruder and Scott Solter (Spoon, Mountain Goats, Two Gallants, John Vanderslice) recorded and mixed the record in a two-week session at San Francisco's Tiny Telephone Studio. Somewhere in that undertaking, like fishermen dangling a net deep into the darkest waters of the Pacific, they ensnared something loose, weird, old, formless, and potent.

Zapruder brought a two-part mission statement with him. First was the idea of negative capability, the ability to be "in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason". The second was a line from a poem by contemporary poet Joshua Beckman: "This party is fucked without the karate chop of love".

With these in mind, Zapruder set about making something that would reside squarely where discontinuity and faith meet. Twenty-five songs went in and eleven came out, the survivors supported by the contributions of Zapruder's Rain of Frogs, a loose cadre of musicians and friends that now number in the thirties, and which sometimes includes members of the Decemberists and Tom Waits' bands (see www.michaelzapruder.com/rof.htm).

Minimal and tricky, Dragon Chinese Cocktail Horoscope presents a world of large spaces and tiny details. It dwells in contrast and juxtaposition. Whatever intuition made Zapruder set the two-week limit on this record, it was a good one, because the recording lacks oversight and planning and thereby exposes common threads in songs that might have initially seemed too dissimilar to belong together. What results is a larger world that feels strangely effortless and surprisingly unified. And thanks to Scott Solter, on Dragon Chinese Cocktail Horoscope for the first time, the quality of the recorded document equals the quality of Zapruder's songs. This is the best record that Zapruder has yet made.

Not long after Dragon was completed, Long Beach based Sidecho Records was one of a few labels to receive an advance copy in the mail. Owner James Cho and Zapruder struck up a correspondence, and through a kind of mutual getting-to-know-each-other process, came to feel that Sidecho would be a great platform for this piece of music.

Ultimately, a record either means something to you or it doesn't, and so now we come to the all-important bit. However it is that music feels soulful or meaningful without overdoing it, and without over-dramatizing things that ultimately turn out to be mundane; however it is that a record makes you want to listen to it over and over; that power comes from the feeling that there is something embedded in the record. It comes from the sense that the people making the record are striving for something special and are getting it right somehow.

Dragon Chinese Cocktail Horoscope is full of that mysterious thing that is so hard to name. For now, let's just call it the karate chop of love.