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The best kept secret in music


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Phonograph - Self-titled LP (2006)
Hiawatha Talking Machine - EP (2007)


Feeling a bit camera shy


It's not every day that a band receives accolades in magazines before their debut album is released, but that's precisely what is happening to Phonograph. The Brooklyn-based quintet has already garnered attention in NYC’s L Magazine ("7 NYC Bands You Need to Hear"), Relix Magazine (a new artist profile in their November ’06 issue) and is featured on Jane Magazine’s fall CD sampler. The band has also found themselves making believers out of renowned musicians including Mekons/Waco Brothers’ Jon Langford and Wilco’s John Stirratt. Phonograph vocalist and songwriter, Matthew Welsh explains. “Jon found us by accident. He walked into the recording studio where we were recording, and he kept saying it was brilliant [laughs]. We've been friends ever since, and he's been a really big supporter, helping us anyway he can, including getting us airplay on Chicago’s WXRT. [Wilco bassist] John Stirratt and sister Laurie (Broadmoor Records) stumbled upon the band and has been incredibly helpful, having us open for Wilco as often as possible.”

Phonograph is a relative newcomer to the oft-fickle New York City music scene, forming in 2005. “We've been fortunate enough to get amazing opportunities. Playing Irving Plaza, headlining Mercury Lounge and in a few weeks we’ll tape a session for WNYC. In a short amount of time, we've already exceeded our expectations.” confides Welsh.

Beginning as Welsh’s solo effort with the help of Pere Ubu’s Tony Maimone, the group’s current line-up began taking shape when a then-studio engineer, John Davis, befriended Welsh. Davis in turn introduced a pair of friends, guitarist Abe Seiferth and drummer Dave Burnett, to the fold, before multi-instrumentalist Phil Sterk recently rounded out the line-up. The additional players added new elements to Welsh's vision and expanded the range of sounds and experiences the group had to draw on. “Even though we’re known more for an alt-country aesthetic, we experiment with a variety of instruments and instrumentation. We're always going to have that element of stripped down Americana, but we want a healthy balance between interesting psychedelic sounds and good-old-wholesome-American-songwriting.” points out Welsh. “John, aside from playing bass, also plays a Moog to get all the background sounds going. Abe goes through as many different combinations of pedals as he can do simultaneously – a lot of the stuff that sounds like synth lines on the record is actually Abe. When we opened for Wilco, Nels Cline was standing about a foot away from him watching everything he was doing!”

“A lot of the songs have an outlook of the way society is run and its effects on how we perceive ourselves,” explains Welsh. [In] "In Your Mind,” there's a line emphasizing the band’s perception, "wishing lives of foolish stars keeping up with all your magazines.” A consistent listen from beginning to end, Welsh and Davis cite the album’s leadoff single, “T.V. Screens” as a favorite. Davis also points out that the song came about as a happy accident. “Matt sat down at this Optagon –a weird home organ from the ‘70s that uses transparent records – and started playing what you hear as the intro.”

Feb. 13, 2007 sees Phonograph's self-titled debut album arrive in-stores via Arclight Records. Following on the heels of release is a performance at SXSW as well as a national tour in March. Members of the band are also featured as part of an all-star line-up on The Book of Knots upcoming release on Tom Wait's ANTI label.

For further information, please contact Monica Seide at Speakeasy PR (818-363-1315 or via e-mail: Monica @