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The best kept secret in music


"Missing Marcus and Punchclock at Wownet, April 30, 2004"

The sounds of Missing Marcus and Punchclock hail from a world shunned by the corporate music machine. With the recent deterioration to that stifling order, the small-time bands who continue to persevere in their own reinterpretations of rock are increasingly seen as the true heirs to the usurped thrones of rock-'n-roll. While most bands diddle their time away by rehashing fashions which have already had their heyday, both of these bands are working hard to hone their own sound and rejuvenate the traditions they love so well.

Missing Marcus, with lead singer and bassist Jess Flood, lead singer and acoustic guitarist Aron Kaufman, lead guitarist and bassist Stefan Roesch, bassist and guitarist Eric Frank, and drummer Lin Loparco‹ has been playing around Ithaca for upwards of a year. Their blend of rock music takes a lot from the rock of the 90s, sticking with the tried-and-true formulae of U2, REM, and the Smashing Pumpkins while still progressing in the artistic direction laid out by independent bands like Belle & Sebastian and Poster Children. Their performance was spectacular not only in its ideological cohesion, but also in the broad palate of musical colors from which they painted Friday night's showscape.

But nothing, it seems, could outstrip the diverse strengths of Punchclock. Mike Oppenheim, lead singer and guitarist, and drummer Al Frencklach are the group's negative terminals, unleashing a supercharged stream of lyric electrons and rhythmic epithets propelling the band's punk turbine at a new peak level of modern rock wattage. Meanwhile, the subtle tones of Cindy Williams' bass and frantic wizardry of Franck ReyHerme's guitar and keyboard pyrotechnics are the generator's positive terminal, calmly intercepting and fulfilling the other members' output while inciting an introspective sensitivity parallel to the ferocious performance of their bandmates.

Upon first listen, they sound like Wolfie, especially with ReyHerme's keyboard sounds superimposed upon more traditional rock textures; but the collection of texture Punchclock plays with leads to sounds which transcend that idiom. They have rediscovered the brilliance of monophony which is rarely heard in rock despite the best efforts of 311 to revive it in the late 90s. Their tempo and mood changes come not as some abrupt interruption of thought but more as smooth evolutions of the musical psyche. You won't get seasick on this wild ride, you'll get swept up in the journey.

"We work together to write the music," says Oppenheim. "The methods keep changing, but there's too much collaboration going on to credit any one of us with a song." And it shows. They are very comfortably at home with everything they sing and play precisely because they can work out the kinks before they take the stage. There are no jarring musical clashes in anything they produce. But don't try to nail them down as this or that other style. Says ReyHerme, "If we stick together for any number of years, we will completely move into our own genre."

Case in point: while they are all influenced by the likes of Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, and so on, Frencklach often turns to Outkast and Tupac to shape his drumming style. Meanwhile, Oppenheim a student of English literature calls upon the even more foreign muses of Kurt Vonnegut and Philip K. Dick to write his material. And for bassist Williams, visual art has an influence, too. "I have recently been hearing a lot of weird stuff while I work. It seems like I'm trying to make sketches with [our music]."

The themes of the working American are prominent in their music, but occasionally do tend toward esotericism. ReyHerme's favorite line is, "Maybe plants do feel pain." "I try to make [the lyrics] as ambiguous as possible so no one can be exactly sure of what I'm singing about," says Oppenheim. "Lately I've been in this phase of criticism with humor. Records aren't not selling because of Napster: it's because album prices are going through the roof." And the lyrics themselves: "No one is responsible:/ There's no one to blame./ I'm getting depressed,/ and I'm getting the message."

Missing Marcus and Punchclock will play together again at the Nines on May 11. Don't pass up the opportunity to see them now, because they will be selling out concerts in the upcoming years. - Ithaca Times


"Surprise Me" - Full Length 12 Track album


Feeling a bit camera shy


Punchclock formed in July of 2003 in Ithaca, NY where all four members of the band currently live and work. Each member of Punchclock earned a college diploma right before Punchclock was formed. As soon as everyone relocated to Ithaca, Punchclock immediately began crafting and performing their high energy original rock songs all over Ithaca, NY. In no time Ithaca's music fans took notice and Punchclock was headlining shows at The Haunt, drawing more than 50 people to local clubs even on weekday nights. Quickly taking the next step to continue their success, Punchclock spent the summer of 2004 recording their debut album "Surprise Me" at the Electric Wilburland Studios in Newfield, NY. When the CD was released, the press instantly took notice; a full page review of Punchclock's debut CD was printed in the Ithaca Journal on September 9th, 2004. In order to promote their recent release, Punchclock is touring all over the North East. They've already been awarded a spot at The Onion's New York City Area Rock Show. They have 2+ hours of original music in their repertoire, and they are constantly writing new material.