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The best kept secret in music


"Sandpaper EP"

Here is a nearly perfect catalog of songs, and I say nearly perfect because this eponymous record is but an EP, and I want to hear more. Each of the five tracks possess a quietly restrained eloquence that exhibits a feeling of sonic mastery and arrangement that remains wholly original in light of easy comparisons to some of Neil Young’s or Wilco’s more quiet moments. Perhaps it’s appropriate there are barely 20 minutes of music on Sandpaper, as the NYC-by-way of Bloomington, Indiana quartet recorded the tracks in an intense 48-hour session, and it also seems proper to keep tabs on the band. And you may do so by visiting, or

--Dylan Gibbs

"Sandpaper EP"

Sandpaper is a roots rock/alt-country/straight ahead down home good ol' tunes group coming from various parts of the country and the influence map. The first track on Sandpaper's five-song EP "some keys" begins as a slow rustic ballad with Walt Wells' distinctive vocals (invoking the intimicay of Chris Whitley with an edge) before kicking into a rockabilly hoedown. The second tune, "long gone," is a smooth jazzier number complete with good doses of cowbell and a vibraslap during the rocking chorus. The third track is the strongest in both tune and title; "i wish i'd never met you, but i'd do it again" is a beautiful waltz. Sandpaper are talented musicians with refreshingly un-gimmicky songs that are meant to last. - The Deli Magazine


Sandpaper Self-Titled EP, April 2005 (recorded @ Looking Glass Studios, NYC). Airplay via


Feeling a bit camera shy


Sandpaper's ascent into the rock pantheon begins humbly in Bloomington, IN in 2003. There, Walt Wells and Nathan Dillon start performing together in informal sessions with other local musicians. They realize their musical simpatico just can't be ignored, and Walt begins playing Nathan songs he has been writing and Nate begins trying to convice Walt to make the jump with him to NYC.

In Fall of 03', the duo arrives in town intent on putting together a band and finds the incredible Scott Shaeffer who is added on for a 'trial gig' at CBGB's. Scott likes what he hears and wants to continue making music with the group, but under one condition: Scott finds he is prone to shed tears whenever anyone mentions the terrifically awful band name they were using, "A Noise with Dirt on It". He demands a name change. Suggestions include the equally awful "Jimmy Jang and the Rickety Backstabbers" and "Some Guy and the Nobodys"

The boys begin looking for the ever-elusive great drummer. Jay Lepley, a friend of Scott's and fellow jazz student at The New School, auditions to hold down the group pocket and the group clicks immediately. He brings with him an orange sweatshirt, a sexy splash cymbal, and a bevy of harmonic knowledge.

The final piece of the puzzle entered when Sam Crawford, a fellow Indiana emmigrant, brought his Elvis Costello-flavored keys into the picture. Aside from bringing a broad palate of instrumental textures, Sam brought both his songs and a voice to complement Walt's smooth baritone.

Sandpaper combines the diverse tastes and talents of the quintet to achieve a brand of no-frills rock that mixes multiple sounds and influences together without being pedantic or dry. Sandpaper's emphasis is on lyrical musicianship with enough drive to make your ass shake a little. They look to play beautiful, powerful music for a rapidly developing community of like-minded souls.