Scary River
Gig Seeker Pro

Scary River

New York City, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2007 | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2007
Band Rock Avant-garde


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Ed Schrader (Wham City)"

The closer, Baltimore’s Scary River, was a delightful bit of dirty shoe-gazing mixed with a sound that seemed to call upon the muses of WIRE and The Meat Puppets. The two guitarists donned purple wigs and handed out cake, which unfortunately had hair on it. The keyboard brought some well-balanced tinkering to supplement the infectious juvenile crooning from vocalist James Wolff. The band has certainly crystallized its influences into something earnest and new. It felt like a missing step that you wish you took in 1994, but with an urgency that is now. - by Ed Schrader | August 15, 2008 at 1:56 pm Posted in Baltimore, m

"Trip down Scary River gives scene a paddle- by Ed Schrader"

Ray Bradbury's "Rockett Summer," a tale of ephemeral sunshine brought forth by a man-made season lasting only moments, symbolically parallels Baltimore's most recent history as a music outpost.

The beams of light shining on Baltimore's scene scape are a result of intentional labor. Yet the musical architects of this strange dimension, like their fictional counterparts who develop a bomb that creates summer, might find it difficult to extend our season of good fortune, at least by themselves. How long will we be abl to maintain this level of media visibility, and kep the sauce from thinning out? Simply put, when will summer end? When will we revert to this century's equivalent to Collective Soul?

Recently, I have been witnessing a mutation in our elctro/noise DNA that I find a tad offputting. Sometimes I cringe at the thought of what lies in store for warehouse frequenters of Baltimore 2011. But the other night, while taking in a show at The Hexagon Space (1825 N. Charles St.) my faith was restored by local gritty shoe-gazer quartet Scary River. Front man and guitarist James Wolff, 26, led us along through a swampy dream trance with gnarled vocals and six-string dynamics assisted by guitarist Paul Hilton, 25; the two shifted between dirty and polished, with subtle interjections from keyboardist Brittney Harrison, 21, and minimal-yet-poignant thrusting drums fom Matthew Fisher, 29. It all felt like it was somehwere between My Bloody Valentine and The Meat Pppets, with a dash of WIRE. Not too shabby.

Influences aside, however, there was definitely something new happening. The band synthesized all of these elements into something raw and tangible, something that tasted a lot better than the same old 26 flavors of irony more commonly associated with new Baltimore bands. "The band has onl been together for a month," stated recent Peabody composition graduate Wolff, originally of Skaneateles, in upstate New York. He has been in various other bands here, and in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he took a four year hiatus to work at Ishlab studios to further his production knowledge and to pay the fightfully high rent. The band has already hit up some local hot spots such as the Ottobar and the beloved Copy Cat building, as well as SCarey Studios.

Scary River's performance renewed my hope iin the future of our fair city. At least here we see a band that is not riding a wave of trends. They are doing what they damn please, and it's about damn time. Their sound may not be Pitch-Fork-friendly yet, but that's never really been an accurate depiction of what's what anyhoo. Maybe the summer will never end.

You can see Scary River Aug.31 at The Ottobar, 2549 N. Howard St. Ed Schrader is host of "The Ed Schrader Show" and a member of the Wham City art collective. Contact him at - Ed Schrader, MetroMix Baltimore


Release Date:10-31-1982
Earlier this year, Scary River recorded a live exerpts from their upcoming debut full length release Get Control. This album was recorded and mixed by Sonar engineer Matt Kramer (Little Bear).

This album is available through TUNECORE sites including all major digital markets, the go live date is to coincide with our Halloween show at Hexagon in Baltimore, MD.



Scary River was developed after James returned from Brooklyn after creating and succesfully touring on two indie-rock bands, Motion Commotion, and Super Volcano which served as a launching pad for the development of the Scary River concept. Motion Commotion was developed through Ishlab Studios in Downtown Brooklyn and eventually went on in 2005 to record and tour on an EP produced by Jessie Cannon (Piermont Records) while Super Volcano was an offshoot that saw three of the four members self-record a demo and perform in the East Coast region, and eventually performing on the 2007 CMJ festival at the Luna Lounge in Brooklyn through Reverb Nation.

2009 has already been an exciting time in the history of Scary River. Mr. Wolff toured to SXSW in 2009 performing at small clubs, meeting record labels, and securing representation all to lock in a 2010 national tour in support of the Get Control record. In its current form, Scary River is a study in post-minimalist long-form structural movement and evolution with dark electronic keyboard textures provided by a Poly-Evolver keyboard and uptempo blasting rhythm tracks. Using Line-6 Loop pedals on the voice and guitar, these soundscapes are developed through a sound and can carry the listener into strange and interesting places.

The group is in their late 20s and are well established in the local Baltimore area, and frequently give tour support to touring national acts. James Wolff is a recent graduate from Peabody Conservatory with a degree in Composition where he studied with Grammy winner Nicholas Maw.

The lyrics are written with sharp wit, often times abstracted with meanings that extend beyond the surface, and cover a variety of subjects, often times referencing news stories and current events. Having the ability to experiment in the studio for 6 full months, every day recording and listening, tuning into the right mood and feeling for each track, gave the band an opportunity to redefine their sound and explore new textures and atmospheres.

James has since gone on to become an inventor and create a leading asteroid mining and commercial space company while working in the 3D printer industry on desktop systems and larger concrete 3D printer development. In 2015, as CEO of D-Shape Enterprises, the company received the first permit for 3D printed construction. He continues writing music, and is based in NYC. 

Band Members