SCHOOL

SCHOOL

 New York City, New York, USA
BandRockAvant-garde

SCHOOL makes songs with polyrhythmic beats, finger-picked guitar, and melismatic vocal lines that are abstract and often haunting, but unabashedly melodic. At the juncture of art music and pop, SCHOOL’s music draws on artists ranging from Beyonce to Glen Branca to Arthur Russell.

Biography

SCHOOL: CONCEPT // RECEPTION // STATUS

SCHOOL is an attempt to re-imagine Downtown composers Julius Eastman and Glen Branca as writing hit singles and Beyonce as laying down tracks over 60s minimalism. Although the project is basically brand-new, having just released its first full-length record, SCHOOL has garnered praise throughout the lower 48 for its "ethereal incantations" (Nowe Miasto, New Orleans), incorporating elements of art music, pop music, and the indigenous traditions of Bali and West Africa. On its 2010 U.S. Fall Tour, SCHOOL was met with critical support from media ranging from Seattle's plancast.com to Pittsburgh's BurghSounds to New York's flavorpill, who characterized SCHOOL as "dreamy and expansive…experimental pop."

Based in Brooklyn, SCHOOL brings together artists from numerous disciplines who have worked/performed with and alongside a variety of performing artists, most notably Dirty Projectors, Vampire Weekend, Meredith Monk, and Maryanne Amacher. While many listeners have likened SCHOOL to several of these artists, SCHOOL's diverse linear compositions have also drawn comparisons to bands as varied as Tortoise, Here We Go Magic, and This Town Needs Guns (UK).

SCHOOL's set dates back to late 2008 when multi-instrumentalist Monroe Street spent a dark autumn hiding in Vermont, writing material for nylon-string guitar and voice. While in Vermont, Street worked with musicians in grades K-5 at a local school and became inspired by his dog Harper’s valiant struggle with a volleyball-sized stomach tumor. Street’s back-to-school experience reminded him of the potential beauty in untrained, monophonic singing while Harper’s brush with death led to several songs exploring the relation of mortality, animality, and language.

Upon returning to New York in Fall 2009, Street began working on SCHOOL's peculiar and haunting vocal melodies with dance-based performing artist EmmaGrace Skove-Epes. Both untrained singers, Street and Skove-Epes continued to rehearse their unison duets throughout the winter, refining odd melodic turns and idiosyncratic pronunciations. In December, Street reunited with drummer Zach Dunham (composer and member of the Seattle-based avant-jazz collective, Lemons & Stallions), with whom he began crafting syncopated drum and guitar parts drawing on American R&B, West African, and Balinese music.

SCHOOL finally saw the light of day in Spring 2010, when the group went on the road with bassist Emma Alabaster, who joined SCHOOL for a series of Northeast college shows as well as the recording of the group's first full-length, USE YOUR BODY WORDS (more on this below). Over the summer, SCHOOL curated and performed at THE NAME OF THE NEXT SONG, an experimental music series at IBeam Brooklyn (www.ibeambrooklyn.com), which featured artists working with pop music and media such as composers David Garland, Kurt Weisman, and Woody Sullender, as well as contemporary performance groups, Opsvik & Jennings and Halvorson & Pavone. SCHOOL then jetted town again for a 30+ date tour of the U.S., traversing the lower 48 coast to coast in October and November 2010.

SCHOOL is currently working on new material, playing winter shows throughout the Northeast, and finalizing plans for spring tour and SXSW 2011.

Lyrics

DOG CURE

Written By: Street; Peggy Carey (words)

the dog returns to the bedroom rug
with a one-by-one-by-two set flush in his gums

the carpenter downstairs makes cabinets
and i hope this find is not some shim reserved
for some loose shelf
for my dog's eyes guard
this wooden tooth or tongue
he can't understand
my laughing looks so confused
in his eyes when but a minute ago
he felt so intrepid at his unnoticed steal

or perhaps he knows just how my head aches
and he's heard what a good cure a silent laugh makes
so he returns to the bedroom rug

TRAIL OF CRUMBS

Written By: Street

my eyes are tired of finding
left over coffee grinds
from when you needed them
and time, simultaneously,

and other things you could have eaten
had you not had to leave them behind
you as you moved your legs
and let set things i'll never get around to:

evaporated peaches are/and shapeless hats
now without you to dust them off of shelves
sit in wait of animation and may or may not
be living in secret, feigning a deathbed
as though able to be for me
only through these arms legs and eyes
that, called my own but known better
on and by the outside,
can no longer move the crumbs
that will no longer move themselves

your remnants which although and for
their beginning came without me
now call on these eyes to be seen

and even though no longer
am i able to seek them
without weariness
they appear

Discography

USE YOUR BODY WORDS (2010)

In June 2010, SCHOOL went into the studio to record its first full-length record, USE YOUR BODY WORDS, the title of which refers to the group's practice of elongating phonemes to make melodic vocal arabesques. Engineered and recorded by Keith Parker at the Gallery Recording Studio, USE YOUR BODY WORDS is, for the most part, a live-tracked, linear recording with a lot of old-fashioned instrumental sounds (finger-picked nylon and electric guitars, cello, doubled solo voice) happening under warm, transparent microphones. Because the record can sometimes seem to verge on an incomprehensible degree of structural density, SCHOOL decided to produce UYBW with comparably fewer bells and whistles than many recent releases, in order to provide a more detailed hearing of music's various textures and modes. USE YOUR BODY WORDS is currently being re-mastered by Josh Bonati (www.bonatimastering.com) and will be re-released in early 2011.

Airplay:
"Dog Cure" - Flavorpill.com, crappyindiemusic.blogspot.com (Portland OR blog)

"Away" - WKCO (Ohio)

Other records by Monroe Street:
SCHOOL AND COMPANY EP (2009)
MUMBLES (2008)
THE SAME COLORS (MAMA'S BOY EP) (2007)

Set List

All original material. 7-8 songs per set. 40-60 minute sets.