severe severe
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severe severe

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""Severe Severe""

Over the last five years, Severe Severe has undergone a name change and evolved stylistically, but their desire to create first-rate music remains steadfast. Jordan previously played with Amelang in a band called Transcontinental; he and Capritta are cousins.

Artists such as Sonic Youth, Big Black, Joy Division, Slint, The Cure, Can and Blonde Redhead have influenced the Albany trio’s no-frills approach to writing and playing. Fans have compared Severe Severe’s early 1980s post-punk inspired sound to that of Joy Division, early Cure and Fugazi.

The group has received airplay on WEQX and WRPI, and opened for well-known acts including Mike Watt and Manchester Orchestra. Jordan said Severe Severe will likely embark on mini tours of the East Coast and the Midwest this summer.

Recorded in 2007, their first full-length album, “Beyond the Pink,” is currently available online and will officially be released on CD in the next month. Track seven off the album, “The Southern Barrier,” previously appeared on the compilation “Makeshift 4.”

The band has approximately 16 original tunes, and their sets typically last half an hour.

To check out the band, visit

- Saratoga Today

""Best Transplanted Band""

The three members of Severe Severe came here from Memphis, Tenn. (and, originally, Los Angeles), last year, bringing with them a dark, pulsing sound that calls to mind mid-period Cure, the Rapture and Fugazi—it’s like goth turned inside out. Here’s hoping they stick around."

- Albany Metroland


"The Duration" 5 song EP - 2003
"Beyond the Pink" 11 song LP - Nov. 07



The Full Story:

Severe Severe is a three-piece band that has remade itself in name and style over the course of the past five years. I believe it's instructive to offer up a brief retrospective of the elements that led to the current sound and personnel of the band, so here goes:

Without gazing too far in the way-back mirror, let me introduce Nico Jordan (guitar, vocals) in the context of a band he co-fronted 8 or so years ago. Staynless garnered a pretty strong reputation in the late 90s by playing a brand of on/off aggressive guitar rock owing creative debts of gratitude to Slint, June of '44, Big Black/Shellac, and the Rye Coalition. Their days together produced a few recordings, most notable among them a full-length entitled Transistor Theory and Circuits Made Simple, engineered by Steve Albini in 1998.

While somewhat limited in appeal to those who favor machinistic instrumentals accompanied by non-melodic vocals in varying degrees of frenzy, the band showcased Nico's crisp, energetic guitar playing that, intertwined with bandmate Chris Wark's equally sound 6-string abilities, created a consonance/dissonance dynamic that defined the sound of the band. Even in Staynless, Nico favored an intricate picking style in which repeated, often arpeggiated melodic lines both ground and color the music. It is this ability to construct multifaceted guitar lines that possess unique melodic and rhythmic characteristics that makes Nico's playing best suited for a three-piece band, which I will get to later. It is also this hyper-kinetic, staccato aspect of Nico's playing that seemed to develop within the framework of Staynless, which is why you were burdened with this synopsis of a band almost entirely unrelated to the subject at hand.

While certainly possessed of enough talent among its constituent members to succeed, Staynless fell apart not long into a tour of the eastern United States. Shortly thereafter, Nico teamed up with Brad Stanfill and Kurt Amelang to form Transcontinental, which would be the first incarnation of the style and partial substance of what would later become Severe Severe. Slightly less aggressive and more instrumentally consistent by design, Transcontinental played a handful of shows over the span of a year or so, but only recorded a portion of their creative output before moving on to other bands.

Sometime in 2002, Nico decided to ask his cousin Mike Capritta (bass) to join himself and Kurt in moving to Los Angeles to form a new band. A healthy isolation allowed for some remarkable changes to occur within this trio relative to Transcontinental, which led to a nice set of songs and a new name - The Duration. While not abandoning some of the aggressive guitar playing and bombastic elements found in bands like Staynless and Transcontinental, an altogether new kind of song emerged from The Duration's time in L.A.

With a palette of influences ranging from early U2, Sonic Youth, Savage Republic, and The Cure, The Duration played with galloping energy and tightly wound emotional content that only occasionally burst into full-fledged chaos. While in L.A., Kurt developed into a first-class drummer, making use of his entire kit to construct complex and novel underpinnings for Nico's pointed, exacting guitar work. Mike Capritta also got comfortable on the bass (which he had just learned to play), countering the busy nature of Nico's playing with timely, sustained notes that made smooth the band's frequent weight-shifts and tempo changes within songs that reflected a sense of constant motion and dissociation of place consistent with an tumultuous stay in an unfamiliar city.

The Duration moved back to Memphis in the rotten, mind-melting summer of 2003, bringing with them a compelling set of songs which led to some local shows. However, nothing breaks the spirit like playing in the smoky, underventilated booze faucets that pass for Memphis rock clubs, and after playing a few sparsely attended (although enthusiatically received) shows, the band decided to call it quits.

A five-song recording is all that serves to document Severe Severe's early stint as The Duration, but it should be sought out and appreciated nevertheless. A highlight of the recording is the song "Intercalifornias" - exhibiting a peculiar time signature, the song defines the band's frustrations with its time on the west coast, but does so with some conviction. Beginning with an unnerving opening passage in the aforementioned meter, and later bursting into a tension release that begs "for a sign", it becomes apparent why the escape from L.A. was inevitable.

Throughout Nico's time in L.A., he was also working alone on a project called Victory Mansion, which developed the subtler aspects of his songwriting with softer instrumentation and the addition of drum programming and keyboards. He released two albums independently, The Year is Nitey Nite, recorded at home on his analog 8-track in 2000 and For an Unknown Fr