The Boy Bathing
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The Boy Bathing

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A Fire To Make Preparations (July 15), fits right in with the Smiths and Belle & Sebastian's heart-on-sleeve style. - CMJ


http://www.thedelimagazine.com/FeatureView.php?artist=boybathing

The Boy Bathing
high wire act
by Walt Wells

Alright emotional kids. Gather round as The Boy Bathing frontman David Hurwitz whispers in your ear these songs of growth and starvation, stagnation and rebirth – all by the light of his little acoustic guitar. Folk Emo? Yeah. Might as well. On their strong 2007 release ‘A Fire to Make Preparations’ Hurwitz, Jeannie Scofield, Dylan Allen, and Matt Bogdanow are able to capture glimpses of their tightrope walk above and around traditional song structures and conventional lo-fi arrangements. To me, this is a record of a band in the process of becoming. Any rough edges you might hear on this disc exist because they were pushing and searching, learning what they were – and now possibly are.

They’ve been together as a group for a little over a year now, but Hurwitz has been recording and writing in NYC since 2004, most often as a solo artist. Since they’ve been together as a full band, they’ve opened up the throttle and are exciting and surprising crowds in NYC and elsewhere with their unique musical ideas and literate lyrical wanderings. Hurwitz has an interesting lyrical voice: his vocal style and word choices are sensitive and occasionally dainty and would seem to say ‘love me, imperfect man,’ but there’s a raw edge there that always seems on the precipice of saying fuck-it and flipping everyone the finger. It’s really quite a tightrope walk. David and I talked about a bit about the making and writing of the record “A Fire to Make Preparations.”


Q: Tell me about some of your “Artillery” players. Two of the most striking things on the record for me are the horn arrangements and the pedal steel that keeps bubbling up. Were these elements a recording afterthought, or were they always integral to your vision for the songs that use them? Who did the horn arrangements and who’s playing? Who played the pedal steel?

A: Alto saxophone was my first instrument. I played in wind ensembles and marching bands as a kid and in high school I started composing for an orchestra. I think that approach and aesthetic never left me. I wrote the arrangements on AFTMP, played alto sax and got friends or acquaintances to record the violins, trumpets, French Horn, cello and tenor sax. The pedal steel player is Rich Gilbert who is a member of Frank Black and The Catholics. I met him on tour in Dallas and he agreed to track some stuff. When we got to the studio he didn’t want to hear the song first, he just hit record and blew our minds on the first take. A similar thing happened with cellist Greg ‘Cosmo’ Heffernan. After finishing a long session of reading and recording parts I had written for him I was like “well there’s this country thing that I don’t have a part for…” and POW! What you hear on the ‘The Beasts Obey’ is his first take.

Q: How does songwriting work in ‘The Boy Bathing’? Did you write everything? What about songs that Jeannie’s singing lead on like ‘The Pilgrim’s Last Stand?’

A: It’s weird recording an album over such a long time. I wrote the songs for AFTMP and even recorded some of them before Dylan (TBB’s current guitarist) and I ever knew each other. I guess you’d say I write all the songs but lately we’ve taken a more collaborative approach when it comes to creating parts and arrangements. Writing ‘The Pilgrim’s Last Stand’ was a blast because I knew that it was going to be sung by Jeannie while I was writing it so it allowed me to step outside of my own voice (head) and have a lot of fun. It’s an interesting exercise for anyone to do. Try writing a letter from someone else’s mouth and see what they say. Try it with your girlfriend or parents…try it with our president.

Q: How long have you been together as a band? Was the genesis in NYC?

A: Man, having a band in NYC ain’t easy. I started out solo which was hard as shit but I later found out that that’s pretty much as easy as it gets. Things built up slowly. It started with me and Jeannie and then after about a year we had a band with bass and drums and keyboards and everything, then about a year later everyone graduated and moved out of New York for good so it was back to me and Jeannie and DPM was the only one still around. So this led to that, Jeannie relearned the bass (great job girl!!), Dylan moved to the city and then the greatest drummer on earth, Matt Bogdanow, threw his hat in the ring. We’ve been going strong in this lineup for over a year now.

Q: Hey, I’ve been wracking my brain ever since I heard that guitar line at the end of ‘The Leaves.’ I’m too dense to figure it out, but what is that a quote of? It seems like something in the classical realm, or something that’s Public domain…

A: Hah, good ear, you’re right! It’s Stephen Foster’s ‘Beautiful Dreamer’. Most people probably remember it from the Bugs Bunny episode when Bugs is rocking Elmer Fudd to sleep in a cradle and singing it to him. Stephen Foster is one of my biggest influences. He was called the first American pop-song writer penning ‘Camptown Races’, ‘Oh! Susanna’ and (in a weird TBB coincidence) ‘Jeannie With the Light Brown Hair’. He also wrote a dirge called ‘Every Night When the Sun Goes Down’ which TBB has covered from time to time.

Q: One of my favorite cuts on the record is the ambitious and asymmetrical ‘Razorblades’. What can you tell me about how that one happened?

A: Asymmetry is a good word for that song. The structure is incongruent and the relationship of the two characters is in perpetual imbalance. The chorus’ are in time but as soon as they build momentum the song returns to the verse which (as far as I can tell) has no time signature. I just wanted to create a world around the story of the song that was as magical and convincing as the events that inspired it. This approach led to hyper-extended metaphors, the ‘Singing Pirate’ interlude and other extremes but, to be honest, I need something to hit me hard these days. I need a song to take me as far as I think it can possibly take me, then somehow go farther. I’m kind of a junkie that way but it’s the only time I feel like I’ve done my job and can calm down. - The Deli


As A Fire to Make Preparations proves again and again, lyrics may be The Boy Bathing's strongest suit. Whether whispered, cooed or snarled, Hurwitz's words delight with their disarming blend of unpredictability, insight and jubilant resignation. - Amplifier Magazine


Sunny sounding acoustic pop that's earnest as a middle-school love letter
- College Music Journal


Think precious acoustic-sounding indie lullabies ("Cuddlecore," they say on their myspace, which sounds ominous but is kinda misleading), but so wordy that the lyrics start to avalanche in a way that's kind of sweet and romantic.
- L Magazine


Hey look! It's a boy bathing! You might've thought sensitive singer/songwriters have bared it all before, but wait till you hear David Hurwitz spin his emotive brand of pop. The band name comes from one of Aesop's Fables, and instead of soapy backs and rubber floaties, you can count on literate, baroque ditties orchestrated with horns, strings, drums and keyboards. Critics have likened Hurwitz's songs to Bright Eyes backed by Arcade Fire, but don't let that spoil your appetite. It's really more like the sweeping, large ensemble exuberance of Sweden's Loney, Dear, and highly recommended.
- Philadelphia Weekly


The best we can do to describe the rather unique sound is to call it emotional folk-pop-rock, but that might give you the wrong idea; it's actually quite good! The lyrics are clever, and tell strange little stories; Hurwitz's vocals are intriguing and moving; the harmonies are quite lovely; the music is catchy.
- The Phillyist


Sometimes I think Brooklyn is like an eternal fountain of indie rock. And if that's the case then David Hurwitz must be The Boy Bathing in its waters. Which in a funny was is actually kind of the opposite of what I want to say, because -to turn the previous phrase- this kid is on fire.
- Online Music Phenoms


The Boy Bathing - And then there was the wild card. In the dank basement of the Knitting Factory on night one of the festival played a nine-piece band called The Boy Bathing. Out of New York (but pretty much still in it), the band sounds like Bright Eyes backed by the Arcade Fire. But you can't fault frontman David Hurwitz for his Conor Oberst-like voice, and you can't fault a band for being large and bombastic. They generally only appear as a quintet, but if the Knitting Factory show was any indication, even with only five members, The Boy Bathing can still impress. - The Emory Wheel


A Brooklyn resident and splendid example of the nu-singer-songwriter esthetic thats been resonating on the indie scene for the last several years. Operating with only a well-picked acoustic guitar and a love of words that I probably cant capture in one phrase, the singer is a convincer. Hes both naïve and wise, and the balance is fetching. - The Providence Pheonix


Discography

LP's:
A Fire to Make Preparations (2008)

Comps:
Less Paul, More Rock Compilation (2006)
Le Noel de Blogotheque Compilation (2006)
Point de Ecoute Compilation (2005)

Photos

Bio

The Boy Bathing is an NYC-based indie band fronted by David Hurwitz. Hurwitz has toured under the moniker since 2004. The band's music focuses on imaginative lyricism and wistful story-telling wrapped around infectious melodies, and a live performance that borders on theatrical. Their first full-length record, A Fire to Make Preparations, was released independently last summer with the help of Team Clermont and Orchard Distribution. Other songs of their’s are featured on European and US compilations with The Arcade Fire, Sufjan Stevens and Jens Lenkman, and they have performed with Kevin Devine, Apollo Sunshine, Crooked Fingers, and The Honorary Title.

In 2009, the band signed to Canon Records, and is planning to tour, record, repeat.