The Flesh
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The Flesh

Band Rock Punk


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


""Dig on These Indie Gems," by Tyson Lex Wheatley"

The Flesh: 'The Flesh' (Gern Blandsten Records)
Mere seconds into their self-titled debut, Brooklyn-based dance-punk upstarts The Flesh demand the listener to get down in the water, put on the flesh and get baptized. I suggest you do as they say.

Part hip-hop, part Gothic, and all sexy, "The Flesh" takes hold of the listener's emotions by throwing love and death in a brooding groove. Singer/guitarist Nat Halpern's naughty lyrics suggest a seductive world, where "salvation" meets "salivation" and "resurrection" goes hand-in-hand with "love infection."

Keyboardist/vocalist Gabriella Zappia and bass-player Jason Binnick round out the core of these sex-peddling fools. The band hit the studio with acclaimed producer Martin Bisi (Iggy Pop, Brian Eno) to combine bits of EP's "Death Connection" and "Sweet Defeat" with six new songs.

Together "The Flesh" has produced a distinct sound, both beautifully soulful, funky and yeah, a bit creepy. Zappia's house-of-horrors organ playing would make Dracula himself feel at home -- and yet her cherubic vocal talents, though sprinkled far too sparsely, add a touch of grace to an otherwise sinister album.

Much of the album consists of up-tempo rump-shakers, but perhaps the disc's best song is the sensitive "Fall To Heaven."



This is the album that those ska kids Madness ("Our
House") coulda shoula made: playful and sultry and
lustily morbid. Dramatic and spitting, lead singer
Nat Halpern's vocals leap all over the octaves, moving
nimbly from shout to sly lick and back again. The
Flesh has an archness in them, a knowing
in-on-the-joke wink even as they get all anthemic on
your ass. Part karaoke-ready, part darwave rock
operatic. This is a cool-as-shit cannonball of an
album - big and bold and splashy.
-- ---Selena Hsu

"The Flesh"

A sex-and-death-obsessed quartet whose gothalyptic bangers are wound tighter than Prince's undies, The Flesh are putting the slink and sleaze back into the new wave revival. On their homonymous debut album (on Gern Blandsten), the combination of frontman Nat Halpern's gallows bellow and Gabriella Zappia's erotic synth zaps sounds like Nick Cave reaching his "Red Right Hand" up Vanity's skirt. On "Sweet Defeat" and "Cuts," Zappia and bassist Jason Binnick offer up a winning approximation of Timbaland bounce and "96 Tears" graveyard garage rock, and the beginning of "Lonely Little Hunter" sounds uncannily like Hot Hot Heat covering Eminem's "Just Lose It" (even though The Flesh came out five months earlier)." -BOSTON PHOENIX
- Boston Phoenix

"Glam Hip Hop: Backward Beat Brings Distinction to Heart-Riven Thespians"

What's distinctive about the Flesh is that, though they're a song band as much as a groove band, they put holes in the groove à la hip-hop or dancehall, for a circular motion where the rhythm threatens to revolve the music around its own axis rather than push the song forward. The circularity is helped by the guitarist's tendency to throw grenades rather than take solos, and the drummer's occasional dub smurds (backward drums).

Along with the hole in their beat there's the hole in their heart. The basic attitude is the glammy romanticism of pretty white boys from drama school who want to impale themselves on their unrequited love for you (especially if you are brilliant, doom-laden, and gorgeous). "I just want to be the one you're tearing apart." Glam hip-hop—a potentially new social arena. And the Flesh open up formal opportunities: They cop their first riff from Eminem's "Under the Influence" but go on to develop song-type chord changes from it. So if anyone's listening, the Flesh could teach song bands how to put hip-hop into their sound, and inspire a hip-hopper or two to go songlike in some direction other than r&b.

- Village Voice

"The Flesh"

Put on The Flesh and shed your dogmatic skin. The birth of the pragmatic antichrist has come. It is soulful and seductive; a charming antithesis of today’s rock. These newborn Brooklynites, The Flesh, take the enigmas of spiritual redemption and bump it into organic overdrive. Their recently released self-titled disc is everything rock is lacking. The Flesh have laid the path, and prophesized, to take the world with their punk goes R&B beats and devilish beauty.

The disc combines 2003’s Death Connection EP and 2004’s Sweet Defeat EP as well as adding six new chapters in the book of The Flesh. The full length intends to entice us with the “fuck the world” attitude that the four-piece is known for while accurately describing the world, in “Foes,” as belonging to them for the fucking.

The Flesh is what is lacking on the skinless body of the indie rock movement in the US today. This neo-new wave rock tends to be energetic and alluring, although not necessarily of a high difficulty level in regards to music quality, but habitually lacking in depth lyrically, examples of this being The Kinison’s What Are You Listening To? and Ima Robot’s Public Access EP. The Flesh not only adds jazzy R&B to the wave but also compile an intricate and despondent idea of religious redemption. The Flesh took note on the funky sounds of Cursive and the electronic sound of Head Automatica to fuse a new sound. The Flesh are dreamily original and cover the basic muscle and bones of rock with a sultry, pale white finishing.

“Love Your Fate” is baptizing, initiating a physical connection with the listener. Everything that is traditional is wiped away and the world is “born anew” with the upbeat yet melodramatic opening. The idea that The Flesh play upbeat but sincere music may seem like an anomaly but be assured that at the initial strum of the guitar string the lie becomes an enchanting reality. The vocals of Nathan Halpem are belligerent and solo until the fourth track, “Sweet Defeat,” when keyboardist Gabriella Zappia affirms not only her already potent classical piano training but also her softly strong vocal stylings. She is present on a few tracks in the disc and adds her own flavor to the religious experience as a whole. The band is rounded out with Jason Binnick grooving the base riffs and Gregory Rogove on the drums. The Flesh end on the “Death Ship sailing out,” ending the circular turmoil present on all previous tracks concerning the nature of humanity and redemption in the end of a life.

With the rise in popularity of dance punk or post punk or whatever it is labeled, or whatever else I have called it throughout this one article alone, The Flesh, unlike many previous religious leaders, are not too far ahead of their time. Like spiritual philosophers in the music world with a great potential for influence, they are refreshing and will be a welcomed change into the current scene. Maybe The Flesh’s debut full length should be called spiritual punk but in any case, the holy awakening has occurred and the messiah is in The Flesh.

Reviewed by
Mary C. Smith
November 5th, 2004 - Sound The Sirens

"The Flesh: Seeking Redemption Through the Beat with New York's Finest"

The Flesh
Seeking redemption through the beat with New York’s finest


Four horsemen haunt Brooklynite Nathan Halpern’s dreams and nightmares: the black riders of Death, Mind, Meat and Fuck, cantering apocalyptically through the skies. Acting as front man for the toast-of-New York band The Flesh seems more an exercise in exorcism than some regulation rock regimen. But rock it is: Elvis-blushing onstage gyrations, fast-burning dance-flavored punk rock, and a gothic seer’s lyrical warnings: “Our flesh is sweet with sorrow / our souls are tight and hollow … we want the resurrection / we want the love infection / we’ve got to make / a death connection.”

“This is kind of just what happens, what comes naturally at this point for these songs,” says Halpern. “The songs on this record are more broad strokes, big picture -- life and death and sex. The kinds of things that I’m interested in and that are important to me now, those are the things that speak to it -- the imminence of death and finding salvation between sex and love, trying and failing.”

Over the course of two stunning EPs -- 2003’s Death Connection and this year’s Sweet Defeat -- The Flesh established itself as one of the few standouts of the recent Gang of Four-obsessed dance-punk set. While neighboring groups like Radio 4 and well-known ’cross-the-ponders Franz Ferdinand mined the Gang’s Entertainment! and The Pop Group’s Y for beat-and-guitar mixtures, Halpern, keyboardist Gabriella Zappia, bassist Jason Binnick and drummer Gregory Rogove looked back to different sources and forward to new ones. Sisters of Mercy and The Birthday Party’s dramatic lyrical classicism and dark musical tones met in unholy matrimony with the broken hip-hop and R&B rhythms of Timbaland and Prince’s sexual overdrive.

Now, with the release of The Flesh, the band has truly staked its territory: The album contains most of both EPs, plus several new tracks such as “Lonely Little Hunter” -- the purest declaration of The Flesh’s audible allegiances, it sounds almost like The Stranglers covering Missy Elliott. True, The Flesh may believe that a naked man and woman are likely to spawn a plague of locusts, but they still want you to dance and fuck away the pains of the 21st century.

“Those kinds of contrasts are what I’ve always found exciting in music,” says Halpern. “If you’re going to focus on things that are dark and painful, it’s meaningless without [knowing] the way joy can help defeat that, the same way that pleasure is meaningless without pain.

“For a lot of my life, I’ve felt very removed from any kind of cultural moment, and most of the others in the band felt the same way. We were drawing from music that had no genre connections – Kurt Weill, Roy Orbison, The Birthday Party. But what really awakened my interest in [contemporary] music was my discovery of hip hop. When I was a kid I didn’t really listen to it that much, but the stuff that’s happened the last four years or so -- The Neptunes, Timbaland -- it’s everything that I love about rock ’n’ roll. It’s visceral and dirty and horny, but at the same time symphonic and musical and different.”

Of course, the problem with searching for redemption through sex and death and rock ’n’ roll is that other people may not want or need that, even if they’re -- say -- a perfectly good drummer. The Flesh has had several incarnations, and while the explosiveness remains in the current lineup, Halpern says that, especially with the release of The Flesh, the band is finally and firmly committed -- sins, baggage and all.

“Given the nature of my own personality and the people I’m drawn to, the kind of people that share these interests tend to be fairly obsessive, and [that] can lead to fireworks. What makes our music work is our being in touch with the volatility of our experiences -- the feeling that anything in life can fall apart at any second. If we ignored it, our music wouldn’t work.”

- Pittsburgh City Paper

"New Rock City: 16 Hot New Bands that are Changing the New York Soundscape"

The Flesh
Sounds like: Stuttering, Birthday Party–esque garage rock with synth beats and a dark, dramatic R&B groove.
Dark and horny: “Hip-hop is what rock ’n’ roll is supposed to be—it’s funky but with a dark riff moving through it,” says singer-guitarist Nathan Halpern, whose year-old band drew on hip-hop’s spirit as much as punk’s to craft its sound. “Outkast, the Neptunes—they reflect the same interests I have in minor-key, dark, Kurt Weill stuff and horny, Stooges-like stuff.”
Disclaimer: Halpern cautions that the Flesh “doesn’t do pastiche”—it’s no rap-rock-fusion act—but its thematic obsession with “sex and death” has merely found a subtle inspiration in the world of Cristal and bling-bling.

- New York Magazine


"THE FLESH" LP (2004)

All releases have recieved extensive US college and commercial specialty airplay. both "THE FLESH" and "DEATH CONNECTION" made the CMJ Top 50.
THE FLESH LP has been played on commercial specialty radio as well, including KROQ in LA and WOXY in Ohio.

Almost every Flesh track has recieved airplay, including: "Sweet Defeat," "Lonely Little Hunter," "Death Connection," "Foes," "Cuts," "Love," "The Lack," and "Death Ship."


Feeling a bit camera shy


Formed in 2002 in New York City, THE FLESH's brash new sound draws on the cutting edge R&B of the American south (Timbaland, The Neptunes), the dramatic pop of Bowie and Prince, and the savage sexuality of early New York punk, leading The Village Voice to hail The Flesh as creators of a new sound - "Glam Hip Hop." The futurism of their sound contrasts with a classicism in their lyrics: Rife with biblical and mythological motifs, The Flesh focus in on timeless, existential obsessions: “death, love, religious salvation, and sultry sex” (CMJ). VICE magazine simply calls the combination "orgasm-inducing."

At the core of the band: Singer/guitarist Nat Halpern, the possessed, obsessed scion of a family of alcoholics and psychoanalysts, he is the band’s natural born frontman. Sultry keyboardist/vocalist Gabriella Zappia, raised in a Texas Catholic Girls’ school where the nuns regularly washed her mouth out with soap. Bassist Jason Binnick, the progeny of a 1960s Philadelphia soul producer, a formally trained jazz arranger and the band’s lone voice of reason. Drummer Peter Angovine, a joy-seeking, drunken, jazz school dropout.

Halpern took to songwriting as a young teenager, inspired by “Sigmund Freud, Henry Miller, and the Old Testament,” channeling existential angst into sexually charged songs on his four-track tape recorder. When he met Jason, the two bonded over a shared love of PRINCE, SERGE GAINSBOURG, and THE BIRTHDAY PARTY. They began performing in THE FLESH in 2002. At one CBGB show, Gabriella Zappia wandered in fresh off the plane from London after British immigration authorities had sent her packing back to the States. They were “intense,” she told them, “but the keyboard player sucks. You need a new one.” A painter and classically trained pianist, Zappia had never been in a band before. A week later, she was a member of THE FLESH.

The Death Connection EP was released in 2003, an homage to sex in the face of death that became a fast favorite on New York City dance floors thanks to its virile punk spin on southern R&B and a fist-pumping, pop-hooking chorus. THE FLESH then took their live show on the road, touring in the states and the UK (where they shared the stage with the legendary TOM TOM CLUB.)

In 2004, acclaimed producer Martin Bisi (IGGY POP, BRYAN ENO), became a regular at local FLESH shows, watching them open for the likes of RAVEONETTES, (INTERNATIONAL) NOISE CONSPIRACY, and JAMES CHANCE. Seeing in them the same adventurous spirit that had drawn him to work with SONIC YOUTH, he offered his services to the band. They hit his Brooklyn studio immediately, recording in the ungodliest of hours for the songs that would comprise their follow-up EP Sweet Defeat and debut full-length album on Gern Blandsten Records (RADIO 4, LIARS, TED LEO).

For the rest of the year (and well into the next), THE FLESH will be on the road anywhere and everywhere, leaving audiences exhausted and exhilarated in their wake. “Sex, death, and salvation,” indeed…