The Lisps
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The Lisps

New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Band Americana Avant-garde


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



"The Lisps are luckily coherent"

As they themselves put it, The Lisps are a “cute� foursome out of the Bronx, NY. They are filled with confidence, wit, and exuberance as they present “loud and fun� music with their “extremely attractive� personas. Hey, there is no doubt that confidence is an attractive quality (if at the right degree) and confidence is certainly one of the aspects that The Lisps have. While they can all be understood, it is known that two of the band’s members have a slight lisp. Oh, I’ll also share that two of the members in the band are lovers. I’ll let you guess who, though it should be rather obvious upon listening to most of their songs, such as the slick ‘Pepper Spray’, which is almost a conversation of sorts. “You don’t want me to be the one you love,� Sammy Tunis and César Alvarez sing with an anticipated grin, “you don’t want me to see the people you fuck�. Damn, I just gave it away, didn’t I? Oh well. The song is a very bright spot in their early catalog using a steady mixture of rhythm, a constant keyboard, and a dashing assortment of guitar variations. The track is a bit daring for a band just starting to break out, but the harmonization is nothing short of enjoyable, resulting in a resounding success. It’s funny seeing that ‘The Winter That I Miss’ offers the complete opposite of emotion. As ‘Pepper Spray’ just showed us the sexually charged backstabbing that love offers, ‘The Winter That I Miss’ conveys a romantic and lush feel that gives vibes of the band’s deepest emotions. From the absurd to the romantic, The Lisps have a viewable grasp on several aspects of love. ‘Chaos’ is an energetic acoustic take that shows Tunis’ vocal longevity, as she compares snowflakes to chaotic events in life, with both always appearing similar but never “exactly the same�. This seems like it would be quite a fun song live, with the excitement and chemistry that Tunis and Alvarez demonstrate. All three songs are off of their debut, The Vain, The Modest, and The Dead. Check out their MySpace for an enjoyable live version of the priceless ‘Documents’. Their description of their music as something “that make you laugh and ponder and want to have sex and punch someone in the face, and be quiet sometimes� seems to be oddly accurate. - Obscure Sound

"The Lisps"

The Lisps are a New York-based quartet that combine influences to create one hell of a melting pot: elements of early 20th-century vaudeville mixed with 60's inspired traditional folk, all sewn together with a sprinkle of pre-commercialized country. Their live shows regularly incorporate audience members engaging in various types of waltzes, while their recorded work features a healthy dose of melodica, a parade of brass instruments and even whistling. The Lisps take kitschy to whole new levels - and we love it! - Metro Source NY Magazine

"The Lisps"

On "Country Doctor Museum":
"We tend to be pretty suspicious when it comes to quirky coed indie pop, but the Lisps have managed to win us over. The local quartet’s debut full-length, Country Doctor Museum, tempers its considerable cleverness with a sense of vulnerable immediacy."

On "The Vain, The Modest, and The Dead":
"Local coed pop group the Lisps gives quirky indie rock a real good name. Its debut self-released EP, The Vain, the Modest, and the Dead, is smart-assed and danceable, but with an affecting core of been-around-the-block melancholy."
- Time Out NYC

"The Lisps | Joe's Pub | January 5, 2008"

New York’s quirky avant-garde vaudevillian act (whew, that’s a mouthful) the Lisps took the stage at Joe’s Pub Saturday night in celebration of their self-released full-length debut, Country Doctor Museum. With a crowd made up of family and friends, as well as die-hard fans, the band proved the adoration with an riveting and revealing hour-long show. Life in the Lisps world changed as of late, as dueling vocalists Sammy Tunis and César Alvarez put an end to their relationship off the stage, and yet stayed loyal to their musical creation. What could easily have been an awkward result has added to the band’s stage presence, where the banter is now a little bit more snarky, in the best way possible.
Performing most tracks off their impressive debut, the fourpiece invited a guest trumpeter and pianist on stage, which only added to their cleverly executed songs—most notably “I’m Sorry,” “Peper Spray,” and “Heaven.” The band found its true stride as the night went on, using Joe’s Pub impressive acoustics to their advantage. Front woman Tunis traded in her usual vintage dresses for a short shorts ensemble, playing with the crowd during her standout number “Piety”—while not pounding on the cabinet in front of her, of course. Combined with Alvarez’s baritone nonchalance and drummer Eric Farber and bassist Jeremy Hoevenaar’s inspired energy, the band kept the audience truly entertained from start to finish

In the end, the night showed an impressive kickoff for the young Lisps. What was originally thought of as an acquired taste has evolved into a true diamond in the rough of local bands.

link: - CMJ Staff Blog

"The Lisps"

When we hear The Lisps — the sassy sound of wind blowing through a melodica, the jangly gypsy guitars, the coed vocal harmonies sung with the speed of auctioneers — we can see a caravan in our mind's eye, trekking across some unsettled plane at dusk, on its way to a town where the occupants will jump out and start a tent-revival hoedown. This New York quartet calls itself "21st-century indie-rock vaudevillians," and the sound on its latest album, Country Doctor Museum, rests somewhere between quirky, back-porch folk ("Brackish Water," "Heaven") and a woozy European circus soundtrack ("The Familiar Drunk," "Depravity"). But the multifaceted soundscape is only half the impression — lyrically, The Lisps have a knack for blurting out witty lines that pique the ear and make the listener reach for the liner notes (which are in, like, 0.5 type size, so grab your glasses). Song subjects range from metaphorical tales that utilize excerpts from Homer's Odyssey to rants about redemption, balloons, and documents. The music is such a great blend of old-school troubadour and contemporary rock cheekiness that it not only beckons one to the live show, but encourages the listener to jump in the caravan, too. - Phoenix New Times

"The Lisps: Sing Along with Heartache"

When members of a band date each another and then break up — see: Fleetwood Mac, No Doubt and others — it's difficult for their projects to survive the romantic turmoil. Cesar Alvarez and Sammy Tunis (both singers in the Brooklyn band The Lisps) broke up in the midst of recording their first full-length album, Country Doctor Museum. But they decided to forge on, imbuing the album with stories of heartache, loss and (of course) drunkenness.

Still, the pair practically radiates chemistry in the fun sing-along "Ann Marie," while drummer Eric Farber and bassist Jeremy Hoevenaar match their energy beat for beat. The song has a kind of Magnetic Fields-esque quality to it — it would have fit nicely on that band's 69 Love Songs — making The Lisps an indie band with potential that overshadows the tenuousness of its very existence.

link: - Song of the Day

"The Lisps: Brooklyn 4-some produce perfectly pronounced vaudevillian indie pop."

Who? Multi-instrumentalist Cesar Alvarez pens lyrics to sing with ex-galpal Sammy Tunis, while Jeremy Hoevenaar plays bass and Eric Farber mans the sticks. Country Doctor Museum, the Brooklyn-reared band's debut long-player, was self-released earlier this year. A U.S. tour kicks off in later this month, and appearance at SXSW follows in March.

What's the Deal? The Lisps fancy themselves indie-rock vaudevillians, playing off Tunis and Alvarez's theatrical dual vocals. In fact, the Lisps began when the pair traveled across Europe together -- Alvarez played solo, and Tunis, an accomplished actress, jumped onstage to sing with him. Like an old time variety show, the Lisp's songs tap dance between simple country guitar melodies on "Destiny" and "Heaven" to a cacophony of melodica, horns, even bag pipes on "Chaos." Above the din, Tunis and Alvarez trade lyrics so sweet and silly they sound like the Moldy Peaches' campy, country cousin.

Fun Fact: The band recently re-cast their cheeky hit "I'm Sorry" as a tribute to 2008 presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

link: -

"8 NYC Bands to Watch"

I was first drawn to the Lisps because, for the image accompanying the song ‘Chaos’ on their MySpace page, they used the photo from the Guinness Book of World Records of the world’s fattest twins riding motorcycles, which I was banned from my grammar school library for laughing at a gazillion years ago. Meaningless? Possibly. But it’s only the first of about a million things about their sensibility that I find so immediately lovable. They’re a pop band at their core, but they ease their way through the genre’s confining walls with not-so-subtle nods to old-time country and vaudeville. They’re led by once-couple César Alvarez and Sammy Tunis, both sticklers for simple, unforgettable melodies and spot-on call-and-response vocals. They released their debut EP, The Vain, The Modest, and the Dead, back in 2006, and they’ve just released their first full-length, Country Doctor Museum, on which they embrace their further-out tendencies. And they get bonus points for a willingness to don ridiculous costumes in photos. (The frilly blue shirts in the photo above are merely the tip of the iceberg, for reals.)

FORMED: “2005 in Sammy and César’s loft in the South Bronx.”

FAVORITE NYC VENUE: “Our favorite venue is Union Hall. Skippy is an angel. We always have so much fun playing there. And they love us, though we might have damaged the ceiling tiles at our last show.”

BEST THING ABOUT BEING IN A BAND IN NYC: “The bar is so high here that it really forces you to be exceptional and then rewards you for it. So many of our friends are becoming successful from just pounding the pavement in New York, pure and simple. There’s not many towns that offer that.”

AND THE WORST: “I don’t think we got paid more than 30 or 40 bucks for a show for a solid year after we started. Being a band in New York can be an expensive endeavor, but it’s still fun as crap.”

- The L Magazine

"Review: Country Doctor Museum"

Dedicated slutloyals may already realize that one of our most delicious finds of the past twelve months is Brooklyn's very own, Lisps. Their debut EP, The Vain The Modest & The Dead, had us instantly hooked with its unexpected fusion of quirkiness, subtlety & merriment. The band's first proper full-length, Country Doctor Museum, begins exactly where Vain left off. Each of the LP's thirteen tracks blur the boundaries between anti-folk, vaudeville & vintage country (circa late 1950s). Furthermore, the record's highly enjoyable vocal dialogs between Sammy Tunis & Cesar Alvarez provide a charming and unique balance. A symmetry that is fresh, innovative & endearing within the current landscape of independent music.


Fresh Friday: The Lisps
So maybe this band will not be so fresh for regular readers of this site. Nevertheless, The Lisps are such a great group, that they deserve a little spotlight of their own on this sporadic post I have the audacity to call a column.

Like so many love stories, the tale of The Lisps began in Paris, when a mop topped young man met a sweet blond with a beautiful voice. From rain and fighting and a mutual appreciation of their speech disorder, formed the band I have had the immense privilege to waltz and sing multiple times to all over New York City.

The Lisps have a peculiar brand of music. With so many cds flying through my inbox, featuring bands that can’t seem to find their own niche, The Lisps are doing so with heart, soul and not a little bit of raw talent. The band describes themselves as “21st century post-rock n' vaudeville auteurs,” a strangely adequate description. Part Peter, Paul and Mary, part Ragtime, part Tammy Wynette, The Lisps form a brilliant example of the music coming out of New York right now. Music that has strong roots with the past that isn’t afraid to leap forward by mixing genre whilst scrubbing a washboard and singing about online dating. The great thing about this type of music is that every amalgamation is different. The Lisps bring something a little bit Spanish, a little bit down home to intriguing arrangements, complicated, seat of your pants, choruses and fun, whimsical lyrics.

Beyond The Lisps lovely and endearing songs, is their heartwarming passion for life, love, music and each other. A passion that comes across so strongly in every song they sing, every show they do and even every email they write. I look forward to reading The Lisps emails like I look forward to a rainbow after a storm. With greetings beginning with: Hello Lovers, Teachers, Torturers, True Loves, The Ones Who Got Away, and Future Husbands and Wives and ending with: We love everything about you. You're beautiful, talented, desirable, brave, and extremely intelligent. You are fabulous in bed, witty, compassionate and a good listener- I fall in love with them a little more each time I read one.

The Lisps have currently embarked on a tour around the United States. Catch them in your home town, fall in love and waltz around the room.

link: - The Music


Are We At The Movies? - March 2011 (forthcoming)
Country Doctor Museum LP - January 2008
The Vain, The Modest, and The Dead EP - October 2006



The Lisps are a New York-based co-ed assemblage of 21st century theater prone indie rockers. Their songs border the literary and borrow liberally from vaudeville, Anti-Folk, science fiction, and Americana. Their hyper-active performances typically involve bloody tambourines, wrestling, lipstick smeared melodicas, old filing cabinets, and film reels suspended by rusty chains. The Lisps are set for a 2011 release of their 3rd album "Are We at the Movies?" and their Civil War sci-fi musical FUTURITY, which has had 15 workshop performances, will have its World Premiere in February of 2012.

The Lisps have played all over NYC and in dozens of cities on two coast to coast tours. In August, 2006 The Lisps released their debut EP, "The Vain, The Modest, and The Dead" and released their debut LP "Country Doctor Museum" in January of 2008 to a sold out crowd at Joe's Pub in Manhattan. Currently The Lisps are developing their sci-fi civil war indie rock musical, FUTURITY.

"Like an old time variety show, the Lisps' songs tap dance between simple country guitar melodies to a cacophony of melodica, horns, even bag pipes. Tunis and Alvarez trade lyrics so sweet and silly they sound like the Moldy Peaches' campy, country cousin." -

" A riveting and revealing hour-long show . . .a true diamond in the rough of local bands." - CMJ Staff Blog

"Immediately lovable, The Lisps are a pop band at their core, but they ease their way through the genre's confining walls with not-so-subtle nods to old-time country and vaudeville.” - L Magazine (8 NYC Bands to Watch, 2008)

"The Lisps validate their buzz-worthy stamp with exuberance & poise. Expect 2008 to bring the zany band universal adoration from coast to coast." - The Music Slut

” Country Doctor Museum rests somewhere between quirky, back-porch folk and a woozy European circus soundtrack. The music is such a great blend of old-school troubadour and contemporary rock cheekiness.”
- Phoenix New Times

"Peppy co-ed pop candy." - New York Times ArtsBeat Blog

“A rebellion of sincerity in the sea of cold-shouldered, indie irony.” - Paper Magazine

"extraordinarily ambitious, engaging, and uplifting live music experience; a celebration of the sheer power of imagination and creativity that – through the meta-narrative of a grunt soldier writing a science-fiction masterpiece – can’t help but pull its own curtain back on the imaginative scope and vision of the show’s creators." - EAR FARM

“Melodramatic, witty, inventive & downright intoxicating. I was not fully prepared for the sheer genius that is FUTURITY.” - The Music Slut