The Sinister Turns

The Sinister Turns

BandPopRock

The Sinister Turns provide everything from hyperliterate rock to dramatic ballads to bubblegum indie pop to plain fun with instruments. They�re earnest, creative, wide-eyed, smiling and maybe jumping a little all the way. Plus, you'll never know when the set will take a sinister turn...

Biography

Susan, who had performed her original mellow piano pop solo through highschool, entered Harvard University in 2004 and in preparation for an upcoming show in April 2005 sent out an e-mailed plea for fellow musicians. A delightful contingent replied: Peter Ekman, a friend from high school and a fiend on the drums; Sophie Besl, a fellow lover of Josie and the Pussycats and a shy yet enthusiastic musician; Teddy Sherrill, a warm and spastic fencer and lover of catchy melodies; and Ben Woodruff, laid back and skilled at the guitar. Although all were avid lovers of music and playing it, only Peter had been in a band for any significant amount of time. Susan dubbed the (then thought temporary) band �The Sinister Turns� because she had become enamored of Peter�s use of the idiom in a tale of his � �and this is where the story takes a sinister turn!� � and with Peter in the band, it was too perfect. Their first show at the Quincy Cage in Cambridge, MA, was energetic, if a little shaky, but their persistence translated into sheer enthusiasm. The band performed several of Susan�s originals including �Disappear,� as well as �Spin Around� from the aforementioned Josie movie. They were all tremendously happy with the performance, but with the summer drawing near and paths diverging, their future was unclear. By September, their drive for the group had not disappeared, and they started practicing regularly and actively seeking out shows. By the week of the first show in the semester, The Sinister Turns had been written up in the Harvard Crimson, and pictures from the set appeared in the paper for the rest of the semester. While Susan had arranged most of the songs for their first show in April, by December the whole group was participating, offering up riffs and ideas. Despite the group�s growing confidence, skill, and fan-base, Ben Woodruff decided it wasn�t the right fit for him and dropped out in January. Guitarist Amy Klein from Plan B for the Type As, whom Susan had been in a duo with for a coffeehouse that year and who had played with the band for a New Jersey show in December, eagerly joined. At this new addition, the band felt complete. Amy provided additional fun-loving, dedication, ideas, giggles, and encouragement. Practices, while serious in the fact that everyone respected and committed themselves to the songs, became a place to relieve tension, act on whims, and find commonality in the �adorable vulnerability� that engineer Jack Younger would recognize in them. The Sinister Turns would be joined by a variety of like-minded guests throughout their performances, most regularly keyboardist and vocalist Erin Arai, as well as guitarist Patrick Stickles. By the spring of 2006, the band was eager to break out of the Harvard bubble � but had nothing but scratchy live recordings to go on to show clubs. Not to be disheartened, they turned to Basement 247 Studios, where Amy�s other band had recorded a demo. The recording experience � working on Susan�s �Disappear,� �I Support Women in Science,� �Anatomy Assessment,� �The Last Time,� and �Zolpidem� � proved the final glue to make The Sinister Turns into the tight-knit group that they now are. As the first recording session for many of them, the umpteenth for others, the blend of naivetie and knowledge led them to intricacies in performances and arrangements that they could not have done otherwise. Recently, they have released the EP "Turn to the Left," moved on to the second round of the Emergenza Festival, and won the Harvard-Yale Battle of the Bands.

The Sinister Turns are now affiliated with Antenna Alliance (www.antalliance.org)

Lyrics

Anatomy Assessment

Written By: Susan Putnins

My eyes, they fold over in half
‘Cause I can’t bear to look
My ears, they fold and bend down to your sound
Your holy hook

My hand is ink. There’s so much written on it
It’s impossible to read my palms
My knees are weak. I haven’t prayed enough
I haven’t played enough

My teeth are red from all the shame
My cheeks passed on to save my name
And my stomach’s numb from all the kicking
Of my heart, but it’s still ticking
And I didn’t know what we create
Has a ghost that comes too late
To resurrect our former state

My legs are scratched. From breaking my bad habits,
I started new ones.
My hair is brushed. Ten more minutes
I could have spent on this song

My teeth are red from all the shame
My cheeks passed on to save my name
And my stomach’s numb from all the kicking
Of my heart, but it’s still ticking
And I didn’t know what we create
Has a ghost that comes too late
To resurrect our former state

Being nice was a restraint
But now I’m chipping off the paint
And assessing my anatomy
To see the damage I did to me

Oh, my teeth are red from all the shame
My cheeks passed on to save my name
And my stomach’s numb from all kicking
Of my heart, but it’s still ticking
My feet are slow so I can’t catch
What I want most, my supermatch
And my hips are sore from all my standing
Waiting for you, so demanding
And I didn’t know what we create
Has a ghost that comes too late
To resurrect our former state


I Support Women in Science

Written By: Susan Putnins

Eric Demafeliz read Crichton by the second grade
And I skimmed the Langoliers while the other seven-year-olds played
Hopscotch and dolls and jump-rope skip
But Peter and I would duel in Battleship
And though long division wasn't hip
It let me carry away on a guilt trip
Whoa-oh

Instead of drawing with the crayons, I'd organize
Them by shade or hue or alphabetically or by size
And sleep never came easily when I closed my eyes
I could see and feel the needles going into my thighs
Whoa-oh

I tested with the boys but in a fit of gender wrath
Though I read just as well, she said I couldn't, so she wouldn't let me do the math
My mom enraged she screamed and kicked
'Cause the bias always made her sick
And my next two teachers were handpicked
And though neither one was very strict

If I didn't do the work it's not 'cause I didn't try
It's 'cause if the sentence wasn't perfect i'd want to die
So I'd retreat back to my room and read Christopher Pike
And with all that murder, how could I not threaten my life?
Whoa-oh

We could go far
If you'd do us a favor and raise the bar
Otherwise we scrutinize
Ourselves and what we learn
Be it letters and numbers, or weapons and lovers, we'll learn

Left back in Somerville is the walking calculator fame
Our time abandoned us and our innocence it did the same
And what remains are nervous ticks
Like coping with arithmetic
But we are more than high-strung chicks
We just gotta learn what makes us tick!
Whoa-oh
Whoa-oh

Zolpidem

Written By: Susan Putnins

Too late to go away
Too late to fall asleep
Too much for me to take
Too much for me to keep

You wonder why I try to push back all these heavy eyes
I bet that I'll forget and tell you something, make up lies

No I can't remember
No darling, I can't remember
I'm a mess when I can't remember
I confess that I can't remember

You try to fill me in
You try to fill me up
But my bound'ries are too thin
And half of them made of luck

It's after our last dance so close your eyes and try to dream
The drugs won't stand a chance when all I ever do is scream
I tear apart the sheets and hang the strips up on my walls
The parchment opens wide and swallows me the runes and all
Oh, I...

The message comes too clear
The message comes too late
Oh I escape fear
And I fear escape

It's harder to let go
Than to start the hold
The oldest stars will slow
The rest are all too bold

I know it's a lot to ask
I know you've a lot to do
but you shouldered on the task
I only asked you

To restrain my hand
And to open my eyes
I gave you no command
I gave you only lies

But you forgive my state
You let me wander near
Oh I fear escape
And I escape fear

And when you held me close
And lifted up my hand
The land where people lost
My dream of life began
And when you held me close
And lifted up my hand
The land where people lost
My dream of life began

Discography

EP "Turn to the Left"
Airplay on WHRB Cambridge 95.3 FM, Misturhina WebRadio.

Set List

Typical set list:

"Anatomy Assessment"
"The Last Time"
"Knight in Shining Armor"
"Disappear"
"Jumper"--Third Eye Blind cover
"I Support Women in Science"
"McKinlock"
"Zolpidem"