the so and so's
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the so and so's

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The best kept secret in music



"Meghan Toohey's saucy guitar-girl swagger and electrifying voice are gaining a following to be reckoned with."
-Boston Globe

"Meghan stands out both for the crowds she draws and the energy she summons."
- Boston Magazine

"Backed by a solid line-up she came out slashing at an electric guitar, and she delivered a set of rough and punkish drive."
-Boston Phoenix

"She might be little, but she's loud."
-Boston Herald

Songwriter/Guitarist/Vocalist Meghan Toohey named three time Boston Music Award nominee, and 2002 "Bostonian To Watch from Boston Magazine.


"review of GIVE ME DRAMA"

"Chemsford native Meghan Toohey's rise from guitar-slinging gadabout to serious rock musician becomes official with the release of "Give Me Drama," her new band's full-length debut. After years as a solo artist flirting with pop, folk, and singer-songwriter fare, the 26-year-old songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has formally joined forces with her longtime bassist Rodrigo Monterrey, drummer Chris Hobbick, and guitarist Jay Barclay to make an atmosphere-drenched alt-rock album that's inspired, from beginning to end, by its own title. These are songs of experience, heavy with edge and plump with hooks, and the collection unfolds with the sort of clear, complex vision that's eluded Toohey so far. "Oceans In Between" is the album's literal and figurative centerpiece, an ambient study in craft and longing that brings Toohey's porcelain strength into relief. Blipping, beeping "Dark Day" and the woozy verses (and delicious buried remix) of "Tattoo" find a bristling still point between simmer and swagger. Toohey's not your typical rock singer; the jazz shimmy in her girlish voice infuses more straight-ahead fare such as "Better" and "Westside" - the later a winsome pop-rocker co-written with Josh Ritter - with a dark elegance that suggests a bright future. The So And So's play April 2 at Bill's Bar."


SINGER SONGWRITER MEGHAN TOOHEY is one artist who knows how much a band name can mean. Two years ago, she was playing under her own name, headlining every show and selling out many local clubs. Although she'd started as a folkie, her fans didn't mind that she'd taken on a band and shifted to a rock format. Then she decided to start billing herself under a band name, the So and So's. Her audience minded that.

"You can either call it a ballsy move or say it was an incredibly stupid thing to do," she notes over a beer at the Abbey Lounge. "I went from selling out good-sized venues to a point where people didn't have a clue. But I needed to have a new identity in this city, to be the artist I knew I could be. Here I was playing with distortion pedals, having great influences like the Strokes and PJ Harvey, and I was still getting categorized as part of the folk scene just because I play Passim once a year. But I definitely lost some of my audience for a while."

Sure enough, the official debut by the So and So's-Give Me Drama (Supertiny Music) - is a considerable advance on the two discs that Toohey released under her own name (the full-band Romantic Blunder #4 and the acoustic Eight So Low) in late 2000. Instead of pushing her loud and lyrical sides to separate corners, she's integrated them, making loud rock with lyrical depth. So the opening "Better" sports some enticing melodic bursts between its heavy guitar licks, and "Oceans In-Between" - a torchy ballad that's the disc's highlight - throws some Radiohead-like twists into the arrangement. Although it was recorded over two years with four different sessions, it holds together well, thanks in part to the subject matter. "I tend to write about tumultuous relationships; that's my MO. I try to write about my grandmother, or about the man I see playing in the street, but it never works. I guess I'll have to find something else to write about when my relationships start getting boring. But you can always sell records with songs like these, because somebody is always getting dumped."

For Toohey, inagurating the So and So's wasn't just a matter of changing the name; it also meant giving up some control to her bandmates (guitarist Jay Barclay, bassist Rodrigo Monterrey, and drummer Chris Hobbick). "I had to get over myself, which was the hard part. I still write the songs, but I had to step back and let Jay say something like, 'Can we put the chorus here?' Once I got over that, I'd realize he was right. He also got me to go out and start seeing other bands instead of being a hermit like I was." Another big influence was co-producer Victor Van Vugtat, who had engineered PJ Harvery's Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea - an album Toohey loves so much that she had to catch herself from sounding too much like it. "I was a little embarrassed by 'Dark Day,' because that was so obviously influenced by her. Here was a woman who was seen as a heavy-rock artist taking those dark melodies and complex lyrics and turning it into pop - that was pretty inspirational."

Although she's just 27, Toohey has 10 years of performing under her belt (she played the Rat while still in high school) and brother, guitarist Sean Toohey, who was in the major-label band the Red Telephone. So she's dead serious about taking her own music to the next level. "It's nice to be a Boston darling as long as I have been, but I'm looking to get some recognition and bring it back home. We've had a lot of near misses, and I'd love to be that person who puts the Boston scene back in the fore again. So I think it's time for me to be successful - my mom told me that."


"UK review"

After pursuing a varied career in the arts, Meghan Toohey has found a collective vehicle as her musical outlet.

Stuck for a category to put both the band and album into, punchy new 'waif' (sic) guitar rock seems to fit the bill nicely. Add a saucy jiggle to Toohey's seductive vocals and rock swagger, plangent guitar chords thundering their way through the almost orchestral arrangements of guitars, bass and drums, and a collection of tunes which far outweigh the collective experience of the band, and you're looking at something that has the potential of reaching near cult status.

Although Toohey has appeared on stage (under one guise or another) with the likes of Juliana Hatfield, the Saw Doctors and, perhaps better known amongst visitors to this site, Erin McKeown and Jess Klein, The So and So's debut album part company with Tohey's solo excursions into MOR and acoustica, and head off down the road hand-in-hand with Garbage and Chrissie Hynde.

There will be very little music of this ilk and quality released this year. Building on the commercial end of the Garbage template, and improving on it, adding conventional melodic moments to satisfy even the most demanding listener, will stand the band in good stead for an impending crack at the European market.

A must-have album: watch out for hidden tracks at the end of the album (including a remix of 'Tattoo').


"BANDS WITH BUZZ: Five Groups That Are Making The Scene"

MEGHAN TOOHEY AND THE SO AND SO'S - 'I consider myself more of a rocker`
Meghan Toohey doesn't believe in falling prey to preconceived notions - about how she makes music, whom she makes it with, or what she's supposed to be. For the past few years, she's been known in Boston and beyond as a precociously talented singer-songwriter, embraced by folkies and rockers alike, and respected by just about everybody who appreciates a well-written tune.
Toohey's last solo album, "Romantic Blunder #4," revealed her to be a fast-maturing artist capable of traversing the worlds of pop, rock, and folk with authority and ease. The only problem, she says, was that she felt as if she didn't belong anywhere. The revolving door of backing musicians and assorted collaborators didn't help her feel any more grounded. Thus, THE SO AND SO's, Toohey's first official band project, was born.
"I had been wanting for a long time to be in a band instead of always having to teach my songs to a whole new group of people," Toohey says about the new outfit that includes her cousin Mark Britton (who also drums for the local pop outfit the Red Telephone, which features Meghan's brother Sean on guitar), guitarist Jay Barclay, and bassist and longtime collaborator Rodrigo Monterrey. "It's nice to work off of these guys, instead of feeling like I'm going into it all on my own."
Appearing under her own name - even with a backing band playing cranked-up electric guitars, bass, and drums - made it tough for Toohey to shake the female-folkie tag. "I was playing in all these rock clubs but I was still getting written up in the press as a folk singer," says Toohey, who these days listens to more PJ Harvey than Shawn Colvin. "I consider myself more of a rocker. So we thought the perfect way to get out of that [identity] was for me to go under the name THE SO AND SO's." She adds that the musical and familial connections she has with her band felt "cosmic and we just decided that it was right for all of us."
A new eight-song CD titled "The Silver Sessions" (available at shows and on the band's Web site) marks the debut of the Toohey's new musical personae - or one of them, anyway. She says the disc, originally recorded in a two-week span as a gig-getting tool, has so far generated a great response from listeners.
"We did it on a really low budget," Toohey says with typical modesty. "It came out a lot better than I expected."
If "The Silver Sessions" isn't exactly a radical departure from some of her past work, much of it does carry a heavier, noisier undertow. The Garbage-style alt-rock accents of "Better," for instance, and the caustic kiss-off "Button," which cruises along on Toohey's cage-rattling electric guitar, clearly signal where she's heading. The singer-guitarist knows getting there may not be easy.
"It's really hard to make it as a female-fronted [rock] band as opposed to a female singer-songwriter, because that's an obvious trend. To be somebody like Gwen Stefani from No Doubt or Chrissie Hynde is really rare," Toohey says. "It's also different being a woman who can actually play guitar. Sometimes on stage I'll take a solo and everybody will be looking at Jay, the other guitar player, because they just assume he's playing it."
Toohey lets out a knowing, if slightly frustrated, chuckle. It's just one more preconceived notion she gets to topple every time.




Feeling a bit camera shy


Fronted by singer, songwriter and guitarist, Meghan Toohey, The So and So's deliver moody pop songs brimming with edgy guitar hooks and passionate vocals. "Give Me Drama", their full-length debut featuring tracks produced by Victor Van Vugt (PJ Harvey, Athlete), has been generating excitement from critics and fans in the U.S. and Europe since its release earlier this year. The group was proclaimed one of five "bands with buzz" by the Boston Globe, then one of ten "bands that rock" by the Improper Bostonian and then, to their own amazement, Give Me Drama won a Boston Music Award for "Local Album of the Year".

Originally recorded as three separate four-song demos intended to capture the newly-formed band's tightly orchestrated arrangements in its barest form, Give Me Drama is "an atmosphere-drenched alt-rock album inspired, from beginning to end, by its own title" (Boston Globe). But the band's live performances provide an altogether different view, a more edgy and vibrant side -- seductive vocals and rock swagger, thundering their way through the almost orchestral arrangements of guitars, bass and drums, are delivered with giddy bravura. Their shows stand out both for the crowds they draw and the energy they summon.

The So and So's are: Meghan Toohey on guitar and vocals, and Rodrigo "Romo" Monterrey on bass and background vocals.