Water School
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Water School

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Water School @ The Warehouse Next Door

Washington, District of Columbia, USA

Washington, District of Columbia, USA

Water School @ Sin-é

New York, New York, USA

New York, New York, USA

Water School @ The Talking Head Club

Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Baltimore, Maryland, USA

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


The best kept secret in music


"Break Up With Water School" by Water School

This Baltimore quartet has an obvious fixation with the late great Gram Parsons. And in the tradition of the great man, Water School infuses their basic roots foundation with the finest that rock and pop can offer. Often referencing back to classic rock artists who have taken the similar narrow route e.g. Neil Young and the Kinks. From the straight-forward "Southern Belle" to the rousing "All God's Children," Water School displays all the right attitudes and approaches that will appeal to alt-country devotees. - Kevin Mathews

On a track-for-track basis, it's hard to beat the jangly, strummy songs that appear on Break Up With Water School by Water School. The band I am most reminded of is the Hippycrickets … but I also hear early REM, Javelin Boot and Shambles influences in Water School's songs. "All God's Children" even features some power pop crispness that is reminiscent of Teenage Fanclub. If you're in the mood for simple, pleasing, melodic and strummy tunes, look no further than "Talkin' Bout Us," "The Home We Never Had," "Andy" and "Southern Belle." - Eric Sorensen

Water School has delivered one gorgeous album that brings together the sad bubblegum tendencies of Big Star, the countrified elements of the Jayhawks and molds them into something fresh and exciting. But guitarists/vocalist Chris Myers and Mike Gittings have voices perhaps more suited to punk rock - odd and imperfect with an earnestness that propels tracks such as “Talkin’ ‘Bout Us” and “The Home We Never Had” above and beyond what you might expect from an average pop song.

What’s refreshing to hear in this release is that it’s possible to write heartbreaking songs with humor, empathy and warmth, such as the Baltimore-based band displays on “No Cause For Celebration” and “Forgive Me, Robert.” It’s impossible not to love this album - especially the sing-along tune “All God’s Children” and “Southern Belle,” a kind of rewrite of Chris Bell’s “I Am The Cosmos” or maybe Big Star’s “Ballad of El Goodo” - or the band that made it. Enroll today. – Jedd Beaudoin - Copper Press

Imagine if They Might Be Giants' John Linnell decided to start a alt-country-ish rock band and gave up the quirky lyrical writing and silly subject matters. Putting his nasally voice behind more personal songwriting. An immediately likeable and accessible twist on Americana is what you would get. And that is precisely what you get with the Baltimore 4-piece Water School.

Highlights are songs about love, love gone wrong, chicks, hmm... Seems to be a recurring theme.

Opener Talking 'Bout Us is a softly, country-ish rocking pledge to the other half of "us." With lines such as "We know the older we get the more we'll give / We know the further we go the deeper we’re in." A simple, likeable but pretty straight forward direction is set. And followed.

Forgive Me Robert is an less-than-heartfelt sounding apology about stealing your brother's chick. "Forgive me Robert / You're my only brother / Oh, but I love her too / I do what I gotta do / It's my baby too / and it ain't got nothin' to do with you."

The record never really builds up the nerve to wander too far off the beaten path to really surprise after the first couple of tracks. Ranging from sunny, almost SoCal pop to quaint Americana, it's a pleasing enough introductory record, but unless sweet alt-country is your thing, I have to say - The talent is there. The variety isn't. - justaddnoise.com

Retro rock with a country tinge has found a comfortable home in the work of Water School. Hailing from Maryland, yet carrying the torch of a distinctly Southern flavor, these indie startups provide a promising take on upbeat indie rock with a distinct garage feel, drawing comparisons to Gram Parsons and The Kinks.

The group’s dual vocalists and their high-pitched yelps lack the potency for work of a longer range, but feel right at home among the album’s catchy guitar riffs, doo-wop background hooks, and well-placed handclaps.

Break Up with Water School’s catchy tunes go down easily as part of a summery album that’s too good to pass up. Mixing hook after hook with energetic vocals, Water School’s alt-country act keeps the listener entertained throughout. The album’s title provides a clear hint as to the lyrical content: frontmen Mike Gittings and Chris Myers belt out songs with a kind of disaffected charm that cannot easily be imitated. On slower outings like “Southern Belle,” the group fails to distinguish itself, but jumps right back into the mix of things with rousing choruses and endearing wails. - 2 Walls Webzine

Water School's Break Up With Water School is an endearingly ramshackle and joyous blast of melodic slacker pop that captures the sweet sound of age catching up with Generation X. Centered around the singer/songwriter duo of vocalist/guitarist Chris Meyers and vocalist/guitarist Mike Gittings, the Baltimore-based Water School display a knack for mixing catchy melodies and witty, heartfelt lyrics. Add to that some fuzzy guitar jangle, lotsa D.I.Y. harmonies, some "Daydream Believer"-esque piano, and a liberal sprinkling of country twang and you've got the makings of a great Neil Young meets Pavement analogy that stands up to repeated listening. If you catch on to the Teenage Fanclub reference in "The Home We Never Had" you'll probably dig most of what comes before and after, not the least of which includes the gorgeously epic ode to fidelity "Talkin' 'Bout Us," the countrified rambler "Firefly," and the darkly romantic "Blooms in Disguise," which features the gut-wrenchingly specific line, "you took her home with higher hopes/she left you alone with hotel soaps." Break up with Water School indeed.
- Allmusic.com

There's a lot to like on the debut full-length from Baltimore's Water School. The group's sunny-but-melancholy country-rock sound comes fully-formed, with each song featuring distinct melodies, pleasant harmonies and crisp production. The Beachwood Sparks would be a good reference point, but whereas the Sparks were more willing to indulge their Fifth Dimension-era Byrds influences with some swirling psychedelia, Water School sticks with Sweetheart of the Rodeo as the main influence. Singers Chris Myers and Mike Gittings split vocal duties and balance each other well. Myers has a warmer, more traditional voice, while Gittings' is a little rougher around the edges, almost recalling Paul Westerberg at times. When the two trade off parts, such as in "All God's Children", it's especially effective, adding a welcome element to the standard dual guitar/bass/drums setup. There's hardly anything groundbreaking about this record, and the members of the band would probably be the first to tell you that. But it's refreshing to find a band so early in its career that is so comfortable with its sound and has such honed songwriting chops. - Popmatters.com

Water School
Break Up With Water School

Review by Bret McCabe

Fans of vaguely countryish and thoroughly summery indie rock don’t have to look any further than this Baltimore quartet’s debut for a new kick. Guitarists/vocalists Chris Meyers (no relation to the City Paper contributing photographer of the same name) and Mike Gittings have those slightly abnormal, imperfect voices that aren’t really musical, but which they know how to use despite their limitations. These are the nasally, vulnerable voices of love gone not so much wrong but maybe less than right, and their lyrics shrug it off and smile bittersweetly through the turbulence. The casual-rocking “Talkin’ ’Bout Us” uses the sweet “We know the older we get the more we’ll give/ We know the further we go the deeper we’re in” to close the first verse, but the unspoken implication of the lines is that right now things aren’t really going that great.

Such amiability lights up Break Up’s breakups, from the rollicking “The Home We Never Had” to the giddy lament “Sometimes What You Don’t Know” to the Band-ish organ kiss-off “Blooms in Disguise.” And it’s usually Meyers’ and Gittings’ ups and downs that gives Water School its easygoing heartache. Bassist Eric Hopkins and drummer Matt Scoggins sound always set to rock, wanting to pull everything along at a galloping thrust, leaving the two frontmen to rein in everything. When the band does open up and hit a full gallop—as in the aforementioned “Blooms,” “Rosita,” and “All God’s Children”—Water School sounds like it’s having a blast, sounding like a less smarty-pants Pavement at its Eagles-mocking midcareer (see: B-side “Easily Fooled”), crossed with a more rocking Clem Snide. - Bret McCabe

A four-piece of talented performers, Water School hail from Baltimore; their press, website, and artwork seem to portray a band intent on having a good, old fashioned rockin’ time. They are rightfully proud of their escalating success, opening for bands like Sebadoh, Blonde Redhead, and the Fiery Furnaces, all the while keeping a sense of humor. But in the end, their first full-length release, picked up by Morphius Records for national distribution, could be the well-wishing breakup one would have with the nice boy down the street. He may be great – but he’s not right for you.

I’ve never heard honky-tonk pop before. This may seem like yet another sub-genre classification, but the basically light sound, twang vocals, and Tennessee Walker beats brought nothing to mind so clearly as a dim bar with a cheery local crowd, entertained by the cheery local band. Real honky-tonk. This is true on “Firefly” and especially on “No Cause For Celebration.” But they’re not country – just honky-tonk. The faster time settings of “Forgive Me Robert” and “Rosita” owe more to straight-up indie rock; “Southern Belle” is markedly cousin to the Weakerthans. Both lead singers Chris Myers and Mike Gittings have decent voices, though occasionally weak, that range between the aforementioned styles. There are also overtures of shoo-wop backing vocals, which are a nice touch on several tracks and part of the reason why the album is light.

Tracks that diverge from the basic honky-tonk feel include “Blooms In Disguise,” with a strong guitar line Aimee Mann would be proud of, and “Rosita,” which could be early Hollywood punk. The influences on the band tend toward Gram Parsons and Steve Earle but are offset by modern indie fare.

The four members of Water School play their instruments well, and their time in the studio and on the road shows in their mature arrangements, layered song construction, and balanced harmonies. Unfortunately, most of the tracks suffer from lyrics of no particular depth, and awkward phrases (“Hold on to your heart attacks/ We gotta keep all God’s children intact”). Break up with Water School is nothing to hype, but Water School seem to have found a clever niche, and will probably continue to succeed if their genial approach in music extends to their interaction as a band. Like the short-term boyfriend of your youth, you’ll undoubtedly see them around and stay friends. Next time they play the local dive, catch their show; but don’t feel bad for skipping a future with them.
- Left Off The Dial

Digging in the fertile mines of pop music history from early '60s to early '90s, and places in between, Water School have unearthed some fine musical ores and put them all on an LP for the public at large. Their invitation is for us to Break Up with the Water School. And though that could imply ending our still fragile relationship with the band, it could also have the slightly more heartwarming meaning that one should listen to this disc while breaking up. But we can takes this to an even nicer level: you can get listening mileage from this album even when you're not breaking up. Isn't that swell?

Well, it should be, anyway. Those ores they mined, now they're like crayons in a crayon box. And the Water School have enough to make an effective picture, if not quite 64. There's some early '60s hues, both garage rock and girl group variety, with backing vocals that are so naive and cliched that they're beautiful. Like on "Talkin' Bout Us", with the sweetest little out-of-tune "oohs" and "ba-bas" throughout. Of course, the song is pretty nice, as is the following, faster paced "Forgive Me Robert." Falling nicely in both these '60s colors and the '90s touches is the production. Lo-fi, but well done. Let's just say it's good, sheenless work throughout, and the tones from the guitar are very crisp and tasty.

Ok, so another tool in the Water School shed is the ballad. Yeah, everybody does ballads, boring, overwrought, whatever. Maybe just slower song. Like "Southern Belle," a nice, slower song, that doesn't take itself too seriously and has a nice guitar solo besides. Or the similarly slow, unburdened "To All the Girls." That's a nice song, too. And the Water School does just go with straight pop ("Sometimes What You Don't Know"), straight rock ("Rosita", "Blooms in Disguise"), and even a touch of epic ("All God's Children").

So this summary of the album has lost a little steam. This album does not, however, lose steam. Water School produces some darn good music in the pop/rock vein for over 45 minutes and 13 songs. It's not terribly original, it's not extraordinarily well-executed, but it's nice. It sounds good. They sound like they're having fun. And when you listen, you might have fun too. Unless you take their advice and listen while breaking up. And then, who knows? - 30music.com


Break Up With Water School (2004)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Mike Gittings and Chris Myers met in high school in Baltimore when Chris approached Mike to sell him a box set by his band Creamy Apple Pie. This box set consisted of just one cassette containing 14 different versions of a single song called “I got the shit out of my trunk.” Mike forked over a dollar for it and their friendship was born. Later on that year, Chris called Mike to play bass in his band Salahd Days. They got their feet wet at local all-ages venues, notably the historic Small Intestine, run by their school friend Ben Valis.

Fast forward a few years and Mike and Chris have moved around a lot, even overseas briefly, for college and girls mostly, but they find themselves neighbors back in Baltimore city. Eric Hopkins, another high school friend, lives on the same street as them. They begin trading tapes of songs they record in their bedrooms and find they have a batch of songs they really like. These echo some of their favorite old songwriters, like Neil Young and Gram Parsons, as well as some of their favorite new bands, like the Shins and Destroyer. With demos in hand, they recruit Eric to play bass and local studio whiz Matt Scoggins to play drums. Within a month, they play their first show as Water School.

Now, as they’ve grown into their distinctive voices, they’ve found a home in the up-and-coming Baltimore music scene. Sometimes they play the raucous party band, sometimes the drunken bar band, but mainly a disarmingly honest, gimmick-free pop band. They’ve played at drag queen parties, pizza restaurants, and strip clubs, and are always looking for new experiences. They’ve even decided to play a wedding for a close friend.

Water School has made a lot happen in their first year as a band. They’ve self-released an album called “Break Up With Water School” which has been picked up for US distribution by Morphius Records and will be re-released in fall of 2005 on Danny Wylie’s Glasgow-based Neon Tetra Records. They’ve toured the US from New York to LA, sharing the stage with the likes of Sebadoh, The Hold Steady, Enon, The Fiery Furnaces, Palomar, The Oranges Band, Hockey Night and Weird War. They’ll be recording their next album in summer 2005 with production help from Roman Kuebler of the Oranges Band. And they’ll be heading to the UK in the winter to promote the Neon Tetra Release of “Break Up” alongside Glasgow legends BMX Bandits and Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub.