(All Over The Place program note: The Trypes, The Thousand Pities and Yung Wu will be featured on All Over The Place Internet Radio for the remainder of June. Tune in to hear ‘em! You should also check out Matthew Davis' Spotify playlist, which is here.)
It’s funny when you talk with someone for the first time and find out that you have quite a bit in common. In the case of myself and Matthew Davis, leader of Montclair-based band The Thousand Pities, it’s common friends and shared experiences, both in the Boston music scene and in home-recording adventures, all of which made the conversation a lot of fun.
Davis has been involved in music since 1986, when he founded his band The Vestrymen in Amherst, Mass. After eight years on the road and two albums, the self-titled debut and the follow-up, Ruby Ranch, The Vestrymen called it a day.
Twelve years and a move to New Jersey later, Davis rediscovered the joy of making music that he had lost in 1994.
“In 2005, I left the job I’d been with for a long time. All of a sudden, I had free time on my hands. It gave me the opportunity to write for the first time in 12 years. It just felt really good to be playing again. I had burned out in my late 20s. I probably walked away from music too much. It’s been really good to come back to it,” said Davis.
“Technology and my bank account had come together to the point where I could actually afford to have a great-sounding studio at home which is nothing more than a computer and a quiet room. That’s really all you need,” continued Davis.
All of this work resulted in the release of The Thousand Pities’ debut album in the spring of 2011. It’s called Believe in Sound, thirteen songs of folk-pop tunes with strong songwriting. Some of the standout tracks are “Point Pleasant,” “Count My Summer Down” and “What If Everyone Is Wrong?”
Believe in Sound is one of those albums with bright-sounding pop songs with darker lyrics.
Davis explains: “I’m a fairly happy character myself. I was blessed with a temperament that says the glass is half-full. I’m just lucky that way. I remember my mother 20 years ago getting one of the Vestrymen records and asking me if everything was OK.”
“Not every song is a complete downer, but there’s a lot of heartache in the world. I guess that finds its way into songs more easily. I see all the joy in the spaces where the joy should be. A lot of that record is things that have been rattling around in my brain for the past 12 years,” continued Davis.
The album came out on the OverPop Music label, which is run by Davis and Billy Donohue. Davis is enthusiastic about the idea of running a record label.
“Owning the means of production and distribution – I love it. This is so much for fun for me now. I’m not exactly sure why, but it’s true. We just put out our second record by a band called The Static Sea. They’re really talented guys who are in the same place I was when I was 23 or 24. We’re an easygoing label for them to be on. We don’t need a huge budget to get anyone into the Top 20. It’s good to have a label that you’re proud of,” said Davis.
The current lineup of the band is Davis on guitar and vocals, Donohue on keyboards, Timo Lipping on bass, Ken Meyer on drums and Michael Carlucci on guitars. Donohue and Lipping played in The Vestrymen with Davis. Meyer was previously in the band Life In A Blender. Carlucci was in Winter Hours and currently has his own band, East Of Venus. Guest artists on the album include Stan Demeski (The Feelies, The Trypes, Luna) and Deena Shoshkes of New Jersey indie-rock legends The Cucumbers.
The Pities will be making an appearance at this month’s Rent Party show. They will be opening for and Yung Wu. The band got involved after being contacted by Rent Party’s Chris Dickson.
“It’s a weird room – it’s an Elks Lodge! But it’s great. Seeing The Trypes and Yung Wu in that room will be a lot of fun. The money goes to help people in need. The Community FoodBank of New Jersey is a totally worthy cause. You’ll see some great bands for just five dollars,” enthused Davis.
If you want to learn a little more about Davis, see . You can also listen to The Thousand Pities' Spotify playlist, handpicked by Davis. Please listen!
The Trypes, Yung Wu and The Thousand Pities will be appearing at the South Orange Elks Lodge on Friday, June 8 starting at 8 p.m. The venue is located at 220 Prospect Street in South Orange. Suggested donation is $5.
The Thousand Pities are also playing a free outdoor show at Sinatra Park on the waterfront in Hoboken at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 21 with Yung Wu and East of Venus.