In 1984, a young band from the Haledon area of New Jersey released a four-song EP called The Explorers Hold. (A fifth song, “A Plan, Revised”, was released on a 1985 compilation called Luxury Condos Coming To Your Neighborhood Soon.) After that, nothing – until the band resurfaced late last year at Maxwell’s in Hoboken playing at a benefit show with Yo La Tengo. This band was known as The Trypes.
This past April, The Trypes released a career-spanning compilation called Music for Neighbors. It includes the original EP, the compilation appearance and some demo recordings. In total, it offers a window into the mid-‘80s indie rock scene in New Jersey, veering between pastoral folk-pop and more experimental sounds.
The Trypes are playing a benefit for the South Orange organization known as Rent Party.
“They support good causes such as food banks in South Orange and Maplewood. We did one with our other band Speed The Plough. It’s a series of monthly concerts at the Elks Lodge in South Orange,” said Trypes keyboard player and co-founder John Baumgartner.
The show is also part of a series of reunion shows in tandem with the release of the LP. The opening bands will be Feelies offshoot Yung Wu and the Montclair-based folk-rock band The Thousand Pities. (Watch this space for a Thousand Pities interview later this week.)
In 1982, the band created a series of shows in Haledon called “Music for Neighbors.”
“It was a song title that became a convenient title for a series of shows that we did at a local bar in Haledon. We convinced the owners to let us rehearse on Sunday afternoons. We’d get a lot of a college kids coming down from nearby William Paterson University. That was the first summer. The second summer we put together a real series with people from the Hoboken scene,” recalled Baumgartner.
Bands that played the series included Dr. Robert, a band that specialized in obscure Beatles covers, Ward 8 (an early version of Winter Hours), The Trypes, Yung Wu, and The Willies (an instrumental version of The Feelies).
The original members of The Trypes were Baumgartner, Toni Paruta (now Toni Baumgartner), Marc Francia, Glenn Mercer and Elbrus Kelemet. By the time their EP was released, Kelemet was out and Stan Demeski, Brenda Sauter, Dave Weckerman and Bill Million were in. Most of the members will be present for the Friday show.
Music for Neighbors has been released by Acute Records, a small label devoted to documenting the independent music scene of the 1980s.
“We talked about doing some sort of compilation of songs by these Haledon bands. The notion of doing this has been around for a while. The facilitator was Dan Selzer at Acute, who really embraced the project and pushed it beyond what most of us expected. I keep up with music, but who knew that there was this boutique label that focuses on ‘80s reissues in a pretty high state of art? Who knew that there was something like that around that would invest a lot of time and elbow grease?” asked Baumgartner.
The EP was originally released on the Coyote label, which was run by Steve Fallon. (Fallon also started Maxwell’s.)
"He was the owner of the original mechanical rights. He very graciously allowed us to rerelease it. He has always been an incredibly great supporter of the band,” stated Baumgartner.
The album is available on vinyl and by download, but not on compact disc. “That was Dan at the label. Nobody’s buying CDs and vinyl sales are a fraction of the market, but sales have been going up 10 to 12% a year for the last five years or so,” noted Baumgartner.
John Baumgartner has graciously supplied a Spotify playlist for your perusal. It includes some music from The Trypes and related bands in addition to some songs of John's choosing. Please listen to it!
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.