Thursday, October 14, 2010

Book Store "Hello From Book Store" cd-r (self released/2002)

Contrary to popular belief there is more than just punk and hardcore on Long Island and furthermore it is my belief the DIY culture is not just limited to those said genres. I know shudder to think... And one band that certainly proved so by carving out a nice sized niche for themselves in the late 90s/early 2000s was Bookstore. Perhaps at first their sunny brand of fuzzed out indie rock was met with reluctance but bottom line- catchy songs have a way of eventually hooking you in. Bookstore was formed after bassist Jon Kaplan and drummer Joey Lambiaso's previous band The Mutes Brothers broke up and eventually hooked up with guitarist/vocalist Dan Fucello to create a power pop/fuzz indie rock trio. While today wearing influences like Built to Spill, Velocity Girl and Superdrag on your sleeve seems like the hip thing to do at that time on Long Island so Bookstore certainly stuck out amongst the rest of the bands in the Long Island scene. But like I previously mentioned Bookstore (who were from Nassau County) certainly found a rousing response in eastern Suffolk County where simply put they were adored. It didn't hurt that in eastern Long Island it seemed as if people were more into indie/alternative rock/emo as opposed to raging punk and hardcore.

To get their feet wet Bookstore teamed up with the local label Eiffel Trousers Records to release their 5 song demo tape called Sleeping On Glass Pillows. Over the span of the following year Bookstore played lots of shows locally and regionally which led to an appearance on the Rok Lok Records cd compilation The Hope Machine in which they featured the song "Gonster" in all of it's glorious extended jam section, pre radio edit-inside joke sorry. Eventually, I offered to release their self titled full length cd on Rok Lok Records which came out in June of 2001. Whatever resistance they were met with before hand was washed away as the self titled cd made its rounds around stereos and mix tapes on the island so it was official people loved Bookstore. They were playing out a lot in support of the album and it was announced that they were going to do a full US tour. In between the tour getting booked over the course of local shows in the interim new songs starting creeping into the set. Songs that would eventually comprise the bands third effort, a six song ep called Hello From Bookstore just in time for their summer 2002 tour.

In contrast to the pristine production found on the self titled album Hello From Bookstore was raw but absolutely welcome as from a personal viewpoint I felt it better displayed what Bookstore was like as a live band. Bias aside, while the self titled album is a great indie pop rock album it can be argued is too polished, as there were a few moments that you felt there was restraint from a production standpoint because I knew what the songs sounded like live. But back to Hello From Bookstore...this is a collection six rock solid, fuzzy indie rock songs that are insanely infectious. The song writing while still rooted in hook and pop sensibilities matured a great deal in such a short period of time. And the songs run the gamut of emotions- joy, frustration, longing and the quasi lo fi recording approach only helps make the songs all the more personal. Looking back it really is a shame that I didn't offer to put these ep out as most of the songs rank as my favorites by the band. Songs like "Field Day" and "Summer Solstice" are so tug at your heart melodic but both have a groove that locks you in. And where do I begin describing the majesty of Kaplan's offerings on Hello From Bookstore? "Best Wishes" in its almost jazz like jangle pop breeze and the absolutely incredible "We Won't Be Here Forever" gives Doug Martsch a run for his money. It should also be noted the name of this blog actually comes from a line in "We Won't Be Here Forever".

Bookstore returned home from tour and played some local shows and as the band started to write new material it was decided that they'd call it a day and in the winter of 2002 Bookstore played their last show. If you dig Hello From Bookstore may I recommend that stop over at Rok Lok Records to pick up a copy of the self titled cd as I still have plenty left. You can also stream the album in its entirety or purchase digitally at Bandcamp

Hello From Bookstore track listing:
1. "Field Day"
2. "La Belle Dame Sans Merci"
3. "We Won't Be Here Forever"
4. "Summer Solstice"
5. "Best Wishes"
6. "Valentines Day"

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