Let me say this first. I love this record. Loved it when Jimm put it out back when I was living in Providence, Rhode Island. How can you not love a record where a girl with three E’s in her name tragically dies after being hit in the noggin with a foul ball? (Listen here: https://greenmonkeyrecords.bandcamp.com/album/polaroid-angel)
Okay, now that that’s out of the way, welcome to the March 2010 GMR Album of the Month. You may recall I was going to run the Green Pajamas’ Book of Hours this month, but it’s not quite ready to go and Jimm graciously agreed to move this up a couple months.
For all of you old GMR folks you know Jimm was the singer for The Life, a fabulous band with whom I put out a highly praised album and a single back when. We shall be hearing more from later this year. After The Life ceased to live, Jimm worked on this project. I vaguely recall hearing little rumors and secret tales about it for what seems like years. Jimm was going to put it out with some English guy named Tom. Jimm was gonna put it out with a major label. None of those things quite happened. Finally Jimm put it out on his own. It was very different from what he had done with The Life, which leaned toward earnest and sincere. Jimm had moved off to quirkyville in his lyrics, telling tales like the aforementioned three E’s thing and about hanging mirror’s over the balcony to look in Paula’s room. Musically it was different, too. In his press kit, Jimm cited all his various influences but then left out what I thought was the most obvious – Queen. Not that The Boxes sound anything like Queen.
So there ya have it, enjoy – before I turn this over to Jimm for his comments I’m just gonna let you know you can get this fine CD as well as his more recent Sweet Petunia Modern and the Holograms of Düm at CD Baby or now at GMR. His myspace page is no longer, but facebook is here.
1. Paula’s Room
2. Polaroid Angel
5. Years From Now
8. Spaceship Jane (demo)
9. Bright Red (McIver, Jedrzejewski, Allen, Morrison, Guenther)
10. Sunny Day (McIver, Jedrzejewski, Allen, Morrison, Guenther, Keller)
11. Austin (McIver, Morlan)
12. The Devil Is Beating His Wife
13. The Devil Proper
14. Mr. Fahrenheit
All music & lyrics by Jimm McIver except where noted.
Jimm McIver – Vocals, all guitars on tracks 2, 4, 6, 11, 14
Casey Allen – Bass guitar & harmony vocals
Mark Guenther – Drums & percussion
Jed Jedrzejewski – Lead Guitar, harmony vocals
Tom Morrison – Piano, Organ, Keyboards, harmony vocals
Jim Keller – Guitar & harmony vocals on tracks 7, 9, 10
Walt Singleman – Upright Bass on tracks 2, 4, 5, 6, 11, 14
After spending 14 years fronting various Seattle rock bands, I literally woke up one morning in the spring of 1995 and realized that a lot of the material I’d been writing over that last year needed a new home. Up to that point, most if not all of my songs had been performed and recorded by bands, with band arrangements banged out in basements and clubs over many months, and captured on tape that way, essentially as is.
That same night I quit the band I was in, and began four tracking demos that would become the first songs of my solo career.
It all started with a two week session in July of ’95, recording 12 songs at Egg Studios with Conrad Uno at the helm. These tracks were all cut with me on guitar, Mark Guenther (drums), Walt Singleman (upright bass) and Tom Morrison (piano, keys).
I spent the next six months shopping these tunes around and eventually found interest from the small Seattle/London based label Blue Rose. They initially signed me to release Polaroid Angel/Carousel as a 7″, but shortly thereafter put the release on hold in anticipation of being underwritten by V2 Music, and then once the major label budget arrived they decided to release a full length CD instead.
With an album and a tour seeming imminent, I started putting together the live lineup that would become The Boxes. Bill “Jed” Jedrzejewski on guitar, my old band mate Casey Allen on bass, and Mark Guenther and Tom Morrison from the original Egg sessions on drums and keys (Jim Keller joined later and replaced me on guitar when I decided to focus more on singing).
What followed was a roller coaster year of alternating excitement and disappointment, with the label changing their mind several times about what the plan was going forward. We kept rehearsing and writing new material however, and eventually returned to Egg to record another batch of tunes with the new lineup. From that session came Paula’s Room and Candybar, which eventually sealed the deal and in December ’97 I flew to NYC to shoot a video for Paula’s Room and then on to London to officially sign a multi album deal with Blue Rose/V2.
After all of the delay it seemed like things were finally going to happen. We played a private showcase in London for industry folks, and returned home waiting for word on release dates and touring. More disappointment followed however, now V2 wanted us to record new “bigger” versions of Paula and Carousel before they would release the record (the irony was not lost on me that these were the very songs that had convinced them to sign me a few months earlier). We recorded the new versions in Vancouver BC at Greenhouse and Warehouse Studios. The result was two extremely slick, overproduced and mediocre recordings that everyone, including V2 hated. A few more months passed, we recorded a few more songs with Uno, and then word came that we were dropped. No records, no tours, end of story.
After licking my wounds for a couple of years, I decided to finally self release Polaroid Angel in 2002 which is essentially a ‘best of’ collection of material recorded from 1995 – 1999.
Thank you Tom Dyer and Green Monkey for featuring the album this month, I hope you all enjoy it!
*On a very sad note Tom Morrison passed away suddenly in the fall of 2006. You’ll find his amazing keyboard work and beautiful spirit are at the very center of this album. I miss him dearly.