TagYerit (tag you're it) has been very fortunate since "Heavy Construction" was released in '96.. We have gotten many supportive reviews and comments in a relatively short time. "Tubeman" was released June 1999. As these review pages grow, and my free time shrinks, I find that I'm no longer putting all the reviews up any longer.
Believe it or not, writing reviews is a hard profession filled with many dedicated people. If you don't think so, pick up ten or twenty recordings and try to creatively and fairly describe them. While not a reviewer myself, I wrote a column in Get Fancy!, a music Trade Magazine for a few months (when I thought I had the time). I hope you'll check it out, as well as some of the magazines that are mentioned here. (Still working hard at promoting, but if you note a gap between reviews, it's cause I'm spending more time on the web site and less on mailing out.)
With that guitar, she makes weird and wonderful music in collaboration with Rich under the moniker Tagyerit. The two don’t play gigs, but they’ve offered their unusual sounds on record for a good few years. The music is like pop with alien sensibilities, a fun listen that’s full of surprising fizz and tang. Flo’s often-ethereal vocals float along, buoyed by her off-kilter guitar playing and Rich’s propulsive bass lines. Chances are high that you won’t find anything quite like it.
(from a cover article about Rich & Flo's pumpkin carvings).
GoGirls Music reviewed by Megan MeGehee
The sophomore effort of Massachusetts trio TagYerit tempts listeners with endless treats of original songwriting and precise execution. Songwriters Rich and Flo Newman successfully combine the upbeat with the mellow, employ imaginative leaps of interval and harmony that reflect their imagery-filled lyrics, and show provocative talent in painting nostalgic pictures through melody and lyric. The pair has the special ability to weave seemingly contrasting sections into seamless songs.
Flo Newman's vocal performance, showcasing her wide range and the occasional punk-ish quirk, infuses the album with immediacy. Whether emphasizing a nifty rhythm, skillfully leaping about a complicated line, or ascending above her own main track in soaring backing vocals, she maintains perfect control of the intricate harmonies and demands attention. The guitar, bass, and drums play an equal role with her voice; though the band remains subdued in our subconscious when appropriate, the songwriters and producer Ed Vadas paid deserved attention to the instruments in their starkly interesting lines.
Sink into daydreams in harmony with the soothing sounds or remain alert to carefully discern the many levels of nuance in these songs; it is up to you. TagYerit will guide you from an ode to the musicians in everyone (Music Makers) through animal-filled images and environmental warnings to a deceptively demure piece regarding blushingly embarrassing anecdotes that are "all true." However you choose to approach this album, you will not be disappointed that you took the trip.
Hit Picks: "Tubeman" and "Milestones"
The following is excerpted from the reader's poll issue.
Think of the Advocate Grand Band Slam as a kinder and gentler version of the assorted battles
of the bands we all attended in high school -- those sonic slug-fests where hemp-happy,
Dead-influenced outfits competed against the occasional Iggy Pop wannabe, and in the end the
trio of cute high school jocks lip-synching to Phil Collins took home the coveted trophy.
First off, the Grand Band Slam isn't a battle; it's a celebration of the Valley's vibrant music scene. For the second year running, we asked Advocate readers to choose their favorite local musicians in a variety of categories -- from best post-punk band to best bass player -- and more than 5,000 ballots poured in.
Pinning down TagYerit's sound is as delicate a procedure as two porcupines humping.
"Like some Star Trek episode, with the omniscient, disembodied head," wrote one reviewer. "Leaves you feeling like you just got off a ride at Disneyland after eating an Arch Deluxe," wrote another.
Since we didn't have enough candidates for Sci-Fi Rock or Disorienting/Nausea Rock categories, Tagyerit found a home in our old catch-all: experimental.
And that's just fine with the band's bassist, Rich Newman. "Whoa! We love our fans," Newman said. "Apparently, they'll vote for us in any genre that will have us."
Together with his wife, Flo, and her notorious rabbit-shaped guitar, Newman has released two CDs with TagYerit. The first, 1995's Heavy Construction, drew critical acclaim from Guitar Player Magazine. The second, Tubeman, is still in the early stages of promotion.
Primarily a studio band, TagYerit relies heavily on the Internet and its 100-page Web site to spread its musical message. A lively mixture of songs, studio pics and assorted silliness, www.tagyerit.com boasts an average of 3,000 to 5,000 unique visitors per month. Now that these unique visitors have formed a unified voice in support of the band, perhaps TagYerit will experiment with some live shows.
(My response: Don't get your hopes up guys!!!)
Way back in 1996, I reviewed Tagyerit's debut album Heavy Construction & while it's been quite some time since then, it's great to see that the band are still hard at it & have forwarded their latest album Tubeman, which continues their tradition of cool, slightly quirky pop.
There are some great moments here, with some very good grooves on tracks like closing track "Embarassed (All True)", which is probably my favourite track, sporting an excellent vocal performance as well as some very unusual pacing in the lead guitar.
Other highlights include "Dreading", the fabulous "One Crow Morning", opener "Music Makers", which follows on from where the band left off on Heavy Construction, plus "Outlaw Radio Guy". Once again the band have compiled a great bunch of tunes & it's now up to those of you looking for interesting new releases to get yourselves into this one.
"TagYerit will enter our first playlist chart at #1, with the song Outlaw Radio Guy. We do enjoy Tubeman (the song), but the response for ORG was overwhelming!"
"What would happen if you floated into the Bermuda Triangle on an inner tube? Flo and Rich Newman have done it again. Savvy and sleek, quirky and fun, dark and funky pop with phenomenal lyrics. Flo's percussive vocal style has the rich maturity of Joni Mitchell, the Egyptian flair of the B-52s, and the flexibility of Bjork. The awards for musical inventiveness go to "Wendy Bird", "Outlaw Radio Guy", and "SciFi with Space Leprechaun Alien Appearance." "
Seems like I just reviewed a CD of theirs. They must be pretty hard working.
If the opener 'Music Makers' is anything to go by, yes, the hard work is paying off. See, Tagyerit has a very distinctive sound, like nothing else I've yet heard, which of course has a lot
to do with vocalist Flo Newman's odd style of high singing and word twisting pitches. The realm of songwriting and arranging is pretty much hard to pin down as well, though I would call it more pop than rock, filled to the chip in the cup with bright electric guitar and at times irregular drum rhythms.
Check out 'Wendy Bird' which says 'well they shot the Wendy Bird / Hook keeps leaving those poison cakes / one's an act of sinister intent / the other was all a huge mistake.' Peter Pan was one of my favorite Disney cartoons, so I know what they're talking about here. The way the band makes the song and backing vocals though, this one isn't for kids.
'Dreading' begins with deep piano or bass (I can't tell!), then snares up via drums and odd Flo singing. Weird and I like it!
Yes, Tagyerit is about as alternative pop as you can Get, so if you love this stuff, you'll love this stuff.
This is a bit of a weird rock album, I'd say this leans into the folk rock territory of The Grateful Dead, King Crimson etc...I could also imagine Steve Vai coming up with stuff like this, it's very different to what I normally listen to, it's very progressive in places and vocalist Flo Newman is a very nice female vocalist who reminds me of Chrissy Hynde, Jane Wiedlin, Lisa Dalbello, Jane Sibbery, Stevie Nicks and "Dreamboat Annie" era Heart.
Some of the songs are very catchy like "Wendy Bird" and "Connections", but quite often the material looses it's substance and makes my attention wonder off into the clouds. Flo pulls off quite a great performance on track six "Outlaw Radio Guy", and "SciFi With Space Leprechaun" is one of my favorite songs on the album because of it's diversity and excellent guitar playing that almost reminds me of Spock's Beard and Yes. "Betya" is also another great song with a very 70's sound,and the last song "Embarrassed (All True)" features some wonderful vocal phrasing from Flo, and reminds me of Michelle from Blue Moon Junction.
All in all quite a departure from my usual standards but this album does grow on you and does have some very nice melodies and strong musical structures, I'd be interested in hearing more material from them for sure as Flo is simply a very organic female vocalist. Nice effort.
Like that smile you get from the girl across the hall that you are too scared to talk to... Back is the refreshing Tagyerit. "Tubeman" is the follow up to the highly acclaimed "Heavy Construction". Luckily, "Tubeman" does not float lazy like down the river of music... oh hell no.
Flo, is back and almost above her game with the rabbit shaped guitar and a mastery of the English language that rivals Ben Stein. I would be a fool not to scream the triumphs of "Outlaw Radio Guy" and "Dreading". The amazing thing about Tagyerit is that conventionally speaking this is a band that does nothing right but for some reason it works on every level. The verbiage, the music, the mix is all controlled chaos. Sporadic at first but in the end it all comes together like an episode of Scooby Doo. Of all the bands I hear year in and year out this is one I have looked forward to and I must say it has been way too long.
The single "Music Maker" has been downloaded off their website over two thousand times and climbing, so look for someone with the vision and fortitude to get these guys back on the radio soon. When you get this disc check out "Wendy Bird", "Betya" and "One Crow Morning" this disc needs your undivided attention so give it to them...because Tag You're it!
181.4 Degrees from the Norm! the Net's freshest music magazine.... http://www.181-4.com
©Copyright 1999 181.4 DftN!
Rich and Flo Newman are the songwriters behind this Massachusetts based band and they prove to be a very prolific tandem with their second album "Tubeman". Flo’s voice is reminiscent of Joni Mitchell and lends itself perfectly to the thoughtful lyrics. The snappy rhythms and driving folkish music are an excellent foil to the songs and put their own stamp on the tunes with brief but well contrived solo forays. Songwriter connoisseurs will enjoy this one.
You will be tickled to hear this CD full of pop musings and sensibilities from Tagyerit. The group hails from Amherst, MA which is a bustling little college town. Their appeal is no doubt universal. The group reaches out to every walk of life as it draws it's influences from a wide variety of resources and genres. Lead singer/guitar player Flo Newman adds color and humor with her quirky Joni Mitchell meets Alanis Morissette vocalizations. The rest of the supporting cast, Rich Newman (bass, vocals, acoustic guitar) and Fred Hazelton (percussion) round out the ensemble to make a complete and interesting mixture of talent allowing many different musical expressions to come shining through. I am very impressed with the way they use their music and web presence to get behind some worthwhile causes that the group supports, very notable. If you are in the mood for something different and original this is your fix. Tag yer it!
Tagyerit is one of those musical concoctions for which, after a few listenings, you find yourself needing an occasional fix. It's a big world full of all kinds of viewpoints, some confusing and disturbing. After you've been exposed to this unique little ensemble, it's comforting to know you can refresh yourself by looking at the world through Tagyerit-colored glasses.
Lyrically, the songs cover subjects ranging from the DIY liberation of the music biz ("Music Makers" and "Outlaw Radio Guy") to fantasy scenarios ("The Hike," "Dreading," and "Sci Fi with Space Leprechaun appearance") to examinations of everyday situations ("Betya" and "Embarrassed"). The title cut may be the cleverest of them all, with its great rhymes & rich Coast Guard lingo.
Music this spare has to be consistently engaging to work, and the Newmans pull it off. There's nothing really all that exotic about the chord progressions themselves; it's just Flo's voicings and funny little licks that make the listener say, "How's that again?" She doesn't just throw them in haphazardly, either. They are key compositional elements and show up uniformly throughout the songs' structures.
It would be difficult for this reviewer to pick a favorite, but "Outlaw Radio Guy" is a strong contender. The bare-bones arrangement heard here is exactly as it should be, but I could imagine some other act covering this with a lazy honky-tonk piano, more up-front drums, lush vocal harmonies and maybe even a hint of steel guitar floating over the top of the proceedings. Or how about Tagyerit working up such an arrangement and shopping it as a shot at a hit single?
One of the most commendable things about Tagyerit's music is its instant recognizability. When you need that aforementioned fix of this stuff, you'll always know if you got the real deal. Their next outing is much anticipated.
Rich Newman: bass, vocals, and acoustic guitar
Flo Newman: rabbit shaped guitar, lead vocals
Fred Hazelton (of The Fabulous Heavyweights): drums, percussion
Rating: * * * *
Songwriters Rich and Flo Newman, known as TagYerit (pronounced: Tag you're it) is once again back with another crazy weird
release. I took TagYerit to my heart already with their first release "Heavy Construction" (1995), so it was with excitement I
started listen to this new CD.
It's almost impossible to describe the music of TagYerit. It's like they're from another planet. If I should try to describe the music I would say it's a mix between B52s, David Byrne, King Crimson, Talking Heads and Frank Zappa, or a mix between blues, country music, folk, funk, fusion, jazz, pop, psychedelic and progressive rock. It contains excellent musicianship, many different time signatures, harmonies and loads of humor. One of the centerpieces are Flo's magnificent vocals that are very special, like a mix between Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders), Joni Mitchell and Suzanne Vega. The other centerpiece is the guitar playing that is outstanding and in world-class.
The highlights are "Music Makers" (that has been downloaded from TagYerit's website over 1000 times since June), "Tubeman", "Wendy Bird", "Outlaw Radio Guy", "SciFi with Space Leprechaun appearance" and the funny closing track "Embarrassed (All true)" that is about embarrassing urination episodes taken from real life. Here's one verse "You lead cheers for basketball- team just broke a tie score / You screamed and you laughed so hard that you peed on the floor. Your shock turns to horror - time and space feel so stuck. As you watch the ref bend right on down and wipe it all up."
This is one of the most exciting CD's I've heard this year and it's got a great production. Check this unique band out!
(Also) TagYerit's website is definitely worth checking out, including "Wabbit Wadio Radio", "The Lazy Surfer Contest" and "The Whole World Toilet Paper Museum" together with reviews, audio, video samples, bio, stories and more. Not many bands has such a cool, crazy, weird and fascinating website.
TagYerit in the Internet vanguard
They weren't the first band to figure out the power of the Internet as a means for getting their music heard, but the Amherst-based TagYerit, back in 1996 had a vision that was way ahead of many bands.
The brainchild of local musicians Rich and Flo Newman, TagYerit was envisioned as an Internet-only band that would create, release, and market their music via a web page. In 1966, this was still a rather novel idea.
In 1999, you'd be hard pressed to find a band without a web page. In fact, many bands now include registering their name and developing a web page as the first order of business. They still have some catching up to do, if they want to emulate TagYerit.
More than three years ago, the breakthrough "Heavy Construction" CD heralded the online debut of TagYerit. The band has just released its sophomore effort "Tubeman" and the single (Music Makers) has already earned them over 1,000 downloads since June. The TagYerit site is fascinating. A forum for "music and web culture," the site is designed as a gameboard and netsurfers can easily maneuver from one page to the next.
The site is filled with "music, art, and miscellanea" which includes links to local musicians, artists and a journey through the Toilet Paper Museum (you have to see it to believe it). The Newmans have also developed Wabbit Wadio, 14 hours of streaming music that allows independent artists to show up on a playlist and get their music out to the world.
Rich Newman said the band does not play in clubs, leaving them to compensate with the Internet to build a fan base. It seems to be working.
For those familiar with the engaging sounds of TagYerit, the band's "Tubeman" CD will not disappoint. On a sonic level, the music is alluring and Flo Newman's vocals are a treasure.
It is getting easier to find good music these days. Follow the lead of TagYerit and head to the .com section of the web.
Liner notes: Ed Vadas of Fabulous Heavyweights fame had a hand in the TagYerit project, producing the tracks. One of the more interesting segments on the site includes notes from the studio, recording actual conversations while the CD was being made. One exchange suggests a great marketing idea for Northampton would be a picture of Vadas' face on a bicycle seat.
Musically and artistically you don't get any better than Tagyerit. This is one of the finest CDs we've heard.
Here you have two relatives, not sure if husband/wife or brother/sister - and it doesn't really matter, what matters is that you can absolutely "ear-witness" the result of collaborators who eat, drink, and sleep music together.. but not just music, all that comes along with it - life, taste, synergy, all that soul mate stuff, right?
Tagyerit's music is very very original. .very. .but we have to compare to relate, so they're like you took King Crimson, They Might Be Giants, Chrissy Hynde of the Pretenders, and put them all in a room for 20 years. .. the final result could be, might be, Tagyerit.
Know what else is cool? That guitar - that guitar shaped like a rabbit is about as cool of a guitar that's ever been. Tagyerit moves musically within different time signatures and keys, effortlessly, with lush vocal harmonies and bare speaking vocal delivery, all within 20 seconds of the same song. The guitar work is mature and accomplished - and the rhythm section, made up of drummer, Fred Hazelton and bass, vocal, guitarist, (half of the relatives mentioned earlier) Rich Newman, is solid as a rock - a really dense rock. Flo Newman, whose rabbit-guitar is pictured, and angelically underworldy voice is sampled here, has a musical and vocal delivery that's syncopated, dynamic, and full of character.
Songs are full of humor, like "Embarrassed" - . ."date at the movies - there's quite a crowd, when bodily functions start functioning loud. . "; and "Tubeman" - about reports of person-filled inner-tubes floating in the ocean.
Topically, "Music Makers" could have been about earBuzz (but wasn't), with lyrics that hit close to independent artist's homes. ."a tiny fraction of music makers ever reach our ears. . . did you know - there's a giant network and it's kinda underground, from hand to hand, on homemade tapes they're passing it around." Exactly.
(They do reviews right off the website)
TUBEMAN- I listened to three cuts off their "Tagyetit" CD. Music Makers, Sci Fi and Embarrassed. Wow the vocals are incredible. The singer has a Joni Mitchell jazz fusion style that is very memorable. They have a very snycopated sensibility, carried by a kick ass low end. They have a layered almost synth-like sound. They successfully create a "soundscape" if you will. Their mood follows the vocal style and vice versa. You can tell this group has been gigging and writing together for a while. No wonder Guitar Player magazine likes them. I think that they are probably pretty popular on the college scene. I could listen to this style of music over and over and never get tired of it. You should check their web site, they have many, sound samples and a very cool site.
"TagYerit, it took me a little while to get it, but I'm a little slower than most. There are 13 wonderful tracks on Tubeman and these guys are straight outta Amherst - yo. The group is comprised of songwriters Richard and FloraLee Newman, and they are joined on the disc by the Fabulous Heavyweights Fred Hazelton on drums. Rich pulls bass and background duties and Flo is on guitar and lead vocals. I gotta admit these songs are a little fruity. If you take yourself real seriously and are into that jaded, urban sophisticate thang, then don't go get it. However, if you want a group of stylistically original songs, backed with excellent musicianship, interesting and fun themes, and a great voice - here it is.
TagYerit's sound is some mixture of bluesjazzrockfusionslightlybohemianhippything, and that is about the best I can come up with in way of description. I was at times reminded of the better Bongwater material sans the gross-out lyrics.
The production was lush and superb and local heavyweight Ed Vadas is responsible. He did a great job and this is one of the best produced recordings from the valley I have ever heard.
Song themes range from the personal ("The Hike", "Connections", "Milestones", and the really funny "Embarrassed") to odes to musicians ("Music Makers"), pirate radio ("Outlaw Radio Guy"), and those 'friends' we all have ( "Betya"), to some quirky tunes ("Tubeman", "Wendy Bird", and "SciFi with Space Leprechaun Appearance"). There is also an environmentalist anthem ("Dreading") that isn't overly preachy and obnoxious (I didn't think it could be done). Yeah, they're self-admitted tree-huggers, but the album is still great and Flo plays a wicked cool rabbit-shaped guitar. Check them out ..."
Tagyerit, Tubeman (Wabbit) CD
"Tubeman," the song, is about a ship's captain who joins a band of renegades floating in the sea on inner tubes after setting out to investigate them. "Embarrassed (all true)," meanwhile, relates a series of, erm, episodes including an involuntary urination during a basketball game. Two from 13 which indicate that Tagyerit are not necessarily on the same frequency as the rest of us -- although certainly on the same frequency as the "Outlaw radio guy" they pay tribute to. To further reinforce the differences, Flo Newman sings in a bewitching folk fashion (she's got a large range and she's gonnna use it) and the music takes in the stagger and jerk of a gentle Cardiacs or even the Soft Machine. Which leaves us the obvious comparison with the now-defunct Sidi Bou Said although without the propensity for slashing guitar abuse. In its place comes a love of crisp pop segments that burst out of, and are swallowed up by, the twitching folk rock, hints of country music and even psychedelia.
We received Tubeman about a week ago here at the station and I've got to say I'm very impressed. More importantly though our listeners have really responded well, very well. So far we've aired "Music Makers", "Outlaw Radio Guy", "Sci-Fi...", and the title track from the Tubeman CD. You guys definitely bring a unique style and I know that's why I personally, and I'm sure why the listeners really have enjoyed your music. We've also been getting a lot of feedback from the website. Toilet paper collection, very cool.
DOWN THE TUBES: TagYerit is bakagain with the followup to 1995's critically acclaimed Heavy Construction. Dubbed Tubeman, the 13-song CD offering is awash in haunting harmonies, textures and syncopations right from the word go.
In fact, if you were to spin around twice, turn the lights off and play disc-openenr "Music Makers," the cosmic tempo would probably wreak havoc with your equilibrium to make you fall over by the second chorus.
"Outlaw Radio Guy" is quite possibly the best doo-wop blues song ever written, particularly considering that the band seems to have created the category with it.
In "Embarrassed (All True)", singer Flo Newman deftly weaves tales of gas problems, public urination, ...
"The song was well researched," Rich explains, "Flo compiled at least 30 stories over three years from friends who were willing to share their embarrassing moments. There are enough left over for a sequel."
This band is alive again, with over 50 more minutes committed to cd in straight-jacket style. It is refreshing to hear a new band going out of the house, down the street, out of the country - in short, FAR AWAY from your TYPical brain-dead love song. Catch this from 'Wendy Bird':
'well they shot the wendy bird / hook keeps leaving those poison cakes /
one's an act of sinister intent / the other was all a huge mistake'.
Don't know what the hell it means? Need to watch more cartoons..
The beautiful one here is 'Outlaw Radio Guy'. I can't explain. You have to listen to it. Flo Newman's unadorned vocals spring out from the backandforeground. I can't Stand it, it's so pretty.
'they must think he's so smart / how the hell does he get those parts
and stay so free / outlaw radio guy'.
You see, I find it refreshing to hear an album (songs) like this, because it reminds me that everything doesn't HAVE to be Journey in lyrical content. Music can go anywhere; and more importantly, it can TAKE you anywhere.
Get this cd and you'll see what I mean.
Music Street Journal ezine ‘99 (http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Arena/9250/)
This album is a wonderfully entertaining piece of work. Essentially, the entire disc is catchy pop tunes, but all of them are done in a very left of field manner. The result is a quirky disc with a good sense of humor.
Subway Surfing: Quirky music seeming to be a cross between very early Blondie and the Waitresses, this is a grin inducing number. "Subway, subway surfin` no fair to hold on, Some talk of sun and sand and surf that pounds, Now meet the Kid Kahuna of the underground".
Hypnotease:This is a very fun and nicely off kilter cut that features a very intriguing swirling, hypnotic musical section.
Adam And Eve:A quirky jazzy guitar based riff intro leads to a considerably entertaining rock and roller.
Wound Up:One part near arena rock, one part Theme From The Munsters, this is another strong tune.
Pointless Psychic Revelation:Layers of vocals make up this accapella number that calls to mind the accapella version of Yes` "Leave It".
The Boys:Think of this one as straightforward rock and roll meets Blondie.
Joy:Another off beat rock cut, this one also calls to mind The Waitresses.
There are musicians who find their muse only when they meet the right partner. Apart, Gilbert and Sullivan were just two guys nobody ever heard of. But together, they were, well, Gilbert and Sullivan. You may not have heard of the song writing, guitar and bass playing pair of Richard and FloraLee (Flo) Newman yet, but if this first record of theirs, released a few years back, is any indication, you will be hearing from them in the future. Since you're going to hear it anyway (they've made it onto the radio on six continents), you may as well turn it up.
Besides, they've got a new record coming out later this year, and radio loves new music."Heavy Construction," Tagyerit's first full length CD, is just plain fun. Think the B-52's meet They Might Be Giants and you've got some idea of the sound. Like the two Johns, the music manages to be witty and sharp without being overbearing, and Flo's vocals are fresh and clean. They even give you liner notes so you've got no excuse not to sing along.
Tagyerit (pronounced just the way it's spelled) calls their music quirk rock. I see no reason to disagree, if you use the term rock as loosely as most people do these days. The overtones of surf guitar are apparent from the get-go (the first track gives it away in the lyrics as well, its called "Subway Surfing") while the softer ballads like "Amelia and All That Is" have more of a folksy feel. Quirk rock works just fine for me. How else would you explain and album with titles like "Hypnotease" (it really is just that) and "Pointless Psychic Revelation" with its simple strings and repeated vocal hooks? How else would you explain a guitarist who's got a guitar body shaped like a rabbit that she carved herself? How else would you explain a band who are also the curators of the Whole World Toilet Paper Museum and Society? This people aren't just quirky, they're fun, and so is this record. Speaking of which, with thirteen tracks you'll be hard pressed to pick the best one. "Buried Treasure" shows off Flo's vocals, ranging from harmony to almost spoken word. Besides, its got a pirate motif and I can't remember the last time anyone did that since Wayne Kramer. "Pointless Psychic Revelation" has a terrific harmony, with Flo's reminisces over a repeated chant "garbage in, garbage out." The title track has a sweet little rock beat, while the following piece, "Wound Up" is as quietly relentless as the title suggest. "The Boys" has a blues thing going on, while "Amelia and All That Is" is close to a ballad. Tagyerit has an impressive musical range, while still keeping every tune catchy. Still, I've got to give the award for best hook to "Subway Surfing," a song about riding the subway without holding the handles. If you've never tried it, believe me, it's a lot tougher than it sounds.
Listening to this album, on the other hand, is a lot easier than it sounds. With a style as inviting as a cup of hot chocolate on a cold night, "Heavy Construction" is not only fun, it's good for you too. Try it out.
Wow. This is some wild stuff. This is definitely for those of you who like some bizarro-world in your hi-fi. This music comes from just beyond Planet Claire. They call it "Quirk Rock." I can live with that. To get a further idea of their eclecticism, Rich Newman bribed wife Flo " to get more serious about recording their songs, by promising her a visit to the Haunted House at DisneyWorld." Musically, there is lots of neat stuff going on, usually from various guitars and the layered vocals of Flo. Usually one guitar wanders around the song while the other drives through it. Discordant sounds abound, but never is the music too obnoxious. Wound Up (like a clock with my mainspring overwound) jams and feels just like it sounds. Pointless Psychic Revelation (garbage in, garbage out) shows how sophisticated they actually are despite the comedic element. This music is out there for those of you who are too.
Want to know what Joni Mitchell would've sounded like had she started in the late 90s? You're going to get your wish if you plug this bright poppy seed cd in. The cover looks a bit ugly or bodes of possible punk, but inside, it's not nearly so gruesome.
What you get is bluesy rock with an odd philosophy that hovers between the personal and the view out the window at Anything. The album has a spiritual point to it, but I can't tell if it's like the point on a pen, or mightier than the sword. Oops! I've been reading their lyrics too closely! But I love stuff like 'thought i heard Tweet minor for half a sec / are the blueprints being drawn / those brilliant flying architects / just labor on and on', from 'Amelia, and All That Is'. It's about a witness to regular creation, with the lazy bass of an island retreat. Refreshing.
But my two favorite songs are 'Adam and Eve', because I love hearing Flo Newman croon 'in this whole world 'round'. Just sounds good.
'Pointless Psychic Revelation', apart from having a great 60s title, is a wonderful vocal treat, in which 'garbage in garbage out' keeps spinning round and round, like early progressive rock. Sort of folksy. It's short, but to the pointless.
The title song, 'Heavy Construction' starts stomping like a blues crew that lost all their heartbreak.
Drums and guitar are good, but it's the vocal arrangements that set this group off from the many. At first I thought they must be a European group because - well, I just Thought they were. But Amherst, MA is the place. This is as good as you can get and still be white. Glad they're getting airplay.
TagYerit (pronounced "tag you're it") consists of songwriters Richard (bass, vocals, one $50 guitar note) and FloraLee Newman (guitars, vocals), plus drummer Patrick Lavery, and they are playing a music that is very hard to categorize. They call it "Quirk rock" and that is a very good description of this 13-song, outstanding, interesting, skillful, passionate, unusual, funny, brilliant, unique, beautiful, odd, different, surprising, wonderful, incredible album.
I don't know TagYerit's influences, but I think I can hear traces of B52s, David Byrne, Devo, Lene Lovich, Talking Heads, Suzanne Vega and Frank Zappa. A mix between blues, folk, funk, jazz, pop, psychedelic, and rock with very good melodies. Many songs are despite the "quirkiness" really sing-a-long tunes. Just listen to "Hypnotease" and you will hum it for days. A special mention to the guitar playing that is exceptional and would appeal to all guitarists who listen to this album.
Flo's voice is really beautiful, but it might take some time before you'll get used to it. The album is growing with every listening. This CD is fucking great, both musically and lyrically. From the first track, "Subway Surfing" to the last track "Picnic". The tracks are full of shifting rhythms.
The best tracks are "Subway Surfing", "Hypnotease", "Buried Treasure", "Adam and Eve", "Heavy Construction", "Wound Up", "Pionic", "Pointless Psychic Revelation", "Peddler", "The Boys", "Self Sabotage", "Amelia and All That Is", "Joy" and "Picnic". That's right, it's all the tracks, and I love them all. On top of it the production is great too. This is a really impressive album indeed.
I'll promise you that this album won't disappoint you. Check them out!
"Can't make it to Malibu/ Honolulu is too far to goThe song is a strange description of an urban surfer doing his thing in the underground.
But the Greenline waves are calling me/ Though Copley is covered in snow.".
Remember the Tom Tom Club in the 80s? Fun band right? Full of quirky lyrics abounding with electricity both instrumentally & vocally. Fast forward to the 90s. FloraLee and Richard Newman have been making beautiful music together for years. Now on their recording Heavy Construction the Newmans take their blend of guitar styles and make the band's lyrics stand out as powerful sonic influences.
Heavy Construction is a really good album musically and lyrically, but the multiple plays of certain songs from this album will fry your brain. There is so much to think about. Just listening to the music is fun. Songs such as Peddler which discuses prejudice and Self Sabotage which tackles self esteem are rather weighty for a quirky band. These heavy hitters are somewhat tamed by album openers Subway Surfing and Hypnotease.
...Composed of Flo Newman (guitars, vocals), Rich Newman (bass, vocals), and Patrick Lavery on drums, "Heavy Construction" seems enthused by the notion of incorporating as many moods, sounds and styles into its music as it possibly can. The band weave their collective talents around songs dealing with very real aspects of life. Flo and Rich find the perfect harmony between an overt cause and the highly personal that blend together so well on tracks such as Buried Treasure. The uniqueness of Tagyerit lies not only in the strength of the pure melodies, but also in the strong two-part vocal arrangements.
One of "Heavy Construction"'s coolest musical characteristic is its sense of dynamics. The silky smooth vocals add even more texture to the album. A patented mixture of ethereal, atmospheric songs is evident. At times it is trippy, but always compelling. This isn't an album for those who like to rock, but anyone who digs the contemplative side of pop--and appreciates well-written songs--will want to check it out.
Songwriter FloraLee Newman not only carved her own excellently goofy rabbit-shaped guitar (built with help from luthier William Cumpiano), but she uses it to give her tunes their own 6-string Greek chorus through her loping, constantly mutating accompaniments. On top of all that she weaves tipsy single note obligatos that match her wry, word drunk and often acerbic lyrics, delivered in an insistent soprano that sometimes lapses into a sassy sprechstimme. The songs themselves, co-written with bassist Rich Newman, indulge in shifting rhythms and textures that reflect the kaleidoscopic vocal moods. No rhyme's too audacious, no revelation too embarassing, no groove too loose and loopy - this one's full of the pure joy of words and music. The raw studio sound and rough-edged production only make it better.
Whut's Up Doc? Did somebody say "KIller Rabbit?"
Well, the Rabbit shaped guitar on the back side of their CD is very killer!
Inside is a CD filled with music and satire that is a bit like watching a Ren & Stimpy marathon. You want to stop but you can't make yourself shut it off!... reminds me of some of the earlier B52's.
So put on some bunny slippers and your big hair wig and check out TagYerit.
What's striking about "Heavy Construction" is the enthusiasm and pure joy of making music that can be felt while listening to the disc. It feels like being in Flo and Rich Newman's living room, and watching them having loads of fun playing their songs. Still, the music is well played and produced to not sound too homemade. While this album will not change the world, it has plenty of hooks to stick in your head and get you humming along.
They call it quirk-rock, which may be an accurate description. Imagine They Might Be Giants jamming with Grace Slick in the old acid laced days of San Francisco, or Suzanne Vega writing with David Byrne and Jerry Garcia. Tagyerit is Rich and Flo Newman, two guitarists from different backgrounds, who sometimes still sound as if going off in separate directions, plus drummer Patrick Lavery. There are some nice cuts here, such as "Buried Treasure", which sheds the quirkiness and settles into a nice psychedelic and melodic rhythm, "Adam And Eve", a strange, acid reggae romp that could be Lene Lovich doing a guest appearance on Sesame Street, and some really nice bluesy guitar work on "The Boys".
Top Cuts: Buried Treasure, Adam And Eve, Peddler
While local music fans may not have heard of the Amherst based duo TagYerit, there are fans in South Africa who think they are just great. Instead of playing the local clubs to spread the word about their music, the group ... is going for a worldwide audience via the Internet.
"I think performing serves some people well, but not all," said Rich Newman who along with Flo makes up TagYerit. "The industry likes to see people performing ...But it takes away from doing other things, which in our case is writing music."
So the couple turned to the computer to market their new CD ... "It seemed like the most logical way to get the word out," Rich said. "It is a big time commitment, though. I spend five hours a day on the computer. Flo made me join a gym."
...Reminiscent of the B52s ...TagYerit goes after the unusual and gets it. From the opening notes, it grabs the listener's attention and holds on to it. While the music never strays far from the pop-rock genre, it is indeed quirky enough to give it a refreshing original feel.
The record was produced by area blues man Ed Vadas ..."We asked him to produce because we wanted someone critical and honest."
..."The point of the band is threefold," Flo Newman said, "First to promote our own music ...We also give a portion of everything we sell to an environmental or animal-rights group. And whenever someone orders something, we try to mention other bands in the Valley. The music around here is so good."
Led by singer/songwritter/guitarist Flo Newman, the album has an odd feel of being They Might Be Giants happy and at the same time Wild Colonials haunting. Basically it leaves you feeling like you just got off a ride at Disneyland after eating an Arch Deluxe, you know what I mean Vern? But it is that odd queasy feeling that turned me onto them and kept me guessing at the same time.
The songs are made up of half-upbeat talking set to music and the chorus is usually sung. Or there are even some background parts sung in the verses. Pretty cool eh? Well, the music is even cooler in songs like "Buried Treasure," "Adam & Eve," or the most excellent acapella tune, "Pointless Psychic Revelation." The fly in the ointment here is that the rap stuff gets a bit tryng (when you find out how beautiful Flo's voice is, you want her to sing the entire time). This is an impressive release and all shots aside I think it is worthy of a few hundred spins on the old cd player. I warn you, though, it's like flying a bike: it takes some getting used to but once you figure it out you fall in love. Thanks E.T.
Terry Allen hEARd Magazine (http://www.ozemail.com.au/~hmag) June 30,1996
Heavy Construction is a rather misleading title to a beautifully crafted album. The music is a rather fascinating blend of light rock styles laced with incredibly tuneful melodies & vocals that can at times make your hair (stand) on end. Whilst there are a few Australian artists such as Tiddas that have a somewhat similar style, I don't think there are any artists I could name from either the U.S. or anywhere else that have this sort of sound. The unbelievable accapella of "Pointless Psychic Revelation" just has to be heard to be believed & is a major highlight of the album. Then there's the blues influenced sound of "The Boys" that throws yet new light on their sound. Featuring some excellent songs that are indeed well-written, Heavy Construction is something you should make an effort to hear. By the way, the illustration on the front cover is housed by some astonishing carving, accompanied by the guitarists hand carved rabbit shaped guitar - musta taken some time!
"...very interesting. It sounds like you guys are a goofy fun couple...I don't think Virgin can do anything with it at this point. I find it commendable that you're working on this stuff...shows skill and a lot of passion..." Taken from several phone conversations
Shane McLaughlin, Northeast Performer May 1996
...gorgeously odd atonal jams ... with a bluesy guitar that cranks through modal changes ...when you hear the music you might think that TagYerit is actually a single entity, maybe a cross between Devo and some old 'Star Trek' episode with the omniscient disembodied head. This could also be 'They Might Be Giants' with a message, if such a thing is possible. The songs are beautiful revelations about the absurdity of everything, including music.
'Subway Surfing, an ode to riding the Green Line without holding on, is the coolest 'T' song since the Kingston Trio lamented poor Charlie forty years ago. Relationships are heavily explored, with a modern day 'Adam and Eve' touching on the geekiness of love in the 90s and 'Heavy Construction' detailing a sexual fetish for earth moving equipment. 'Pointless Psychic Revelation' is an a cappella stream-of-consciousness deep enough to reveal nothing.
'Peddler' speaks out against Prejudice:
...interesting little modal licks multitracked all over the CD... Plus I'd really like to see FloraLee's self-carved, rabbit-guitar that appears on the back of their CD
GaJoOb 'zInE / d i y report April 19, 1996
Made up of husband/wife team of Flo and Rich Newman, TagYerit refer to their music as "quirk rock," and that's a pretty apt description when you consider some of the influences you might hear as you listen to this extremely eclectic album. Southern rock/boogie, art/prog rock and 40's do-wop/swing all take a bow. The album also succeeds in showcasing the talents of singer guitarist Flo Newman who plays a strangely carved rabbit guitar and whose style is often peculiar to match. Guitar lovers in the tradition of Les Paul should take note of this one. And Ms. Newman's vocals shine here as well, complete with multi-part harmonies that skirt jazz and pop and folk and have a whole lot of fun besides. TagYerit is definitely unique and if you're looking for something different without sacrificing depth while throwing in plenty of surprises this is it. RATING: 9 out of 10.
Kathode Ray , April 1996 (http://kathoderay.org)
A two person band with a great album that started out of a bribe the bassist made to the guitarist to take her to the Disneyworld Haunted House if she got serious about recording the songs they had written together. The result is a fun group of songs that will have you tapping your foot and humming along.
TagYerit has a sound all their own. They mix jazz, folk, and soul as well as other types of music together, but to say that they are jazzy, folksy, or soulful just wouldn't hit the nail on the head. This band is something that you don't often see today...unique. One listen to any of the 13 songs contained on Heavy Construction or one look at its cover and you'll see exactly what I mean. The guitarist has a guitar shaped like a rabbit if that tells you anything.
John Stifler, Daily Hampshire Gazette, 115 Conz St. Northampton, Ma. 01060 / March 21,1996
New voices on the club scene
The new local band I'd like to send you out to see this weekend is TagYerit. But I can't. TagYerit exists only on CD. It's members are Rich and Flo Newman. He plays bass, she plays a customized guitar with a body in the shape of a rabbit, built at the workshop of luthier William Cumpiano.
With the estimable Ed Vadas as producer and Patrick Lavery playing drums, the Newman's recorded a disc of their quirky pop-rock songs. Yes "quirky" is an overused term, but it suits their clever lyrics and bouncy melodies.
Karen Shoffner, The Optimist, 1 Brewster Court, Northampton, Ma.01060 / Feb 28,1996
"TagYerit's 13-song CD entitled "Heavy Construction" is bouncy, catchy, and, yes, as quirky from the opening track Subway Surfing to the last one Picnic. TagYerit produces danceable sounds, powered by Flo's rabbit-shaped guitar and Rich's pulsing bass."
"At first I was iffy on it, but after a couple of listens, I've really warmed up to your music. ... especially "Subway Surfing" and most of all "Pointless Psychic Revelation". That one is spectacular..."
Dainius Saltenis, Program Manager - Laisvoji Banga 105.1FM - Lithuania radio, potential audience of 5 million listeners. March 29 ,1996
"We play this CD non-stop during our broadcasts. We think it is wonderful. It can't be another way."
Chris Verrijdt, Program Manager Rhodes Music Radio - March 14,1996
"The CD is really cool. It wasn't what I expected, but I'm really getting into it. I've given it to a couple of DJ's and they really dig it as well. It's going onto our bottom 40 or "Heatseekers" ... I'm pushing it lank (which means "quite a lot")"
FANMAILFANMAILFANMAILFANMAILFANMAILFANMAILFANMAILFANMAIL "Jeez, you didn't tell us the record was gonna be GOOD! We love it, spooky mystery and webspun guitars, eerie vocals, great production and above all very songy songs. Bloody hooray!"David Lenson (author)
"I love your music. It is so cool! I just got the tape 2 days ago and I've already listened to it 8 times! Thanx, thanx for the great music." Chelsea from MA