Monday, October 3, 2011

the simple way you smile, girl, tells me all I need to know

So, a long long long time ago (and I do mean that, seriously long ago), I got a comment from a former member of This Way to the Egress. At the time, I remember thinking, oh, that's wonderful, I'll just ask her...and then life happened, as it does, the love life likely exploded again, there were bits and pieces of dramadramadrama, most likely (I mean, I don't remember anything specific, but this is me we're talking about)...and that small comment from Jami Jasmine got lost in the shuffle.

For over three years.

So, okay, I'm a flake, that's nothing new; but in the meantime, what's been happening with the band?

(from the media album; image is Copyright and All Rights Reserved to M.J. McCauley [http://mjmccauley.com/].)

Well, for one thing, they've released an EP and an album, near as I can figure, and they're going to be going on a tour with Voltaire, which sounds ideal for them, frankly.

And the Egress' Sarah also has a blog now. Go Sarah!

So for those who don't remember, who are these people, anyway? Well, the leader of the band describes them thusly:
This Way to the Egress...gypsy-gadabouts, pilgrims of the roads paved by song, traveling far and wide. There would not be an opportunity missed by these Katz of curiosities. Cut from dust and ruin, rises the shell of exuberant human tendencies. Shaking off last night's show, stitching together the holes in the knees of their pants, they got up to do it over again, for the thrill of the crowd, and to see their eyes widening with awe and disgust, before leaving the townies behind.
They set off on their journey that included vagrant freak-shows, carnival clusters, and cabaret concoctions of the seediest kind. A raunchy yet curiously wholesome feeling fills the air when this bunch comes marching down your streets...and you'll know to follow them...in any direction they may lead...Just following the arrows...that claim...This Way To The Egress...
All of which sounds terribly artistic, but doesn't really describe their sound, does it?

Well, there's a musical embed on their main site, which gives you several songs to listen to and try to figure it out. YouTube initially wasn't as much help, but I still found a few here and there to weed through.



Unfortunately, they're mostly not labeled as to which song is playing! At least this one was labeled as being from a live show in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, in March of 2010. Even so, the actual song would be helpful...

This much I am sure about: Taylor Galassi started this thing, and he does most of the vocals, along with playing accordian (if not other instruments). Sarah I know plays accordion and violin (again, if not others), and Matt the drummer, who may just play drums, but I wouldn't put it past him to be as multi-talented as Taylor and Sarah.

Oh, and on occasion they do fabulous things with other bands. Witness their performance with Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band of the Harry Belafonte classic, "Jump in the Line":



Damn, yes. (And just because it amuses me, in the sidebar this came up. Hee!)

And--again, All Rights Reserved to M.J. McCauley for filming the video--here's "Flirtin' With Death" from one of their later shows:



This was filmed at their CD release party at the Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park, New Jersey. It was June 24, 2011, so their sound hasn't changed so much as evolved, while still keeping true to their vagabond street-performer/wanderer roots.

They also pull off some of the most intriguing collaborations--here's "Saint" performed live with Mr. Joe Black:



And that was recorded on the tiny stage of the Slipper Room in New York.

(Just while we're here, finding fun linkages between fringe performers, let me give you a little reference for what Joe Black does when he's on his own:



(Because, well, that deserved to be seen by a wider audience.)

My favorite line in that last one? "I'm going to send you into therapy."

Again while we're on strange linkages, here's Birdeatsbaby, recent finds and favorites, performing "Missed Me" by the Dresden dolls with Mr. Joe Black:



Which, weirdly, ties back into This Way to the Egress, because they've performed with Jason Webley in the past, who's half of Evelyn Evelyn and who still works a great deal with Amanda Palmer.

I swear, sometimes it's like playing Six Degrees of Amanda Palmer, you know? Name a cabaret noir/streetpunk/dark carnival/American roots band and figure out how soon you can link them back to Amanda Palmer or the Dresden Dolls. Extra points if you can fit Neil Gaiman in there somewhere...

But let's get back to This Way to the Egress--you can catch them on tour near the end of September on both coasts, so keep your eyes open; and if you want their full albums, just click here and you can buy either one directly from the band. If you have any liking for fantastic, frenetic street performance, gypsy cabaret, or just like the roots movement of music currently, I think you'll be pleased to give 'em a listen.

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