Gramercy Arms is an ever (r)evolving collective band project of New York-based artists.
On this record, Gramercy Arms comprises members of Guided By Voices, Luna, Joan as Police Woman, Dead Air and The Dambuilders, along with comic Sarah Silverman, Their self-titled debut album is a summery blast of gorgeous power pop, heartfelt tales of love and loss and the city they call their home.
Clocking in at a lean and mean 30 minutes, bassist/vocalist Rainy Orteca (Joan As Police Woman, Dead Air) describes it as “the hottest thirty minute love affair available.”
The album is a celebration of all that is New York in its dirty-beautiful splendor. Musically Gramercy Arms is a classic New York sound--Dave Derby’s disaffected poetic sensibilities mesh with the guitar virtuosity of Sean Eden and Hilken Mancini in the grand Gotham tradition of the Velvet Underground and Television shot through with a love of seventies pop rock.
Gramercy Arms captures the romance and feel of the city,the album’s lead Single, “Automatic”, captures the frantic energy of the city. “I was thinking of it in the sense of “automatic response”—embracing intuition and energy. That to me is what the essence of rock and roll has always been.”
The album features a wide range of guest performances including an unexpected background vocal performance by comedian Sarah Silverman who sings backups on the summery “Looking at the Sun.” “It’s about the simple and awesome joy of being able to experience things brand new the way a child sees them,” explains Derby. “The song was almost done but I felt the song needed something more. Rainy (Orteca of Joan As Police Woman and Dead Air ) and I had worked with Sarah before creating music for her television show, The Sarah Silverman Program and thought that she’d be perfect for the song. She has a beautiful voice that is surprisingly earnest and sweet. Her vocals are very straight-forward, there’s nothing comedic about the approach, but for some reason I think it’s her comedic sensibility that gives the song a kind of heightened sweetness to it.
Other guest performances include Nada Surf’s Matthew (“Nothing I Can Do”) and former bandmate Joan Wasser (Joan As Police Woman) who lends her gorgeous vocals to “Wander On.”
In addition the album features performances Lloyd Cole, Chris Brokaw as well as members of The Pernice Brothers, Mascott, Shudder to Think and others. the record was recorded in Winter of 2008, produced by Dave Derby with additional production by Nathan Larson and Thom Monahan.. Gramercy Arms will be released on Reveal Records in August 2008. The single, “Automatic” will be available in June.