Motel Beds celebrate LP release at Yellow Cab
By Gary Spencer
Photo: The Motel Beds will celebrate their album release at the “Old” Yellow Cab Building on Jan. 18; photo: Bill Franz
There are a lot of good – if not great – bands making remarkable music. However, what sets a good band apart from the select few that are truly special can’t always be pinned down easily. Some bands have intangibles you just can’t nail down – an “it” factor, if you will. One such select band resides right here in the Gem City, and its name is the Motel Beds.
Starting out as a side project of local music veterans PJ Paslosky and Tommy Cooper in the early 2000s, the band evolved into a musical entity that is slowly eclipsing nearly all of its peers, and audiences beyond the Miami Valley are beginning to take notice. Following appearances in New York at the CMJ music festival and in Austin at South by Southwest, the Beds signed up with Dayton-based label Misra Records this past summer.
The Motel Beds wasted little time in putting together a new release entitled These Are the Days Gone By, a compilation of singles, choice album cuts and a few unreleased gems. Mastered by Carl Saff (who has worked with Guided by Voices and Dinosaur Jr., among other notable artists), These are the Days is a fine survey of how the Beds have grown since the band’s inception, yet have retained the striking qualities that have made them attractive to listeners. Likewise, the album works as an ideal entry point for someone unfamiliar with the Beds’ recorded works.
“For anyone who hasn’t heard us before, it’s a nice collection of songs from all of our releases that best represents the band,” Beds guitarist Tommy Cooper explained. “For those who have been following us all these years, there’s familiar favorites – some of which appear on vinyl for the first time – along with some unreleased and limited release songs. Sentimentally, it’s a celebration of the last 10 years as a band and touches on all of our lineups and releases.”
The quintet, which also includes drummer Ian Kaplan, guitarist Derl Robbins and bassist Tod Weidner, has a unique chemistry of sound and songcraft that, like a melting pot of musical styles and eras, seamlessly transcends those very ingredients. Nineties indie rock, surf, ’60s garage, ’50s rock n’ roll, ’70s power pop and everything in between are touched upon in the undeniably catchy tunes the Beds produce – each one instantly memorable. But it’s hard to pinpoint what it is that makes their music such a treat. In this writer’s opinion, that’s a good thing.
Speaking of good things, These are the Days will be available to audiences in Dayton on LP this Saturday via a limited edition pressing of 500 copies, each with unique, hand-painted cover art courtesy of the fine artists at We Care Arts (WCA). WCA is a Dayton-based nonprofit organization dedicated to helping those with physical and mental handicaps find empowerment through the therapeutically creative means of visual art. To Tommy and the rest of the band, it’s a cause worth championing.
“Misra Records is really focused on creating a good sense of community in Dayton and giving back in any way possible, and we’re on board with that,” Cooper said. “We wanted to do something Dayton-centric for this release so (Misra Records honcho) Leo had the idea to work with We Care Arts by letting them create whatever they felt inspired to do with no rules and just a copy of our music. A lot of work and time was put into each of the 500 records. The artwork ranges from simple to funny to abstract to highly detailed, but all of it is amazing.”
And what better place to hold a record release party for such a thrilling combination of local music and visual art than The Yellow Cab Building in downtown Dayton? Yellow Cab has garnered a reputation in the past few years as a mecca for DIY-centric art in the Gem City, and to Cooper and his cohorts it seemed like the ideal locale for this special event.
“It allowed us to make it all ages and have alcohol,” Cooper explained. “It’s also nice to break from the norm for Dayton and a chance to try something different. The vibe of the Yellow Cab is very much like most of the shows we would all go to in Dayton in the ’90s that would happen in anywhere from warehouses to rental halls.”
Vibe, an independent spirit and the celebration of local art and music seems to the theme of the new Motel Beds release and their album release party this weekend. It may have been a long time coming, but to Cooper it’s all a part of what has made the Motel Beds and their craft what it is today, and that too is worth celebrating.
“For being a band for almost 10 years, we’ve had time to learn from mistakes, make adjustments along the way and know what works for us,” Cooper said. “Things have slowly been lining up more and more for us over the years.”
Motel Beds will be performing in celebration of the limited edition LP release of These are the Days Gone By Saturday, Jan. 18, at The Old Yellow Cab Building, 400 E. Fourth St. Smug Brothers and Good English open. Doors open at 7 p.m. Advance tickets are $8. Admission open to all ages. Show begins at 8 p.m. For more information, please visit misrarecords.com and brotelbeds.com.
Reach DCP freelance writer Gary Spencer at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com.