A ndrew & The Pretty Punchers’ Second Album/Farewell show
By Kyle Melton
For fans of Dayton independent rock, 2010 has been a bountiful year. In a year marked by a deluge of new releases by local acts both new and established, it’s been an exciting time to follow local music. This weekend, one of Dayton’s most beloved acts, Andrew & the Pretty Punchers, will simultaneously celebrate the release of their newest album, No Longer a Lover, and deliver their final performance with a show at Jimmie’s Cornerstone.
In late 2007, Andrew & the Pretty Punchers – Andy Smith (vocals/guitar), Greg Saluke (guitar/vocals), Kevin Rogers (lead guitar), Josh Wickersham (bass/vocals), and Mike Payne (drums) – emerged as part of a new wave of Dayton talent that quickly reinvigorated the local music scene. Quickly capitalizing on their buzz, A&TPP issued their debut album, Goodbye Ohio, the following summer. Since that time, Smith & Co. have taken their time in arriving at their sophomore effort, No Longer a Lover.
“I was dragging my feet,” Smith admitted. “It was me completely. We did a lot of work and then we spaced out how we mixed it. We’d two or three weeks without even touching it and then go back and do two songs real quick. I know I didn’t do it consciously, just take a break from it and then go back to it and see what you hear and just do a couple songs at a time like that.”
Leading up to the release of their debut, A&TPP maintained an active performance schedule. Since late 2008, the band’s appearances have dwindled considerably, resulting in a slightly lowered profile that also kept much of the material on No Longer a Lover fresh for the band.
“I was extremely tired of the first record when it came out,” Smith said. “It was just us putting our favorite songs we had on disc so we could give it to people and make a name for ourselves or whatever. This one is not about that at all. We haven’t played that much. I still like the new one. Everyone says that they like (those) songs, and that’s fine. I don’t anymore. I like a few of them. The new one, I’m proud of every song on there and I still like them.”
During the process of bringing No Longer a Lover to fruition, Smith enlisted the talents of Michael Keating of local outfit The Elderly Brothers on pedal steel guitar and the album’s engineer, John Lakes (The Motel Beds), on backing vocals and percussion. Additionally, Saluke contributes a song (“The Hillside”) as well as adding piano on a few tracks, further fleshing out the arrangements. On the album’s closer, “Cloud Berries,” Brandon Hawk (By Way of Sunstorm, Hills) was brought in to provide ambient textures that further heighten the song’s
“I always felt that ‘Cloud Berries’
was different,” Smith said. “It’s kind of a spacier song and I go more Thom Yorke-y. It’s just kind of a loose song. I always heard it just being some epic masterpiece. We recorded it without (Brandon Hawk) and then we brought him in. I told him what key it was in and he just went off. He did three takes and the second one was just perfect, with all the ebbs and flows.”
While much of No Longer a Lover continues to uphold the band’s trademarks – soulful deliveries of solid pop craftsmanship – Smith believes that this disc is a significant jump forward for him and the band.
“I got better on this record, too, and I’m not ashamed to say it. I was just figuring it all out on that first one. On this one, I got breaks and harmonies that were written out. I’ve gotten better as a song-construction-artist putting a song together. There’s more interesting parts. Everybody stepped up, and on ‘Good News,’ it’s everything that we have. I think that’s the best thing I’ve ever accomplished with this band.”
Even as Andrew & the Pretty Punchers’ progress is apparent with No Longer a Lover, the album’s release marks the band’s farewell show.
“I don’t feel like it’s that weird at all,” Smith admitted. “It’s like the last hurrah. This is it, this is the last thing we’re gonna do and everybody knows it. I’m not done by any stretch of the imagination. Probably the guys I play with aren’t done playing with me. It’s just not gonna be (Andrew & the Pretty Punchers) anymore. There is a sound to it, and it’s just not gonna be that sound anymore. We always said we were gonna do one last show, but I’m just ready to move on with new players.”
Although this may mark the end of the line for Andrew & the Pretty Punchers, Smith seems confident in his decision to pull the plug and move forward as a songwriter.
“No matter how hard I tried, I always kept writing rockers with this band. I love rock songs and I always have, but the stuff that really gets my goat is Songs: Ohia. It’s really weird because I’m a really sad guy, but I write these pop songs. I dunno, it’s time to be sad for real.”
Andrew & the Pretty Punchers will celebrate the release of No Longer a Lover with a show on Saturday, October 9 at Jimmie’s Cornerstone, 1001 Brown St. Also on the bill are Jesse Remnant & the Trainwrecks and The Black Whos? Doors open at 9 p.m. and admission is $5 for 21 and up. The first 50 paid attendees will also receive a copy of the album. For more information, visit online at www.MySpace.com/AndrewThePrettyPunchers.
Reach DCP freelance writer Kyle Melton