FROM: St. Petersburg, FL
While taking some time from touring and promoting the band's first album Hemispheres (2012), Florida's Alexander & the Grapes began collecting as much recording equipment as they could find. Those twelve months ultimately resulted in their own home studio, affectionately called Yoko Phono.
Friend, engineer and producer Jeremy Mendicino (of Boston's Pretty & Nice) was flown down to Florida to help the band record 2016's Hyper Self out of the fifty plus songs that had been written. Almost gone, but certainly not forgotten, is the band's original playing field of insurgent country and Americana. In its place, the Grapes explore new territory and influences, particularly 1990s indie and garage rock with a fair share of sonic psychedelic soundscapes. While on tour, the band had listened to every genre of 90s music from Pavement to Pac, elements of which impacted the album’s sound.
Singer and chief-songwriter Alexander says “the songs are trimmed down and the arrangements are more focused. I wanted to make the songs themselves more streamlined, but for the record as a whole to go all over the place and really feel like a journey weaving from bad trip to nirvana. We didn’t set out to make anything specific, but we walked away with a psyched-out party record that’s terribly introspective, blissfully paranoid, and pessimistically hopeful.”
Conceptually, the record tackles the existential notion of the self, as well as the control, or potential lack thereof, that we have in the spaces we inhabit. Deeply complex and profoundly simple logics complement each other throughout the record, both lyrically and sonically. It is an intimate exploration of what it is to be human, fallible, genuine, and alive.
“In many ways we feel like this is our first record. Everything we’ve put out to this point feels like looking for your keys in the dark. Hyper Self is the first time we’ve actually known where we wanted to take this band musically. When you feel free, musically and mentally, the songs come with ease. Like you can hear the whole song before you write it.”
RIYL: Guided By Voices, Wilco, Surfer Blood, Sebadoh, Pavement
"With its' big riffs and 90s college rock indie boy vocals, "East Coast" almost certainly would have been perfect for an episode of My So-Called Life, had the two met at the right time. That alas wasn't meant to be, but I'll still love the song for what it is, and what might have been."
- Fuzzy Logic
"Charos sings about falling short and other hallmarks of the human condition with the honesty and economy of
Gram Parsons and Kris Kristofferson. He doesn't have to confuse you into thinking he's brilliant."
- Creative Loafing
"driving, lush, and bound to invoke a listener’s connection."
- Suburban Apologist
"With their first LP due out this coming year, Alexander & The Grapes are sure to draw the attention for a rock and roll community for everyone to enjoy."
Alexander Charos (vocals, guitar)
Philip Charos (drums, percussion)
Chase Swan (guitar, steel guitar)
Joshua Greenberg (bass)
NG028 - CD 2012