The Sweet Clementines: b. 2007 in New Paltz, NY, as an acoustic trio composed of two guitar-whiz English teachers and a third person with a nicer singing voice. First show is opening for Rhett Miller of the Old 97s, who declares the Sweet Clementines "wonderful" and who will continue to endorse the band publicly. Six-song acoustic EP showcases the two songwriters' sophisticated, inventive compositional and verbal skills, their playful and irreverent grasp of multiple pop, rock, and folk traditions. Band quietly morphs into quirky rock band with a mind toward the Beatles, Kinks, and other luminaries of (sm)art pop, recruiting a killer rhythm section from several high-profile upstate NY bands. Full-band EP, "More Sweet on You" is released in 2008.
Original vocalist departs and is replaced. Band gains a violin in the bargain. Vibraphonist/percussionist joins. New sonic elements emphasize the band's affinity for surreal cabaret, quirky pop rock, prog-folk and general musical intricacy. High-profile shows at Bard College's prestigious Spiegeltent summer series and various summer festivals follow. Work begins in earnest on full-length CD.
Extremely full-length CD, "though it were the kiss of death," is released in May of 2011. World drops to knees in stunned gratitude. Or in Ecological, socio-economic collapse. Hard to tell.
Literate, lyrical, densely musical, eclectic and surprising, "though it were the kiss of death" is a kind of a concept album: a loose, three-movement narrative of dreams and delusions, rude awakenings and comeuppances, and epiphanies and grow-uppances. It COULD be describing the arc of a rock band or anyone with a stupid dream bred in them by the culture of celebrity and adulation, or it COULD be describing a common human journey through desire and drive, disappointment and derangement, and maturation and the renewal of dreams. You be the damn judge.
The Sweet Clementines are:
John Burdick--guitar, vocals, keyboards, and songs
Chris Tanis--guitar, vocals, ukulele, and songs
Jason Sarubbi--electric bass guitar
Marianne Tasick--vocals and violin
Paul Carroll--vibraphone and percussion