CURSE is a new band from NYC that plays rock with a strong pop sensibility and a dark edge. Formed in Spring 2000, with influences ranging from the Ramones and Velvet Underground to Siouxsie, Janis Joplin and Tom Waits, CURSE's deep rock sound is easy on the ears, full of passion and good, solid playing.
The band's live shows quickly led to a serious buzz around town. Before CURSE even had a demo recording, they were asked to play at Irving Plaza as part of the prestigious Convergence Festival. Several more gigs followed, including some benefit and showcase performances, until the band attracted the attention of noted producer Wharton Tiers (Sonic Youth, Swans, Helmet, Nick Cave) and began recording in August 2001. The resulting self-titled debut CD is dark and melodic, with intricate vocals and a heavy, rhythmic groove. Of special note are the songs "Tattooed Rain", which was chosen for the Lollipop Magazine compilations #57 and #58, and "Graveyard Shuffle," a honky-tonk/barrelhouse-style tune with special guests (composer and beat-generation musician) David Amram and (guitar guru) Marc Ribot laying down some mighty tasty stylings atop CURSE's solid grooves.
CURSE's songs are a gateway to hidden realms, creating an atmosphere that draws the listener into a vibrant soundscape of image, motif, lyric and melody. Many of the songs are centered around occult, historical and mystical themes such as New Orleans Vodou, The Rites of Eleusis, and the myths of Dionysios, Orpheus and Isis. The music reflects this, incorporating traditional chants and rhythmic patterns that create and enhance the mood of each song.
CURSE creates spontaneously in the studio, which allows the music to evolve organically, free from any one person's idea of what it should sound like. This requires that each band member listen carefully to the others, resulting in some very intricate and interesting music. Guitarist Kevin Michaels says, "We wanted to capture our live sound on the CD, so we recorded everything live in the studio, with minimal overdubs. Of course, Wharton was very accustomed to recording this way, as he produced those great Sonic Youth records."
Lyrics are also central to the CURSE philosophy: there's always a deeper meaning behind the words and the way they fit together. Vocalist Mikaela Pearson has had extensive training in many spiritual and shamanic traditions, which is often reflected in the words she writes and sings. "Gris-Gris" features an authentic Vodou chant/invocation, sung by Mikaela and Bassist/Vocalist Theodora Michaels. The songs "Maenads" and "Luna" are about ecstatic pagan rites. This is conveyed not only in the vocals/lyrics, but also by the hypnotic rhythm laid down by Theodora and Rob.
Some of CURSE's rhythmic rumblings have an unusual origin. Drummer Robert Lacyk says he often gets inspiration from sounds he hears while driving a train in the NYC Subway. A self-taught drummer and percussionist, Lacyk cites such diverse drummers as Keith Moon, Ian Paice and Budgie among his influences.
In addition to their debut album, CURSE has also released a CD single of the Beat-Generation classic, "Pull My Daisy" with special guests David Amram and Marc Ribot.