”Stupid Head” is the band’s second CD following “Invisible Man”. The CD debuted on March 25th, 2011 at the BandHouse Gigs tribute to the Byrds at Wolf Trap in Vienna Virginia and The Rams Head in Annapolis where Paper Umbrella performed All I Really Want to Do and It Won’t be Wrong to a sold out audience. The band is currently planning a local tour to perform music from the new CD.
The main thing you should know about Paper Umbrella is that, after decades of playing for all types of audiences in all types of venues, after countless cities and recording sessions, they still play music for the art of it, for their own enjoyment and that of their fans. It’s music for music’s sake. Being part of the grinding, corporate star-making machinery has never been their goal, although collectively and individually they have had their fame, backing world class guitarist and E Street Band member Nils Lofgren on his U.S. tour, gaining renown as founding members of the Newkeys, the acclaimed DC-based band whose two full length releases, “Acts of Love” (1986) and “Everything Goes” (1989) garnered raves from critics and listeners alike. Don’t misunderstand: they would gladly accept superstardom if it came their way. But madly pursuing the politics of mainstream celebrity has never been an impelling force. Paper Umbrella was “indie” before the term was fashionable.
Tom Lofgren and Dave Egelhofer on guitars and vocals, Chuck Sullivan on drums and Ronnie Newmyer on bass, they approach their music with an encyclopedic understanding of the progress of modern music. Maybe that’s why it is difficult to categorize the band. They’ve been compared to everyone from yesterday’s Beatles to today’s Fountains of Wayne. If there is a defining thread running through their work it is the insistent interplay of guitar and voices – sometimes taut, sometimes swirling – and a devotion to the intelligent lyric. The emotional content may run from exquisite joy to unbearable heartache, but every song is tinctured with a realism that makes each universally relevant.
Lars Garvey Laing-Peterson, writing in On Tap Magazine about the band’s eponymous debut album, remarked “There’s a strong pop backbone throughout the record, and the band’s sound is not limited to an echo of Revolver-era Beatles, but incorporates a number of pop influences across the past few decades. There’s even a fitting touch of Neil Young on ‘Lucky To Be Alive.’ A solid debut from a band that is saturated in experience rather than inhibited by age”.
Their second CD “Stupid Head” is more adventurous in production themes, D.C. musician Ed O’Connell notes ‘the craftsmanship and detail in the songs, arrangements and production knocked me out from the very first listen -- you guys really are dedicated pop fiends!
The title track (I love the rubbery bass and the inverted root notes) and "Only Human" are two songs that I just can't get out of my head, but I also really enjoy "Black and White World, "Paradise" and "Big Shot". I'm also partial to "The Other Side," which has very clever lyrics.
From the 7/8 time signature of "First Born" to the layered vocals (go Tommy!) and percussion subtleties, and the nods to various other pop classics -- it's just a fantastic and inspirational piece of work from start to finish. (And I dig "No Words" as a gentle ender to the record -- I was rediscovering Marshall Crenshaw's "Jaggedland" album recently, whose instrumental title track has a similar wistful feel.).’
Howard Wetzel writes ‘Stupid Head is a very, very strong song. The guitar work is extraordinarily good...reminiscent of The Beatles' "Help" era - songs like Ticket to Ride and Nowhere Man come to mind. I can tell that it's you on the 12 string Rick, but it sounds like George Harrison. And Tom's lead vocal has just the right nasal intonation to sound like John Lennon, which is really cool! The song also reminds me of "She Knows It" from the That Thing You Do soundtrack and "Complicated Girl" by my favorites, the Bangles.