Margaret Garrett & the Conjure Beat | Spiral Case

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Spiral Case

by Margaret Garrett & the Conjure Beat

Margaret Garrett (Mr. Airplane) and producer / drummer Josh Sitron in an epic guitar and drum duo railing against the most human of problems.....wanting want you can't have. Think Kim Deal or Grace Slick fronting the White Striped Zeppelins
Genre: Rock: Garage Rock
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Album Notes
You've got to hand it to Jeffrey Evans. Aside from all the music he's made over the years, he's credited with introducing the White Stripes to Sympathy for the Record Industry (and, hence, to the world). Then he did the same for Mr. Airplane Man. Although the Boston duo's first effort was self-released, Sympathy would handle their subsequent recordings. Granted, MAM would stand out in any crowd, even without the assistance of an Evans, a Long Gone John, or the late Mark Sandman (Morphine), who became a fan after hearing them on the streets in 1998. And, to be sure, there are other duos who've been around as long, like the Stripes, but MAM features two women: Margaret Garrett (guitar, vocals) and Tara McManus (drums), and yet they sound nothing like such female duos as the Softies. Their punk-blues hybrid has more in common with the garagey sounds Detroit trio the Gories were laying down in the '90s. Then there's their name, which confuses the issue altogether, but it's really just a tribute to Howlin' Wolf, who once drafted a ditty called "Mr. Airplane Man."
It was, in fact, a shared obsession with Wolf (aka Chester Burnett) that inspired the band's formation. After living on opposite coasts for some time, the friends reunited in Boston in 1995, where they locked themselves up in a basement for a year and absorbed the sounds of the Delta blues as much as any two people can. With that, they hit the streets, honing their chops by playing for rent on the sidewalks of Cambridge -- Garrett with an electric guitar and battery-powered amp and McManus with her trusty five-gallon drum. Sandman wasn't the only Bostonian to take notice. In 1999, they were voted Best New Local Act by readers of the Boston Phoenix.

Then they went on tour with Sandman, who helped record their first album, which was released that year and led to more touring. While in Memphis, a chance encounter in a local diner would result in their next release. Garrett had recently become converted to the musical gospel ofMonsieur Evans' '68 Comeback. By coincidence, they met a gent who knew the man, and he arranged for an introduction. The Boston crew hit it off with the Memphis gang and an alliance was formed. They continued on to New Orleans for a gig and, upon their return, M. Evans was set to do some recording. Their first Sympathy release was the single, "Johnny Johnny," which was followed by a full-length in March of 2001. Red Lite was like a history of MAM as it included the Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog," a set list staple since their days in Central Square, along with other longtime favorites like Jessie May Hemphill's "Black Cat Bone." Next, they hit the road with the White Stripes and opened for the Strokes, as well as local acts DMZ and the Lyres, both featuring the legendary Jeff "Monoman" Conolly.

Recorded in Detroit with Jim Diamond (the White Stripes) and mixed in Memphis with Doug Easley and Greg "Oblivian" Cartwright, Moanin'was released in September of 2002, and it's where MAM really hit their stride. Highlights of the well-received platter, which -- like the band -- took its name from a Wolf classic, included the haunting spiritual, "Jesus on the Mainline" and the blissful girl group pop of "Not Livin' at All" (penned after repeated listens to the Lyres' "Help You Ann"). Mr. Airplane Man then took their show across the country, during which time they tried out new material set for inclusion on their next recording.

Mr. Airplane Man is a Boston duo, Margaret Garrett (guitar, vocals) and Tara McManus (drums, keyboards), who have been playing since 1996. They named themselves after a Howlin’ Wolf song. Their obsession with rock and roll music since early high school inspired the band. They began playing on the street and by 1999 they were voted Best New Local Act by readers of the Boston Phoenix. They recorded their first full-length record in March 2001. It was raw and real. They played withthe White Stripes and the Strokes, as well as local Boston garage rockers, Lyres. When they recorded their second record, Moanin’, they got to work with Jim Diamond and Greg “Oblivian” Cartwright. John Peel soon discovered them too and had them do a session. This led to their first European tour, which was highly successful. Mr. Airplane Man played many large tours of America in 2003. In the meantime, they were back in Memphis where they recorded their third record, C'mon DJ, which came out in January 2004.

Joshua Sitron (drums, producer)

Joshua Sitron is a music composer / producer, multi-instrumentalist and sometimes shaman filmmaker with a studio Brooklyn, NY. He has written music for Nickelodeon, Fox, Disney, PBS, and Showtime, including the mega-hit show, Dora the Explorer for which he served as musical director and penned the theme song.

In 2003, Josh released his first solo original CD, the deeply personal Biblical Digital, he describes as ‘the soundtrack to my spiritual awakening’. made it a featured editor’s pick and wrote, “From epic, dramatic, thunderous and sweeping like a film score to intimate, visceral, well-directed plaintive lines, this electronic album encompasses a full spectr um of light and dark, of mind and emotion, simply rotating around creativity and musical voice rather than any particular genre indications.” -CD Baby

That same year, he began an independent children’s project, FunkeyMonkeys, which aims to impart more conscious and spiritual values than those dictated by the marketplace. To date, FunkeyMonkeys includes 5 CDs, a live band & Off-Broadway show, and several short videos. In 2002, Josh joined the accalimed improv comedy and spontaneous theater troupe, Centralia, as accompanist and musical director, which led to the 2002 Fringe Festival Musical Generica. The masters of long form improv, the Centralia group weaves 60-minute entirely made up musical theater pieces that transcend comedy.

Recently, Josh composed the Main Title Theme and musical underscore for Jonah Hill’s animated FOX sitcom Allen Gregory. When not composing music for film and television Josh produces bands and other artists at his Brooklyn studio, ‘The Playground’. Including Nikki Blonsky (the Hairspray Movie), Antibalas members: Amayo (Fu Arkest-Ra), Eric Biondo (Beyondo, the Monkees), Stuart Bogie (TV on the Radio, Volney Litmus, Superhuman Happiness), and Luke O’Malley (the Phenomenal Handclap Band) along with the bands, Thought, Hylo-fi, Wild Yaks, Lazer& the Dookers, Josephine & The Mousepeople and others, some of whom he performs with at live shows.


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