John McNicholas | How to be Alone

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Rock: Modern Rock Pop: California Pop Moods: Type: Sonic
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How to be Alone

by John McNicholas

Indie-rock, singer-songwriter with a broad story-telling style.
Genre: Rock: Modern Rock
Release Date: 

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1. Fallout (Orange County Blues)
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3:06 $0.99
2. Stay
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3:57 $0.99
3. Friday Morning, Half Awake
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4:11 $0.99
4. Alright
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2:48 $0.99
5. X-Girl Friend (solo/live)
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2:34 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
John McNicholas is a singer/songwriter from >St. Petersburg, Florida. John has honed his writing talents by writing, performing and releasing albums with alternative favorites Spiller, Lie, Misfortune 500 and most recently performing with indie-darlings Honeyrider, Dank and Sparky's Nightmare. He considers himself and unlikely songwriter in that his songs are character sketches of his life and the lives of people and friends around him. He doesn't so much write, as he observes and records his thoughts with music. His songs can be as awkwardly personal as those by Juliana Hatfield, as tongue-in-cheek as those by Fountains of Wayne and Ben Folds and as vivid and descriptive as those by Pete Yorn and Dean Wareham (Luna).

John McNicholas the band have their friends Joran and Tony to thank for getting them together. A few days before a concert, Tony called John to see if he could fill some time with a quick acoustic opening set. What followed in the next half hour was this... John called guitar player Chris Skogen, to see if he'd like to accompany him. Chris suggested they get drummer John Freiberger and bassist Martin Rice involved. Three days later, after one practice, they took the stage for the first time and rocked. Mixing a sound nestled somewhere between Fountains of Wayne, the Wallflowers, Ryan Adams and Pete Yorn, John and his groups have been seen at WMNF's Tropical Heatwave, IPO New York, the In the Raw concert series and they have opened shows for Marilyn Manson, Fastball, Cyndi Lauper, Superchunk, X, Patti Smith, the Mooney Suzuki and many others.


Reviews


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Eric Snider - the Weekly Planet

ultra-tuneful indie-rock with a nice power-pop element
One of the Bay area's truly venerable singer/songwriter/guitarists, John McNicholas has put out a formidable solo effort titled How to Be Alone. We'll call it ultra-tuneful indie-rock with a nice power-pop element. Very professional, and thoroughly on par with far more successful acts.

Curtis Ross - The Tampa Tribune


John McNicholas' credits are a mini-history of the Bay area's indie-rock scene, from Parade in Paris and Spiller through Lie, Misfortune 500 and Sparky's Nightmare. Now he's finally gotten around to recording under his own name. If McNicholas had nothing else to his credit other than "Stay,'' the second song here, he'd still earn a spot in the Happy-Sad Pop Hall of Fame. McNicholas' voice has a warm yearning similar to Freedy Johnston's, a perfect match for the song's heart-tugging melody. Chiming guitars and ghostly string samples add to the poignant mood. And then he turns around and does it again on "Friday Morning, Half Awake.'' McNicholas is equally handy on the other more upbeat numbers.

Focus Magazine

About as tuneful, smart and earnest as the guy is tall
True story: Mr. McNicholas sold me my first CD ever while he was working the old Gateway Spec's (Music & Movies). Possibly where the garden department at Target is now. Sorry, this story doesn't really have an ending. Just to say that John has been in and around, over under sideways down in the Bay music scene seems like forever - or since there ever was mention of a scene. Tenure with Honeyrider, Spiller, Misfortune 500, Lie and tag-along to Dank and Sparky's Nightmare - we'd even mention Parade in Paris if it weren't for a last-minute, late-night call from the legal staff to keep such things hushed-up. Legacy noted this is McNick's first solo release - about as tuneful, smart and earnest as the guy is tall, and that can't even be measured in miles. Hey, not that there was anything missing from any of his older works, but Alone faces up to all the expectations of a seasoned writer - well-shaped melodies, confidant wordplay and that sort of grain-of-salt, been-here-before vibe that comes from someone that's sacrificed more than his share of a real life to share some good music. Currently McNick is packing up the sentimentality for a set of resolved, go-your-own-way tunes ("Friday Morning, Half Awake", "Fallout (Orange Co. Blues)") as well as slice-of-life reactions ("Stay", and the engaged couple of "Alright") that will have you nod in affirmation while tapping feet to the beat. Which is all easy on the ears, considering Chris, Martin and John lend their usual Madden All-Pro playing for this EP - and we needn't bring up all the bands they've been in... Release includes a solo live at the State (Theater) reading of "X-Girl Friend, " where I finally could hear the "com-plains" joke, duh. Essential listening, but you knew that.

GINA VIVINETTO - St. Pete Times Pop Music Critic

It's clear singer-guitarist McNicholas, based in St. Petersburg, writes great tu
Longtime Tampa Bay area music scenester John McNicholas recently released How to Be Alone, a five-song disc of tunes so catchy it's hard to believe the guy can't find folks to hang out with him. From opener Fallout (Orange County Blues), it's clear singer-guitarist McNicholas, based in St. Petersburg, writes great tunes. His is the same ol' love ennui, but McNicholas tells it craftily:

Sick of waiting and over estimating
the black dress and undue sympathy
I'm rooftop calling and falling and stalling,
These games are wearing thin on me
But love and kisses and she says she misses me

Sharp guitar lines pierce the tune's rootsy backdrop, with vocal harmonies and Chris Skogen's swirly keyboards adding nice touches. Stay comes next and proves the opener was no fluke. McNicholas' theme, like that of Old 97's frontman Rhett Miller, is that purty girls and love done him wrong. Like Miller, McNicholas can see humor in the mess, and can also convey sentiments with simple lyrics - hear the "you don't love me anymore" of Friday Morning, Half Awake, and try not to wince in empathy.

Jim Reed/Music Editor - Connect Savannah

The sly power-pop of Fountains of Wayne, the observational humor of Dean Wareham
This singer and songwriter from St. Petersburg, Fla., has done time in a great many alternative rock bands from the Tampa Bay area, and has opened for such artists as X, Marilyn Manson, Fastball, Cyndi Lauper, Superchunk, Patti Smith and The Mooney Suzuki to name a few. As a recording artist, he’s appeared on a number of band projects, put out several of his own solo releases and taken part in a plenty multi-artist samplers (like the 2-disc Tribute to The Smiths). As a solo act, his style currently sits somewhere between the sly power-pop of Fountains of Wayne, the observational humor of Dean Wareham and the jangly feelgood AOR rock of someone like Tal Bachman. His subject matter seems to revolve mostly around matters of the heart, but the tunes are delivered with a sort of world-weary ennui that helps them along, and they come off as more mature and centered than most such material.