Come join us on Thursday, April 2, at Dogwood Bar, 47 East Main Street in beautiful downtown Beacon, NY. It all starts at 8pm. We’ll be joined by our special guest Mickey Gentry. Can’t wait to see you!
Laminated Menu rocks sparkly and real. Moving indie- and alt-like from vivacious power pop to blazing rockers and back down to earth again, the Hudson Valley-based band spins clever lyrics, colorful imagery and twisting progressions into quick-hit narratives, with passions ignited and the embers illuminated at every turn. There are hints of garage rock, psychedelic, post-punk, dream pop, and good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll. But mostly, Laminated Menu has a sound all its own.
The band dates from a sunny summer day in 2009. Sophia Jackson, an artist/puppeteer/Alexander Technique practitioner, was painting faces at a kiddie party in Garrison, NY. Neal Santelmann, a freelance writer, was chatting about bands he’d seen on YouTube. She’d sung with Crazy Mary, an idiosyncratic band out of NYC. He’d been playing guitar for decades pretty much on his own. Somebody suggested a jam session.
The duo plugged in a few weeks later. “We had no idea what we were doing,” Neal recalls of the steps that led to Laminated Menu’s first full-length CD, Sugar Cookie. “So we just did it.” Sophia encouraged him to sing along, and he was happy to strum rhythm whenever she dreamed up a lead. They set their sights on surviving a local open-mic night. “We needed three songs,” Sophia remembers. “By the time we got up the nerve to play, we had five. So we kept going.”
And going. The open-mic appearance garnered an invite to a music showcase. They hooked up with a producer, released an EP in 2011, and found gigs from the East Village to Rosendale, NY. Then came the rhythm section: drummer Candace Cole, an artist, is self-taught; bassist Margaret Hundley Parker is a writer who worked in the music biz, waited tables at CBGB, and was in a band called Speed McQueen out of Chapel Hill, NC. All together, they’re striking on stage, drawing attention and eager applause.
The Sugar Cookie CD was released in January 2014 with 11 original songs rhapsodizing imaginatively on life, love, triumphs and travails. Listen closely and you may hear yourself in Laminated Menu’s lyrics. Either way, don’t be surprised if the songs are ringing in your head long after you’ve unplugged.
Check the “Events Future” page to see where Laminated Menu will be playing next.
Laminated Menu has a new CD. Released in January 2014, Sugar Cookie finds the band rhapsodizing imaginatively on life, love, triumphs and travails with playful twists throughout. The radio-ready title track follows a woman bounding along like a pinball between bumpers, all but certain she’s in over her head. Boom riffs blues-like on insomnia, with surreal images of a sun that “doesn’t know its way around” and waking on a sofa: “Whatever, wherever…/All’s I remember is being shown the door.”
Chalk the Sidewalk rocks a favorite childhood artistic diversion, while Spanish Song sizzles like flamenco on overdrive, with Sophia howling ear-piercingly before describing an exotic pickup scene. Lush Despair is a wrenching tale of misunderstanding. Floating paints a dreamscape draped in subtlety. And Bicker unfolds as a fiery love song via argument, with married combatants accusing each other of myriad atrocities – “You lied about the laundromat, you lied about the wine/Every weekend at your mother’s, goin’ outta my mind” – before resigning to stick together…again. There are five more songs, including a stripped-down cover of Who? by The Brian Jonestown Massacre.
Listen closely and you may hear yourself in Laminated Menu’s music. And don’t be surprised if Sugar Cookie is ringing in your ears long after you’ve unplugged.
Laminated Menu has been on the Radio:
- WVKR: “I Like You” was one of WVKR’s “91.3 Songs You Should Have Heard in 2011…But Possibly Didn’t”. The song was featured on our self-titled EP.
- Radio Woodstock: DJ Ida Hakkila spun “Sugar Cookie” on “The Heavy Light Show” on Radio Woodstock (100.1 WDST) on Saturday, June 11, 2011. Said Hakkila:”I like that song.”
- Cold Spring Radio: DJ Sam Tallerico spun “I Like You” and “Boom” on Cold Spring Radio in 2011. Both songs made it onto the “This Week’s Top 30” chart, too.
We had a blast playing the Hoot on the Hudson at Little Stony Point Park in early September. Despite threats from the clouds, the day turned out warm and dry – particularly the sun gleaming in our eyes as we launched into our half-hour set. We started with”Hum” for the first time. Great crowd. Lovely Day. Lots of other great musicians on the bill. Here are some images so you can feel like you were there:
The sunset couldn’t have been more beautiful from the patio of Bank Square Coffee House in Beacon on Saturday, August 17, 2013. That was the setting for the first show we arranged and produced ourselves. The crowd was near capacity and excited as we rocked out an entire set of original tunes (no covers allowed at Bank Square) running close to hour. Our special guests, The Unnameable, opened with Robert Lopez and David Hollander on vocals and guitar. They were awesome.
It was early. It was cold. But we were hot. Sophia, Margaret & Neal played the 2013 Maple Syrup Day festivities on a bright and sunny Sunday morning in March at Little Stony Park in Cold Spring. Lots of fun. As Margaret put it: “My favorite gig ever!”
On Mother’s Day 2013, we played a private performance at the annual “Welly-Chucking Party” at our friends Sarah & Steven’s place. We got there out of the goodness of our heart, having put ourselves up for auction to raise money for St. Philips Nursery School in Garrison. One never knows who’s going to show at the social event of the season: This year the crowd included Bob Dylan’s bass player/band leader, who had nothing but nice things to say…
Laminated Menu had its first-ever gig as a foursome – fourtet? – on May Day 2012 for Screen-Free Week at Haldane Elementary School. Very cool venue – the historic Chapel of our Lady Restoration overlooking the Hudson in Cold Spring – and a packed house of kids and their parents. So what if we were a bit rough around the edges…that our music isn’t quite suited for the elementary school set…that we should’ve limited ourselves to maybe 10 songs…that we had a pre-schooler on stage tapping Candace’s drums…and that half the audience had scampered out to play along the banks of the Hudson by halfway through the show. The other half stayed and we picked up a buncha new fans.
In November 2011, Sophia & Neal played a well-recieved gig at Market Market Cafe in Rosendale, NY. We went on quite late on a cold Friday evening, playing our whole set as the opening act for I’m Better Now, a now-defunct (sigh) punk band from Beacon, NY. Cool restaurant, enthusiastic crowd, fantastic Bi Bim Bop (musicians ate free!), and a very late return home at, like, 2:00am. We hope to play Market Market again soon…