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.