Lamps are (basically) a group of musicians who came together inspired by a set of familiar experiences and a set of similar desires. Between the seven of them they have collaborated in some way or another in no less than eleven different bands. With five members in Los Angeles and two in New York they have managed to defy logistical difficulties and produce a four song EP entitled “Please Come Down”. Their goal was to write and record music that was noisily quiet. Or perhaps gracefully chaotic. Or even spaciously dense. With “Please Come Down” it looks like they have done just that.
Lamps’ central songwriters and first cousins, John Crooke and Dave Burris, enjoyed seven years, three record deals and five and a half albums as the creative force behind the moody North Carolina rock band Jolene. Burris had played with Squirrel Nut Zippers’ drummer Chris Phillips in the Chapel Hill Power Pop trio Grover and recruited him for a Jolene tour of Europe. The venues on this tour were small and not well suited for the loud, full outbursts of sound Jolene had grown accustomed to delivering in the States. By way of accommodation, amp volume was reduced; brushes were used on the drums; and the low-end was realized in the composed cello of James Roven. Quiet and quietude became elemental not only to the delivery of Crooke and Burris’ songs but also to their arrangement. And they liked it. A lot. It was under these circumstances that the idea for Lamps was born (a few pints at an Edinburgh pub may have had some influence as well).
Cut to a couple of years later in Los Angeles where Burris, Crooke and Phillips had all relocated from the East Coast. Adjacent barstools once again played their part as the three of them convened in a Silverlake dive and decided that it was time to give this Lamps thing a shot. Roven came in from NYC along with his violinist brother, Timothy (he had also toured with Jolene who knew him from his work with legendary Chapel Hill art-rockers What Peggy Wants -- Burris had also played with him in the Veldt). After a few demo sessions and a handful of shows it was a lock - Lamps had officially transformed themselves from an idea into a band.
Rounding out the line-up was vocalist and bass player Vicki Peterson. She had recently moved back to L.A. from New Orleans to begin playing again with her band the Bangles. Vicki was an old friend and collaborator having sung on two Jolene albums and countless live shows. They soon found that the sound they wanted would require both an additional rhythmic quality and a more deeply ambient melodic layer.
Peele Wimberley of seminal southern jangle-popsters The Connells was then pressed into service, adding percussion and a variety of laptop generated keyboard sonics, bells, whistles and random electronic noises.
After many months of gigging in Hollywood and the Eastside of L.A. they finally began recording. The result is “Please Come Down” co- released by Austin’s Chicken Ranch Records and the band’s own Cienfuegos imprint. With a backlog of recorded and written material waiting in the wings, it is the goal of lamps to release a series of EP’s over the upcoming months. Keep an eye out… if you would, please.
Lamps are: Dave Burris – guitar, vox John Crooke – guitar, vox Vicki Peterson – bass, vox Peele Wimberley – laptop, percussion, piano Chris Phillips – drums James Roven – cello Timothy Roven – violin
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