Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Multiple Cat

Savior in a Plaid Coat (1998)

For all intents and purposes, Davenport, Iowa’s Patrick Stolley was the Multiple Cat.  He wrote or co-wrote all the band’s material, played most of the instruments, sang lead vocals, and recorded the songs in his home studio. Orbiting around Stolley was an amorphous cast of talented friends and musicians. 

Recorded around 1998, “Savior in a Plaid Coat” appeared on The Golden Apple Hits, released by the Plow City label in 2001.  Many of the songs are quieter and more introspective than Stolley's earlier work, especially the slow-building "Savior." According to Stolley, "A lot of folks don't get that one.  'Too light' and 'drum machiney' are comments I've heard.  It's very meaningful to me, though, because it's about when my mom put me into state custody (I was a bad little Robert Smith look-alike) and I had to go to court and all this drama.  I ran away from the state shelter and crossed the river to Illinois, and my girlfriend Nancy picked me up and got me out of town."

The Multiple Cat got their start when Zero Hour, a well-funded but ultimately mismanaged indie, released the Multiple Cat’s debut in 1996.  Stolley was mowing his lawn when he got the call from Zero Hour with a generous offer.  The label folded soon after the album’s release, forcing Stolley to make the switch to a series of other labels. By the time The Golden Apple Hits came out, the band was no longer active.

After an acrimonious split with his wife, Stolley entered a dormant phase.   “I lost touch with music for a while, and was bitter in general,” Stolley told me. “When my life came back together, I felt like the Multiple Cat was more a part of the past.”  Stolley abandoned the old name for good and started recording with a slightly revamped sound as the Marlboro Chorus.  Since 2001, Stolley has released three albums on Future Appletree under this moniker.

In 2005, Future Appletree also issued a highly recommended collection of the Multiple Cat's best tracks. Get it here.

Monday, July 05, 2010

He's on Drugs Again (1995)

The college town of Bloomington, Indiana, was a breeding ground for countless indie bands in the '90s. (See Jeb Banner's amazing Musical Family Tree site for proof).  Unlike other cities in the Midwest, punk never established a dominant foothold there and many of the area's bands leaned more towards the pop and rock end of the spectrum.  Sardina is no exception, and their sole album Presents is one of the best and most memorable albums from the decade.

On Tiny Idols, Vol. 3, (out today!) I included their great track "I'll Be Around," written by Michelle Marchesseault. However, while putting the compilation together, I emailed back and forth with LonPaul Ellrich, who wrote Sardina’s cult favorite “He’s On Drugs Again.”  He lobbied hard for me to use that song, which is admittedly awesome, but I felt that female songwriters were under-represented on my compilation and wanted to highlight Marchesseault’s song.  Sadly, LonPaul passed away in 2008, leaving a huge hole in the Bloomington music community. He will be missed. Besides Sardina, he played in Marmoset and the United States Three, among many others.

Sardina was formed in 1993 by Marchesseault, Marty Green, Lon Paul Ellrich, and P.J. Christie. All four members wrote and sang, but Marty Green was considered by the others to be the primary force in the band.   In 1995, just before their debut CD appeared, Green quit.  The remaining members auditioned three more guitarists, but none quite lived up to the band’s or the label’s expectations, and the group folded for good in 1996.

Despite Sardina’s brief lifespan (and the fact that they moved to Chicago after forming), Sardina is still remembered by many Indiana residents as one of Bloomington’s best.  In addition to Presents, Sardina also released three singles, one on Favorite Street, one on Egg Records and the other on HitIt.