ROTARY CLUB announce “Second Year in Swine”

By on January 28, 2012


“About 20 years ago I was eating at a diner somewhere between Los Angeles and San Francisco and I noticed a badly photocopied, handwritten note with a picture of a pig on it on a local events bulletin board,” recalls ROTARY CLUBmastermind Tom Devaney about the origins of his oddly named second album. “The young girl who wrote the note was inviting people to see her new pig at a Four H Club event and found it important to mention it was her second year in swine. I thought it would make a good song title someday, or, in this case, a good record title.” For Devaney and Rotary Club, his own personal “show pig”, Second Year In Swine, is ready for its own spotlight when it gets released on Woodside Records on February 28, 2012.

Coined for a constantly rotating cast of musicians, Rotary Club is more of a concept and a project than a “band” in the literal sense with Tom as ringleader, orchestrating friends and fellow musicians into one cohesive whole. The 2012 incarnation includes drummer Mike Savage (Fudge, Cherry 2000, Tom Leach), bassist J. Johnson, and cellists Gordon Withers (Office of Future Plans) and Mike Lunapiena. Making a return trip to the mix is former Pere Ubu bassist Tony Maimone in the producer’s chair. “This is the second record I’ve done with Tony,” says Tom. “I’ve been a huge Pere Ubu fan so it’s been a thrill working with him all this time. He’s a musician first so he understands what’s going on in my head during recording sessions. He also loves great food. I can appreciate that.“

Recorded and mixed over a six-month period, Second Year In Swine captures the band in an expansive mode, building on melodic song structures while keeping the music playfully disjointed, which The Big Takeover perfectly describes as “Leadbelly, Charlie Patton, and Skip James joining the Band for Meat Puppets covers.” The opening track “Get A Room” is a breezy, twang-filled Beatles-esque track that displays Devaney’s dexterous fingerpicked, electric six-string and Gordon Withers’ exquisite cello that belies the tale behind it. “It’s a song from the perspective of someone who engages in aggressive public displays of affection,” he explains. “He thinks the people around who are making disapproving faces and saying ‘get a room’ do so out of a perceived lack of affection in their lives, and that is why they feel uncomfortable.” From the propulsive garage of “Union” to the warped steel guitar lilt of “Kidney Stone” to the layered acoustic and electric guitars set upon a militaristic drum of “Multi-Colored Rings”,Second Year In Swine is a rich exercise in what Time Out New York appropriately described as “catchy and subtly quirky”.

Having first made his mark in Boston as leader of the legendary oddball outfit Bulkhead and later in the avant-garage darlingsBetwixt, Devaney upped and moved to NYC in 2001 and formed Rotary Club three years later with ex-Jack Frostingmembers Chris Weinberg on drums, and multi-instrumentalist wiz J. Johnson on just about everything else. They released their debut Vis-à-vis in November 2007, also produced by Maimone. “When I first started coming up with material for what would become Rotary Club, I imagined a sound that was a mix of John Fahey and Brian Eno,” he explains. Rotary Club’s music has since evolved from the textural soundscapes that those artists would evoke and has taken a much more melodic but no less challenging path. Boston’s local music tome The Noise probably characterized Rotary Club best when they wrote: “you’ll have some reference for pinning down the sound, which is playful, yet tunefully fragile and often melodically halting in a strangely seductive way… this belongs on every new music-lovers must-have list.”

Rotary Club is Tom Devaney (vocals, guitars, lap steel guitar), Mike Savage (drums), J. Johnson (bass, mandolin, keyboards) and Mike Lunapiena (cello). Second Year In Swine will be released on Woodside Records on February 28, 2012. Catch them on playing live on the East Coast!

March 03 Red Hook Bait and Tackle Brooklyn, NY
March 10 P.A.’s Lounge Somerville, MA

Author: DaveHHM

Dave Luttrull: Owner/Editor in Chief of Hellhound Music. Star Wars nerd, Gamer, Destiny homer, blogger, writer and lover of all things music.