Adam Levy: singer-songwriter, guitars, piano, keyboards
The last thing The Honeydogs' lead singer songwriter, Adam Levy, wants his band to be is a Sunshine Committee. You know, the cloying co-workers who attempt to bring a little Trojan Horse happiness to the dysfunctional corporation on the eve of mass layoffs with flowers, pizza, ribbons, lace, and cupcakes? No, the Honeydogs have chosen a tough path, singing about serious subject matter always avoiding the maudlin and producing some music of great emotional intensity, complexity and beauty.
Starting with 2001's brilliant day darkener, Here's Luck, the band charted a course of, as Paste magazine said, capturing "the Zeitgeist of this anxious era." The follow-up, 10,000 Years, was hailed as the bands' masterpiece—a concept album based on Levy's experiences in social work telling the story of a poor urban test tube kidsís rise and fall during a genocidal apocalypse in the not-so-distant future. In 2006 the band released Amygdala, a record thematically exploring fear in its varied forms—abandonment, losing children, war & death, aging, social decay.
In 2009 the band emerges with an offering considerably more hopeful in these desperate times. The tracks on Sunshine Committee reflect a complex, often nuanced intersection of art and humanity while marking a return to a more live, rocking sound.
Once featured guests, Matt Darling on trombone and Steven Kung on trumpet have now become integral core members of the band, adding a vintage Stax/Volt-Muscle Shoals unctuousness to the record. Bass player Trent Nortonís writhingly hooky parts almost singularly define the new improved sound. Levy and Brian Halverson have further perfected their guitar matrimony, playing off each other and swapping leads and obbligatos. Peter Sands, given extra real estate space, layers clavinets, harpsichords, pianos, Hammond organs, Chamberlains, and various odd keyboards from his museum of myriad electronic instruments. Drummer Peter Anderson directs traffic like an empathic inner city principal, alternately slamming and playing with great economy, sensitivity and restraint.
As always, the band refers to the traditional soul and rock touchstones while creating something interesting, unpredictable, insightful, and moving: shades of the Stones' Exile on Main Street, Fresh-era Sly Stone, twilight Hendrix and Revolver-esque Beatles, all with Levy's surreal, evocative and enigmatic lyrics winding sinuously through the savory mix.
Sunshine Committee is the bandís first truly self-produced effort, with the entire band involved in the conception, engineering and editing of the record. Granted permission to record this and his childrenís record (Bunny Clogs) at the Institute of Production and Recording where Levy is a teacher, the EP's production provided top students with a ďlaboratoryĒ environment in which to experiment with various mics and recording techniques, comment on arrangement and performance, and assist in the editing process.
Capping off the roster of contributing talent, friend and mainstay John Fields, freshly finished with recording the Jonas Brothers, offered up his mixing expertise to the band.
On the eve of this, the Honeydog's 10th release, with solo projects and new records percolating, the band emerges confident in their ability to reinvent their sound while keeping alive the best musical and thematic features that have been their trademarks for nearly 15 years.