Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
coverpic flag US - New Jersey - Full Moon 193 - 06/04/12

The Trypes
Music for Neighbors
Acute Records

The Trypes were a loosely structured band, formed in Haledon, New Jersey in 1982 and disbanded in 1985. During this time span they released one record, The Explorers Hold (a 4 track EP on Coyote Records, 1984), and later contributed with one track on the Coyote sampler Luxury Condos. After disbandment, the core members formed the band Speed the Plough, which is still active.

At some point, The Trypes included Glen Mercer and later Bill Million of The Feelies. In the rich booklet of Music for Neighbors, Mercer describes The Trypes as a 'band that sprung out of a series of weekly, informal, neighborhood gatherings, playing simple and sparse music on a local level for our own enjoyment.' Mercer was fed up with playing the guitar, and joined The Trypes playing drums instead.

Music for Neighbors consists of the EP, the sampler track and basically everything else The Trypes ever recorded - a total of 20 tracks (that is, 11 tracks on the LP, with further 9 tracks available as MP3 download). The musical kinship to The Feelies is obvious - the song "The Undertow" on their seminal The Good Earth LP (1986) even made its debut on the Trypes EP. Also, consistently we find the same zen-like strumming and drone atmosphere of The Stoogies, as well as the unskilled but right-on-target instrumental treatment of Velvet Underground. We can trace the underlying DIY attitude back to the No Wave NYC scene in and around CBGBs in the late 70's and early 80's, as beautifully portrayed in the documentary Blank City (Céline Danhier, 2010). Reminiscent to the Punk in the UK, the No Wave scene demanded attitude, energy and presence of their performers, and had only one crucial demand: You can do anything except those things you are skilled at.

Personally, I haven't heard the EP since I borrowed it from a friend around 1989. But to my own surprise, over the years I have now and then started to hum on some of the songs. To me, that is as close as you can get to the definition of pop music quality. And now, finally being able to listen to those songs again, and discovering many more in the same vein, is simply a treat.

The Trypes had a very short career, and a very sparse outlet to a very limited audience. Music for Neighbors offers music far, far away from today's agenda of popular music. It was in fact not even on the agenda at the time when the music was created and performed 30 years ago. This ought to make us question the basic drivers of popular music: news value, celebrity attraction, sales numbers. The Trypes is the antithesis of 'Idol - the search for a Superstar'. Instead of superficial glamour, you get a unique personal atmosphere where every note sounds fresh and intimate.

Finally, a consumer note: Music for Neighbors is available as Vinyl or MP3 Download; however, buying the vinyl edition grants access to downloading all the files, thus, a win - win situation. Please find some samples here.

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