Members: Daryl, Jarvis Morgan, Larry, Bon & Jessie
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Imagine squalling fuzzed-out garage poppers the Jesus and Mary Chain cooking up giant electronic breaks and beats or Elvis Costello and the Attractions on angel dust and you have something close to Head Automatica. The New York quintets self-titled debut is a straight-up homage to late 80s-early 90s British punk and pop artistseveryone from the Mary Chain, Primal Scream, Jesus Jones, and EMF to Elvis Costello and Attractions, Squeeze, Nick Lowe and Rockpile to E-era Manchester baggy bands Stone Roses and Happy Mondays. The lovefest comes courtesy of Daryl Palumbo, who having spent the last 13 years as the angst-filled vocalist for Long Island hardcore stalwarts Glassjaw, was ready to cut loose, have some fun, and make music more along the lines of what I rock in my free time, he says. That was the whole point. This feels more comfortable than anything Ive done, because the music was straight out of me. Palumbos love of pure pop comes through on everything from the Squeeze-like single Beating Heart Baby, to the opening Yowwwww!!! on Dance Party Plus, to the big breaks and blips on Brooklyn is Burning and Head Automatica Sound System to the Gang-Of-Four-meets-EMF closer I Shot William H. Macy, Palumbo describes At the Speed of a Yellow Bullet as The Beatles Taxman crossed with the Attractions Beaten to the Punch note for note. Im a big fan of Liverpool beat bands and I thought itd be cool to flip it and do some post-millennial spacey garage punk version of it, he says. In fact every track on the album, which was produced by beatmaker Dan The Automator Nakamura (Handsome Boy Modeling School, Gorillaz) with assistance from drummer Larry Gorman, fuses sonic sophistication with pop savvy and then turns the whole formula on its ear. As much as the album is a product of the music Palumbo has listened to his whole life, its also result of what hes listened to for the last 13 years in Glassjaw. A lot of the emo and hardcore band got way too serious and overly dramatic and it turned me off, he says. This album is very much a reaction against the stiffness, pretentiousness, and this feeling that you have to become an artist. I think its very important to not become an artist, but just to write songs. I write three-and-a-half-minute pop songs that people wont forget. Some bands lose that quality when they become artists. Were rebelling against that with Head Automatica. I didnt want to make an art record, Palumbo continues, warming to his topic. There are no ballads; theres nothing too introspective. For most bands, referring to themselves as pop is a curse, but thats what we are. Its dirty, grimy pop rock and roll band in the most classic sense. Palumbo had been writing the songs on Head Automatica for years, but it wasnt until Glassjaw finished the 2002 Vans Warped Tour (after a grueling 18-month trek to support the Grammy-nominated Worship And Tribute) that he had the opportunity to make Head Automatica a reality. The album was originally released in August 2004, but touring and promotion were put on hold while Palumbo was treated for Crohns disease. Now the band are re-launching the album with renewed excitement and vigor. Because at their core, Head Automatica are a live band who love to tour. People get so intimidated in front of an audience, Palumbo says. Its like why do you play music? Were an electronic cock-rock band, so youre going to get a good show and its going to sound stellar. If you come see us live, youre going to be floored. Im not spending all my time being mad and getting revenge onstage, Palumbo explains. I just want to fucking party.