Artist of the Week: The Lisps

Normally, there are two schools of thought when it comes to breaking up with someone. There’s the clean break, and then there’s the quasi-friends trial who call on birthdays, but stop when someone gets married. As far as exceptions go, you would think continuing to be in a band that sings about your relationship is rather unlikely, and yet, here we are again. Sammy Tunis and Cesar Alvarez of The Lisps had a break-up while recording their first full-length album, Country Doctor Museum. The record could have easily slipped into limbo, but the two strove on to create a disc filled with sideshow sensibilities that high steps through love, loss, and libations.

Cesar & Sammy began singing together on a whim. A couple of months after they first started dating, Sammy went away to Europe to perform in a play. Cesar went to visit her and during their free time they would travel through the countryside and sing together, which would happen suddenly and often. Upon returning to New York, the two recorded a few songs, eventually got together with bassist Jeremy Hoevenaar and Eric Farber (also drummer for Ladybug Transistor), and bada bing bada boom, The Lisps became the Brooklyn band that was most fun to say five times fast.

The music from Country Doctor Museum combines the love/loss sentiment of Americana with Vaudeville’s flashy antics. The tri-blasts that start off “Documents” comes from an old filing cabinet that usually appears on stage with the band. The dented corners are signs of Sammy’s happy poundings.  She and Cesar sing side by side through the whole song at a prisoner’s pace, as if chained together and on the lam.

To see the interchanging and then sharing of lyrics during “I’m Sorry” almost feels like you’re witnessing the entire life span of a relationship. They trade “dums” and glances playfully, admit to knowing each other, then not knowing each other at all, and eventually exchange apologies. Sammy sounds like a “mother singing to her baby,” while Cesar sings in his natural speaking voice, which is friendly in a Kramer kind of way. He sounds like someone you wouldn’t mind walking through your door without knocking. The sentiment changes during “The Familiar Drunk,” which starts off with an inebriated accordion that can’t walk in a straight line and Cesar ends the track with a rambling fast exchange.

In the spirit of variety acts, The Lisps have created a musical that they describe as a “sci-fi civil war indie rock musical” called FUTURITY. It is the story of a soldier who dreams of becoming a science fiction writer. If it’s anything like their live act, expect a grand chorus of melodicas, stomping and crashing on assorted filing cabinets, and a story of love and what it can become.

Tour Dates!

Dec 6    Webster Hall (with Phonograph) – New York, NY
Jan 9     Zipper Factory (World Premiere of **FUTURITY**) – New York, NY
Jan 10   Zipper Factory (World Premiere of **FUTURITY**) – New York, NY

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