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The Jack McCoys - In Gray Light

"In Gray Light" (CD)
amBiguous CITY! Records
Fall 2002

The Jack McCoys - All The Weeping Cameras

"All The Weeping Cameras" (CD EP)
amBiguous CITY! Records
Fall 2002

The Jack McCoys

"WE Festival 2002" (CD)
Song: On A Plane Over Prague
Eskimo Kiss Records
Summer 2002

The Jack McCoys

"A Map Of Where It All Went Wrong" (CD)





Christian Cundari – Guitar; Daniel Madri – Guitar, Vocals
Phillip Ouellette – Drums; Tyler Pollard – Bass; Matt Savage – Vocals

The Jack McCoys began as an experiment on a cold, overcast Saturday in late November 1998. In a second floor apartment in Somerville, MA, Dan and Matt set up a 4-track, a drum kit, and a guitar amp, and, 8 hours later, had written and recorded the basic tracks for 13 songs. Though it would take another year to finish the recording, it would eventually compel them to assemble an act interested in performing the songs live. So, a fistful of new material, and the same stubbornness that had seen them through 5 years on the Boston club scene, they set out in search of recruits.

Enter Tyler, Phillip, and Christian… musicians from assorted Boston bands (The Control Group, Slept, The Nasties) who had crossed Matt and Dan’s path over their years of playing the Boston club circut. These were trusted friends and indisputable talents… rehearsals started right away.

Almost overnight, the Jack McCoys found themselves recording A Map Of Where It All Went Wrong. The project incorporated 7 of the original 13 songs, and 9 newer efforts.

The resulting 45-minute collection, captured on 1/2” 8-track, maintains a mid-fidelity punch that helps accentuate the energy fuelling the performances. This edginess would spill over into the sessions of the band’s follow-up recording, All The Weeping Cameras.

While individual tracks here may lurch from driving post-rock (“Sinking in Sentences and Paragraphs”) to soulful rock (“A Star Is”) to feedback tinged twangyness (“Fossils and Artifacts”), the album emits a consistent musical sensibility and retains sincerity throughout. One may also note a more liberal willingness to experiment both with sonic possibilities and lyrical themes.

By the time recording had finished, the Jack McCoys had dusted off their live show and filtered it through the East Coast club circuit. To date, they have been booked with Ryan Adams, California Stadium, The Damn Personals, Dead Meadow, LandSpeedRecord!, The Moldy Peaches, Reuben’s Accomplice, Rival Schools, The Rondelles, The Secession Movement , Stereobate, and Kevin Tahista’s Red Terrors.

Though allowing the future to remain at least somewhat undefined has always served the members of The Jack McCoys well, the band does plan to continue expanding its discography and to proceed with a steady regimen of live dates. That is, until the fun runs out.


It's not often that you find a release by a local band to be a masterful and completely creative recording. It's also not often that you find that same release to be a touchingly subtle concept album that reveals itself after multiple listens. The Jack McCoys have succeeded in doing both with their sophomore release „All the Weeping Cameras.‰ The dissection of the constant observer, photographer, and the voyeur has definitely been tackled by cinema, but the subject of the aforementioned has really not been successfully written about by the musician/lyricist until now. Matt Savage (vocals) delves into the realm of photography, from the capturing of mundane imagery, to the process of developing, to the way different people pose for, catalogue, or discard, these timeless images. Savage successfully ties every song together with a beautiful narrative on photography, which displays his handle on the creative manipulation of language. The last lines of the album in the song "The Art of Sleeping" says it all "Light screaming through the hole/the message is in code/the language is on fire". The Jack McCoys have a sound that at times is reminiscent of that loose and sloppy genius of early 90's Pavement records. This is most notable in the textures and the tones of the dueling guitars of Dan Madri and Christian Cundari. Tyler Pollard (Bass) and Phillip Ouellette (drums) stay in a pocket, which sways between an indie-rock assault and a Motown groove. Hovering on top of all of this is Savages original vocal delivery and timbre, which is topped by his uncanny ability to create some serious melodic hooks in a very unconventional matter (sometimes hiccuping words at the end of phrases by utilizing tight intervallic leaps). Another cool effect, which ties all the songs thematically together, are these long outros/intros between songs. There's also no discernible pop formula in their arrangements, which makes the entire album even more appealing.
- Tom Korkidis, Northeast Performer Magazine

Organic. Not the food that costs twice as much as regular food, but the feel of this band called The Jack McCoys from the Northeast. Everything this band displays on their EP All The Weeping Cameras speaks volumes of the do-it-yourself ethic. It feels inevitable that this release would come from this group of boys.

The sound is hard to describe. Their bio says it's "post-rock," but I'm not that smart. I don't know what that means. The music just feels really calm and in control. Organic, perhaps. The lyrics are really, really good -- too good perhaps. Singer Matt Savage's voice can get incoherent at times, but reading the lyrics reveals some poignant imagery and obvious writing talent. But, like I said, I'm not that smart.

There are elements of different kinds of music evident here. Some heavy reverb slide guitar, combined with some tape effects give "Half-Written Letter" a Cowboy Junkies type of feel, without being overly cold. There's no blistering guitar work or showmanship here, just stream-of-consciousness stuff that gets really good at moments.

There's no denying that this band has talent. Its sparse melodies and rhythms leave nothing to be desired, and the lyrics just make it all that much better. But of course, you will be left with your own mind to make up. I'm not really certain that me writing this will make any sort of difference in the cosmos; after all, what's organic in roots tends to create what it will, no matter what people that aren't that smart say.
- James Song, Agouti Music

Featuring members of the control group, slept, and the nasties, the jack mccoys are a somerville, ma quintet that play a brand of mellow rock that fuses together indie, emo, and tinges of classic styled rock grooves. all the weeping cameras is their 7 song cd out on ambiguous city records. the songs are straight mellow. fusing together indie, emo, and other genres of mellow music to deliver a nice, somber sound that is both soothing and relaxing. the guitars are very melodic. the bass is jazzy sounding, and the drums loom in from quiet to pounding. the vocals are soft, yet prominent. putting all these ingredients together, the jack mccoys create a record that is captivating and moving. i'm definitely looking forward to hearing more from this band in the future.
- Calamity

This Boston-based band's very strong second album ponders the inadequacy of images written, photographed or, by inference, recorded as music. Its complex mixture of dual guitars, bass, drums and the hoarsely emotive voice of lead singer Matt Savage surges and ebbs around complex themes of memory and change. The cameras, it turns out, have a lot to cry about.

The album's sound ranges from loud, emo-esque post rock ("Sinking in Sentences and Paragraphs") to bizarrely twisted Americana ("Fossils and Artifacts" incorporates off-tuned banjo notes) to plaintive ballads that could have come from a late-period REM album ("Photography" and "The Art of Sleeping"). There is a constant, however, in that the band's rhythm section -- Phillip Ouellette on drums and Tyler Pollar -- set up tight structural parameters, embellished with the often delicate and sometimes thunderous interplay of guitarists Christian Cundari and Daniel Madri. Over this well-structured architectural base, Savage's voice flourishes and sweeps like a series of gorgeous Gaudi towers, spilling over the notes and phrases with organic abandon, his rough tremolo betraying just how much it matters.

Conceptually, the album explores the ways people preserve thought and memory, and how poorly our attempts to write it down, frame it up or roll the tape represent either the past or the present. Some of the album's words on this theme are real poetry and would stand up even without the accompanying music. For instance, from "Photograph": "All the whites and greys that settle on you / settle on me in this room / where the light was orange and dim / and the wasted time it took to / catch you in mid-smile / is the whole history of photography." Or again, in "A Star is": "The flicker and flash / of cameras when they sentence you / to photo albums and dressers where / your height and your width are wrestled / from your other dimensions / the ones you wished came out / in perfect rectangles."
- Splendid EZine

Maybe it's because I'm a closet Law and Order fan, but even before I listened to it, I was inclined to like the Jack McCoys' All The Weeping Cameras. And I must say, I wasn't disappointed. Now maybe the "real" Jack McCoy wouldn't be caught dead showing the raw honest emotion found in a song like "Sinking in Sentences and Paragraphs" but the Jack McCoys certainly can handle it with composure and confidence. A concept album of sorts, All the Weeping Cameras speaks of relationships and events through the watchful eyes of a photograper and his product. Overall, the album has a jangly guitar-driven sound, but the Jack McCoys don't come off like REM or rip-offs. Instead, they offer a more polished guitar rock sound not often found without the addition of annoying keyboard "techniques." Standouts include "A Star Is," and my personal favorite, "Half-written Letter," a slow-burning tune that rolls around in your head long after it's over.
- Amplifier Magazine

At first glance, these guys reminded me of OK Computer-era Radiohead, with swirling guitars, disjointed emotive vocals and extraneous noise. But, after a few songs the group took on a life of its own and the album seemed to shed my immediate comparisons. The songs are catchy, yet uncommercial enough in approach to keep the pop in check. An understated dissonance is integral to the overall sound, and in turn the group seems to owe as much to a ghostly legacy of Fugazi as well as Radiohead. In the end, it's an amazing collection of modern rock songs that defy simple categorization.
- Mish Mash Magazine