Today's highlighted Madison-based musical act is Benefits of Being Paranoid.
Formed in the early months of 2003, the four-piece acoustic/electric combo Benefits of Being Paranoid has rapidly built a reputation for its well-paced, melodic and funky folk-rock. Their driving and radio-ready jams and well-regarded lyrics translate into energetic live shows, with "plenty of rocking and drinking involved," the group exclaims. More interestingly, though, the band is a leader when it comes to providing their music online.
Benefits of Being Paranoid consists of Sam Wurz on vocals and guitars, Marc Hoernke on guitars, Frank Queram on bass, and Mason Tikkanen on the drums. Here's how the band describes itself:
We've been around for a couple years and are still having fun making CD's and playing live. Frank cuts a good figure, we're told. He's the bass player. Marc plays acoustic/electric guitars and writes some of the songs. Sam plays acoustic/electric guitars, sings and writes some of the songs. Mason drums his ass off and takes care of keeping his bandmates alive and relatively sober.
In the late spring of this year, the band released its 13-track sophomore album Midnightgrass, which was recorded at Smart Studios. Isthmus staff writer Tom Laskin described the release as delivering a "sophisticated sound that depends on moody, atmospheric passages and tension-inducing crescendos that give vocalist Sam Wurz the opportunity to exorcize some powerful passions." Their 2004 debut album Hello/Noiro? was also recorded at Smart, and features 12 songs of their tuneful semi-acoustic rock.
These two albums share more in common than where they were recorded, though. Each is also available in its entirety online, provided by the band in a simultaneous act of musical generosity and sharp marketing that befits its trading identity and jam roots. All twelve tracks of Hello/Noiro? -- from "New Frontier" to "Whip Cream Dream" -- is available here, while their corresponding lyrics can be found here. That's only one option, though. There's a far more sophisticated set-up at Benefits's Flash site, which features lyrics with streaming and downloadable tracks from Midnightgrass along with Hello/Noiro?. The band also provides photos and news on both of its online editions. There's more online music also available at their MySpace page.
Benefits of Being Paranoid has two shows in the Madison area to round out the year. The first of these performances is an early show on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at the High Noon Saloon. This will be followed by a big New Year's Eve show at the downtown Great Dane.
This is the latest featured entry from the Madison Music Project, an online database of Madison-area musicians. Please register or update your current profile on the project for consideration in these highlights.