The Special Pillow, Tim Foljahn

Sat · September 13, 2014

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 8:30 pm


Tickets at the Door

This event is 21 and over

Sleepyhead was formed in a basement room at NYU's Brittany Dorm in the fall of 1989 by drummer/vocalist Rachael McNally, bassist Mike Galinsky and guitarist/vocalist Chris O’Rourke. They released their first 7" single, the Kramer-produced "Play," in 1991 on Picture Book Artifact. Four full-length albums followed, on three different independent record labels. Punk Rock City USA was released by Slumberland Records in 1993, followed by Starduster (Homestead 1994), Communist Love Songs (Homestead 1996), and The Brighter Shore (Sealed Fate 1999). They toured the United States and Europe throughout the nineties, sharing the stage with such legendary bands as Polvo, Half Japanese, Yo La Tengo, The Grifters, The Dambuilders, Nation of Ulysses, Helium, Royal Trux, Antietam, Luna, Versus, The Magnetic Fields, and Dungbeetle.

Around the time their fourth album was released in 1999, Rachael and Chris got married, and Mike Galinsky had moved on to a successful career in filmmaking. Dan Cuddy (The Special Pillow, ex-Hypnolovewheel) joined Chris and Rachael on bass. With Dan on bass, Sleepyhead did some touring for The Brighter Shore and began writing new songs. Rachael and Chris moved from New York to Boston in 2002 after having their first child. (They had another kid in 2005.)

By this time, they had begun recording a new album with producer Mike Deming (Pernice Brothers, Apples in Stereo, Beachwood Sparks, Lilys), at Deming’s famed Studio 45 in Hartford, and subsequently Enfield, CT. In 2004, bassist/vocalist/keyboardist Derek Van Beever joined the band and they’ve been playing shows in Boston, Providence, and New York ever since. In April 2013, this new lineup of Sleepyhead went into Q Division Studios in Somerville, MA to record the last three songs for their long-time-coming fifth album, Wild Sometimes, to be released on renowned Chicago indie Carrot Top Records on April, 8, 2014.
The Special Pillow
The Special Pillow
For the past two decades, the Special Pillow have stealthily operated beneath the underground of their Hoboken hometown, mining a unique vein of string-driven, psych-flavored pop. In 2015, Yo La Tengo shone a light on the Pillow’s shadowy demimonde with their cover of the band’s “Automatic Doom.” Now, the Special Pillow have surfaced again, bringing At the Earth’s Core, their fifth fabulous album, into the light of day.

Since the dissolution of indie cult heroes Hypnolovewheel, songwriter and majordomo Dan Cuddy has played bass with such notable combos as Sleepyhead and XL Kings, but has reserved his own distinctive compositions for the Special Pillow’s collective thaumaturgy.

Featured players on At the Earth’s Core are charter Special Pillow member Katie Gentile (Run On, Mad Scene) on violin and viola; longtime collaborator Peter Stuart (Headless Horsemen, Tryfles) on a staggering arsenal of guitars, basses, and other stringed instruments; and Eric Marc Cohen (Fly Ashtray), making his recording debut with the group, on drums and percussion. Everybody contributes vocals, with Katie taking the lead on two tracks, and the celestial choir is enhanced with the dulcet tones of folk chanteuse Debby Schwartz (of P.G. Six and solo renown).

At the Earth’s Core is the band’s second project with engineer Mitch Rackin, recorded and mixed at Brooklyn’s scintillating Seaside Lounge recording studio. It encompasses the Special Pillow at their most melodic and most chaotic; sweet subterranean sounds haunted by the ghosts of the Monkees, the Velvet Underground, and the Jurassic Period, waging a never-ending battle against overwhelming odds, irreconcilable differences, and the goddamn PATH train.

Praise for The Special Pillow

“A marvelous blend of ’60s psychedelia and ’90s space-rock textures . . . a fanciful, dreamy set of low-key, jangly/droney pop nuggets, with literate, impressionistic lyrics, highly recommended.”

“The psych-minded quartet skillfully contrasts the jangly and dreamy with the bitter and hard-driving.”
—Time Out New York

“An extraordinary agglomeration.”
—Ptolemaic Terrascope
Tim Foljahn
Tim Foljahn
Tim Foljahn is a Midland, Michigan-born singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer. After playing in the Kalamazoo hardcore scene in the late 1980’s (in noise bands such as the Spastic Rhythm Tarts with Midland pal, Steve Shelley) he relocated to Hoboken, New Jersey (via stints in Chicago, New Orleans, and Albuquerque) and formed Two Dollar Guitar in 1992. With Shelley on drums and a revolving cast of band and tour mates, including Dave Motamed, Janet Wygal, Tim Prudhomme, Keith Nealy, Luc Suer, Christina Rosenvinge, Jeremy Wilms, Smokey Hormel and Come’s Chris Brokaw, the group released six albums on Shelley’s Smells Like Records label. The debut album, Let Me Bring You Down (1994), a heavy collection of dark brooding ballads, established Foljahn as a twisted classicist in the vein of Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, and Lee Hazlewood. This mood was pushed further in 1996’s follow-up release, Burned and Buried, recorded at Easley Studios in Memphis. 1998 brought two experimental studies: the instrumental Train Songs, an improvisational meditation on Americana and travel, and the solo Hotel Opera, an intimate collection of lo-fi bedroom recordings released under the moniker La Lengua Asesina. 1999’s fan favorite, Weak Beats and Lame-ass Rhymes, was a moody pop flirtation, with echoes of Brigitte Fontaine and Areski, Astrud Gilberto, and Buffalo Springfield. The final Two Dollar Guitar album, The Wear and Tear of Fear: A Lover’s Discourse (2006), a solo, mostly acoustic affair, was mixed by Television’s Fred Smith, and marked Foljahn’s return to dark troubadour terrain.

During the Two Dollar Guitar run, Foljahn also collaborated and toured extensively with Jad Phair, Half Japanese and Mosquito; with Cat Power; Thurston Moore (Male Slut); Spanish chanteuse, Christina Rosenvinge; and, most notably, with Townes Van Zandt, abandoning a Geffen Records project upon his death. (Foljahn appears in the 2004 Townes documentary, Be Here To Love Me.) From 2006-2008, he gigged with Pussy Galore’s Bob Bert and Mark C (Live Skull) in the art-psych band Int’l Shades, as well as playing bass and recording in projects with Smells Like Records artist, John Wolfington; Megan Reilly, Jennifer O’Connor, and ex-Int’l Shades band mate, Alexa Wilding (as a producer, Foljahn is currently finishing up Wilding’s full-length debut, Coral Dust). 2011 will see the eventual release of Foljahn’s latest incarnation, a solo effort, Songs for an Age of Extinction, as well as a book of collected lyrics and other writings.
Venue Information:
Union Hall - Brooklyn
702 Union Street
Brooklyn, NY, 11215