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It's Good to Be Alive

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Album Review

Written and recorded by Wolfie's Joe Ziemba and Amanda Lyons as a kind of musical time capsule created to bring them comfort and happiness in their old age — forward thinking, that, given both were still in their early 20s at the time of the record's release — Busytoby's It's Good to Be Alive is an indie-pop valentine to the young couple's family and friends, a euphoric celebration of the wonders of love and life. The record's plot imagines Ziemba and Lyons as grandparents, reflecting on the key events of their lives through a series of Casio-driven songs deeply influenced by the sunshine pop of the late '60s; although inspired by specific people and places — some real, some not (yet) — each touches on themes universal to the human experience, revealing surprising depth and wisdom from ones so young. It's high-concept stuff, to be sure (especially in relation to Wolfie's childlike charms), but crafted with so much affection and so little guile that it works brilliantly.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s

The side project of Wolfie singer/bassist Joe Ziemba and singer/keyboardist Amanda Lyons, indie pop combo Busytoby first began taking shape in mid-1996. Originally dubbed Stereotomy, they distributed copies of their debut cassette, The Human Is the Keyboard's Motor, in 1997; although Wolfie remained Ziemba and Lyons' primary creative outlet, the duo (who had subsequently acquired a vintage Wurlitzer organ) soon recorded another cassette, You Love the Crickets, and -- with the addition of then Sarge...
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It's Good to Be Alive, Busytoby
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