18 Songs, 58 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Bishop Allen began as the pet project of a pair of Harvard classmates, Justin Rice and Christian Rudder. Their first album, a home-recorded and self-released effort entitled Charm School featured 13 cleverly written, winningly unassuming numbers that borrowed from the hushed, hyper literate aesthetic of Belle and Sebastian and the canny power-pop of independent outfits like The Clean and the Bats. In an effort to broaden their sound and transform their modest bedroom-recording project into a band proper, Rice and Rudder spent 2006 recording and releasing material at the breakneck pace of one EP per month. The resulting recordings far surpassed anything the group had previously released and are collected on this two-volume set, which rivals projects like Stephin Merritt’s 69 Love Songs for its sheer ambition and delightful precocity. Though the group’s musical reference points remain unchanged, tunes “The Envy of the Bees” mine the mannered slightly disheveled pop of groups like the Soft Boys and The Magnetic Fields to far greater effect than anything on Charm School. Volume Two of The EP Collection compiles the last five EPs in the series, though compositions that were eventually re-recorded for the group’s sophomore full-length The Broken String are not included on this collection.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Bishop Allen began as the pet project of a pair of Harvard classmates, Justin Rice and Christian Rudder. Their first album, a home-recorded and self-released effort entitled Charm School featured 13 cleverly written, winningly unassuming numbers that borrowed from the hushed, hyper literate aesthetic of Belle and Sebastian and the canny power-pop of independent outfits like The Clean and the Bats. In an effort to broaden their sound and transform their modest bedroom-recording project into a band proper, Rice and Rudder spent 2006 recording and releasing material at the breakneck pace of one EP per month. The resulting recordings far surpassed anything the group had previously released and are collected on this two-volume set, which rivals projects like Stephin Merritt’s 69 Love Songs for its sheer ambition and delightful precocity. Though the group’s musical reference points remain unchanged, tunes “The Envy of the Bees” mine the mannered slightly disheveled pop of groups like the Soft Boys and The Magnetic Fields to far greater effect than anything on Charm School. Volume Two of The EP Collection compiles the last five EPs in the series, though compositions that were eventually re-recorded for the group’s sophomore full-length The Broken String are not included on this collection.

TITLE TIME

About Bishop Allen

Brooklyn by way of Boston indie rock quartet Bishop Allen formed in 2003 around core members Justin Rice and Christian Rudder. The group (the two longtime friends are joined by a rotating cast of musicians) takes its name from Bishop Allen Drive in Cambridge, MA, the street where Rice and Rudder used to reside. Bishop Allen released the largely self-recorded Charm School in 2003 and were quiet on the recordings front until 2006, when they released an EP each month. The records were sold on their website and people began to take notice of the band, especially when "History of Excuses," a song from the March EP, was played during an episode of Scrubs. In November of that year they signed to Dead Oceans, a part of the Secretly Canadian/Jagjaguwar family of labels. Their next record, 2007's Broken String, reworked songs from the EPs and added some new songs, including "Middle Management," which the band performed in a scene in the 2008 film Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. (The music/film connection is strong within the group and both members of the duo have had leading roles in seminal "mumblecore" films: Rice in 2002's Funny Ha Ha; Rudder in 2006's Mutual Appreciation.) Their next album, the stripped-down Grrr..., was released in early 2009. In 2011, Rice and wife Darbie Notwatka released a cover song side project album recording as the Last Names. Returning his attention back to Bishop Allen, Rice and company recorded their fourth LP Lights Out which appeared in the summer of 2014. ~ James Christopher Monger & Tim Sendra

ORIGIN
Brooklyn, NY
FORMED
2003

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