Wednesday, December 29, 2010

With Every Idle Hour

(photo by Hilary Walters)

"All dreams have flaws, maybe this one does..."

To say that With Every Idle Hour was a great band doesn't seem to be sufficient.  They had a great sound, were consistently excellent live and always had fun shows, but they never commanded legions of kids coming to see them despite having songs that were pefectly tailored for sing-alongs.  They certainly weren't unlikeable, in fact they remain some of the most friendly guys you could meet.  I'm sure if you are familiar with the band you may be saying right now "Hey, I liked that band!"  I really don't know.  Maybe they didn't  promote themselves enough, maybe they didn't wear the right t-shirts, maybe they didn't kiss enough ass.  The bottom line though is that the band was great and if you didn't appreciate them then, now's the time to change that.

With Every Idle Hour was formed in 1998 by Sergei Ruber on Vocals and guitar, Sean Hanney on guitar, Austin Lawther on drums and Zachary Abresch on bass.  They were originally known as Sinc, but eventually decided on changing it to With Every Idle Hour, taken from the name of their community in Oakdale, NY.  Sean, Sergei and Austin all grew up in the town and have known each other since childhood. 

Despite Hanney having been the drummer of a Ska band (someone help me out with the name here) during this point and time, the music that the band focused on originally was a melodic blend of post-hardcore and emo.  Around 1998-1999, there were a good deal of bands who kind of had that sort of thing going on.  In Transit, early On the Might of Princes and the cotton weary all kind of had a Sunny Day meets Quicksand vibe.  With Every Idle Hour did as well, but the riffs were super catchy and Sergei Ruber had something that most other bands did not - and no offense should be taken by anyone here -  a singer that could really sing.

In mid-2000 they released a 4 song tape that previewed tracks from their full-length called "Finally". I believe that the tracks on the tape were "The Sum of Your Problems is This",  "Just as Well", "Nameless" and "Version II". I remember seeing the band play at Ground Zero in Bellmore at a Saturday or Sunday Matinee with Knox Overstreet, Lord Humongous and Nakatomi Plaza.  I was blown away by the band and shocked that more people didn't know about them.  I had also been drinking copious amount of Rolling Rock that Ground Zero offered in those little 7 ounce bottles which may have made me a tad more effusive when I went to pick up the 4 songer from their drummer Austin, but once I listened to it (sans beer) I was no less impressed.

"Finally" was released later that year in October of 2000.  Shortly after that in early 2001, they parted ways Zach Abresch.  Lou Fontana of On the Might of Princes stepped in on bass as a temporary replacement but wound up becoming their enduring bass player.  This was the best move for the band.   Zach tended to overplay and distract from the pure melodic aspects of the songs.  As Lou was a guitar player, he kept things simple to accentuate Sean and Sergei's guitar playing and Sergei's vocals.

The band did some tours up and down the East Coast as well as out to Michigan, notably with Nakatomi Plaza.  Concurrently, Sean set up work as a studio engineer and set to recording the band's next album "The Distance Between."  The new material was more melodic than Finally with influences of Hey Mercedes, Jets to Brazil and Jimmy Eat World becoming apparent.  "The Distance Between" was released in July of 2003 on Factory 77 records, a label ran by Justin and Lee from Merch Direct.  According to some of the band members - they count this as their real first release, more so than "Finally".  There was also a video filmed for "Moxie" by Hilo Films, but I'm not sure if it is available anywhere.

The band played numerous shows on Long Island during this period with Come Down, The Cotton Weary, This Years Model/Bravado, Nakatomi Plaza, Knox Overstreet, Uplift, Regarding I, Pretty Polly... and probably just about every band that existed around 2000-2005.

The band's sound continued to evolve and they would begin recording songs for their next album "Blueprints" in 2005.  The new songs were extensive, layered and wound up working into a song cycle that Sergei created a concept around.  I'd be remiss in not mentioning that Sergei is an excellent lyricist who would craft vocal hooks with lyrics that could be subtle or direct.  "Blueprints" was planned to be a concept album, but unfortunately life interfered and both the band and recording came to a halt.  The band played at On the Might of Princes reunion show May 19, 2007 and did continue on until the following year. I can't say for certain when the band's final show was with certainty.  It was one of those unfortunate situations where the band never officially says that it is over, but there doesn't seem to be a contingency for it to return either.  The album is still unfinished, although Sean does intend to see it through to its completion one day.

Following WEIH, Austin Lawther would join Lou Fontana in his flamenco-indie brainchild God's Gift To Women.  Lou also played guitar (as Guitarbeard) in Small Arms Dealer and is currently a member of Fellow Project.  It also bears mentioning that while Sergei Ruber has not been in another band since WEIH ended (and it hasn't been for my lack of trying to recruit him numerous times), during his tenure in the band he also was in a brief side project named Midget with Justin Beck of Glassjaw and Jon Florencio of Inside.

I admit to having some obvious bias with this post.  I count everyone in the band as friends, but that developed from having an appreciation for the band, playing shows with them and then becoming friends with the guys.  I also am one of the few (or not so few) to have filled the bass slot while Lou was on tour with OTMOP (Steve Gache of This Years Model and Rachel Rubino of Regarding I/Bridge and Tunnel are the others).  The music rocks, and for me brings back a lot of memories as well.  Whether it was helping the band record gang vocals for "Collapser" at Sean's House at the "Yeah! Woo! BBQ," playing with them as they opened for Rainer Maria at the Ethical Humanist Society, remembering Sergei describing the movie "Duel" onstage before they played "El Camino," filling in on bass for them on a show at the old Local 7 that fell on my birthday, Serg and Sean playing an acoustic set for the last Satellite Lost show, and just hanging with band at rehearsals.  All good times.

On to the music.  These downloads are for "The Distance Between", the tragically unfinished "Blueprints", and the tracks "The Truth About Graduation" which appeared on the Rok Lok "The Hope Machine" comp and "When the Sky Was Opened" which was on the Break Even Comp "Definition".  "Moxie" from "The Distance Between" also appeared on the No Nucleus comp which I've posted already.  I've only included a few tracks from "Finally".  As I mentioned above, some of the band members do not look back fondly on "Finally" and would prefer those songs not to be included with this post.  I don't want to go against my friend's wishes, so I am not posting the album in its entirety.  If there are enough requests for it, I will ask them permission to post the rest.  In the meantime, I've included a few songs that I felt were essential to their discography.  As far as "Blueprints" goes, what is presented is far from a finished recording.  These are rough mixes, with some parts that were intended to be re-recorded and obviously this was not mastered. You will notice that there is a track number missing (there's no track 9) as one song only had drums recorded and thusly was not included .  The rest of that album is fleshed out with vocals or has been left instrumental.  It is unfortunate that at this point songs like "A Game of Lines Crossed", "Blueprints" and "Fixtures" do not have vocals as the songs are the strongest stuff that the band ever put together. In any case, finished or not this is a great listen and I am psyched to be able to offer it up here to download.

The Distance Between, Blueprints (In Progress), + More -

Buy "The Distance Between" on Merch Direct here:

Go here for more info on the band:

1 comment:

  1. anyway you could reup this link? i had this album back when it first came out i was hella young, definitely brings me back. would be much appreciated!