THE PEE WEE FIST
Best Indie-Pop Band with Substance and a Theramin
Formed in 1995 by singer / guitarist / songwriter Pete Fitzpatrick, the Pee Wee Fist began as a loose group of rotating musicians that slowly solidified into the group’s current five-member line-up. After self-releasing early material the band signed to Boston’s Kimchee Records. Beginning with a decidedly lo-fi bend the band expanded its sound a bit on their first release for that label, 2001’s Flying. The 12-song disc is a good representation of the group’s sound, mixing up lo-fi country and elements of Guided by Voices, the Silver Jews, and Neutral Milk Hotel with a heart-on-sleeve honesty and exacting wit. Although their performances and recordings can sometimes give off an air of informality, the band undercuts any stereotypes by crafting songs that can knock you over as they come together. Lyrics can veer from casual word play or free association and then snap into focus on razor sharp phrases that cut through any veneers. Fitzpatrick is a standout guitarist and the band fills deceptively simple songs with an over-active creativity that is never self-congratulatory.
The band has included everything from banjo, euphonium, multiple drummers, melodica, and musical saw into both their live shows and recordings. Rarely do any of the elements give off an air of “doing it because it they can” posturing as the band effortlessly incorporates an abundance of musical ideas. Songs can stretch out over several minutes (Flying‘s opening track, “The Seeds of the Day”, is in three parts) or be wrapped into concise, immediate packages. Their live-shows are usually highly improvised and their sound, despite incorporating so many elements, avoids being cluttered. Playing around Boston and New York for much of their early days the band set off on a cross-country tour in 2002. Fitzpatrick is also a full-time member of New York’s Clem Snide and is often on the road and recording with that band as well. Thoughtful and attentive to detail, the band may be easy for some listeners to brush past. Those that are paying attention will find pop music that goes beyond expectations. The Pee Wee Fist just began putting together their follow-up to Flying and can be found playing throughout New England.