By Mike Appelstein
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Convy, drummer Matt Palermo and guitarist Tim Ferrell also just released an EP, The Fuel, The Fire, The Spark, under the moniker the New Heathers. (Listeners can stream it on MySpace or snag it on iTunes.) The six-song release was recorded at Sawhorse Recording Studios with McEntire and is comprised of songs Ferrell has written over the past six to eight months.
"I've always had some songs that weren't going to go on Ludo records, just like Andrew [Volpe] has," he says. "But this time I wanted to record them, go in with Jason McEntire again, just because we haven't really done stuff with him in awhile, haven't seen him in awhile. It seemed like a worthwhile thing to do. I really like the songs and didn't want them to disappear. I didn't want them to sit around in case they someday go somewhere."
Although Convy's distinctive Moog and peppy tempos certainly resemble Ludo, the New Heathers is its own thing — thanks to Ferrell's pure, choir-boy vocals, blazing guitars and classic-rock/prog flourishes (i.e., stacked choruses and harmonies). "Mr. Green Blades" might be the world's only sludge-rock power-pop song — it veers from piano-sparkled choruses to hefty, metal-lite verses — while "Start" sounds like the Dead Milkmen crossed with They Might Be Giants. The biggest change from Ludo's music, however, might be Ferrell's turn as lead singer.
Ludo, Without a Face, Ha Ha Tonka, Meese
8 p.m. Thursday, October 22.
The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Boulevard.
"I've always done background stuff in any band I've ever been in," Ferrell says. "I could get away with a lot of bad habits. I wasn't singing enough for it to be a problem. And with this, I've had to sit down and practice and approach it more like I always approached the guitar, and get to a place where technique is better — and making it so that I'm not overdoing it or hurting myself or ruining my ability to sing."
Indeed, the New Heathers are headlining some shows in between Ludo's current tour, performing Spark songs, potential new Ludo tunes and some covers. (Cracker's "Guarded by Monkeys" and Dead Milkmen's "Punk Rock Girl" are two Ferrell reveals.) As to what the band will do in the future — well, that's anybody's guess.
"I can't predict," he says. "One step at time. It's nice to know that it's there, and it's nice to know that for any songs that aren't going to work out for Ludo, you can always still care about them, still focus on them, and still know that you can do something with them."
— Annie Zaleski