Featured Band: The Capitol Years
Shai Halperin first introduced The Capitol Years to the music world in July 2001 with his homemade full-length release Meet Yr Acres (Full Frame Records/Poor Poor Records).
Co-produced by Thom Monahan (Pernice Brothers, J Mascis, Beachwood Sparks), the self-released Meet Yr Acres spent much of 2001 innocently making its way around the globe while garnering a goldmine of critical accolades and regular comparisons to Beck, Bob Pollard, George Harrison, and Bob Dylan. All of this unexpected critical attention culminated in a spot on Magnet Magazine's "Top 10 Hidden Treasures" list.
Urged to leave the bedroom and share his music with a live audience, Halperin (aka Shai, Son of Eli) recruited Dave Wayne Daniels, Jeff Van Newkirk and Sir Kyle Lloyd on bass, guitar and drums, respectively. Immediately, The Capitol Years sought to do away with the 'one-man band' aesthetic of Meet Yr Acres and began concentrating on new material. With collective backgrounds in noise-rock as well as Beatle-esque pop, this full-band incarnation of The Capitol Years immediately generated a buzz in Philadelphia's growing music scene. Word quickly spread about this maniacal live band whose songcraft suggested Guided By Voices as much as their performances recalled The Who.
Ready to take their show to the national level, The Capitol Years set out on a series of U.S. tours, sharing the stage with bands as diverse as The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Rooney, The Kills, The Lilys, Daniel Johnston, Crooked Fingers, and Beachwood Sparks. A two-week tour of the UK with The Mooney Suzuki followed, allowing the band to spread the buzz overseas.
In the midst of this frenzied touring, The Capitol Years sought to capture their live energy on tape and returned to the studio. They once again commissioned Monahan as well as Philadelphia's Brian McTear (Burning Brides, Swearing at Motorists) to record their first full-band release: the 6 track EP, Jewelry Store. And while Jewelry Store documented The Capitol Years' garage rock tendencies, it also helped to set them apart from the crowd as it featured the goose-bump-inducing harmonies and melodies that typify The Capitol Years' sound. Sonically, the band had moved several worlds away from the subtle and sometimes lush Meet Yr Acres. But the critical praise continued...(more)
In 2003, at the height of a national garage rock craze, The Capitol Years released their 'long lost' album, Pussyfootin. Originally recorded in 2001, it was another homemade and self-produced gem from their one-man band past. The album was as far removed from garage rock as one could travel with an acoustic guitar and a harmonica, and its lush and country-tinged sound helped solidify the respect of local scribes. At year's end, and with their popularity rising, The Capitol Years were named Philadelphia Magazine's "Best Band of 2003."
In 2004 the band began recording its first true full-length and full-band album. Renting a house in the small town of Northampton, MA for two weeks, The Capitol Years and Thom Monahan created Let Them Drink. As many had hoped, the band succeeded in combining the sincerity, songcraft, and visceral energy of previous releases. Instead of searching the catalog for their favorite Capitol Years incarnation, fans can find it all on one fully formed and instantly classic album. Byrds-like harmonies, Stooges riffs, and even ethereal Coldplay atmospherics coexist on Let Them Drink, the band's finest work yet.
Continued touring and television appearances, as well as a handpicked opening slot for The Pixies' first show in 12 years, have helped generate a significant buzz for one of Philadelphia's best bands. With the band's first truly full-length, Let Them Drink (March 2005), and one or even two rumoured new albums due out soon, The Capitol Years should keep their fans busy for some time to come. What began as a quiet, lo-fi outfit has now evolved into a roaring, high-flying and harmonizing rock and roll band; one that is certain to stand the test of tastes and time.