This post originally appeared on the Jewish Music Underground (JMU), a website I heartily recommend, and I just had to repost due to the sheer excellence in the writing.
Jerusalem-based rock band The Bar Papasare on the verge of releasing their debut album,Nesiya Tova(Good Journey), with the title track having just been released yesterday. This might sound somewhat surprising, given that both the band and the album have almost 20 years of history behind them.
The reason for this delay has less to do with laziness than with a Job-like string of misfortunes. You can read the long version on the band’s website here, but the short version is that founding members Amihai Zipoor and Shimshon Meir Frankel met at Yeshivat Darche Noam in 1998 and started jamming together. Despite building a local following on the strength of an amateur cassette recording and a self-titled studio demo, the early 2000s saw the group endure a revolving lineup, a venue closing down during the Second Intifada, and even a brief hiatus in 2005.
Even this new album, which began life in 2007 with the help of a city grant, has faced all manner of mishaps in coming to fruition: a glitch wiped out two days of material; the original producer backed out and had to be replaced, only for the replacement to unexpectedly relocate to another city; and constant money shortages made studio time and musicians hard to come by. This is to say nothing of incidents such as a labor strike, building renovations, canceled sessions, and even a guitar track that went missing at the last minute. It wasn’t until three years ago that the album was completed and given its wry name, with exhaustion and real life causing the band to hold off releasing it until this year.
So after all this time, is this new-old album worth checking out? That remains to be seen, but the songs released thus far show a lot of promise. Aside from some echoes of the Carlebach-influenced jam folk scene that spawned acts like Moshav Band and Reva L’Sheva, the Bar Papas primarily trade in retro-’60s pop rock and psychedelia that sounds like a mix between Simon & Garfunkel and Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys. This is most prominently heard on song like “Ezri” and “Karev Yom“, while the title track shows sinister shades of ’90s alternative. These are the ingredients for a fun and distinctive sound, so here’s hoping that, in spite of all its setbacks, the album will successfully use them.
(Hat tip: Blog in Dm) Sam Miller is a Jewish music writer-slash-whirlwind who has not one but two websites on Jewish Music: Yidwise (Yidwise.blogspot.com) which focuses on mainstream Jewish music, and the Jewish Music Underground (JMUnderground.wordpress.com) which focuses on the edgy stuff. He also maintains a JM album release-date archive on Yidwise, which is an excellent resource for any JM fan.