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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

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SQUARES

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There are more than one artists with this name. 1. Establishment on the head with Murmur, the sQuares left the corn fields of Indiana and headed north. For some unknown reason (cheap rent and beer?) the boys landed in Milwaukee. It was 1985 and since they hardly knew a soul in town they spent most of their time writing songs and practicing. In the Autumn of that year they spent a weekend in the studio and produced the critically aclaimed Number 1 Cassette. -The Squares 2. After two years playing live with various line-ups unable to realise their musical vision, the songwriting partnership of Squares (Daniel – vocals, Martin – guitar) decided enough was enough. The lifelong friends realised the only way to get what they wanted from an album would be to take complete control of it. So the duo sacked the band, booked some studio time and decided to do it all themselves - produce, record, mix and release the finished product on their own label. Inspired by the likes of Bowie, Ferry and McCulloch, Daniel took care of the backing harmonies as well as the lead vocals, meaning one song (‘Brian, you’re alive’) features 8 Daniels in total, performing as a four-piece angelic choir whilst simultaneously delivering the almost-rapped lead vocal. This method allowed Daniel to finally achieve his childhood ambition of becoming a backing singer – an ambition prompted by early car journeys spent listening to his parents’ E.L.O., Billy Joel and Beach Boys cassette tapes. These car rides to North Yorkshire also inspired the track ‘From rags to Richmond’. On the other hand, it has never been an aspiration for Martin to become a one-man-band. But if he had, this too would have been realised recording the album, as Martin played almost every instrument; from guitar to drums; guiro to accordion; and everything in-between. It was fortuitous that (aside from the melodica), Martin had some previous experience playing all of the featured instruments. Lee Morrison is the only member of the live band line-up not to be sacked – mainly due to the fact he co-wrote one of the album’s standout track, ‘Miles away’ – that and his ability to withstand a whole hell of a lot of ribbing. Lee is featured on mandolin on three songs and rhythm guitar on two others. Live favourite ‘From rags to Richmond’ is the only song to include any guest appearances, as a crowd of friends and local musicians add to the celebratory sing-along atmosphere of the track by...singing-along, as well as finger-clicking and clapping their way through three minutes of party-time joy. The resulting album, “Hate, love and public transport”, was made at The CAVE recording studio in Squares’ native South Shields over a 9 month period, and features 11 songs written over 3 years. Early incarnations of five songs have previously been released on three demo CDs, “Songs from the shower”, “Lend me your ear” and “Raining round here”. Each CD received great reviews locally, but ‘From rags to Richmond’ from “Songs from the shower” also managed to achieve national acclaim by securing the review of the week on the influential Teletext music page Planet Sound. The album takes its name, “Hate, love and public transport”, from Squares’ stock answer to the questions, ‘What are your songs about?’ So it seemed a perfect title for the debut Squares album. Indeed, lyrics for the album were mostly written on the X34 bus route between South Shields and Newcastle – a route that takes approximately 37 minutes, which is coincidentally the running time of “Hate, love and public transport”. “Hate, love and public transport” is an unashamed great pop album with as much squeezed into the short running time as possible: > ‘The last hurrah’ and ‘From rags to Richmond’ are old-fashioned pub sing-alongs with more than a hint of Chas’n’Dave about them. > ‘Doppelganger’ is a disco floor-filler complete with drum machine and trance synths. > ‘Warning! Warning!’ and ‘The lilac times’ are adrenaline-fuelled punk anthems-in-waiting. > ‘River runs’ is a 5 ½ minute romantic waltz epic During the making of “Hate, love and public transport”, Squares played a string of brilliant and rapturously-received gigs ever-since since, including the final of charity music competition, Music Means Life in front of over 2000 people. Over 3000 acts entered with only 10 making it through to the final – meaning Squares had beaten around 2990 other bands and singers to get there. Squares have recently reuinted as the original South Shields-based line-up of Daniel (vocals), Martin (guitar), Cate (bass) and Kylie (drums). The band are currently writing new material as a band for the first time, with a follow-up album expected in 2010. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License and may also be available under the GNU FDL.

Tracks We Played

VIVIENNE

#1 Cassette