This past February, Boston-based band Beeef debuted their first LP, “A Beeef CD.” With the LP, the innovative quartet (composed of Perry Eaton, Josh Bolduc, Neil Patch, and Daniel Schiffer) displays blatant strength not only as instrumentalists, but as lyricists and composers as well. These skills not only stand out as individual entities, but seamlessly merge together to create an innovative artistic hybrid of sound and language.
The album’s second track, “Dogshit Paradise,” immaculately encompasses this skill. The track opens with an infectiously rhythmic bass line that prevails throughout its entire duration, serving as an electric undercurrent that catalyzes sonic energy. Masterfully layered over the bass line are intricate guitar riffs whose sound exude whimsy with a dash of dreaminess. The lyrics are candid to the point of comfort, allowing listeners to develop a sense of connectivity to the track. With mentions of entities representative of both physical and emotional familiarity (such as bedroom walls, progress, walking down a familiar street, and individualism), the track lyrically appeals to facets of the human experience that results in a chord being struck for all who listen to “Dogshit Paradise.” In turn, this reveals one of Beeef’s most prominent artistic strengths: their ability to invoke a sense of familiarity and connectivity through sound.
“Cream Soda” is another track that exemplifies this unique artistic ability. The opening chords instantaneously radiate a sense of wonder and a feeling as warm and familiar the hot summer sun touching the skin. It allows the listener to relish in a sense of nostalgia; to relish in the ever so human desire for the rest of the world to melt away.
The track’s second verse begins with a line that describes all that lies between a memory and a dream, which, consequently, is a strong encapsulation of the song’s essence. Both musically and lyrically, the song exudes the degree of comfort and closeness that comes with a memory as well as the ethereal nature of a dream. These two elements are streamlined into a sonic nexus of reflective lyrics, entrancing guitar riffs, drum parts that seamlessly transition from reserved to robust once the verse beings to bleed into the chorus, and potent bass lines to create an impactful auditory experience.
Another notable aspect of Beeef’s work is each member’s ability to sonically distinguish themselves while simultaneously playing as a cohesive unit. Each instrument, each sound, and each sonic nuance is audibly detectable and yet is not overpowering the work being produced by another musician. Each sound is clean, clear, and crisp-holding its own while seamlessly integrating into a polished unit. Beeef’s ability to make each musical entity distinctive all while maintaining a sense of cohesion and solidification is an undeniable display of their artistically refined nature.
Each and every track on “A Beeef CD” contains a distinctive ability to invoke a simultaneous sense of mysticism, warmth, and familiarity. The album is dripping with the bittersweet notes of nostalgia all while simultaneously invoking an element of wonder. Reality is taken and peppered with a sense of dreaminess and classic charm, thus cultivating a deeply human appeal. A musical work cannot truly come to fruition without containing the ability to establish a sense of human connection with those whom listen to it, and this is a skill Beeef has obtained and mastered upon the release of their first LP.
We had the opportunity to speak with Beeef about the album, their artistic evolution, Boston’s creative community, as well as the band’s future plans. Read on to learn more about the artists behind one of 2017’s most musically and lyrically inventive albums yet:
AMPLIFY: As a band, what aspect of “A Beeef CD” are you most proud of?
Beeef: It’s great to have something tangible to reflect all of the practicing and gigging and songwriting that we’ve done over the past few years. I think that’s the part that I’m most proud of. This record was something that was completely our own, we started very loosely a few years ago and little by little we got tighter and grew a bond with many of these songs. Now that the album is out, it’s great to see many others becoming close with these songs as well.
AMPLIFY: How would you articulate the band’s artistic growth?
Beeef: Slowly but surely! We’ve always been good players, and because we were all friends and roommates before, we’ve had the advantage of not taking ourselves too seriously. Truth is though, we started out hacking around in our basement playing songs by Creedence Clearwater Revival, Pavement, and Real Estate. Not a whole lot has changed except now we’re hacking around on our own tunes and crafting new ones. Once people started taking notice, I think it drove us to get tighter and try more things.
AMPLIFY: Does your vision “A Beeef CD” align with what you hope listeners take away from it?
Beeef: That’s tough to say, but ultimately I think we made this record because it was fun, and I think folks who come to our shows or listen to the record also have fun doing that. There are definitely aspects of it that we take seriously, and some of the themes on the album aren’t exactly party music, but at the end of the day, we wanted people to engage with it in one way or another, and so far, I think people are feeling comfortable doing that.
AMPLIFY: Which artists have been most impactful to you, both as individuals and as musicians?
Beeef: We’ve always been really into the Boston music scene because that’s where we’re from and it’s where we’ve been going to shows for a number of years. A few of us even started a music blog a while back called Allston Pudding, which is still cooking today. After a while of writing about other peoples’ bands, we had quite the pool of inspiration to draw from and that’s a big reason why we even started a band. Even in putting the album together, we recruited some friends from local bands, namely Jeremy Lee Given from ABADABAD, Mike Moschetto from Aviator, and Ben Semeta from Black Beach, to mix and master the record. There are too many great bands in Boston to name, but they’ve all made for this really creative and supportive environment to be a part of. We’re also huge Grateful Dead fans.
AMPLIFY: What is your creative process like when developing new material?
Beeef: We don’t have one set way of doing things, but it typically consists of me writing some lyrics or bringing a chord progression to a practice and then as a band we kind of flesh things out. This record is funny in that it contains songs that I wrote like 7 or 8 years ago and were collecting dust in a notebook somewhere. It also has a tune that I just kind of wrote on a whim and recorded a few days later and I now have no clue how to even play it. As we move forward, we’re bringing new and different songs to the table and the other band members are writing tunes, too.
AMPLIFY: How did the creative objectives for “A Beeef CD” differ from those of your previous releases?
Beeef: The only release we had before this was an EP and all of the songs from it appeared on this album, just more polished. That EP was recorded live in our basement, which we loved doing. This full-length was tracked in like 5 different locations and took almost three years to completely finish. It took a lot of work and I think we learned a lot from the process and how we could maybe trim the fat next time. We’re really pleased with how it came out though.
AMPLIFY: What role does your chemistry as a band play in your work?
Beeef: A lot of bands we listen to have this kind of slackerish, sloppy, reckless punk quality to it that we really admire. As much as we strive to have that sound, our chemistry kind of rejects it at times. The way our songs are put together kind of calls for us to be pretty tight and we tend to obey that. Any time we play a show and are able to loosen up a bit and make fun mistakes, I think we kind of like that though. It’s a good problem to have, and I think it reflected positively on the record. There are some stretched-out parts, but it’s mostly pretty tight and that’s a good thing to have on a recording.
AMPLIFY: The “Airplanes” music video is awesome. How did you guys come up with the concept for it, and what was the filming experience like?
Beeef: Andrew Gibson is basically the fifth member of our band. He’s our roommate and he documents many of our shows. He’s also a huge Deadhead which is pretty sick. He filmed our first music video for “Dogshit Paradise,” which was pretty elaborate and took a lot of planning and coordinating. The “Airplanes” video was a bit more off-the-cuff. Gibson got his hands on a green screen, he set it up in the basement, and he just had us all take turns doing ridiculous things in front of it. We really love how it came out and that we were able to rock turtlenecks in it, too. Gibson is in a couple sweet bands, he plays in Gymshorts and is the frontman for a legendary band called Gutterbugz. He’s got a great look, too.
AMPLIFY: What is your favorite aspect of Boston’s creative community? Has it impacted you as artists? If so, how?
Beeef: Boston’s music scene has had an immense impact on us. We’ve been around it for so long that we’re also critical of its flaws, but the fact of the matter is, it’s a small city filled with a lot of young, creative people. In my apartment alone, we have like 6 bands represented, and we all get together to play really gnarly Dead covers on Friday nights. It’s the informality of it that makes it so fun. We look up to so many bands in our community, and there are so many important people around that make sure that this creativity is seen. We’re really thrilled to be a small part of it, and to have so much great music in our neighborhood.
AMPLIFY: Lastly, what’s coming up next for Beeef?
Beeef: We have a vinyl for the record that we’re about to release on May 6, and we’re taking preorders on our Bandcamp page. We’re gigging a lot this spring, too. We’re playing a great festival called Boston En Masse with some terrific bands like Birthing Hips, Lina Tullgren, and Hassan Barclay. We’re also playing Providence, which is a great scene, a local festival called Porchfest, and we’re super honored to be playing Waking Windows, an awesome festival in Burlington, Vermont. That festival will feature a lot of great Boston friends and some cool headliners like Real Estate, Dan Deacon, and Pond.