Calling Out (Captured Tracks)

Contact Patrick Tilley about EZTV

It wouldn’t be entirely accurate to say that EZTV met while trying out for J. Spaceman’s latest US touring line-up of Spiritualized, but it’s not far from the truth.


Songwriter and audio engineer Ezra Tenenbaum had been casually working on solo home recordings on his Tascam 8-Track in the vein of The Shoes, Emitt Rhodes and Cleaners From Venus, and, in a desire to round out the songs, he enlisted collaborators from his circle of friends. Enter bassist Shane O’Connell, a fellow audio engineer with similar tastes, who quickly suggested college friend/drummer Michael Stasiak (formerly of Brooklyn perennials Widowspeak) to help Ezra with rhythm tracking. As it happened, the trio’s first chance to play together came at an audition for the American touring version of Spiritualized where they tried and failed to get the job. But, through Michael’s urging, the trio kept meeting regularly at his microscopic rehearsal space, now to work on Ezra’s songs.


With Michael given the instructions to play the drums like Jody Stephens, the trio started playing Teenage Fanclub’s “The Concept” on a lark during a practice that would chance the concept (no pun intended) of Ezra recording as a solo artist into Ezra, Michael and Shane playing as a band; thus, EZTV was formed. Things really came into full focus when Ezra’s huge back-catalog of songs were given a new life via Shane and Michael’s tactful and muscular approach to the arrangements. Like any good All- American workhorse band in their mid-20’s, the trio started playing as many opening slots on local NYC shows as they could get, refining their sound further in the process. A new arrangement and demo recording of Dust In The Sky (also the A-Side to their debut 7”) lead to a record deal with Captured Tracks and interest from Jarvis Taveniere (Rear House Recording, Woods) in producing a record.


With a pool of over 30 demos to work with, the band headed to Thump Studios in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, to record their LP. The result is Calling Out, a cohesive 12-song statement in the long tradition of fully realized debuts, stripped of artifice, but full of hooks and songwriting chops. “Bury Your Heart” is the kind of bold opener you’d hope to hear from a new band, all ringing chords and tug-at-your-heartstrings vocal melodies. Tracks like “The Light” and “Trampoline” exhibit what you would call the EZTV mantra: presenting songs with only the required embellishments. They’ve got one foot firmly planted in classic American power-pop and college rock while the other utilizes more left-of-the-dial sonic experimentation. The result is a sound that’s both familiar and new, but always about the songs.


In an era of independent music with a lot more emphasis placed on “story” and meaningless twitter feuds, EZTV present a record that speaks for itself. It’s an LP made for an audience that doesn’t want or need any kind of angle or controversy, but desires songs that resonate and have a lasting appeal, something available here in spades. Sure, EZTV didn’t get the Spiritualized gig, and thank god for that, because, instead, we got Calling Out.