Madder Rose was a New York City-based alternative rock band who recorded in the 1990s. The band was fronted by Mary Lorson, who shared songwriting duties with guitarist Billy Coté. The two singer/songwriters continued their collaboration, Cote as guest producer on Lorson's three discs with Saint Low, Lorson as guest vocalist on Cote's Jazz Cannon disc. Lorson and Cote have also created the original scores to several films, notably HBO's documentary of Sally Mann) and in 2008 released a disc with Kathy Ziegler as The Piano Creeps. The name Madder Rose came from the herb-based paint rose madder. Many of their songs, including "Panic On" and "Car Song", were featured in John Peel's end-of-year round-up, the Festive Fifty, major feature films, and television shows. The band released three albums on Atlantic Records, and one on Cooking Vinyl, before breaking up in 1999.
Their music has been described as suggesting druggy languor, which inspired the British music press to trumpet Madder Rose as the second coming of the Velvet Underground. A 1994 review in Rolling Stone characterized their sound as an "alloy" of grunge and "the buttercup sighs of The Cranberries". Their sound progressed from indie pop rock, not unlike peers Velocity Girl, Lush, Helium and Juliana Hatfield, to shoegaze and trip-hop. After the breakup, Coté released an album and 2 twelve inch singles as The Jazz Cannon with vocalist Don Greene. Lorson founded the alt-folk outfit Saint Low. Madder Rose members included Billy Cote (guitar), Mary Lorson (vocal, guitar), Matt Verta-Ray (bass, vocal), Rick Kubic aka Johnny Kick (drums, vocal) and Chris Giammalvo (bass).
Coté, Lorson and multi-instrumentalist Kathy Zeigler released an album as the Piano Creeps in 2008. It was called "Future Blues (for me and you).
Currently, Madder Rose founder Billy Coté works occasionally with Johnny Dowd. He has guested on guitar on each of Dowd's last two records. Together they have contributed the song "Bound For Hell" to a Love and Rockets' tribute album, New Tales to Tell, and another, "Constant Waiting", to We Are Only Riders, a Jeffrey Lee Pierce tribute collection.
Coté is also at work on his first novel, The Other Bill.
- (1993): Beautiful John
- (1993): Bring It Down
- (1993): Swim EP
- (1994): Panic On - UK No. 52
- (1994): Car Song EP
- (1995): The Love You Save EP
- (1997): Tragic Magic
- (1999): Hello June Fool
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