Hazmat Modine is a musical group based in New York City and led by singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Wade Schuman. Their music is rooted in blues and also touches on folk, jazz and World music. The most recent lineup of the band circa 2015 features harmonica, tuba, trumpet, saxophone, drums and two guitars, as well as solo and harmony vocals.
"Hazmat" is a portmanteau of "hazardous material", and "Modine" is the name of a company that manufactures commercial heaters but may be used to refer to the heater itself.
Founded in the late 1990s by songwriter Wade Schuman (vocals and harmonica, occasional guitar and other instruments), the band in their formative years also featured mainstays Joe Daley (tuba, sousaphone) and Randy Weinstein (harmonica). Other personnel varied considerably, including not only performers on guitar, drums and sax but also exotic oddities like cimbalom and bass marimba.
Their debut album was recorded over a five-year span and earned positive critical notice. Hazmat Modine was featured on the National Public Radio program "All Things Considered" on October 25, 2006, and on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation program "The Daily Planet" on May 29, 2006.
Their second Hazmat Modine album featured a more stable lineup, though Weinstein has parted ways with the band.
In 2013 Wade Schuman enlisted his friend Erik Della Penna to join the band as a guitarist, co-vocalist and songwriter. Schuman wanted the band to evolve into one that had more vocal harmonies, he was becoming more interested in the long tradition of American songwriting by the likes of Irving Berlin, Fats Waller, Doc Pomus, Hays & Porter. A live album followed in 2014, and a studio album in 2015.
Reviewing the album for Allmusic, Jeff Tamarkin gave it four stars out of a possible five, and termed it a "stunning debut". Tamarkin praised the band for successfully fusing styles as disparate as blues, jazz, calypso, and ska into "music that sounds at once ageless and primeval, authentically indigenous and inexplicably otherworldly, familiar and unlike anything else." He also praised the group for making "listener-friendly music" that doesn't "require a degree in ethnomusicology to enjoy".
Pitchfork Media reviewer Joe Tangari gave the album's track "Everybody Loves You", a collaboration with Tuvan throat singers Huun-Huur-Tu, a four-star review. Characterizing it as "generalized roots music that takes from pretty much any roots it sees fit," he praised it as "true world music, weird and wonderful to the last note."
- Wade Schuman: lead vocals and harmonica
- Joseph Daley: tuba, Sousaphone
- Pamela Fleming: trumpet, flugelhorn
- Steve Elson: saxophone, duduk
- Erik DellaPenna: guitar, banjo, vocals
- Michaela Gomez: guitar
- William Bauch: drums
- Rachelle Garniez: accordion, claviola, vocals
- Bill Barrett:- harmonica
- Scott Veenstra:- drums
- Randy Weinstein:- harmonica
- Pete Smith - guitar
- Richard Livingston Huntley - drums
|Title||Date of release||Record label|
|Bahamut||August 2006||Barbès Records (JARO in Europe)|
|Cicada||May 2011||Barbès Records (JARO in Europe)|
|Hazmat Modine Live||May 2014||JARO in Europe|
|Extra-Deluxe-Supreme||May 2015||JARO in Europe|
- Eyre, Banning. ""Alien and Familiar: The Music of Hazmat Modine"," National Public Radio, published October 25, 2006, accessed February 15, 2008.
- "Hazmat Modine", ABC.net.au, published May 29, 2006, accessed February 15, 2008.
- "Hazmat Modine - Charts & Awards", Allmusic, accessed February 15, 2008.
- Tamarkin, Jeff. "Bahamut - Overview", Allmusic, accessed February 15, 2008.
- Tangari, Joe. ""Everybody Loves You" Track Review," Pitchfork Media, published January 3, 2007, accessed February 15, 2008.
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