User:SkrymSay/Block (musician)

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Block
Birth name Jamie Block
Origin Long Island, New York
Genres Anti-folk, Rock, Indie rock, alternative rock
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano
Years active 1996–present
Labels SonaBLAST! Records, Capitol Records, Java Records, Zensor

Jamie Block, more commonly known by the alias Block, is a New York City-based musician, known for being a prominent member of New York's anti-folk movement.

Early Career[edit]

Block grew up on Long Island, New York. He went to college to study English in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, but relocated to New York City, where he began his music career as a subway busker.[1][2] In 1996, Block self-released his debut album, Lead Me Not Into Penn Station, which was well-received by critics. In reviewing the album, Laurel Bowman of Alternative Press wrote that Block "practices the alchemy of melodious discord: pretty enough to draw you in, rough enough to keep you listening."[3] The CD included CD-ROM content, including video clips, song lyrics, photos and a New York City guide.[3] Block released a music video for the album song "Rhinoceros," which was broadcast on cable network MTV2.[4]

Timing Is Everything[edit]

The positive reception for Penn Station helped Block book tours opening for The Brian Setzer Orchestra, Bob Mould, and They Might Be Giants, garnering notice from producer Glen Ballard. In 1998, Ballard, (known for co-writing and producing Alanis Morissette's album Jagged Little Pill) started the Capitol Records imprint Java, and chose Block to be the first signed artist. Java released Block's sophomore album, Timing is Everything, on October 6, 1998.[5][6] The album was generally very well received by critics, with Karen Iris Tucker of Time Out New York calling the album "stellar" and Matthew S. Robinson of The Boston Globe stating that the album is "tight, important and definitely well-timed."[7][8] Following the album's release, Block toured with a full band, including Mark Hutchins on drums and John Abbey on bass.[9]

Several songs from the album appeared in feature films. "Rhinoceros" was featured in the 1999 romantic comedy Blast from the Past, "I Used to Manage PM Dawn" was featured in the 1999 Mary Lambert film Clubland, and Block's cover of the Perry Como song "Catch a Falling Star" was used in the opening credits for the 1999 romantic comedy Never Been Kissed.[1]

Departure and Reemergence[edit]

Despite being well received critically, the album did not sell as much as expected, and Block was dropped from Java records.[10] He ended up pursuing a career on Wall Street, getting a job as a financial advisor at a Manhattan investment firm. In the mid 2000s, he reportedly got interested in making music again after hearing one of his songs on Fordham University's non-commercial radio station WFUV. He connected with and was interviewed by WFUV DJ Claudia Marshall, who inspired him to record new material.[11]

In March of 2006, Block released this third album, The Last Single Guy, on indie label SonaBLAST! Records. Like his previous albums, it was critically well-received, with Jo-Ann Greene of Allmusic calling the album "enthralling" and noting that "like a bedside book, this album can be played in one sitting, but so much better to dip in and out of it over time, letting one's mood determine one's favorites for the day."[12] Claudia Marshall of New York-based noncommercial radio station WFUV included the album in her "Best of 2006" list.[13]

Style and Lyrics[edit]

Block has been considered one of the early participants in New York's anti-folk movement, a raw and subversive form of folk music that is inspired heavily by punk rock and indie rock. Block includes a multitude of instruments and sounds within each album, including elements of punk rock, electronica, jazz and hip hop. Lyrically, Block focuses heavily on personal experiences and observations living in New York City.[12][14][15]

Discography[edit]

Albums
Title Album details
Lead Me Not Into Penn Station
  • Released: 24 September 1996
  • Self-released
Timing Is Everything
The Last Single Guy

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Velisek, Melanie (12 February 1999). "Block Speaks About Stardom, Scotch, and Wordsmith". Florida Today. Melbourne, Florida. 
  2. ^ Roberts, Lee (10 April 1997). "Wilmington's music blooms with the festival". Morning Star. Wilmington, North Carolina. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Bowman, Laurel (1997). "Lead Me Not Into Penn Station". Alternative Press.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  4. ^ Palopoli, Steve (6 Feb 1997). "Night Moves". Good Times. Santa Cruz, California. 
  5. ^ Newman, Melinda (1998). "Block To Lead Glen Ballard's Java Into Market". Billboard.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  6. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Block: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  7. ^ Tucker, Karen Iris (1998). "Block at Brownies; Wednesday, November 4". Time Out New York.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  8. ^ Robinson, Matthew S. (31 December 1998). "Jamie Block Timing Is Everything; Java/Capitol". The Boston Globe. p. 8. 
  9. ^ Ramstetter, Michele (26 October 1998). "Over the Weekend, Mohawk Place". The Buffalo News. Buffalo, New York. 
  10. ^ "Biography". Amazon.com. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  11. ^ Clark, Paul (2010). ""Jamie Block: A universe rekindled"". The Hook.  Text " accessdate - 6 May 2012 " ignored (help); Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  12. ^ a b Greene, Jo-Ann. "The Last Single Guy - Block". Allmusic. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  13. ^ Marshall, Claudia. ""Best of 2006 Staff Picks: Claudia Marshall"". WFUV. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  14. ^ Prato, Greg. "Timing Is Everything - Block". Allmusic. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  15. ^ Light, Alan (11 August 2006). ""How Does It Feel, Antifolkies, to Have a Home, Not Be Unknown?"". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 

External links[edit]

Category:American guitarists Category:American male singers Category:American folk singers Category:American singer-songwriters Category:Guitarists Category:Singers Category:Living people Category:Anti-folk musicians Category:Musicians from New York (state) Category:Musicians from New York City Category:Singers from New York City