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Soothing Sounds For Baby
Let's Throw That Caution
by Jim Pruy

The psyched punk-rock band Soothing Sounds For Baby, from Newton Massachusetts, was formed in 1985 by Matt Kaden (previously the keyboardist with the Juice Night Club) along with bassist Tony Flackett and drummer Allan Heifetz (both formerly with the hardcore band Crisis At Central High / C.A.C.H.).

Brandishing instruments that appeared to be in poor health and playing a messed-up style of pop (aggressively), the trio gained a small but loyal following throughout a 13 year 'indie' career together in the greater Boston and upstate New York regions.

Their flocking fans were sustained by the band's ability to record and distribute their own music.
. Whether it was a cassette 'mix-tape' or the occasional vinyl '45 -- Soothing Sounds For Baby managed to accomplish everything that a 'label-band' could, but did so without compromising their artistic vision. . "We're punk-rock in the sense that we care more about how we feel about the songs rather than pleasing other people. . I write a song because I want to hear it. . It comes from a desire with-in myself." (1)

Making money with their music never really factored into the equation, but it sure would've helped.
. In '89 the band suddenly realized it needed to replace nearly all of their equipment. . The only exception being a couple of green-fluorescent spray-painted 'crash' cymbals that they'd always hold in high esteem. . "(We have) this crash (cymbal) which is very raunchy (and) extremely obnoxious, it's the best thing we have. . We actually combined two that I'd had since I was six and are bent in ways that cymbals are never bent." (2)

Soothing Sounds' original mix of psychedelic and punk-rock music was taken to the next level when they all started attending Bard College in September of '89.
. Majoring in filmmaking, the trio would soon be regarded by their peers as multi-media wizards, both capable of making cool music and funny / experimental short films and videos.

Throughout the next two years together, Soothing Sounds For Baby created some of their strongest material.
. The peaceful serenity of Red Hook, NY allowing them to focus all that much more on their craft. . Without inhibition, The Sounds upped their rehearsal / recording time by ten and these intensified efforts produced amazing results. . Additionally, the band got to perform before various Bard audiences, 'The Old Gym' in particular served as a weekly performance hall where the band could unveil their latest songs and reconnect with other acts. . One of which being the art-punk band Agitpop, who used to reside in the neighboring town of Poughkeepsie. .

But unlike Agitpop, Soothing Sounds' recorded material continued to only be accessible through individually made cassette-tape compilations.
. At the end of the '90-91 semester the band released amongst friends, a 25-track cassette-tape of the best material that they'd written during their two years at Bard.

The tape (recorded using a Tascam 4-track) was a rollercoaster-ride of their personal emotions at the time, their highs and lows converted into musical form.
. Songs like "Tangled Impulse" use a disgruntled driving-rhythm that abruptly starts and stops -- for a disorienting effect. . The guitar and bass are fellow conspirators as well, sounding Captain Beefheart-weird as they weave dangerously in and out of each-other's lane of traffic. . It's layered, aggressive, distorted and very much in your face.

Allan, Matt and Tony were now at the height of their creative powers, all contributing equally as songwriters to produce a distinctive and original sound.
. With their latest batch of songs being wildly praised by their friends and steadily growing fan base, Soothing Sounds could've perhaps landed a sweet record deal. . But interested in this -- they were not.

Instead of cashing-in with their new found greatness, the band decided to brake-up for a while.
. Matt moved to Prague to study filmmaking and take-in Czech culture, while Allan and Tony remained at Bard focusing on their senior film-projects.

Soothing Sounds For Baby reformed in '93 and picked-up from where they left off over a year ago.
. Living in the Boston area now, they quickly won over a new crop of fans who appreciated the band's strange and eclectic take on punk-rock. . This same year also marked the release of their second vinyl '45, which featured a cover of "Pure Imagination" from the movie Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.

For the next five years they'd continue as they always had, writing songs, recording and performing together.
. But by the end of 1998, on the heels of finishing their first compact disc called "Thunk", Soothing Sounds were finally on the verge of calling it quits.

Their first CD release party at the Kirkland Cafe (9/3/98) would unfortunately mark the last time they'd perform live together.
. Allan, Matt and Tony officially broke-up the following month, apparently because Allan's dad thought the band was a complete waste of time / money and somehow convinced his son of the same.

But still, Soothing Sounds For Baby found a way to get their music 'out there' over the years.
. Allan, Matt and Tony stayed-with-it (for the better part of 13 years), transforming their sound quality from lo-fi (4-trk) to hi-fi (16-trk studio), all the while maintaining an integrity as artists and musicians. . They should only reflect upon their years together as an 'indie' band; over a 100 songs; over a 100 shows -- with a sense of pride and accomplishment. .

Today, The Sounds all continue to create - Allan lives in L.A. and regularly posts videos on YouTube; Tony (or Antony) lives in Boston and creates experimental hip hop music under the name DJ Flack and Matt is currently recording a new album and writing sketch comedy scripts, plus two books -- one detective novel entitled "The Case of The Strange Wheel" and one military media mash-up entitled "Bugged Beyond The Bayou".

"The funniest gig of them all was at Tony's father's birthday party. . We played to the side of his house and everyone was inside (because it was cold) and occasionally people would come to the window and we'd (be like) 'please look at us, we're good, please watch us!!' (3) . ...Everyone was inside so we had no incentive to play good because nobody was watching us -- so we just kind of turned-up our instruments and just started jamming-out and (for some reason) Christopher Reeves brother was there, he said we were too loud (and eventually) a policeman came-in and stopped was really funny." (4)

"Oh, in regards to how we got our parents bought that record (Soothing Sounds For Baby - Vol. 2 by Raymond Scott) to play to my sister when she was a baby for pure practical reasons - it didn't work that well on her but my band mates and I started listening to it when we were kids and became obsessed with it."

(1 and 3) Matt Kaden quoted from "Rock 'n' Roll High School" recorded by Dan Shea 10/86.
(2) Matt Kaden quoted from "Where Do I Sign (Studio Inspection)" recorded by Jim Pruy 7/88.
(4) Tony Flackett quoted from "Rock 'n' Roll High School" recorded by Dan Shea 10/86.
(5) Tony Flackett quoted from the Rayond Scott Blog Spot '10.

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