Photo: Victoria Rich

Jersey Journal

The Moths invade Brooklyn bar with some Jersey-based bands
Are you ready for the Brooklyn invasion?

Here's the situation: Rents in Hoboken continue to rise, the Jersey City renaissance hasn't quite happened yet, and there isn't a square inch of Manhattan that hasn't been gentrified beyond the means of your average struggling musician. So Brooklyn - and specifically Willliamsburg, the comfy brown-stoned community just over the bridge - has become a new haven for the Bohemian rock-musician types who once flocked to the Mile Square City. In fact, a lot of people are calling Williamsburg "the new Hoboken."

There's no shortage of Brooklyn bands joining their New Jersey brethren in the new wave of "bridge and tunnel" people, but few are as likable, talented or committed as The Moths.

You can find the Moths on the last Saturday of every month at The Charleston Bar & Grill, the "in" spot to play in Williamsburg these days. And over the last four years, the band has managed to work its way up in the ranks of the East Village club scene as well.

"It's nice that we're finally playing weekends all the time," says bassist Tim Reedy. "It makes it a lot easier as far as getting up for work in the morning, for one thing. But it also means that all the hard work we've put in is finally paying off a little."

Not that the Moths are anywhere near supporting themselves as musicians. Reedy, guitarist Tom Rigney, and guitarist K work as teachers of one variety or another in New York schools; Tom's brother George sells drums in New Jersey. But now that this scruffy quartet of twentysomethings has released its second full-length CD, "Lepid Opera" (on New York City's Lunasea Records), the band is making its presence felt more and more, even here in New Jersey.

For instance, The Moths appear on the new Artist Amplification CD compilation (reviewed here last week) and will be appearing at the Mercury Lounge in Manhattan on Feb. 18, with the Jersey-based Awake Asleep, Red Radio Flyer and Enemies Of The Oyster.

"It would certainly be nice to be in the position of being able to live off the band," says guitarist Tom Rigney. "But I think we're all too jaded to even dream about that or consider leaving our jobs. It takes a real leap of faith today to even think about doing this career in an industry that's so out of control."

"Mostly," adds Tim, "we're just dedicated to making good records, and doing well enough with each one that we're able to make another good record."

The Moths' new CD "Lepid Opera" showcases the band's strengths - a dry wit, precision musicianship, and the eclecticism you get from three members who write songs and trade off on lead vocals. But even though Tim, Tom, and K all contribute to the songwriting, the tone of the new album tends to be consistently downbeat. The Moths are first and foremost storytellers, and the tales on "Lepid Opera" focus on people beaten down by their jobs, relationships, or just life in general. Song titles like "Enthusiastic Loser" and "School's Closed" hint at the melancholy vibe of the album.

"I think the biggest change for us over the four-and-a-half years that this lineup has been together is that we've all learned how to write songs for The Moths," notes Tim. "When I first joined, I had been playing in a punk band called Cementhead and my stuff didn't really fit. Now, even though we play a lot of different stuff and there are three of us writing songs, I think everything sounds like The Moths, if that makes any sense."

"For me, the best thing about the band is that we can play a lot of different kinds of music without sounding too much like any one thing in particular," adds K.

If You Go: The Moths will be appearing at The Mercury Lounge, 217 Houston St. (at Essex Street,) New York, on Feb. 18. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. and admission is $8. Also appearing will be Awake Asleep, Enemies Of The Oyster and Red Radio Flyer.

The Charleston Bar & Grill is at 174 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, easily accessible on the L train from Manhattan. The Moths perform on the last Saturday of every month with The Highwaters (also from Brooklyn) and a special guest. For more information and directions, visit The Moths' Web site at .

Club notes: Enjoy a final last hurrah at the Liquid Lounge, which will be closing at the end of the month, with a special acoustic show Friday featuring Hoboken's High Speed Chase and South Jersey's Ropetree. Showtime is 10 p.m. and admission is $3. The Liquid Lounge is at 936 Park Ave., Hoboken

2001 The Jersey Journal. Used with permission

-Jim Testa

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