Life Like Sad Music
Chancellorpink's 2009 release 'Life Like Sad Music' is a stirring blend of sad and serene, of triumphant and tragic. Music you can hum that makes you think. Anthemic blasts like 'Bleed The Enemy', 'Third Time, No Charm' and 'Tears At The Cemetery' share the disc with more organic and acoustic reflections of strength in isolation like 'In Self Defense', 'You Are Everyone' and the Lennon-esque 'There Was Reality'. Top to bottom, 'Life Like Sad Music' is an underground pop gem from one of today's best songwriters who continues his underdog emergence on the indie rock scene. 'Now more than ever, McLaughlin is heading towards the sinister but tuneful territory of Babybird and Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti. There's that same sense of reclusive pop genius at work here.' ~ Jonathan Leonard, Leonard's Lair (UK) (Mar 18, 2009) 'Like Bowie, Cave and Waits - Dreamy and laid back, but with an endearing appeal. The overall feeling oozes an air of poignant rejection. Songs from the basement for those with a desire for sorrowful compatriotism.' ~ TC, God Is In The TV (UK) (Mar 27, 2009) 'Chancellorpink draws on his love for Bowie and '80s synth-rock, with his rich poetry and haunting croon. The standout is a sturdy guitar-rocker 'Third Time, No Charm' that deserves some spins on the radio.' ~ Scott Mervis, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Apr 23, 2009) "Chancellorpink really rises above the fray of standard-issue mopey romantic popsters in his use of atmospherics, using a palette of tinny distorted glazes to evoke a fragile vulnerability." ~ Pete Andersen, Music Director, WZRD Radio, Chicago (Apr 9, 2009) Bio: From Humble Beginnings Come Humble Middles As a boy, he wanted to be a magician and a ventriloquist. But he couldn't hide the secret or throw his voice. So he took to music, mostly culled from mom's record club collection. Movie soundtracks like 'The Graduate' and LPs from crooners like Tom Jones, Andy Williams, Noel Harrison. Cross-legged on the sofa, he grasped his shin-bones in both hands and rocked furiously back and forth, while the wax spun under the needle. While mom ironed and dusted, he rocked and dreamed. And while the drapes danced in a breeze, his little boy mind mumbled, 'Life is real, and I'm alive.' 45 singles also dug their way in. Some cut from the backs of cereal boxes. Others chosen after a listen or two on the AM radio. Yes, he needed THAT song. So he sang it for the record store man: 'Come on, you have to have it. I think it's new... 'Those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end...'' One day our failed magician was given an organ and a play-by-number songbook filled with Bacharach/David tunes. And though he drew moustaches and Satan eyes on Burt and Hal, he loved that songbook. Eventually someone gave him a tape recorder. And this day probably seemed harmless enough. But from humble beginnings... He'd sing made-up words he didn't understand. Grown-up words about love, war, poverty. Stuff the AM radio and Burt Bacharach had taught him to sing. 'Must be the way to go.' Mom eventually bought him a pretty-white, righty Jackson Soloist, and though he played lefty, he simply had it re-strung and played it upside down. 'I am right-handed, after all, so how could mom have known?' In his teens, he began to take more of a personal interest in his lyrics. As girls at school would peck his cheek and giggle on flower day, but walk on. 'She's a slut, Ray. Why'd you buy her a flower?' 'Because she's nice,' our silly flower boy said. You know the drill. Countless mixed tapes and poems missed their mark. Maybe once or twice a flower got pressed into a book, but we'd only be speculating there. They all became songs. He went to college. Wrote some more songs. Joined a band (Six Gun Jury) with his cousin. And they wrote lots of songs too. Even got a song ('Climb The Scene') in regular rotation on commercial radio (WXXP). They did well in Pittsburgh rock challenges, played some gigs. Got some press. Broke up. 'WHY?!' Baseball, of course. He had to see the Pirates in the playoffs. You'd have done the same. He married, loved it. Wrote some songs. His mom died, hated that. Wrote some songs about it. He became a daddy of triplet sons, and that was nice. So he put it in a song or two. He tried to take some cases to trial, hated that. He tried to join a couple other bands, but it wasn't the same. Went to another firm, hated that. Law firm after law firm. He always left them hanging. Burned his bridges. Didn't care. Day by day, song by song. He was going to find his place in this world (like 'James' in that song by Huffamoose). Finally, he went to work for the government, liked that better. Wrote more songs. But got divorced, hated that. Sad songs come easier, so songs galore. (You must have all of this in your notes somewhere already, right?) Single life was overrated. Looking for love too often in too many bars. But it was either that or join some animal shelter or church group. And he never liked groups. Still doesn't. No. He likes songs. Finally, one day, or maybe it was even in the dark of night, he cried out in a loud voice, saying, 'Tom?! Burt?! MOM?! How does this shit work?! I'm lonely as f*** and nobody cares!!' Silence. 'Ain't it funny...how the time slips away?...' And he wrote a song about that too. The silence. The lost time. The loneliness. The loss. Loss after loss, and song after song. This is what weakened your Chancellor, yet kept him strong. And so, from humble beginnings...come humble middles. Which brings us to today. 'Well...how's it gonna end for The Chancellor?' I cannot tell you that, my friend. But rest assured, no matter the ending, it will make one hell of a song. Some Prior Chancellorpink Press 'An amalgam of David Bowie, Scott Walker and Stephin Merritt. It becomes clear that McLaughlin (who wrote, produced and played everything) is a man of singular vision.' ~ David Cowling, Americana UK (Mar 19, 2008) 'Personal and real. An interesting, disjointed, calm sort of rage, of the sort that tends to come after heartbreak.' ~ Joe Mackey, PopMatters.com (Apr 3, 2008) 'The pop-music landscape would be a lot less exciting if there weren't Chancellorpink's on the outskirts, doing just this sort of thing.' ~ Andy Mulkerin, Pittsburgh City Paper (Jan 31, 2008) 'You're supposed to feel this one, not just listen to it. And that's just what happens.' ~ Michael Lidskin, Twirl Radio, Sacramento (Apr 11, 2008) 'An adventure in sound recalling the glam of Bowie and gloom of Nick Cave with vocals that are, by turns, pretty and pretty eerie." ~ Scott Mervis, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Feb 14, 2008) 'The perfect moment is reached for 'Mrs. Kowalski' where McLaughlin's yearning vocals are balanced against rattlingly intense guitars. It's a terrific song by anyone's standards.' ~ Jonathan Leonard, Leonard's Lair (UK) (Mar 13, 2008) 'Diverse, exhilarating and, at times, intense. With substantive and emotion-stirring lyrics.' ~ Maree Gallagher, The Monthly Post (May, 2007) 'A Truly Original Voice - McLaughlin definitely has a story to tell and knows how to do it with original style.' ~ Shelley, CDReviewsbyYou.com (Mar, 2007) 'Literate, clever and passionate, the songs have staying power.' ~ Tony Heywood, The Epoch Times (Aug 19, 2006) 'An entrancing 12-track indie-pop record with the shades of early, arty Bowie.' ~ Scott Mervis, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Jun 29, 2006) 'McLaughlin's strength is his sonic imagination, deploying a lush range of keyboard textures and spacey effects.' ~ Aaron Jentzen, Pittsburgh City Paper (Jul, 2006)
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