The Jock of Rock Presents: Winterpills

NORTHAMPTON, MASSACUSETTS – Winterpills has been a mainstay in the Northamptom indie-rock scene going back to 2003 and have developed quite a loyal following over the last decade-plus. Featuring Philip Price on guitars and vocals, Flora Reed on keyboards, guitar and vocals, Dennis Crommett on guitars and lap steel, Dave Hower on drums and percussion and Max Germer on bass, the band released their self-titled debut CD in 2005 on the Signature Sounds label also based in Northampton.


Article by Joe Milliken * Photos courtesy of Winterpills

“The band formed very casually out of a group of friends who knew each other from the Northampton music scene,” Winterpills’ Flora Reed said in a recent, Standing Room Only interview. “Dennis and I were both big fans of Philip's previous band, The Maggies and we all began hanging out a lot more that winter of 2004...and we would always end up back at Dennis' house after the bars closed to swap cover songs. Gradually, Philip's songs entered the mix and the band was born.”

The band has released several titles since, all for Signature Sounds, including The Light Divides in 2007, Central Chambers in 2008, a six-song EP titled Tuxedo of Ashes in 2010 and All My Lovely Goners in April of 2012. Central Chambers was also released on vinyl in 2009, as was a double-LP version of All My Lovely Goners, and a 7” single of Broken Arm/A Folded Cloth released in the UK.

On the strength of their melancholy folk-pop sound and rich, male-female harmonies, Winderpills has not only cultivated a loyal regional following throughout New England, but has also received national critical acclaim from such outlets as the New York Times, The Village Voice, Paste and Mojo magazines, syndicated radio’s Mountain Stage and National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition and XM Radio’s Loft Sessions. The band has also toured extensively with such artists as Fountains of Wayne, Syd Straw, Crowded House, St. Vincent, Grant-Lee Phillips and Vampire Weekend.

More recently, Philip and Flora decided to record some interesting cover songs they love and what began as a “quick little project,” turned out to be quite an undertaking. The results are Winterpills’ sixth release (also on Signature Sounds) titled Echolalia. “While members of the band were dealing with new babies and demanding day jobs, Philip and I thought it would be an easy project, but it morphed into a fully orchestrated production recorded in our home studio,” Flora said.

“We only picked songs that we felt we could justly and fully transform, and includes songs by Sharon Van Etten, XTC, Nick Drake, Lisa Germano, and Buddy Holly.” However, Echoladia does not sound like your every day covers album, for it is a result of songs that Price and Reed felt compelled to record and put their own spin on.

Price also recently talked about the project on Signature Sound’s website; “The criteria for this project were two-fold,” he said. “One, dig into the body of ingrained influences and find songs from any era that we connected with and two, transform them in a way that reignited the songs for us personally - not simply a record of us performing it, not playing (much) from the ego. We had to do something that trumped the simple love of the song. There were so many songs and artists that we left off this list and it took some tinkering to realize that some songs are not really meant to by covered or transformed – by us.”

2015 also marks the 10th anniversary of Winterpills self-titled release, which has also prompted a “best of” release due later in the year. “We are going to celebrate the debut CD by releasing it on vinyl and playing shows in which we perform the album in its entirety,” Flora added.

“Our label thinks it's a good time to release a best of Winterpills album, so that will happen later this year as well. Philip has a bunch of new songs that we are just starting to learn and will be included on a new album, probably slated for 2016. So, it's an interesting mix of reflecting on the how the band started and also looking ahead to new material.”

To learn more about Winterpills, its band members and various CD releases, visit their website at www.winterpills.com, as well as the Signature Sound website at www.signaturesounds.com.