The Trypes Music for Neighbors


April 24th, 2012

The New Jersey towns of Haledon and Hoboken may not have the same mythical status as Beatles Liverpool or Velvets New York City, but in the early-1980s, a group of high school friends came together there to form a shifting network of bands that would be referred to as “the stuff of legend and cults.” The Trypes emerged from this scene, playing hauntingly beautiful, baroquely arranged psychedelic rock music. Acute Record’s newest release, Music for Neighbors, gathers their contributions to the “Hoboken Sound.”

The Trypes overlapped with another vital Hoboken band, The Feelies, both in members and the development of that sound. Joining original Trypes John Baumgartner, Toni Baumgartner, Elbrus Kelemet and Marc Francia was Glenn Mercer of the Feelies on drums, only to be replaced by Dave Weckerman when he moved to guitar. Later, newcomers Brenda Sauter and Stan Demeski took over rhythm section duties, with the other remaining Feelie Bill Million finally joining as well on percussion. Elements of the signature Feelies sounds were present in their songs—the Moe Tucker toms, the jangly guitars, the Beatles covers—but were played through The Trypes’ chamber-psyche lens and embellished by John’s rhythmic piano and droning accordion, Toni and Brenda’s stunning harmonies and, thanks to Toni, pretty much every wind instrument this side of the kazoo.

The Trypes found fellow travelers in the West Coast’s 60s revivalist Paisley Underground, but were unique in their sound and arrangements. They rehearsed and performed at famed Hoboken club Maxwell’s, and regularly played with bands like The Bongos and The Dream Syndicate. Their closest kinships, though, were always that tight-knit set of schoolmate bands—The Feelies, Yung Wu, the Willies, even Dr. Robert, a Beatles cover band, all variations of the same group of friends.

Too often it seems that mention of the Trypes gets accompanied by the inevitable tag, “Feelies side project.” However, they existed before any Feelies were involved and had a different, if related, sound. The Trypes officially ended when The Feelies re-formed for their second album, taking Stan and Brenda with them. But the remaining Trypes expanded their membership once again and became Speed the Plough, still going strong today, still calling New Jersey home.

Side A of Acute’s release Music for Neighbors contains their entire released output, the 4 songs from the 1984 EP The Explorers Hold and 1 song from the 1985 compilation Luxury Condos Coming to Your Neighborhood Soon, both on Coyote Records. About The Explorers Hold, Trouser Press, calling the Trypes “A loud psychedelic band”, wrote “The Explorers Hold is a placid, constantly shifting landscape of sounds. The four songs emphasize coloration, not beat; yet, for all its subdued calm, there’s an explosive tension bubbling underneath the music…The quieter songs, complete with woodwinds and keyboards, are hauntingly beautiful.”

Side B features a selection of never before heard demos from the earlier period of the band, who’s raw artfulness and sparse arrangements contrast the ornate production of the studio recordings. The LP comes with a download card that features an additional 7 songs (also available when purchased digitally) primarily recorded live at rehearsals at the legendary Maxwell’s club in Hoboken. Sample free downloads from the release as well as two additional downloads otherwise unavailable can be found below.

All of this is contained within a hand-letterpress-printed cardstock sleeve with a composite band photo attached to the front with homey photo corners. The LP and digital downloads also come with a deluxe booklet with photos and liner notes from Trypes John, Marc and Glenn as well as their first fan, Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan.

Buying Options


1. (From the) Morning Glories
2. Love You To
3. Music for Neighbors
4. The Undertow
5. A Plan, Revised
6. Belmont Girl Is Mad At Me
7. Foreign Doctors
8. Force of Habit
9. Friends
10. The Inner Light
11. A Plan, Revised (Demo)
12. Dark Continents
13. Hard Friend to Keep
14. Our Obsessions
15. No One's Alone
16. Play With Fire
17. Running On
18. Life History