Tammany Hall: A Band You Should Know But Probably Don’t

Israel and I discovered this indie band, Tammany Hall NYC, eight years ago in 2002 when HBO used Wait For You (a remix of their song, Wait For Jane) as a promotion piece. Since then THNYC has continued to score movie soundtracks and spots on popular television, like on the t.v. series, Scrubs. Why the band has not crawl its way out of music indie-land is a mystery to me.

Maybe the band hasn’t found the right producer. Maybe they just don’t have what it takes to get out in the front. Maybe they experimented with style too much in the beginning for people to get a handle on who they are. Whatever the reason, they are a hardly known band for all of their success. Pandora Radio doesn’t have a clue of their existence and you can only find a few of their songs on YouTube.

Here’s the popular Scrubs version of Cindy, along with some of the lyrics:

you loved me with your eyes
you help me with your voice
You listen when my voice was void of sound
You touch me with your laugh
You show me to my smile, and you
You save me with your kiss before I drown

I love their acoustic sound, which is both soft and hard at the same time. Unlike many of the California bands I’ve talked about here, THNYC has cool-toned New England urban sound with the more introspective, intelligent, and symbolic lyrics you might expect from a group that comes from the well-educated northeast coast.

Brilliant Lyrics

Here’s what I’m talking about…below are lyrics from the last part of Back In the Bottle. This is a serious take-your-breath-away song for me, with the climax and the following lyrics all crashing together at the same time. Go ahead and play the video just underneath them…

back in the bottle again.
what the f**k’s out there? like i care. what am i needing?
why am i leading myself on this game of stalemate solitaire?
can’t start again. can’t land a 10.
must be “spade” cause my heart is beaten, captain,
but you play the cards you’re played.
years have passed. with each year, i’m wearing down the glass.
if my ship sails, let the breezes blow me back to better jails.
there must be another sea, but that’s a mental mutiny.

and that’s not me. that’s not me,
but the glass is cracked and i think i’m going down.
it’s not me. it’s not me
to wash away the world that’s whirling round.
i can’t breathe anymore.

I can’t stop sharing their songs. If there were more of my favorites available I’d post them, too. Instead I’ll stop at three. The next song, Someone, is one Israel Israel likes to play for me on the guitar while I attempt at singing it. (Note: one explicit lyric is slightly obvious in this one. Just wanted to let you know ahead of time if you don’t want it reaching the ears of your little kiddies).

and some may run. and some know fear.
and some wade in a while and let the murky waters clear.
and some just smile.

someone makes love. love makes someone.
someone gives love. someone takes none.
and some may pass. and some may hold.
and some grow ageless while their body’s growing old.
and they just smile. they just smile.