This Is The Now 2012
"This Is The Now formed in a garage in Venice, CA , but the band which mixes a bit of Pavement's drone with the wry musings of Lou Reed, now calls Brooklyn home. Their sound owes more to the past, but This Is The Now's commentary on our fame obsessed, Wall Street oligarchy is very much of the moment."
"'Famous for Nothing' came out of living in L.A., where the entire culture is fame-obsessed, no matter what you do," lead singer and guitarist Tiger G tells Spinner. "And that mentality has spread seemingly everywhere. It's to the point where there's an idea out there that you don't have to work to actually be good at something, simply 'being yourself' is enough, which is obviously bulls---."
CONSEQUENCE OF SOUND
"Instrumentally, "Famous For Nothing" falls somewhere between the fuzz of Pavement and Lou Reed's more playful moments (early moments. Ya know, before this whole Lulu mess). Frontman and mastermind Tiger G has a sing-talking vocal tonality, and his lyrical commentary on modern celebrity is tinged with wryness. Lamenting the trend of Kardashian-esque "fame", he calls for the likes of Sinatra, Beethoven, Bowie, and Einstein, who "weren't famous for nothing".Read More
Addicted to Distraction 2010
Peter Salett's musical versatility brought him to the attention of the film industry who have placed his music in films while his own singer-songwriting career has been more concentrated with serious fans of dedicated musicians. 2010's Addicted to Distraction is his sixth self-released solo album and it's another varied production that keeps its heart in a roots-rock that starts in the '50s, dips into the '60s and comes out as a memorable fit for the new century's alt-country scene. His clear, clean diction makes him immediately accessible and the sharp production brings all the pieces to light. "Desert Town," the Tex-Mex "The Rains of Cozumel," "Infatuation" and "Friday Morning" stretch out over the American Southwest with a country twang, while "Feet On the Ground," "It Don't Bother Me No More," "Tell Me from the Heart" and "Sifting Through the Pages" apply a lighter touch where Salett's vocals float over a Bakersfield Sound-influenced backing. "Snow Covered Ice," for additional drama, turns creaky and desolate.Read More
In the Ocean of the Stars 2008
Three years in the making, (now L.A. based) singer-songwriter Peter Salett's fifth solo album, In the Ocean of the Stars, is an often quiet, subtly shifting piece of introspective pop. Recalling the warm sincerity of Bread and other early '70s AM radio faves, Salett primarily centers his muse at the piano before stretching the sound with sudden jolts of distorted electric guitar ("What a Beautiful Dancer She Was") and other stereophonic innovations. With mix producer Marvin Etzioni paying extra attention to the stereo effect, there is a widescreen production at work that deepens the listening field and allows such straightforward songs as "Magic Hour" and "Far, Far Away" to yield an extra dimension within their intimate confines. A starry haze highlights the finger-picked simplicity of "That Old Road." Yet, while many sounds are spiced up, Salett can carry a tune by his lonesome and the unadorned piano and vocal of "Safe" is arguably the album’s finest tune. Salett is one songwriter who has been embraced within the industry - having songs featured in countless films, including Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Ten and The F Word - while remaining a well-kept secret among the mainstream. Time to let the secret out.Read More
Cat Dancers 2007
"Audiences may be divided on their sentiments toward Holiday, but there's no questioning Fishman’s styl-ish handling of a wealth of visual materials, goosed up with lab effects and moody music care of group String Theory and composer Peter Salett."Read More
Down in the Valley 2006
"The movie starts to float away on its longueurs, propped up by a lovely soundtrack of Peter Salett's acoustic ballads and Mazzy Star's drone-rock"
"Peter Salett's song score is haunting"Read More
With even multiplatinum musicians complaining about the music industry squeeze, this cinematic troubador - and insider favorite - is making a name for himself by working outside the system. Edward Norton finds out how.
Most artists resign themselves, on some level, to the suspicion that the work they create is going to be appreciated best by total strangers; that family and friends, even the most supportive, will always be a little more aware of the effort behind it and be able to pierce the veil of art because of their intimacy with the source. Maybe this is especially true for actors or singers or anyone who has to be the instrument of their own piece.
So when an old friend drops something on you that really knocks you out, it's a special kind of dual pleasure; pride, because you've been through it all with them and there's a little part of you in there too, and humility, because it reminds you that you can't take a friend for granted - that as well as you may know someone, you don't really know the first thing about their private depths, their longings or their dark places. When you stand in the crowd with everyone else and think "Holy shit, where'd that come from?" That's when friendship founded in shared experience and good times is reforged with real respect.
These things are on my mind when I think of Peter Salett.
I met Peter when we were eleven; two of the smallest kids in the sixth grade. We were great friends for three years. We did plays together, listened to The Who by Numbers (1975) and Pink Floyd's The Wall (1979) and The Smiths (1984) endlessly, and played epic games of one-on-one, my useless hook shot competing with his flailing finger rolls. Then we went to different schools and fell out of touch.
I met him again in the fall of 1992 in Greenwich Village on the night Bill Clinton was elected. He had been looking for himself in Alaska for a year and I was kicking around in shit jobs trying to get parts in downtown plays. I heard that he had started playing songs in cafés and I went to see him. Somewhere about halfway between then and now, I saw him do a show that was one of those "Holy shit" moments for me and ever since then I, along with a devoted crowd of New York fans, have waiting impatiently for him to put out an album.
Peter doesn't just write songs - they pour out of him. Natural melodies, full of love and longing, sung in the kind of deep, rich voice you don't hear on the radio much these days. A Roy Orbison-Johnny Cash kind of voice. He's been playing his songs for too few people for far too long; but now he's putting out his first widespread release, After A While [Dusty Shoes/Ryko/petersalett.com], so I can stop pestering him and get to the business of introducing Peter to the rest of you.
Edward Norton: It's great to catch up with you. Where are you?
Peter Salett: I'm in Brooklyn, in the Gowanus section, I guess you'd call it. Near Carroll Gardens. I just moved out here.
EN: Another of the newly coming-into-vogue Brooklyn neighborhoods, which really just means rents in Williamsburg have gone too high.
PS: Yes, I hope that by naming it in this magazine I won't help bring it into vogue. I might have to move.
EN: We could declare it here: 'Peter Salett is at the center of the exploding new-music scene in Gowanus, Brooklyn. In fact, he is the music scene in Gowanus, Brooklyn.
PS: Eight years ago I came out here to record something, and this seemed like the hinterlands - beyond the hinterlands. It's funny how your perception of distance can change -
EN: - in direct response to rental rates. [both laugh] I love it when a neighborhood goes from a danger zone to a place you go for cheap drinks to the only place that's still authentic to unaffordable.
Well, let me start by saying that I love this new record of yours, After A While. I think that it has the essential quality of all good albums, which is that even with it's diversity of styles, it all feels cut from the same cloth. There's an emotional thread running through it, a unity that makes it feel like it all grew out of a true moment for you.
PS: It is more cohesive as a collection than anything I've put out before, for sure. The other records I've put out on my own were more or less assortments of songs I've done at different moments, but this time I really wanted to make an album and not just compile the songs I had on hand.
EN: What muses drive your music? Is the initial impulse a melodic one or a lyrical one - an impulse to tell a story?
PS: Basically, it comes from my emotions, from my emotional experience. I play guitar and piano and I'll hear a melody before the words usually, but the core inspiration comes from a need to help myself handle emotions that I'm experiencing. I do it to sort through my own feelings. I use songs to get myself through life, I think.
EN: And yet I notice that you seem to achieve an immediacy of emotion that's also cut with perspective. The songs are more poignant because you seem to be feeling the emotion while seeing it from distance. That's the quality that I love about Dylan at his best, like on "Blood on the Tracks,” where the person in the song is also the wise narrator in some sense. Songs like "Simple Twist of Fate" and "You're A Big Girl Now" or like that.
PS: Well, that's too flattering a comparison, but thanks! (laughs) I do think you can go through the emotion and at the same time stand outside it and see it as part of the quilt of your life - even though that's hard sometimes. I like having a slightly different narrator in each song, and I love exploring style, too, trying to hit an emotional honesty through different styles.
EN: And you don't seem afraid of classic forms. You've written country ballads, funny little dirges, protest songs, acoustic ballads, and very hard-driving stuff with your band. In fact, what's hard for me to describe about your music is that you're so stylistically versatile. You remind me of Beck in that way, although with a more traditionalist bent.
PS: Yeah, I love so much music, and I love to experiment. You have to trust that, refracted through you, your idiosyncrasies and vocal style are going to twist the genre and make it fresh. I like to explore a style or a form of song and push right up to the edge to see how far I can take it without it becoming a different genre.
EN: I really admire that quality, that openness to influence. I've always found it revealing that some of the most authentically original filmmakers I've worked with are the ones who most openly celebrate other films they've loved. Spike Lee is a good example. Or David Fincher. It's the people who posture about not being influenced by anyone else who usually seem the most derivative to me. What musical experiences have had a big impact on you?
PS: Well, I certainly remember seeing many shows right there in our old hometown, Columbia, Maryland.
EN: At Merriweather Post Pavillion. I saw the Police there.
PS: I saw Dylan there, and I remember being totally amazed by Elton John. I was eleven, and his songs were so great; then he spoke with an English accent and it shocked me. I was completely confused.
EN: The other great music asset of our youth was that great station WHFS [99.1, Lanham, Maryland]. Remember that?
PS: Of course. That was one of the few stations on the East Coast you could hear a real alternative music selection. It's gone now; they changed the format.
EN: That's where I heard the Pixies and REM and all the great Brit-pop stuff for the first time. It was such a haven from the metal-band mania in central Maryland in the ‘80s. You might remember Heavy Metal Parking Lot , that great pirate documentary of kids being interviewed at a Judas Priest-Dokken concert.
PS: That was filmed half an hour from where we lived, in our Junior year.
EN: What music do you like these days?
PS: I like so much different stuff. I love watching an act like Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. It's just two guitars and her voice, yet they create such a deep pocket.
EN: What's a “pocket” though?
PS: It's the space within the basic rhythm of the music. The drums and the bass create that groove that make you bob your head, and the song fills the space in between and around the beat. If the music's got a rhythm that makes you move your body unconsciously, it's got a "deep pocket". Gillian and David have no bass or drums, but they create a deep pocket, as if they had a whole band. It's a mystery. I love the mystery of performance.
EN: Your record is called After A While. What does that speak to?
PS: It's the name of one of the songs, but it felt right for the album because it takes time to get perspective on things in your life, to learn about yourself; you can't hurry or control it. It's taken me a while to get where I am with the music and the writing, and this record is the product of that - and it's own reward, too.
EN: I admire that perspective because a lot of people feel that if they haven't created great work or found their voice by the time they're 30, they never will, which is bullshit and very much the result of pop-culture values. I always think of that great line of the poet Reiner Maria Rilke's: "Ten years is nothing to an artist. Gestation is everything."
PS: Yes, definitely. It's not hard to feel that pressure at times, especially in the business of popular music. There's a big youth element in this business, understandably. I mean, I could probably write some catchier tunes, but I'd rather work on things that will be meaningful, even if they're just meaningful to me. And anyway, some of my heroes followed exactly that path. Look at Willie Nelson.
EN: True. He was a successful Nashville songwriter for a long time before he asserted his own voice - and it is a truly great voice. How do you feel about starting to tour?
PS: I'm very excited. I've played a lot of places but in one-off ways. This time I'm going out with a record that I like, and I'm taking out these great musicians I've been working with.
EN: I guess that's the eternal challenge for any musician - to go into unfamiliar territory and see if you can get people to listen.
PS: It's actually more exciting for me to play outside New York and LA these days. New towns and new crowds give me energy. In fact, I like it so much that I don't even take it personally if I'm having to fight to hook them in. I'm excited to play anywhere right now.
EN: Well, I look forward to your first concert t-shirt, with all the tour dates on it.
PS: Oh, God, wouldn't that be funny?
EN: I'm banking on it.
PS: Thanks, man.Read More - Edward Norton
Entertainment Weekly April 16, 2004
It's easy to understand why the accessible sounds of New York singer-songwriter Peter Salett often serve as cinematic backdrops (Ed Norton's Keeping the Faith and Salma Hayek's The Maldonado Miracle). On songs of loneliness and love lost, Salett proves that less is indeed more, letting his rich vocals soar over a sole piano accompaniment or spare acoustics. His every yearning and pang feels like your own. B+Read More - Liza Ghorbani
April 7, 2004
With male crooners such as Jamie Cullum and Michael Buble garnering attention, the time may just be right for Peter Salett.
Celebrating the release of his fourth album, "After a While" (Dusty Shoes Music), the Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter showed off a winning personality at the Hotel Cafe. His warm, easy, dreamy voice is perfectly suited for his atmospheric, sepia-tinged songs; it floats along on the gentle waves of his acoustic guitar and Matt Horn's piano. Catherine Popper and Bill Dobrow provide an unhurried beat, and Don Piper on steel guitar adds hornlike leads that nudge the songs toward country music. He's the kind of performer who would have found a home on Asylum Records in the '70s; at times, Salett comes across as a hybrid of labelmates Jackson Browne and Tim Moore. It's an effective mix that has brought him some high-profile soundtrack placements, including on Salma Hayek-helmed "The Maldonado Miracle." Salett's songs retain their cinematic quality in the Hotel Cafe's close quarters. "If You're Dreaming" has a lovely, swelling melody, while "Halcyon Days" moves with a heady lope. The album's title track moves the farthest afield -- a cracked waltz with Horn adding a ghostly synthesized calliope -- and is easily the evening's highlight.Read More - Steve Mirkin
Rolling Stone March 22, 2004
Peter Salett, After A While
Simple but not simplistic, Peter Salett writes pop songs that wrap their longings in the leanest of arrangements. Salett orchestrates with a Zen-like economy on his second album, placing a pedal steel in one corner, a piano in another, offering nothing overpowering, just solid musicianship from a small, supporting cast of local New York City notables. The songs simmer with a reflective early 1970s glaze, not unlike what a modern day East Coast Jackson Browne or Bread might surmise. "I Fly So High" sports a deep winter vibe with its muffled vocal, metaphysical quest and emphatic finger-picking that recalls early Bruce Cockburn. "Colorful Dream" and the title track suggest Ben Folds Five without the smart-assed streak. Salett's low-key demeanor hasn't prevented his music from gathering notice from actors turned film directors -- Edward Norton, Salma Hayek -- who've appropriately noted how well Salett's imagistic tone poems can support their cinematic contemplation.Read More - Rob O'Connor
Tour Press 2004
NEW YORK TIMES | New York, NY
"Winsome pop poet"
THE FLAGPOLE | Athens, GA
"Salett, singing and playing acoustic guitar, and (Don) Piper on lap steel and supporting vocals, have beautiful, wide-open stormy landscapes oozing from every pore. It's perhaps not that strange that Salett's claim to fame (thus far, anyway) is courtesy of a soundtrack - So much of his music has an evocative breeziness; the music cries to have its mental imagery brought to fruition with equally beautiful visual stimuli."
BIRMINGHAM WEEKLY | Birmingham, AL
"A singer- songwriter well on his own way to being famous. Imagine if Morissey had grown up in Maryland and was therefore slightly more cheerful or took notion occasionally to play a country style lament."
TIME OUT NEW YORK | New York, NY
"A captivating live presence who sings from an intelligent level, Salett writes with edges and blunt honesty aplenty."
ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION | Atlanta, GA
"The unassuming and beautifully crafted songs and sweet,endearing vocals displayed on Salett's 'After A While' reveal a regular guy with regular feelings about love and such. He expresses them with a great deal more charisma and sensitivity than your average Joe."
LAWRENCE.COM | Lawrence, KS
"Peter Salett is the kind of understated acoustic pop troubadour that just needs one good break to become the next Ron Sexsmith or David Gray."
NASHVILLE CITY PAPER | Nashville, TN
"Part of Salett's appeal comes in his versatility as a writer and musician. A capable pianist and guitarist, Salett's work encompasses influences from British invasion rock artists like The Who, great folk-rockers such as Bob Dylan, and even a country great like Johnny Cash."
CREATIVE LOAFING | Atlanta, GA
"Salett's silky yet edgy melodies and sweet vocals help his subtle songs resonate with a pensive Nick Drake quality."
"Peter Salett's songs on his recent album has a lush gentle feel without heavy orchestration... Salett's singing style is very folksy and plain spoken but no less expressive. Most of the songs here on 'After a While' are charming and slightly affecting (the waltz-like title track,the starkly yearning My Whisper and the twangy Still Alone Without You). Salett is a poetic and simplistic writer as he is as a musician, which is a good thing. If you like the music of the late Elliott Smith, you'll find Salett's sound as a relative cousin."
Performing Songwriter March, 2004
Fans of independent films may already be familiar with New York singer-songwriter Peter Salett - he's participated in four Sundance Film Festivals, and his songs have appeared in The Maldonado Miracle (Salma Hayek’s directorial debut) and Keeping The Faith (directed by and starring Ed Norton) among others. With After A While, Salett once again shows his ability to construct laid-back, wistful songs unhindered by overproduction.
Accompanied by sparse piano, guitar and an unobtrusive rhythm section, Salett's voice is easy on the ears. His writing is affecting and honest, and his delivery as understated and bittersweet as the likes of Ron Sexsmith or David Gray.Read More
February 26, 2002
If you saw the 2000 movie "Keeping the Faith," then you heard Peter Salett's song "Heart of Mine," a winsome, melodic number about lasting love and all that. It became so popular on the wedding circuit that even I had to learn it last summer to play at a friend's wedding. Salett's new album is filled with folk-rock tunes, most with the same earnest, wistful take on the world.Read More - Eric Brace
Daily News February 19, 2002
Salett's Quiet Songs Speaking Volumes
While many of his peers turn up their amps to 11 and shout rock-rap into the mike, Peter Salett believes in getting attention the quiet way.
The Brooklyn-based songwriter already has won praise for the 2000 single "Heart of Mine," which was featured prominently in the film "Keeping the Faith." Now the singer has toned down his already gentle style to focus on the deftly sketched characters in his songs.
Salett has been playing material from his yet-to-be released third album — tentatively titled "If You're Dreaming" — in a series of Monday-night shows at Fez, where he next appears March 4. With new songs such as "Halcyon Days" and "With Anybody Else," he's introducing his fans to an even softer side of his craft.
"With this record, one of the things that I'm most proud of is that it became about the songs," he says. "In previous records, I have tried to bend a little bit toward rock radio. This record is about my lyrics and my voice making the music something that people can step into."
Salett (pronounced sa-LETT) made his name on the New York club circuit in the late '90s, when his catchy folk-rock soon propelled him into headlining gigs at Tramps and Irving Plaza. Then Salett's childhood friend Edward Norton made "Heart of Mine" the centerpiece of his directorial debut, "Keeping the Faith," which starred Norton, Ben Stiller and Jenna Elfman.
Salett has landed songs in several other films, including Morgan Freeman's "Hurricane Streets" and the recent comedy "Wet Hot American Summer." What's striking is that the singer managed to win so much attention with songs that were being released on his own Dusty Shoes label.
Now Salett is looking for a deal that will expand his audience without sacrificing his artistic sensibilities. He's says that the buildup of grass-roots support he got after "Keeping the Faith" is a good indication that music lovers are hungry for well-written songs that aren't necessarily radio friendly.
"'Heart of Mine" brought me tons of e-mails from around the world, even though it wasn't part of a major promotional machine," he says. "Those people had to seek me out and find me. And that's because it was just something that they actually connected with, as opposed to having something shoved down their throat."
Salett's songs have inspired such devotion because they're populated with characters who speak about love and act out their lives in a way that rings true. Like the "polite diplomat" of "Halcyon Days," they're looking for something that remains just out of reach.
"At some level, I'm always writing about me," says Salett, "but each song does have a different narrative voice and a different character. I think that's what keeps people interested. Each song has its own separate rules."
At Fez, Salett is happy to find a venue that's intimate enough for listeners to pick up on the subtleties of his latest work. But despite his recent focus on hushed compositions, Salett says he and his band haven't forgotten how to turn up the volume and have a good time.
"What I like about Fez is that it's a place where people can sit and listen to more than just the music," he says. "It's about the lyrics and the voice and the arrangements and the melody. We can rock, and that's good, but in other rock clubs what I find is that you have to rock just to get noticed.Read More - Issac Guzman
Nashville Scene February 22, 2001
The title song off Salett's CD Heart of Mine was featured in the Edward Norton-Ben Stiller comedy Keeping the Faith, and the New York-based singer-songwriter will be appearing soon in the Sundance hit Wet Hot American Summer with Janeane Garofalo. But there are better reasons to see Salett's show at The Sutler than mere celebrity proximity. For a guy capable of lines like "There's always something so tragic / About a hopeless romantic," he's an unusually credible rocker whose pretty, piercing pop sometimes recalls those moments in the Velvet Underground when Lou Reed's Brill Building streak would shine through.Read More
Imagine being a little-known artist who suddenly finds his paintings hanging between works by Picasso and Van Gogh. That's how Peter Salett felt when his songs got sandwiched between tracks by Tom Waits and Elliot Smith on the soundtrack to Edward Norton's Keeping the Faith. The Brooklyn-based singer has been playing around Manhattan bars and selling his CDs independently via his website for the past few years; while he has built a strong following, it's nowhere near the six million people who heard "Heart of Mine" in the movie. The song has a lilting melody that sways with gentle resolve, expressing hopeless romanticism in a way that it is hopeful nonetheless.
"It was the strength of Peter's voice and his old-school lyricism that really struck me," says Norton, who first met Salett when the two attended Columbia School of Theatrical Arts in Maryland. "Peter's got these wonderful melodies, but there's also a bittersweet longing in them that I was looking for.
Ultimately, the secret of Salett's success may lie in the fact that he's not doing anything trendy. "I try to write classic sounding tunes," he says. "And not be afraid to hark back to love songs from a time gone by."Read More - Dmitri Ehrlich
July 31, 2000
A Relative unknown from the Gotham club circuit, Peter Salett entered the small Mint stage with a reputation for hot 'n' heavy perfs and a writing style tailor-made for soundtracks. His performance had enough charisma to push it past the usual bar-band boundaries but he didn't reveal any secret powers until he closed the evening with an acoustic guitar and a stellar piece of writing.
"Hey Hands," a song about aging and one of the best things about his second disc, "Heart of Mine" (Dusty Shoes Music), is a beautiful piece of simple imagery that never goes out of style. He gives it a catchy backdrop that owes a debt, as do so many of his songs, to the Buckleys (Tim and Jeff). Salett, though, is a considerably stronger singer than either of those late troubadours; like them, though, he ensures that the musical framework never overpowers a song, even on a steady by-the-book rocker such as "My Emotions."
An actor as well as a musician, Salett appears in and recently composed songs for the soundtrack of David Wain's indie feature "Wet Hot American Summer," which stars Janeane Garofalo, Christopher Meloni and David Hyde Pierce. In addition, T-Bone Burnett recorded his "Heart of Mine" for Edward Norton's pic "Keeping the Faith."
For Thursday's West Coast record release gig, Salett was joined by an aggressive unit driven bylap steel player Don Piper, who gave considerable oomp to Salett's songs.Read More - Phil Gallo
July 3, 2000
STEPPING UP From mid-nineties midnight shows at Brownies and the Mercury Lounge, the singer and songwriter Peter Salett has used his time on the downtown circuit to hone his rich voice and his emotionally transparent pop sensibility. Last April he enjoyed spending the night on the Bowery Ballroom's grand stage in a show celebrating the completion of his self-produced album, "Heart of Mine," backed by such musicians as the lap steel guitarist Don Piper and the organist Joe McGinty. Salett returns to the same spot this week for a rare solo acoustic performance as the opening act for former Soul Coughing front man M. Doughty. Catch him now, while he's on the rise.Read More