The Tongue Sculptors are a Philly-based avant pop group conceived by William Gruff guitarist Alan Ens. They are made up of a plethora of talents taken from other various local bands in order to form an experimental collective.
They had previously put out cassette demos with a nice lo-fi sound to them, but after listening to the new updated professional recordings, ultimately did not do them justice. I just listened to the new version of their track “Invited Apparitions” and I love the use of samples combined with live tracks.
The newer versions of their songs have more of a pop feel and this one in particular reminds me of The Bird and the Bee. They’ll be releasing an album soon so look out for that in the upcoming months. In the meantime, explore their current available sounds.
We hit up the M-Room in Philly last Friday night to kick off the Halloween weekend and caught the Bailey Hounds. They were dressed like T.Rex down to the handlebar mustaches and had special guests Jillian Taylor (lead singer of Ruby the Hatchet) and Charlie Heim (drummer of William Gruff) on stage with them. Jill was on vocals and Charlie played both tenor sax and the congas at various points throughout the show.
In 2007, a band by the name of Mountain Man was playing the Philly and Jersey circuit quite regularly. They entered the Emergenza Battle of the Bands and did quite well. They were dubbed the best band in Philadelphia and performed at Webster Hall in NYC where they took 7th place on the entire East coast in the competition.
After that they made some trips to Nashville where they played music but then they sort of disappeared. All of the members were still involved in music, but separately on their own. Alan has been performing with the Tongue Sculptors, Vince has been playing withJohnny Showcase and the Bailey Hounds, Charlie had gone to grad school, and Matt was touring the country and performing in musicals.
To me, it seemed that these talented individuals had split amicably but would no longer be making music together. That was a bit disappointing as I had enjoyed following them in their early days and really dug their sound. I thought they had real potential to break through as they are all very talented musicians and actually studied their craft intensively.
Luckily as it turns out, it was not the end of the road for Mountain Man. Now, Mountain Man goes by his proper name, William Gruff, and “he” has just released his debut album. The production quality on it is amazing, the songs range from folk-rock, old school rock and roll, maybe a little blues, a jazzy showtune (I think Matt’s tours in musicals may have had an influence), bluegrass, and a song that was styled in tribute to Tom Waits. As of right now the guys are running a “pay what you wish” promotion via Bandcamp.
I encourage you to support them so they can continue to make nice things for us to enjoy. Stream/buy the album below.
I got an invite via Facebook to attend a show including William Gruff the other day and I was confused. I had never heard of them, but there was a picture of a goat so I clicked on it. I checked out the write up and noticed that the names of the 4 band members looked very familiar. It was pretty much the same lineup that took 7th place on the East Coast in the Emergenza Battle of the Bands in 2007 under the name of Mountain Man.
I asked them why they switched names when we got to Philadelphia’s The Fire and they said they amicably gave up the name when this girl group began using it, too. Personally, I think there should be an intergender tag team wrestling match to determine the rightful owners of the name. Shout out to Andy Kaufman. Continue reading →