3 Lb Thrill – Vulture (1995)

FrontCover13 lb. Thrill was the reincarnation of the Atlanta band Uncle Green. Formed in Basking Ridge, New Jersey in the early 1980s, Uncle Green consisted of Matt Brown (guitar and vocals), Jeff Jensen (guitar and vocals), Bill Dunker (bass and keyboards), Pete McDade (drums), and Danny Giordano (tambourine and vocals). Brown and Jensen were the principal songwriters and vocalists for the group.

Disappointed with their limited success, the band renamed themselves 3 lb. Thrill (the weight of the human brain) and recorded the harder-edged Vulture for O’Brien’s new vanity label, 57 Records, a subsidiary of Sony 550 and Epic. This spawned a minor radio hit, “Diana”, which examined the uncomfortable subject of child molestation and suffered commercially as a result. A video was recorded for the single “Something Will Come”, directed by Peter Christopherson. 3 lb. Thrill’s second album, Rycopa, was recorded in 1997 with engineer Caram Costanzo but remained unavailable until December 2011, when fans supported a Kickstarter fundraising campaign for its release after the missing master tapes were found and acquired from Sony. They also used the opportunity to release a collection of outtakes called Scrapple. A very prolific band, numerous other compilations of the unreleased recordings circulate among fans.

3lbThrill01Matt Brown’s solo album Morning After Medicine Show, recorded with producer Rick Neigher, drummers Pete Thomas and Dan McCarroll, and keyboardist Rami Jaffee, was recorded in 1999 and also saw limited release in 2011. Several other unreleased solo projects circulate. Brown toured as a musician for Brad in 1997, and produced the album Eleven Emergency Lessons for indie-rock band Amphibian Skin in 2003, whose singer now performs as Mackerel Biscuit. Jensen and McDade also perform on this record. McDade’s drums can also be heard on Atlanta musician Paul Melançon’s album, Camera Obscura, released by Daemon Records in 2002. In 2014 Brown produced a record by Nancy Gardos called The Grand View.

In 2005 and in 2006, as 3 lb. Thrill and Uncle Green respectively, the band reunited for special performances at Smith’s Olde Bar in Atlanta and Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, Georgia. In 2009, Brown played a rare solo set, opening for Jon Auer at Eddie’s Attic. McDade played percussion and Jensen provided occasional backing vocals. In February 2012, performing simultaneously as both Uncle Green and 3 lb. Thrill, the entire band came together for another show at Smith’s Olde Bar to celebrate the release of Rycopa.

In April 2012, Matt Brown created the Facebook Theme Music Group, which quickly grew from a handful of musicians to over 1000 members by its one-year anniversary in April 2013. Members include Jeff Jensen and Pete McDade of Uncle Green as well as professional and amateur musicians from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. (by wikipedia)

3lbThrill02I have to admit that I was a little skeptical about whether or not I would be able to listen to this entire CD without getting bored in the middle of it. In general, my musical tastes tend to run on the heavier side; but I try to keep an open mind. In this case, I’m glad I did.

Vulture is a thirteen song CD of mostly radio-friendly pop rock, but it’s definitely better than the typical stuff heard on the radio around these parts. What caught my attention on this debut from 3 Lb. Thrill was the variety. While staying in the pop rock vein, each song has a different feel to it.

The CD opens with the mellow-ish rocker “Born Again,” then things get a little heavier with the radio popular “Diana.” Nice work from bassist Bill Decker on this song too. The CD picks up again with the catchy “Baby Comes Clean” but slows down with the next couple of songs.

I was not impressed with track number six, titled “Jeff’s Fast One.” It’s an upbeat tune, but it reminded me too much of early R.E.M. I was back into the music again though when I heard the very pretty “Something Will Come,” a slow, moody song with a lot of emotion to it.

Booklet05AThe rest of the CD pretty much stays in that pop music mode, finishing with “Piñata,” which has a surprisingly industrial sound to it, considering that the title refers to a Mexican party tradition.

Although a little light for me, Vulture is a very impressive CD, especially for a debut project. (by Laura Karnes)

Matt Brown (guitar, vocals, piano)
Bill Decker (bass, background vocals)
Jeff Jensen (guitar, vocals, harmonica)
Pete McDade (drums)
Sheila Doyle (violin)
Kelly Hogan (vocals)
Brendan O’Brien (various instruments); .

01. Born Again (Brown) 4.14
02. Diana (Brown) 3.54
03. Baby Comes Clean (Brown) 3.29
04. Stop Inviting (Jensen) 5.04
05. Mary Tells Me (Brown) 2.53
06. Jeff’s Fast One /Jensen) 3.06
07. Something Will Come (Brown) 6.09
08. Bikini Island (Brown) 3.56
09. Bad Seed (Brown) 3.44
10. Coffin Nails (Jensen) 4.14
11. Collide (Brown) 5.38
12. Embrace (Brown) 3.33
13. Piñata (Brown) 13.55