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BU Today Sessions: Pray for Polanski

Edging into “folk- and blues-oriented punk music”


Pray for Polanski, a band with deep BU roots, started in the basement of the Music House at 207 Bay State Road, where guitarist and vocalist Aviv Rubinstien (COM’08,’10) began a collaboration with drummer Dan Ramspacher (ENG’11).

“I lost count, but I think we’ve had close to 20 members, some for as short as one show,” Rubinstien says. “Our sound is sort of the same story. The first record has some folk punk stuff, a surf song, a blues number, and something a little more upbeat and dancey.”

In 2008, the band solidified its lineup, adding vocalist Anne Warnock and bassist Andrew Muro. Since then, the group has toured twice, finding some “amazing places” along the way, says Rubinstien: “We’ve played a bookstore in Birmingham, Ala., a warehouse behind a church in Marion, Ind. — and some girl named Sarah’s living room in Baltimore.”

Rubinstien’s favorite touring memory is Election Eve 2008. “We opened for Neva Dinova,” he recalls. “Not only have I been a fan of theirs since high school, but Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes came to the show and hung out with us, talking about Barack Obama.”

While playing music doesn’t quite pay the bills, the bandmates’ various day jobs aren’t so bad. Rubinstien is finishing an MFA in screenwriting at the College of Communication, Warnock is an aspiring bicycle mechanic, Muro is a freelance programmer, and Ramspacher has a job at NASA (“Yes, that NASA,” says Rubinstien) that unfortunately is tugging him away from the band.

“Playing music has provided a great release, therapy, and opportunity for us,” Rubinstien says. “I’m excited to see where it takes us.”

Pray for Polanski T-shirts and records are available at F Nice Records.

Check back on Thursdays through the rest of the semester for more local music as part of the BU Sessions, shot on location at the FitRec Dance Theater and featuring performances by musicians, bands, and songwriters from the BU community.

Check out the 2010 BU Sessions here, and the original BU Sessions here.

Alan Wong

Alan Wong can be reached at alanwong@bu.edu.

3 Comments on BU Today Sessions: Pray for Polanski

  • Anonymous on 03.25.2010 at 9:01 am

    Open your throats

    Consider spending a couple of hours with a voice coach. With the throat pinched that way, the vocals sound rather screechy.

    But maybe I’m being harsh here – sounding like a blue jay may be what she is aiming for.

  • Anonymous on 03.25.2010 at 10:53 am

    To the previous comment: This chick can certainly sing. I’ve never heard a blue jay sing like that. The idea that you want someone to sound like freaking Maria Callas or Kathleen Battle for rock music is absurd. Examples of why you’re wrong include Patti Smythe, Janis Joplin, Exene Cervenka, Stevie Nicks, and Ann and Nancy Wilson.

    Now the guy, he may not be a great singer, but rock music isn’t about that. No one could call Bob Dylan a good singer, certainly not now.

  • Anonymous on 04.09.2010 at 10:53 am

    To the previous comments

    To the hipster (second comment): Wow you know so many musicians. Are you a CFA major? What class taught you what rock really is about? I’d be interested.

    To simon cowell (first comment): This band’s awesome! Of course he’s gonna want to sing on key everytime and I’m sure she wants to take her voice to the next level. The thing is, there’s always room for improvement, but they sound great overally. If you’re going to criticize her singing, you’re probably just starting to learn how to sing for yourself and think you know everything. Are you really that good at opening your own throat? <---potential "that's what she said." Maybe, just enjoy what they got? And if you don't, there's no need to be a ****.

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