Manishevitz (Adam Busch, ex Curious Digit, that recorded two albums, particularly the second Hessian Hills) is a singer-songwriter based in
Grammar Bell and the All Fall Down (Jagjaguar, 1999) delivered
articulate but bleak confessional ballads that straddled the line between
alt-country and pub-rock of the late 1970s
The former (Fox Trot, My Creole Belle) is far more interesting
than the latter.
Relocating to Chicago, Manishevitz released the baroque
Rollover (Jagjaguar, 2000), produced by
Michael Krassner and arranged by cellist
Fred Lonberg-Holm, and featuring co-writer
Via Nuon, Ryan Hembrey (Pinetop Seven),
Jason Adasiewicz (Central Falls),
and Jeb Bishop (the Flying Luttenbachers).
The most intriguing songs
(Words for the Cause, Beachcombing For The Holidays)
reinvent easy-listening music as abstract soundscultping.
The live cohesion and the technical prowess of this group was proven by the
EP Private Lines (2002).
Now evolved into a full-fledged band
(vocalist Busch, guitarist Via Nuon, drummer Joe Adamik, bassist Ryan Hembrey, saxophonist Nate Lepine and cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm), Manishevitz sculpted the
elaborate art-pop of City Life (Jagjaguar, 2003).
Busch reinvented himself as a clone of
Brian Ferry's neurotic/emphatic vocal style,
while the band alternated echoes of Talking Heads (Beretta) to psychedelic work-outs (Hate Ilene) to
rhythm'n'blues novelties (Mary Ann)
to surreal dance numbers (Private Lines)
to laid-back country & western shuffles (Colorado Shore ).
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