November 22, 2006

Whatever happened to Marcy Playground?

When I was in California last month I made two trips to the fantastic stacks of Streetlight Records in San Jose, and one of the things I picked up was the Marcy Playground self-titled CD from 1997. I don’t remember what made me think of it, but suddenly I had to have it and it was worth the $4 I laid down.

I used to have a copy of that album, and even saw Marcy Playground live once (opening for someone?) but in a moment of cash-neediness I must have sold the album — in an ironic twist, it was probably to Streetlight.

I was pleased to hear that the album still sounds exceedingly pleasant to me (although I must say that I didn’t remember the lyrics being quite so silly). There’s a quirky mid-90s alternapop feel to the whole disc, with infectiously good melodies — and so much more than “Sex and Candy.” In fact, I don’t even like that song. But I like these:

Cloak of Elvenkind – Marcy Playground
This one has a hypnotic, dreamy, mid-summer feel to it, like a waltz in slow motion. Really fabulous stuff.

Ancient Walls of Flowers – Marcy Playground
And this one will stick in your head. In a good way.

If you see this disc in the bargain bins, I recommend picking it up. In addition to the self-titled album, they’ve also got some music on eMusic (including their 2004 disc, cleverly titled MP3). And lead singer John “Woz” Wozniak is still making some pretty catchy music as a solo artist now. Visit his MySpace to hear all about it.


  • i heard sex and candy on the radio the other day actually. that is the only song i think i have heard by them though.

    Satisfied '75 — November 22, 2006 @ 4:36 pm

  • did you happen to see them open for Toad the Wet Sproket @ the fillmore? i think it was thier fan appreciation tour (sadly one of thier last) after the release of Coil, which you could get free tickets from if you bought the album on the release. obviously… i went!

    stevejoh — November 23, 2006 @ 8:55 am

  • *shudder* Ohhh…”Sex and Candy” was awful.

    Bronwyn — November 23, 2006 @ 1:22 pm

  • stevejoh you are CORRECT! That is precisely where I saw them. Fantastic. I remember that now. Maybe you can tell me where I saw Soul Coughing?


    And Bronwyn, yes, Sex & Candy is a special kind of annoying. But not those two songs I posted above, I don’t think. Try it?

    heather — November 23, 2006 @ 2:18 pm

  • Once again you beat me to the punch! I was thinking of posting on their sophomore album sometime next week.

    Jesse a.k.a. The Vicar — November 23, 2006 @ 4:32 pm

  • i love that cd, its a classic

    Ledbelly — November 24, 2006 @ 9:29 pm

  • Hmmmm…no, I can’t say I miss these guys.

    Jeff — November 25, 2006 @ 11:54 pm

  • This is so weird. I downloaded “Sherry Fraser” off iTunes last week. Thanks for the great songs.

    Aggressively Stupid — November 26, 2006 @ 10:15 am

  • Trivia question: What is Marcy Playground?

    Answer: A park in Minneapolis, from where one of the band members hails.

    Anonymous — November 26, 2006 @ 9:17 pm

  • Why thank you, anonymous!

    heather — November 26, 2006 @ 9:21 pm

  • Cool blog. The Ray Lamontagne post was great. Just saw him last week at The Paramount. Marcy Playground; very cool band. I saw them once in Denver and once in Cleveland. I thought the Denver show (when they opened for Toad) was at The Ogden? The Fillmore didn’t even exist, yet. Wasn’t it then called The Mammoth? Which by the way, the sickest 311 show I ever saw was at The Mammoth with No Doubt opening.

    Bradley A. Carver — December 1, 2006 @ 9:27 am

  • Bradley,
    I used to live in the SF Bay Area, so we were talking the Fillmore in SF, the granddaddy of them all in my mind. :) Good memory you have for shows you’ve been at – it all blurs for me….

    heather — December 1, 2006 @ 9:45 am

  • There is also a Marcy Playground on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, quite near the Marcy Projects where Jay-Z grew up.

    BTW. Love your blog!

    fb — December 1, 2006 @ 10:44 am

  • I love Marcy Playground they were one of my favorites. I sure hope they come out with some new stuff. Alot of it is very mellow and soothing, Good Stuff. Check out “One more suicide” and “Opium”. Love it myself.

    Anonymous — December 1, 2006 @ 6:25 pm

  • Ah, it is all coming together now…:-) Toad was my all time favorite in college. I first saw them in 92 at The Garage in Denver (somewhere in what is now LoDo). Very swanky place. I remember Glen coming out w/ a shaved head and hitting “Ocean” perfectly. Saw them four or five more times before they broke up including the reunion show at The Fox a few years back.

    I also really enjoyed your PJ tribute. By far in my top five bands. Most memorable PJ show was at Red Rocks in support of Vitology. Vedder came out on a bicycle and they rocked that house in a big way. The Riot Act shows at Pepsi a few years ago were also a memorable event. This year, however, was the bomb (particularly the second night).

    Music! It feeds the soul…:-)

    Bradley A. Carver — December 1, 2006 @ 6:34 pm

  • I *love* Marcy Playground – but not for “Sex & Candy” which everyone knows them for. Their follow up album, Shapeshifter, is for me, one the the most unknown and underrated albums ever.

    I didn’t come across it until later, so there wasn’t a chance for me to see them in concert (if they ever supported it). Darn!

    el walto — January 19, 2007 @ 1:34 pm

  • Shapeshifter is still one of my favorite albums… so where is Marcy Playground now? When is the reunion???

    Anonymous — February 15, 2008 @ 4:28 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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