Ekphrastics: Make Your Own Snowboard  LP   (Harriet Records)

Release date: August 2, 2024

The Ekphrastics - Make Your Own Snowboard LP (Harriet Records)

The Ekphrastics

The Ekphrastics

Bio: For years, whenever Paul Coleman would see Frank Boscoe, he'd ask if he felt like playing some music together. Frank always demurred, having moved on to other things (raising a son, adventure racing, learning Italian) since his days fronting Wimp Factor 14 and Vehicle Flips. But there was that brand-new left-handed Eastwood Warren Ellis tenor guitar he bought in 2014, which he was going to have to play sooner or later.

Fast-forward a few years and Frank had semi-retired to a former army barracks on a small island off the coast of Maine, with music-making never more remote. Then came the pandemic. With no reason to leave the island (ferries down to three a day, nothing to do on the mainland), he took the still-new guitar from its case, only to discover he had forgotten all his old songs. Time for some new ones: "Ghost Apples", "Making Fun of Bitcoin", and others that would find their way onto the first Ekphrastics album, 2023's Special Delivery. Many of these were debuted live on Instagram as part of a Friday night concert series hosted by his friend Andrew Kaffer (Kissing Book). One of these virtual bills featured Frank, Paul (as Sinkcharmer) and Johnny Lancia (as Huron, also ex-Vehicle Flips). The three made a promise to reprise the evening in real life once the world was back to normal.

That evening would come in May, 2022, in Troy, New York. But instead of an evening of solo performances, Paul and John took it upon themselves to learn all of Frank's songs, enlisting Mark Wolfe as a lead guitarist. Frank Boscoe became Frank Boscoe and the Ekphrastics and then just the Ekphrastics, ekphrastic a useful albeit obscure word referring to a "clear, intense, self-contained description of an artwork".

Make Your Own Snowboard, the band's sophomore effort, is a collection of short stories about doing one's level best, whether that's making your own snowboard (title track), auditioning for a metal band ("Keys (To My Heart)"), hacking a pinball machine ("Intrepid Concessionaire"), or trading in your Mountain Goats records for a small sailboat ("A Good Day for Sailing"). The tone is warm, the production bright, the delivery deadpan, inspired by The Clean, Karate, Lou Reed, Richard Lloyd, and forgotten 60s one-hit wonders, for reasons both sonic and economic.

Make Your Own Snowboard was recorded at a former church in a remote corner of the Catskill Mountains. With its high, concave ceilings of warm wood, it was the best-sounding room any of the players had ever experienced. (They've booked it for another week in 2025; the exact location shall remain a secret). A mid-session snow squall found a chink in the massive oak front door that produced an oboe-like squall; listen all the way through and you'll hear it.