BWW Preview: YOUR DYING WISH COME TRUE by Jim Andralis
Welcome to the wild woolly world of Jim Andralis! You may remember Jim from NYC's gay post-punk sensations, The Isotoners and as a regular at the raunchy and fabulous monthly revue, Our Hit Parade at NYC's Joe's Pub. He's BACK with an amazingly wonderful solo debut - Your Dying Wish Come True. Your Dying Wish Come True is an album of songs that are simultaneously sad, happy, maudlin, uplifting, base, refined, hilarious, solemn, clever, silly, heart wrenching and always downright captivating.
The brilliant, funny and sometimes utterly heartbreaking songs of Jim Andralis explore the fragile beauty of human connection and stubborn hope in the face of its loss. Andralis wrote Your Dying Wish Come True during a period of several sudden and not-so-sudden personal tragedies. The album's nine original compositions and one cover grapple with the fears and uncertainties faced by everybody - the absence of loved ones, the absurdity of daily existence, the search for meaning - and through the very act of songwriting make a case for solace.
As Andralis writes in "Carousel," his song about the improbable human affection for traveling in circles atop a wooden horse, there is, after all, a reason we want to ride: "It's the people you love/who stand and watch you ride the carousel/you wait for those seconds/you know that you'll see 'em/they'll all wave like crazy and laugh for no reason/and that keeps you going until you pass by them again."
Andralis wrote, sang and played the accordion in the early-to-mid aughts downtown NYC band The Isotoners, a gay post-punk cult sensation (http://theisotoners.bandcamp.com). During those years, he joined a vibrant community of performers including rock/cabaret/comedy superstar Bridget Everett (Gynecological Wonder, Rock Bottom); performance artist/rapper Neal Medlyn (Champagne Jerry); artist/entertainer Larry Krone (Larry Krone and Family, House of Larréon, as well as Andralis's husband!); comedian/king of downtown Murray Hill, and musician/actor/performance artist Carmine Covelli (Tender Moments, The Julie Ruin, People Are Detectives), several of whom appear on Your Dying Wish Come True, Andralis's first solo effort.
After The Isotoners disbanded, Andralis began performing solo material while doing occasional gigs with Krone and Everett, appearing as a guest vocalist with former fellow Isotoner Clint Asay's band, Clint Michigan, and sitting in on recordings and live gigs with other artists, including Scott Matthew, LD & the New Criticism and Kimya Dawson.
The acclaimed monthly variety show Our Hit Parade- which debuted in New York in 2008 at the Zipper Factory Theater and continued monthly at Joe's Pub at the Public Theater through 2012 - became a new performing home for Andralis, where he established himself as a featured player among a dazzling roster of performers, including Kathleen Hanna, Adam Horovitz, Lily Taylor, Amy Schumer, Alan Cumming, Jenn Harris, Erin Markey, Cole Escola and Molly Pope.
During this time, Andralis was living a strange and at times hilarious double life. Having put himself through grad school tending bar in one of the East Village's grimiest gay dives, he built a Manhattan psychotherapy practice. By day he was helping his clients; by night he was singing his heart out, reinterpreting top 10 pop hits for Joe's Pub's adoring audiences in funny, sweet, sad and downright filthy ways. (A scene from his whiplash life, summer of 2011: Andralis finishes the last psychotherapy session of the day and swings into action with Larry Krone in search of neon bras for Covelli and Horovitz to sport during their Our Hit Parade rendition of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy," which includes - besides the aforementioned bras - actual recorded audio of Andralis's crazy neighbor screaming at him through his apartment door.)
Four years later, Andralis' careers continue to enrich and inform each other - his work in his practice gives him courage as a songwriter to delve deeper into his own psyche, and the creative and emotional risks he takes as a performer make him a more perceptive and compassionate therapist.
Your Dying Wish Come True maintains the collaborative spirit of Jim's musical history in New York, while for the first time defining him as a solo songwriter and singer. In these tracks one can hear influences as disparate as Melanie, Patty Griffin, George Jones, Tom Petty, Meatloaf and the emotional spin cycle of a seventh-grade diary (his, but maybe yours, too) cozying up and becoming friends.
Andralis is supported on this record by many of his friends, each unique and incredible talents. Performers include Tim Foljahn (Two Dollar Guitar, Cat Power, Townes Van Zandt); Tom Beaujour (Nada Surf, The Virgins); husband Larry Krone; Amy Bezunartea (New Villain on Kiam Records); Clint Asay (Clint, Michigan); Carmine Covelli (People Are Detectives, The Julie Ruin, Tender Moments); Matt Ray (Taylor Mac, Justin Vivian Bond, Joey Arias) and Bridget Everett (Gynecological Wonder, Rock Bottom).
The album is available on vinyl at Jim's Bandcamp page: https://jimandralis.bandcamp.com/releases and digitally at iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/your-dying-wish-come-true/id1080083735.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jim Andralis