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Dimestore Scenario comes at ya with ‘The Gowanus Sessions’

Somewhere between the tree-lined streets of Park Slope and the end-of-the-world banks of the Gowanus Canal, Rachel Federman, Alexandre Perez and Joe Ciancimino – collectively known as Dimestore Scenario – found their sound. The “Gowanus Sessions” – the trio’s first independent EP – will be released on January 24 on iTunes, and To celebrate, the band will be playing a special show on that date at Southpaw, 125 Fifth Avenue, where they’ll be performing the five songs from the “Gowanus Sessions” along with a few other favorites. “We started getting serious in the summer of 2005,” Federman says. So serious, in fact, that all the members of the band decided to move into a single apartment not far from Prospect Park. “It’s been rough,” Federman confesses. “When we told everyone that’s what we were doing they said, “That’s not going to work!” Not too surprisingly, the band was indeed prone to all the behind-the-scenes scenes drama you’d probably expect – some jealously at home, some infighting in the studio and vice-versa. “There’s a lot of room for conflict,” Federman laughs. “It’s not like you can completely drop in when you go home.” Things became even more chaotic, for instance, when the band’s vocalist and predominant songwriter decided it would be a good idea to fix up Ciancimino with a friend from work. The two wound up hitting it off, blurring the lines between work and home life even further for everyone. Still, the close proximately of the band’s Park Slope apartment to the studio on 2nd Avenue and 15th Street where they recorded the “Gowanus Sessions” offered more pluses than minuses. The nearby Brooklyn Conservatory of Music was also a great place for the band to record a killer piano part for the EP. Unfortunately, that recording somehow became corrupted and couldn’t be saved. “It was the most perfect ever,” Federman cries. “It was very painful.” The band pressed on nevertheless, dutifully going back and forth between home and studio each day. “It took a lot of endurance – and a lot of red wine,” says Federman, 30. “We have a very cute mutt named Sky. She doesn’t like conflict and she reacts. She’s a good mediator. Joe is also very good at looking at the big picture.” Musician friends of the band seemed to be coming in and out of the studio all the time as they recorded progressed, giving the sessions a very “transient feel” according to Federman. “I think it had a real impact on the songs,” she says. “You would be playing together, and then the next minute the person would literally be flying out somewhere.” Sadly, some friends would leave and never return – like former Dimestore Scenario guitarist Joe Nagraj who died of a brain tumor at 29. “He was incredibly brilliant, Federman says. “Joe was a legend to all of our friends. He wasn’t interested in ‘making it.’ He had the spirit of doing your own thing, and didn’t care about what other people thought. He has a huge presence on this album.” Dimestore Scenario played a special tribute concert to Nagraj at Arlene’s Grocery back in November after he pass away, and the song “Contenders” on the “Gowanus Sessions” EP is dedicated to him. Federman describes the band’s sound as “stripped down, but with a big feel.” Federman’s Ivy League background stems from her days at Dartmouth College were she played in a forerunner of Dimestore Scenario called You with the Face. “We were known as the “seven screaming girls, but there were three guys in the band,” she laughs. New York always loomed large for the band mates, and Federman says they always dreamed about moving here someday, and what it would be like. “Dimestore Scenario” refers to the vintage five-and-dime culture that used to be such a large part of neighborhood life – they also scrapped a list of “the world’s worst band names” which included entries like “Post No Bills” and Bruce Springsteen – only not spelled that way. Federman moved to Brooklyn five-and-a-half years ago and somehow managed to convinced 32-year-old Perez – originally from Brazil – and 37-year-old Ciancimino – originally from New Jersey – to follow suit. I’m more into the transcendental, indie pop rock,” Federman says, “and Alex has more of that British new wave thing, with a little Brazilian influence. Joe defiantly has a harder, heavy sound from his Jersey band.” Together Dimestore Scenario conjures up a sound that has the ability to run the sonic spectrum. Federman advises music lovers attending the January 24 show at Southpaw to “expect a life changing show.” “There’s going to be a lot of variety,” she promises. “Loud, in your face rock, and slow, atmospheric songs.” Joining Dimestore Scenario on the bill will be Ciancimino’s second band Plaza Toros and Breaking the Silence. Comedian Selena Coppock will also perform. Doors open at 8 p.m. Dimestore Scenario hits the stage at 9 p.m. There is an $8 cover charge. Southpaw is located at 125 Fifth Avenue in Park Slope. For more information, call 718-230-0236.

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