The Extraordinaires

extraordinaires.jpgThe Extraordinaires’ music speaks for itself – a fun and playful  indie-rock sound with obvious Southern roots. 

But, they are also thoughtful storytellers who captivate the listener with their music, which fundamentally represents who they are as people: consciousness and engaging.

The band was originally formed in South Philadelphia in 2004, as The Philadelphia Expedition Extraordinaires (though that is often shortened to just The Extraordinaires). Founded by Jay Purdy (guitar, accordion, piano) and Matt Gibson (bass, banjo) – who had grown up together in Charlottesville, Virginia – the band solidified its line-up two-years ago with the addition of Peter Hurd (drums) and Justin Wolf (guitar,) who have since been an important part of the band’s musical progression.

With this newfound stability in hand, they spent 2007 evolving their normal stage show into an elaborate musical, hiring actors to portray their songs in dance and movement. While The Extraordinaires are musicians, they are also artists grappling with what is essentially a human dilemma; how do you hold onto your morals and your convictions, while at the same time earning a decent living?

Their response is simple: they want to make enough to pay rent and everything else will be a bonus. It seems an idealistic view of their art, but in listening to their music, and listening to them speak of their music, this genuine belief shows through. They base this belief on what they have seen mass success do. Growing up in Charlottesville, they saw how corporations took over music venues there after The Dave Mathews Band exploded onto the scene in the early 1990s. The corporate take over of the music industry in Charlottesville made it more difficult for smaller local bands to play in local venues, which was exactly what made the Dave Matthews Band such a success there in the first place. It stripped the music scene of what made it special in the first place – the local community.

The Extraordinaires have not lost sight of their community. They have released two full-length albums under the locally owned and operated, Punk Rock Payroll. The success of the band "parallels the rise of the label" Hurd says.  The label started primarily as a merchandising enterprise, but has swiftly signed other local bands and expanded their inventory.

Music today is not what it was only a decade ago, now large labels and smaller labels struggle to incorporate a digital age with thoughtful and engaging albums at a fraction of the price. As musicians struggle to provide their music to the masses, and labels fight to make money, the Extraordinaires move forward, promoting their music on a label that promotes their same interests by providing good music to the fans. As their success continues, and the success of the label continues, it will be an experiment worth watching – to see how a label and its musicians can co-exist with the same fundamental goal, to make good music, without exploitation, and, of course to make rent.  

For more about The Extraordinaires, their music, and tour dates please visit www.myspace.com/theextraordinaires 

 

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