Reviews and Opinions

City Squirrel - defeat (2012)

Watch two new music videos from 'defeat'....
weather, whether
beads & chants

Listen to Stephan being interviewed on KINK FM

Read about City Squirrel's Desert Island Discs here...

No Depression
“It takes a certain proficiency – and, perhaps, sheer bravado -- to launch one’s self as a one man band, putting birth name in the back pocket and carrying on under the aegis of a made up moniker. In essence that’s the route Stephan Bayley has taken, and although this latest effort finds the Portland Oregon native in the able company of other players, clearly the vision remains mostly his alone. While the title may hint at misadventure, the music reflects a variety of different temperaments, from the hushed contemplation of “Weather, whether,” “Beads and Chants” and “Comfort” to the skittish neuroses of “Lockerbie” and “Free to Disappear,” not to mention the various mood shifts that fall in between. Bayley’s confidence has clearly expanded over the course of his brief career, and if Defeat is any indication, we may in fact be witnessing the emergence of major pop practitioner. Neither reticent nor overly aggressive, City Squirrel will have you eating out of his hands in no time at all.”
“I’ve had an advance copy of defeat for a few weeks and it’s been in heavy rotation ever since. Bayley’s songwriting is very cinematic, with melodies and chord progressions that flow unpredictably, but naturally and without meandering. Then he delivers a chorus that takes the song in a different, but equally satisfying, direction...The clearest influence would be the late, great Elliott Smith, especially in Bayley’s fragile tenor, but you can also hear elements of Neil Finn and Wilco in City Squirrel’s mixture of introspection and pop craftsmanship.”
“City Squirrel, to my surprise, is not your typical Portland indie rock band....I feel this band has a timeless sound and is not locked into any fads or trends that will disappear. Defeat will be gracing my headphones for years to come.”

101.9 KINK FM
“A nondescript CD stuffed into a little envelope hit my desk a month or more back. I did check it out and was surely intrigued. Then, the whole album arrived. Clinches it.”

City Squirrel - blow music only with delicate mad worship (2010)

City Squirrel's 'watertown' was the featured track on the cd in the March/April 2011 issue of Drumhead Magazine. Also there's a great interview there with drummer Dave Mattacks...check it out!

STL Beacon, St Louis MO
“The music was powerful and moving, combining a classic, driving power pop feel with occasional keyboard-driven ballads. And the lyrics spoke of endings -- physical and romantic -- as well as broken dreams and promises.”

City Squirrel - Storm (2005)

St. Louis Post- Dispatch, St. Louis MO
“...they truly make beautiful music together.”

Star News, Wilmington NC
“The pop duo...practically glows on it's debut album, Storm. Fans of the pop hooks and lush arrangements (Hungry Mind Review) was known for will notice similarities, but the sparse production of Storm places the emphasis in all the right places: Stephan's commanding vocals and Stephanie's talents as a violinist.”

C'ville Weekly, Charlottesville VA
“...modern duo masters on guitar, piano, organ and viola.”

previous albums/projects

Hungry Mind Review (2004) - Independent Weekly, Raleigh NC
“...Wilmington's Hungry Mind Review recently released one of the finest records to come out of Mitch Easter's prolific-of-late Fidelitorium Studio in years. Given that frontman Stephan Bayley has his Isobel Campbell in honey-voiced violinist Stephanie Wallace, it's no wonder that this painstakingly arranged dream pop could easily be mistaken for some trans-Atlantic hybrid of Arab Strap Belle & Sebastian charm and vintage Roxy Music smarts.”

Hungry Mind Review - Redemption (1999)Mojo Magazine
“Those booked into hotel indie this month include the anglo-philiac Hungry Mind Review, who cram Redemption full of splendidly intelligent, Fabs-derived fare...”

Stephan Bayley - Wilted Flower (2000) -
“Now here's a treat: Stephan Bayley, whose work with The Hungry Mind Review has so delighted me (most recently with the fabulous Redemption) sent along this home-burned batch of demos made at home on an old reel-to-reel. ‘The copy you have is one of maybe a dozen or so copies I've made to give out to friends, family, and whoever else might be genuinely interested in hearing it,’ writes Bayley. ‘If you don't think it would be a good idea to review something like this, I would not be offended.’ Hah! This is the shit I live for, boy. HMR records sound great, and Bayley is no less exacting when it comes to his home tapes; clear, warm and dry, Wilted Flower could easily be released commercially with a minimum of dressing up. The strongest pieces here are the intimate works for piano, vocal and percussion. ‘Smoke’ starts the album starkly, like something off Plastic Ono Band. ‘Grave Clothes,’ with its subtle Latin rhythm and jazzy chords, is more sophisticated than anything I've heard yet from HMR. ‘On Your Way To The End’ is slow and stately, with a gospel feel and an Eno-esque E-bow drone. And the title track wraps it all up with more stripped-bare, Lennonesque longing. It blows my mind that this guy has to put out his own records. Listen to Wilted Flower and tell me the industry ain't utterly fucked.”

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