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Burnt Fur (2003-2010) was an electronic band from Boston, MA comprised of Scott Harrison (vocals, guitar, songwriter, producer), Shana Simpkins (vocals, drum pads), Patrik Tirda (samples and keyboards) and Ian St. Germain (bass, drum pads). The band surfaced in response to the wave of artists revisiting the sounds of '80's new wave, intending to perform as a full band rather than standing by a cluster of electronics that could do most of the work. Each member would perform with a primary instrument, but they were known to swap instruments often depending on what suited their songs.Read More...
Although heavily influenced by new wave, Harrison and St. Germain had previously been in a band called Tracy Husky that sounded much more like the gauzy, feedback and distortion sound of Sonic Youth than the dance driven sound of New Order. They wanted to blend these ideas together, creating an organic yet sonic sound coupled with bright, precise electronics. Tirda would manipulate sampled sounds from the golden age of arcade games to blend in and out of Harrison's swirling, effect driven guitars. Having four members ensured that there was always someone performing on the stand up drum pad kit, which would further differentiate the band from the majority of electronic acts that did not have live percussion.
Gathering together the songs they had created from 2003-2006 the band recorded two singles to release while they continued to perform locally and complete their debut album. "Vitriol," the first single released the summer of 2007, was chosen to contrast heavily against what the band perceived as weak electronic acts in the aftermath of the electroclash scene that had occurred earlier in the decade. The band decided to release cover songs for b-side material, New Order's "Ultraviolence," and The Human League's "Seconds," again for contrast and to show solidarity with the selections. The single received mixed reviews but connected the band with some of the right locals, ones that would understand where they were headed. The band's next single in November of that year was "Radiate," which would have moderate success in Europe and the west coast of the US. Slowly the band built a following in their hometown while completing their debut album during the winter. In spring 2008 their debut Unfurl was released. This gave the band the break they needed with the local and national press via blogs and music websites. The band was featured in Electronic Musician magazine in a piece covering D.I.Y. electronic releases in April that year. Most reviews were impressed with the release, with a few detractors that would clearly prefer their electronic music more polished and with layers of production.
Having a full electronic band meant having a lot of equipment to carry in order to perform, and this led to the band performing sporadically in the New England area. While planning to embark on a tour on the east cost of the the US to support the album, Shana Slater announced she would be parting with the band as she was moving to Florida. Quickly they adapted to become a three piece band, but the missing fourth member meant they could no longer play as many instruments in a live setting. After fulfilling any performance dates they had scheduled the search for a new fourth member began. The third single from Unfurl titled "Homage" was released to allow the band time to find a new member without losing the momentum they had work so hard for. It received less press and was less promoted than their previous singles. During the fall of 2008 the search was complete when Jean Kennedy, a friend of the band, joined as a permanent member. She had no experience performing or even playing instruments, but the band felt she fit into the group best out of any potential replacements.
While the band began writing material for their sophomore release in 2009, tragedy struck for Kennedy as a family member became seriously ill. It was apparent she would be the caretaker for children during and after the illness, and meant she could no longer perform or work with the band toward their next release. Having to once again adapt to become a three-piece band, the writing was on the wall -- too many changes and set backs were wearing the band down. Soon after Kennedy's departure, live performances ceased other than to book a Halloween show in Boston where they introduced new songs they were working on amongst some covers of their favorite goth songs, including a cover of the Halloween Theme from John Carpenter's Halloween. The band once again spent the winter writing new material.