Gramercy Arms sounds like a Melrose Place-like apartment complex, the apartments enclose [or surround or encompass or overlook?] a pool. Sorta motel-style. Everyone hangs out. Gramercy Arms is a revolving NYC-based collective of musicians and artists established by vocalist/ guitarist Dave Derby (Dambuilders) and musicians Kevin March (drums), Rainy Orteca (bass) and Sean Eden (guitar).
In the vibe of Melrose Place, well-known indie artists drop by to create songs with them over the course of five years. The artists include: Lloyd Cole; Matthew Caws [Nada Surf]; Claudia Gonson [Magnetic Fields]; Tanya Donelly [Belly, Throwing Muses]; Hilken Mancini [The Monsieurs, the Count Me Outs, Fuzzy]; Kay Hanley; Peter Hess [TV on the Radio, The Hold Steady]; Verena Wiesendanger [Nous Non Plus, Semi Gloss] and Eleanor Norton [Elton John, Kanye West].
These collaborations resulted in a collection of laid-back, eclectic pop songs. “Winterlight” is a truly upbeat, catchy song. “The Night is Your Only Friend” is bluesy, soulful and piano-tinged [with haunting backing vocals by Kay Hanley]. Strings propel the wistful “Playing with Fire.” and the 70s retro “Yours Truly.” Beautiful, emotional songs with intriguing arrangements. “The Seasons of Love” is a stunning, rich swirly concoction with horns and the muted, gravelly backing vocals of Tanya Donelly, Verena Wiesendanger, Kendall Meade [Helium, Sparklehorse], Hilken Mancini and Sandy Smallens [Too Much Joy]. “Thin,” an exploration on truth and facades, is another masterful track where Derby’s moody vocals mesh exquisitely with the delicate, soothing vocals of Meade and Mancini.
The Seasons of Love