Marmoset 'fires their florist' 

After five years, the wait for a new album is over

“I went into this thinking, ‘Now that I’m releasing albums, I’m not going to miss a year,” says Jorma Whittaker, bassist of Marmoset. “And of course we lost out to that a few years ago.”

It’s been five years since Whittaker, Marmoset guitarist Dave Jablonski and drummer Jason Cavan last released an album, but on July 24, Marmoset finally returned with Florist Fired, released by Secretly Canadian with a vinyl edition coming from Joyful Noise Recordings. Marmoset will celebrate with a CD release party Friday, Aug. 17 at Radio Radio.

When the band started on Jan. 1, 1995, they were energetic. “We played every day for the first six months,” Whittaker says. “We recorded every day. When we started we were very active with it.” The band went on to release two albums and two EPs with Secretly Canadian, the last being 2002’s Mishawaka EP.

“We’ve been inactively releasing material for five years but not inactively recording. We’ve done a lot,” Whittaker adds. “Florist Fired was narrowed down from about 55 songs we recorded.” While there was a wealth of material to choose from, finding the perfect combination of songs for a new release proved to be the challenge. “We just weren’t really happy with the various potential lineups of songs we had.”

The 16 tracks that finally made the cut hit the listener with quick but powerful outbursts. Some of Whittaker’s favorites include “Das Boot,” a driving punk song in the vein of Colin Newman and his art-rock band Wire, which comes to a sudden halt in just 53 seconds. “Eat Me Out” is a minute filled with sleazy desperate promises. On “Apples,” Marmoset is joined by Pravada’s Casey Tennis, Jesse Lee and former member LonPaul Ellrich. And “Envelope” is a cover of a Sardina song by Marty Green. “They were a good mid-’90s Indianapolis band,” Whittaker says. “Our recording of it is my favorite thing on the album. It’s a clanky, digital mess.”

The album is their first full-length since 2001’s The Record in Red, and Whittaker is pleased with what the band has created. “The Record in Red was more of my own creation, which the band … might have thought was too mellow,” he explains. “We were determined that the next album we released would be more of a group project. I’m amazed at how it didn’t turn out — how I personally wanted it to — but I still like it (laughs).” The good news is Whittaker, Jablonski and Cavan already have plans for a 2008 follow-up, entitled Tea Tornado, that is 75 percent complete. While Florist Fired contains a raw, unpolished sound, Whitaker promises Tea Tornado will be a big studio production.

Marmoset hopes to celebrate the release with their first West Coast tour. “Come hell or high water, we’ll be out there, kids,” he says.

With the release of Florist Fired, Marmoset fans should find their wait worthwhile. And with the wait almost over, Whittaker offers a simple apology. “Sorry it took so long,” he says, smiling.

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