It takes two

makeupbreakup are ready to make their move
By CHRIS CONTI  |  July 30, 2008
YOUNG VETERANS: Laorenza and Lamantia.

“Musically, we feel like we put a unique spin on electronic/pop rock music,” said Michael Lamantia Jr, aka “Mikeylams,” lead singer for electro-duo makeupbreakup, “and that comes with our 10 years of writing music and releasing records.”

The makeupbreakup machine officially gets cranking on August 19 when their debut EP, We Prefer Not To. . . (s.a.f. records), is released. This one defies pigeonholing, but it’s different and damn good. Call it electro-surf power-pop?  “Structurally, the EP is a pop album, and all the songs were written on organic instruments, not tabbed out in Fruity Loops,” said engaging bassist Alexander “Zan” Laorenza. “Listening to the album, you’d probably expect us to be prancing around onstage in high heels or something,” he said prior to their CD release party last week at AS220, “but we’re going back to our roots and plan on destroying shit.”

Childhood friends Laorenza and Lamantia started out as founding members of Providence post-hardcore outfit A Trillion Barnacle Lapse in ’99, and released three albums in seven years. Their 2003 sophomore effort Black Lava garnered props from Pitchfork, which said ATBL possessed “the rare skill to nakedly assimilate their sonic ancestors.”

With his sculpted 5-o’clock shadow, Laorenza looks like Vincent Chase from Entourage, and ironically lived in LA for a few years and played with “a bunch of coked-out musicians” before migrating back east, while Lamantia jammed in a few bands in Brooklyn before returning home, like all Rhode Islanders do. 

“We wrote and recorded demos for two separate projects within the span of less than four months — one was called makeupbreakup, the other was called PARTS,” Zan ex-plained. “We decided that whichever one got signed, we would focus on that.”

Makeupbreakup has been at it for just over a year, but don’t infer any new-jack connotations to these two.

“That whole ‘paying dues’ nonsense is just a lame excuse for old-ass musicians who have never been signed before,” Lamantia said. “Some people may say we’re new to the scene, but we have been performing since we were 15, played all around the country, and have had multiple albums released.

“Our goal is to gain a following on an international scale, not playing shows around here forever and pressing our own CDs,” Zan said. “Some indie musicians have the attitude that labels are passé and not necessary, but if you have no label, you have no distribution, and if you have no distro, your music only goes where you go.

“We are already on a label based in California and our promotion company is based out of New York City,” Mikeylams said in an e-mail. “I know for a fact that we have more fans outside of Providence right now.”

A recent jaunt through New York, DC, and Pennsylvania is comically documented on their MySpace blog, and Brooklyn is a MUBU hotspot, as the duo was welcomed early on by the finicky Williamsburg sect.

The MUBU mission is eagerly acknowledged by s.a.f owner Matt Driscoll, who had previous ties with Lamantia.

“We released another Providence band called Honeyhander a few years back, and some of those guys played with Mikey in ATBL,” Driscoll noted. “He sent us a demo of the makeup-breakup EP last year and we fell in love with them.” Driscoll anticipates a “huge buzz around the EP.” 

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