Four albums that inspired Zinskē's 'Murder Mart' - WXPN
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Listening to Murder Mart, the debut LP from Philadelphia rock four-piece Zinskē, it’s quickly evident that this is a band who appreciates a wide range of music. Easy points of comparison on the raucous 10-song journey include the suave indie cool of Dandy Warhols, the arena-aspiring rock energy of Smashing Pumpkins, and the brittle post-punk ennui of Joy Division.

Those reference points just scratch the surface, however. With the album out a couple weeks back and the band’s hometown album release party on the horizon for this Saturday at PhilaMOCA, we caught up with all four members of Zinskē to hear about four albums that inspired each of them during the making of Murder Mart. Here’s what they had to say.

Chris Lipczynski (singer / guitarist): The Amps – Pacer

The Amps’ 1995 album Pacer is a perfect record, in my opinion, and was s huge influence for some of Murder Mart‘s more indie-pop skewing tracks (“Ghost Dad,” “Horseface Josey”). Kim Deal has always been my musical hero and there is something so unique yet simple about her vocal harmony intervals that has been firmly planted in my head since the age of 13. Many of the choices we made around the LP’s tone and style were informed by my love of The Pixies and The Breeders, but this specific album from The Amps directly influenced me to steer my writing towards songs that are structurally simple yet somehow able to surprise within that familiar format. 

Emily Cahill (singer / bassist): Graham Parker – Squeezing Out Sparks

I’ve spent most of my teenage and adult years absolutely loving early-era Elvis Costello, but for some reason I’d never listened to any Graham Parker albums until relatively recently in my lifetime (they’re often compared). It’s everything I could want in a scuzzy pub rock album, and it was instantly a favorite. I think that Zinskē’s Murder Mart, while not at all late-70s pub rock, shares a lot of qualities with Squeezing Out Sparks. They’re poppy and hooky, yet still strongly rooted in rock music. They’re sardonic, cynical, and express a sense of dissatisfaction with the humdrum of everyday life.

As far as the instrumental aspects of the album, Andrew Bodnar does a fantastic job with the bass. It’s interesting, but not overly showy. I really think that’s the key to good bass playing: interesting but lays inconspicuously in the song. I try my best to do that with my own playing.

Kevin O’Halloran (guitarist): Yo La Tengo – Painful

Working on Murder Mart, more so than on other records I’ve done in the past, I really tried to point directly to the music that inspired my playing. In this case, it was the noisy, unrelenting drone of Ira Kaplan’s guitarwork on 1993’s Painful. I’ve always been drawn to how he would conjure melody and dissonance within the same phrase. From the pitch bends in the opening chords of “From A Motel 6” to the howling power pop riffs of “Double Dare,” Kaplan uses the guitar less as instrument, more as a conductor of electricity. Chaos under control, yet always on the edge of taking off completely. 

Derek Salazar (drummer): The Beatles – White Album

While it may not exactly be novel to hear someone was influenced by The Beatles, the 2018 mix of the White Album was on heavy rotation for me when we were writing and recording Murder Mart. Something about these new mixes connected with me in a way this album hadn’t before. It suddenly felt new and vibrant, like this layer of energy had been uncovered.

From tones to pacing, I think constantly having The Beatles on definitely seeped its way into our new album. A lot of Chris’s playing is rooted in some deceptive level of swing, and I love how Ringo uses that to push or pull sections of (or sometimes entire) songs. I also love how they managed to take a lot of these dark, kind of chaotic ideas and make them feel like pop songs. It’s all a little unhinged, but fits together so well.

It’s a little difficult to talk about this stuff while also trying to not sound like you’re comparing yourself to The Beatles, but – at least for me – there’s a direct through line that gets you to Murder Mart.

Zinskē’s Murder Mart is out now, and can be purchased on vinyl and digital at Bandcamp. The band plays its release party at PhilaMOCA on Saturday, March 5th; tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.

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