What Is It About This Place?
Once upon a time, Secret Annexe was called 'chaotic yet calming.' Many trials, tribulations, and White Russians later, this septet of Baton Rouge guys and gals has learned to harness the chaos and expand the calm moments into a sharply focused panoramic landscape. Imagine if the Velvet Underground grew up commuting into the city instead of being constantly surrounded by the frenzy, then add in splashes of Neutral Milk Hotel, Wilco, and The Good Life. Now you'll have a rough idea of the Secret Annexe brand of baladeering. The band originally started with singer/guitarist Rob Mulhearn and his drumming wife Tammy, but since The White Stripes thing was over before it began, the Mulhearns recruited some local bohemians to round out the lineup: Shelby Rushing, who used to front the prog pop band The Gold Standard, lends his guitar and his well-trained ear. Kyle Bailey takes a break from his shredder duties in a metal band to play simple, melodic bass lines. Kelly Stone brings her versatile viola which can add a bittersweet touch to a soft song or a biting edge to a rocking one. Kevin Carbo makes noises all day long and some of the time it is when he is playing with this band. Andrew Toups plays video games more than he sleeps. His keyboard playing is influenced by 8 bit games more than rock music. Tammy Mulhearn knows what is good for the song when she plays the drums, whether it's a simple beat on the tambourine or a thunderous roll on a floor tom. Rob Mulhearn writes songs about joy, despair, love, hope, loneliness, and traveling and sings them with an earnest passion, when he can remember the lyrics, that is. Their debut album, What is it about this place?, was recorded by Fred Weaver, Baton Rouge's own Steve Albini, at Apocalypse the Apocalypse and was released on Ocelot Records in the summer of 2005.