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The Village Voice
December 28, 1999

JEW TO THE WORLD! at The Knitting Factory. Power-pop mensh Sean Altman gives Jews a chance to do something on Christmas Eve besides go out for Chinese food, hosting an entire minion of Hebraic Downtown characters. Sure, tough folk-rocker Patti Rothberg is the big name. But I bet the comic highlight will come when Sean Altman and Voice critic Rob Tannenbaum reprise their '98 hit single "Hanukah With Monica" ("a satirical must-hear holiday carol," raves The Jewish Forward), and the B-side, "(It's Good To Be) A Jew at Christmas."
The New York Times
December 24, 1999

JEW TO THE WORLD! Knitting Factory.

Jewsapalooza, the jovial Semitic alternative to Christmas week, continues with this night of singer-songwriters kvetching and celebrating. It's organized by Sean Altman, the wacky former Rockapella main man, so expect lots of clever jokes along with the post-Hanukah cheer.

Goyim, remember, there's time to stop by before midnight Mass.
The New York Times
June 19, 1999

Your Assignment: Fix New York's Schools

Rudy Crew, the Chancellor of New York City's public schools, occupies one of the hottest seats there is. Parents, teachers, the Mayor and many others have had criticisms of the schools, and suggestions of all sorts have been offered -- vouchers, tougher standards, year-round classes, bigger budgets. Here, an assortment of responses to the question, "What would you do to improve city schools if you were Rudy Crew?"

SEAN ALTMAN is a Manhattan singer-songwriter and the composer of the theme song for the PBS program "Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?"

My music schooling at Bronx P.S. 24 appeared serviceable at the time. In retrospect, though, it seems tragic that I didn't attend my first live concert (Art Garfunkel at Carnegie Hall) until I was 17. What's music education without exposure to real musicians? Any overheard schoolyard conversation is evidence that nothing excites kids more than music. Musicians, even more than athletes, are the heroes of youth.

Happily, the feeling is mutual; a performer feels no greater joy than when a youngster smiles, as I know from my experience with Rockapella. I thus propose "Musicians Back to School," an ongoing series of unpaid school performances by the huge crop of willing local talent. While admirable piecemeal efforts have been made in the past, it's time for an all-out music awareness juggernaut.

This is the most eclectic music city in the world; our kids should be the nation's most well-versed. No student should be able to graduate without having experienced live, in-school renditions of the 11 Indispensable Post-Renaissance Compositions: Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, "Ode to Joy," "Waltz of the Flowers," "Begin the Beguine," "Unforgettable," "Hound Dog," "Crazy," "Respect," "Yesterday," "Rapper's Delight" and, emphatically, "Free Bird."
The World's Magazine

March 3-10, 1999


NEW YORK CITY - This past Saturday night, while standing in the gaggle of people near the stage at Arlene Grocery, I felt great just bopping and listening to Sean Altman & his Muscular Band. Then I did what I always do when considering whether or not to learn more about or follow a group of musicians: I scanned the crowd.

Whenever you go out to hear live music, especially in Hipper-than-Thou cities like New York, San Francisco, or London, you expect to find an attentive if sullen near- motionless crowd. Or you find a sullen, near-motionless band. Or both.

But everywhere I looked in this crowd I saw people SMILING! I saw people smiling, swaying, or just bouncing in place --- wishing Arlene Grocery had a dance floor. THESE PEOPLE FELT GOOD! Because of the music Sean Altman's band plays, and how well they play it, you can't help but feel good listening to them.

When I first thought about writing this review, I harkened back to the good times you're likely to remember when you think about seeing bands like the Beatles, the Beachboys, Stevie Wonder. Sean Altman's music reminded me of these groups because of three things:
- A focus on sing-a-long if you like, clear lyricism.
- Excellent vocals --- in fact, this band does lots of sterling a cappella work.
- Music that's fun, makes you smile, want to clap your hands and shake your butt.

Since the band has a mailing list, and the band's latest release, seanDEMOnium was on sale at the show, I decided to get a copy. That's when I discovered the existence of The Seanosphere, Sean Altman's Web site. This is the place
to go not only buy Sean Altman's music, but to learn about All Things Sean --- including up-coming club dates, what other press has had to say about the music, et cetera.

In fact, this is where I found out more about the second CD I was given, "Hannukah with Monica." Some of you may already have read about this phenomenon in Rolling Stone, the New York Daily News, or other national publications. You see "Hannukah with Monica" was produced by a collaboration been Sean and Details writer Rob Tannebaum. It got air-play on the Don Imus radio show here in New York, and other national radio programs in Los Angeles and across the nation. It's a cute little ditty on That Scandal done in a barber-shop quartet sort of style.

seanDEMOnium, on the other hand is much more representative of Sean's band. And it's such a deal! How often do you shell out your hard-earned simeleons for a CD that includes thirty --- that's right --- thirty solid songs? seanDEMOnium does. I have eclectic tastes, so my faves on this CD cover a wide range of styles. I love "Miserable Destiny," a great rap-influenced tune (quoted on the G21 cover this week.) But this isn't gangsta rap, its more rap a la Blondie's great "Rapture."

The a cappella work on this album is primo! There are tunes that are clearly do- wop inspired throughout. But whether a cappella or with instruments, the band's vocal work stands out. Listening to seanDEMOnium you can clearly hear the influences of bands like Manhattan Transfer, Wham, and the effects of living in a cultural smorgasbord like New York City. The Latin beats are there, as well as the influence of reggae. But no matter what influence and styles are prevalent as you bop your way through this catalogue of sounds, it's all a distinct pleasure.

Readers in the New York area will definitely want to check these performers out. They will be playing regularly at Arlene Grocery during the next few months, so drop down and check them out. You can find a full listing of Sean's appearances (he also plays in an acoustic duo) by following the link to his Web site in this article.

Now here's the kicker: do not pop this CD out of your player after the end of the 30th song. Leave it spinning. After about a minute you'll find Sean's "Easter Egg."

Sean Altman is not just a fun guy, he's also a funny guy. At the end of this CD is a "conversation" between Sean and the receptionist at a major record label which is a crack-up! As another listener comments, "That routine alone is worth the price of the album!" I think you'll agree.

Rod Amis
G21 Staff Writer
Cosmik Debris

January, 1999

Sean Altman
seanDEMOnium (Big Sean Music)

After eleven years with Rockapella, Sean Alman broke out of Carmen Sandiego's world and into the Seanosphere, a place where a cappella is grand but guitars are allowed and pop rules.

Actually, Rockapella became one of the most respected acts in the specialized field of a cappella, gaining notable awards and an international audience, but their presence in the states was in too many ways confined by their status as the house band on the PBS kids' show, Where In The World Is Carmen San Diego?

All the while, Altman was looking for an outlet for his original songs and his instrumental talents, which he had been honing since his days with the seminal new wave outfit, Blind Dates. He found that outlet on his 8-track Tascam and cranked out seanDEMOnium, his first solo album, dropping his association with Rockapella to pursue his solo ambitions.

The ambition is high, but the talent behind it is impressive, and seanDEMOnium looks like the start of something very good and potentially very big. Mixing one man a cappella mixes that draw inevitable comparisons to Bobby McFerrin with guitar driven pop-rock tunes and a variety of clips and vignettes from day to day life in the Seanosphere, he offers up an intriguing and entertaining self-portrait.

It may be easier to find this one at than anywhere else, and the site's worth a look anyway. Wherever you find it, it's *what* you'll find on seanDEMOnium that counts, and you can count on some great pop and a good time.

Track List:
Seandemonium-bop * Person * Baby Go Bye Bye * Big Sean Music NY * Pretty Baby * I Quit * Falling Over You * Marry Me * Married Men * Day's Early Moan * I Won't Mind * The Pink Pig * Be My Friend * Rebecca * oooh-Angst * Julie Gone * Perky Interlude * Hazel Eyes * Sullen Malaise * Miserable Destiny * My Parent's Son * Electra * Polly Gets * You're Mine * Max & Sam's Phresh Jew Thang * Fan * Presto Change-o * I'm Waiting * Male Pattern Baldness * Are You A Man?

Shaun Dale
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Last updated: December 29, 1999

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