t h e   t a r d y
m e d i a   k i t
For booking, interviews, etc., contact:
Handstand Command, Box 440422, Somerville, MA 02144-0006. jef@highwaterbooks.com. 617.501.2505
b i o g r a p h y

Like the other bands of the Handstand Command music collective, The Tardy was formed in the city of Somerville, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston and Cambridge (named a "hip" place to live by Utne Reader for what it's worth). Jef Czekaj, looking to expand upon the 4-track, sample-heavy songs he had been writing and recording for several years, teamed with friend Steph Melikian to form a guitar and drums indie rock duo. Combining Jef's melodic, chimey guitar playing, Steph's muscular drumming, and dueling vocal harmonies, the Tardy was born in the year 2000.

The Tardy play pop songs stripped to their core. With the most basic of tools and without layers of sound to hide behind, Jef and Steph create songs that you'll find yourself singing in the shower days after hearing them, songs that beg to be put on mix tapes. They have been compared to the Violent Femmes, the Spinanes, "pre-pretense R.E.M," and the Boston Phoenix has called the songs "Hate-Your-Friends era Lemonheads as recorded by the Elephant-6 pixies."

Over the past 2 years The Tardy have with performed with acts such as Mary Timony (Helium), Thalia Zedek (Come), and Mark Robinson (founder of Teen Beat Records), joined Sarah Dougher for a brief tour, performed at the City of Somerville's Spice of Life festival, helped organize a "punk rock crafts fair," and still, both Jef and Steph manage to be in several other bands. As core members of the Handstand Command music collective, Steph also plays guitar and drums in the Operators, and Jef plays drums in The Anchormen and Sinkcharmer (He is also a cartoonist and creator of the comic, R2-D2 is an Indie Rocker.)

Their first release, The Tardy, is a good summation of the Tardy's modus operandi. A burst of pure indie-pop energy, it consists of four criminally catchy songs, each less than three minutes in length. The Tardy may be late, but they don't hang around longer than necessary.

p r e s s   p h o t o s


300 dpi, color. jef czekaj, steph melikian.
photo copyright 2002 by mat schwartz.


300 dpi,b/w. steph melikian, jef czekaj.
photo copyright 2002 by mat schwartz.


300 dpi, color. jef czekaj, steph melikian.
photo copyright 2002 by mat schwartz.

r e v i e w s


(note: these are reviews are for jef czekaj's solo album, which features many songs now performed as the tardy. tardy reviews will be posted when we get them.)

Boston Phoenix, Carli Carioli:

"It looks and sounds like the kind of handmade pop album you'd make if you'd had to repeat fourth grade for an entire decade," the local critic raves. There's this great song called "Freshest Beats" where Jef sings, "I've got the freshest beats," but you kinda have to take his word for it because there's no drums on the song at all. In fact, for a solo album by a drummer, there are hardly any drumming, and it would appear that what little there is has been sampled from Madonna and Dirty Three albums.

There is a very good song about retail chains and Satan. It starts with Jef singing "Buy me something from Pottery Barn" and ends with "Old Navy is responsible for all the evil in the world." He's nothing if not a partisan shopper. And then there's this techno breakbeat at the end, as if he'd wandered into an Oak Tree outlet or something. He also does a Mary Timony song -- "Honeycomb," from The Dirt of Luck -- and he has a song that's just him playing video games for two and a half minutes. And though "Undead Flowers" doesn't sound at all like the Stones' "Dead Flowers," it could be Hate Your Friends-era Lemonheads as recorded by the Elephant 6 pixies, with a solo that's just someone playing "London Bridge" on a Casio. -Carli Carioli, Boston Phoenix, 11/9/00

Northeast Performer, Tim Cawley

Armed with a guitar, four-track recorder and a beat box/Casio keyboard he probably unearthed at a garage sale, Jef Czekaj makes an attention-grabbing debut with tearfast.

Overall, this seven track CD sounds like it could be the long-lost demo of a younger, angrier Beck. On some of the slower tunes, Fable of the Reconstruction-era REM also comes to mind...

...On this record, the medlodies--the songs carry the day. All told, tearfast is a simple, visceral album that seems a genuine labor of love for its creator.

The Noise

Like the title says, this was done directly to a 4-track but doesn't suffer an ounce because of it. The songs here actually benefit from the rough production because they're not the type of songs that depend on heavy studio chicanery. They're relaxed, extremely tuneful, inventive, and fit perfectly with the accompanying analog hiss.

Czekaj is an adventurous songwriter who combines a slew of instruments that probably didn't cost more that 50 bucks each and uses them to create 7 distinct songs that each have their own personality.

The low-fi aesthetic displayed on this disc proves that even now you don't need to have huge studio sound and a major label budget to put out good material, just an abundance of creativity and a microphone.

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the tardy. box 440422. somerville, ma 02144. 617.625.1543. jef@highwaterbooks.com.