Ithaca, N.Y. — The cover shows a picture of Taughannock Falls, and the album is filled with references to the city, with tracks such as “Green Street Blues” and the lead single, “The Haunt.”
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“I associate Ithaca with finding out who I am as a person,” says lead vocalist, Samuel B. Lupowitz, who moved to the city to attend Ithaca College in 2008. There, he and two friends formed The Ego Band in August of 2011.
The band now comprises eight members — all with ties to IC — and they are eager to release their sophomore album, Ten Square Miles, on May 5.
Lupowitz, who plays bass, organ and multiple pianos on the album, says the addition of so many new components, including vocalist Mandy Goldman and a horn section, made the project thrilling to create.
“It became more like a jazz band where I’m the leader and composer, but I don’t always need to be featured,” says Lupowitz. “There are all these other musicians now, and it’s really fun to highlight the personalities and talents of the band.”
Their debut LP, Songs to Make You Wealthier and More Attractive, received an honorable mention in Ithaca Journal’s Best Local CDs of 2012.
For that album, the group was forced to record in bedrooms, home studios, and at IC, in between other commitments.
The new album, however, was recorded and produced at the Electric Wilburland Studio in Newfield, which Lupowitz says enabled the band to harness the energy that’s emitted when they are all focused and playing together at the same time.
While the album clearly has a sense of place, Lupowitz warns that it is not meant just for locals.
“For people who live in Ithaca and know Ithaca, I hope the songs will ring true,” he says, “but I want people to be able to listen to the album and not need to know anything about the city to enjoy it.”
In fact, Lupowitz says he didn’t even plan to center the album on Ithaca when he began composing. Rather, the content was so influenced by his surroundings that he couldn’t help but concentrate the project on the city he has lived in for seven years.
“I was writing these songs about growing up, and even in the songs that aren’t autobiographical, those themes were coming out. It was a great way to tap into something that’s universal by making it specific and personal,” says Lupowitz. “It felt real this way.”
Ten Square Miles will be released on May 5, and you can pre-order a copy on iTunes, Bandcamp, Amazon, and at samuelblupowitz.com.
The band will perform the full record along with a few surprises during the album release show on Friday, May 8, at The Dock on Taughannock Blvd. More info on the event’s Facebook page.