A brief biography :
Mark Schwaber is a veteran of the Western Massachusetts music scene, beginning with hardcore bands in the late 80’s and most recently including a shared stage with the Oscar winning songsmiths The Swell Season (of the hit film ONCE). He has released several critically acclaimed CD’s under various monikers. The most recent being 2004’s eponymous “Two Years and Thirty Minutes” and 2006’s “The Killing Card”. The latter featured appearances by Ida’s Ruth Keating and Killswitch Engage’s Joel Stroetzel and was praised far and wide.
Never one to settle for repeating himself, Mark set out to write a pure rock record. Louder, cleaner and more straight ahead and much less of a conceptual record this time out.
In stepped Sara Gomes (Something Of A Silhouette). A Hawaiian native and recent transplant to Western Massachusetts from Los Angeles, Sara’s effortlessly brilliant voice and intuitive sense of creativity helped take this next record to another place. From the age of 7 (through 18) Sara studied the art of hula in her native land. The elements of singing and chant were quintessential in the development of her unique ability. This was her only formal training in music and because of that raw, unadulterated heritage her voice has lent a decidedly new twist to Mark’s work.
The newest CD also features performances by Joel Stroetzel (Killswitch Engage), Matt Bachand (Shadows Fall). Matt Bachand also lent his ear and head in the arrangement process of a few of the songs. Tom Gomes (ex-Killswitch Engage) also lent endless amounts of post production work and vocal production. But rest assured, this is NOT a metal record!
Winner of the Valley Advocate’s Grand Band Slam Award “Best singer/songwriter” for 2008.
Winner of the Valley Advocate’s Grand Band Slam Award “Best singer/songwriter” for 2007.
Winner of the WRSI (93.9 The River) singer/songwriter competition 2005.
Reviews of "The Killing Card"
Mark Schwaber - The Killing Card
(CD, Pigeon, Progressive pop)
This is an intriguing album that immediately caught our attention. Mark Schwaber creates uniquely entertaining music from a different perspective. His tunes combine highly melodic thoughtful vocal melodies with abstract musical passages...and the end result is extraordinarily effective. Instead of predictable tunes and cute arrangements, Schwaber writes and records mature, intellectual tunes that are sometimes reminiscent of Sufjan Stevens. There is a wealth of material to take in here. The Killing Card presents sixteen thought provoking compositions that flow by seamlessly...combining classic elements with unpredictable spontaneity. This man is bound to be a major player in the years to come. Cool reflective tracks include "The Pressure It Feeds," "Torture Ground," " Island of the Burning Trees," and "You Are Just Like Me. You Will Never Be Free."
Recommended. (Rating: 5++)
"The Killing Card is Schwaber's terrific new album that features his finely crafted songs and masterful guitar playing."
—Johnny Memphis, Daily Hampshire Gazette
"The Killing Card is a powerful showcase of Mark Schwaber's songwriting prowess...well worth the investment." —Brett Cromwell, Northeast Performer
"Great emotional depth...profound."
Live review - David Ryan Polgar, Northeast Performer
What I felt the more and more I listened to this album was that it is Schwaber's answer to Radiohead's Kid A - a sonic assault bursting at the seams with brilliant melody . . . a testament to Schwaber's brilliance as a song and lyric writer. —Kristen Beam – www.masslive.com
My first experience with Mark Schwaber was the breathtaking "The Pressure It Feeds," a song that took my breath away both because of the magnificent musicianship and creativity but also because it was as close as I have been to hearing Elliott Smith speaking to me from the grave. 7.5 stars (out of 10)" - www.twowaymonologues.com
On 'The Killing Card' Mark Schwaber alternates his usual gossamer melodies with moments of laser-like intensity, resulting in a satisfying and beautiful patchwork of that thing we often speak of, but that we rarely really see: Art.
—George Lenker, The Republican
When an album gives me chills, it is surely a good sign. Sure the year is young, but this is one of my favorite albums of 2006. Period.
—Casey Hayman, The Local Buzz
Schwaber's beautiful fingerpicking, carpal tunnel-punishing flamenco work and silky-smooth pull-offs neatly adorn this ambitious 16-tune effort . . . a ferocious work.
—Gary Carra, Valley Advocate
Schwaber has a knack for creating both brilliantly sparse and intelligent tracks while also shaking it up by introducing different instrumentation, keys, and varying levels of emotional intensity blended with his favorite artistic influences. Songs like "Man Down" and his album closer "You are Just Like Me, You Will Never be Free" speak to the influential Smith, while more upbeat songs like "Island of the Burning Trees" will circle through your head long after you've put down your headphones. If you are looking for intelligently crafted, emotional pop with solid rhythms and laid-back harmonies then this is an album you could easily get hooked on.
—Lisa Town, Delusions of Adequacy (www.adequacy.net
Reviews of "Two Years and Thirty Minutes"
Reviewer: Christen Greene (faux pas productions)
This record is amazing. I haven't taken it out of the stereo since I picked it up a week or so ago. Lyrically, it's simple yet intricate. Musically, it's rich, layered and the production is beautiful. I wasn't surprised to see that some of the tracks were recorded at Slaughter House in Hadley, MA with Mark Alan Miller. Favourite tracks: 5, 6, 9, 1, 10. This guy really has something going on.
Reviewer: J. Johnson (neverheardofthem.com)
Fans of Elliot Smith, Death Cab for Cutie, and Lou Barlow have a new record to procure immediately. Devour repeatedly with delight the tender ballads and pop-rock gems of "Two Years and Thirty Minutes," Mark Schwaber's new release (Pigeon Records). Schwaber masters the 3 minute make-your-head-bob indie-pop song here with the tracks "On your way" and "Ghosting," and also gives us the minor-key melodies that both feed and heal melancholy with "Hell is here" and "Invited all." The record is wonderfully manic in this way, yet cohesive, like the one or two friends you still bi-annually keep in touch with from high school. [Note: Turn the car stereo WAY up for track 3, "Let down," and drive around the block a few times making faces at your neighbors. It's really fun.]
Every song is a gem
Reviewer: Shut Eye Records (shuteyerecords.com)
This creative style of ingenious indie pop provided a perfect mix of music that fully satisfied our thirst for new music. It definitely added a fresh new feel to the atmosphere here at Shut Eye that was enjoyed by all. Quite honestly every song on this album is a gem. And if you're in the mood for headphones then I suggest go ahead and entice yourself to some cerebral audio treats. The subtle sound additions in the background of a few tracks add the perfect garnish to the mix. For instance, I absolutely love the mellow "Crash Your Ride." With simple acoustic guitars and laidback vocals, this song stimulates the airwaves with a sound that is almost fragile. I also love the more upbeat tracks "Let Down" and "Watergun." These songs boast melodious electric guitars, solid rhythms and easygoing vocals that provide a perfect compliment to the music. —Chris Lewis, Shut Eye Records.
Amazing and long overdue.
Reviewer: Greg Saulmon
The record showcases Schwaber's wide range of talents, from his understatedly brilliant guitar playing (check out the quirky turnaround after the first chorus of "Watergun") to his knack for creating beautiful arrangements (dive into the lovely layers of "Hell is Here" and "Dignity in Death") to his seemingly endless supply of hooks (just try to get the vocal lines on "Let Down" or the guitar line on "Ghosting" out of your head). The mood on Two Years... shifts from straight-up rock to sparse, nylon-string dirges, but the unmistakable constant is Schwaber's superb songwriting. There are 11 songs in this collection, and only two of them break the three-minute mark. Chalk that brevity up to the fact that Schwaber has mastered one of the most important principles of songwriting: Don't overdo it. He never forces lyrics. If he's said everything he needs to say in a single verse, he brings the song in for a gorgeous, graceful landing, as he does on "Crash Your Ride." If he's written a wonderfully funny and catchy verse, he simply repeats it, as he does on "On Your Way." It's a compelling approach -- compelling the listener to revisit the songs again and again and again.