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Jeffrey Lewis performing at The Luminaire, London, England, 2006.
November 20, 1975 |
New York City, United States
|Associated acts||Schwervon!, Kimya Dawson, Major Matt Mason USA, Jack Lewis, Adam Green, Diane Cluck|
Jeffrey Lewis (born November 20, 1975) is an American singer/songwriter and comic book artist.
Born in New York City and growing up on the Lower East Side,1 Lewis attended State University of New York at Purchase and graduated in 1997 with a degree in Literature. His Senior Literary Thesis was on the comic book Watchmen.2
Lewis also lectured on the topic of Watchmen at the Institute For Cultural Studies at the University of Leuven, Belgium, in 2000, and the text of his lecture ("The Dual Nature of Apocalypse in Watchmen") was published in the book The Graphic Novel, edited by Jan Baetens, in 2001.
Starting in 2000, he spent about 2 years living in Austin, Texas, playing open mic nights, working odd jobs and distributing his autobiographical comics to local coffee shops.
Several of his musical influences have been acknowledged in his songs such as "Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror", "The History of The Fall" and "The Chelsea Hotel Oral Sex Song", concerning the song by Leonard Cohen. Lewis' lyrics are complex and literate, often combining a nihilistic world-view with a hopeful message and sharp wit. Growing up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, his songs are also highly informed by his home surroundings, with songs name-dropping places such as Williamsburg, the FDR Drive and the East River.
Lewis is often regarded as part of the antifolk movement, foremost because he was one of the many bands and performers (including The Moldy Peaches, Major Matt Mason USA and Lach) who played in the 1990s at New York's Sidewalk Cafe and its biannual antifolk festivals and open mic events. His music also possesses certain traits of a perceived antifolk style - a downbeat self-deprecating humor, an off-kilter singing style, a mixture of acoustic and 'punk' songs which feature themes of everyday occurrences and feelings. Lewis himself does not mind the 'antifolk' tag: "I think it's a cool title. The fact that no one knows what it means, including me, makes it kind of mysterious and more interesting than saying that you're a singer/songwriter or that you play indie rock."3
In 2003 he released the album It's the Ones Who've Cracked That the Light Shines Through, with drummer Anders Griffen. His third record, City and Eastern Songs, was released in the UK in November 2005 and in the US in September 2006. All three of these albums also include his brother, Jack Lewis, who wrote and sang a number of the songs. In October 2007, Lewis released 12 Crass Songs, an album consisting entirely of songs written by the anarcho-pacifist British punk band Crass, reworked to match Lewis's antifolk style.
In June 2008 Jeffrey Lewis with his brother Jack were the support act for Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks in Europe. Other well-known acts that Lewis has performed shows or whole tours with include Devendra Banhart, Jarvis Cocker, Black Dice, Adam Green, Thurston Moore, the Fall, Kimya Dawson, Beth Orton, Frank Black, the Fiery Furnaces, Daniel Johnston, Scout Niblett, the Mountain Goats, Dr. Dog, the Moldy Peaches, Cornershop, Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, Wooden Wand, the Cribs, Danielson, Herman Dune, Los Campesinos, Roky Erickson, and Super Furry Animals.
The New York Times online Op-Ed page "Measure For Measure" hired Jeffrey Lewis to write a number of short essays on the topic of songwriting, some of which he drew in comic book form. All went up on the New York Times website at intervals in Fall/Winter 2008.
Lewis has created a number of illustrated historical songs, usually sung while flipping through accompanying books of color drawings, including ten such pieces which are in use by The History Channel on their website.4
In November 2011 The New York Times ran a feature article on Jeffrey Lewis in the Arts section of November 23, written by Ben Sisario.
In January 2013, Lewis gave an interview with Audio Antihero's Jamie Halliday for GoldFlakePaint, where he revealed that there would be upcoming releases by himself and Jack Lewis and another record with Peter Stampfel.5
Jeffrey has his own comic book series titled Fuff (formerly called Guff) available via Olive Juice Music.
In March 2009, he designed the cover to the sixth issue of Bearded magazine.
- Reflections on Tomorrow thus a yesterday Flower Shall Doom (1998)
- The Worldwide Comix Scavenger Hunt vol 1 (1998–2003)
- Reflections #2 (1998–2003)
- Trip to Key West (1999)
- 1999 European Travel Diary (1999)
- Jeff's Austin Diary (2001)
- Come to My Show (2004)
- Fuff # 1
- Guff # 2
- Guff # 3
- Fuff # 4
- Fuff # 5
- Fuff # 6
- Fuff # 7
- Fuff # 8
- The Art of Touring (2007)
- Comic book press kit for Mountain Goats' album 'Heretic Pride (2008)
- When Madman Was Good - Version One (1997)
- When Madman Was Good - Version Two (1998)
- Indie-Rock Fortune Cookie (1998)
- Journey to the Center of the Earth (1999)
- The Only Time I Feel Right Is When I'm Drawing Comic Books (2000)
- I Am, Of Course, Glad (2000)
- Kimya Dawson And Jeff Lewis (2001)
- Songs From Austin (2001)
- Diane Cluck And Jeffrey Lewis (2001)
- The Last Time I Did Acid I Went Insane (2001)
- Guitar Situations: Musical Conduct (2002)
- AntiFolk Collaborations Volume 1 (2002)
- It's the Ones Who've Cracked That the Light Shines Through (2003)
- Jeffrey Lewis "Four Seasons" Box Set (2004)
- City and Eastern Songs (Jeffrey & Jack Lewis) (2005)
- Gas Money EP (2005) (split with Schwervon!)
- Tapes From The Crypt (2006)
- 12 Crass Songs (2007)
- City and Eastern Tapes (2008)
- 'Em Are I (Jeffrey Lewis & the Junkyard) (2009)
- Come On Board (Peter Stampfel & Jeffrey Lewis) (2011)
- A Turn In The Dream-Songs (2011)
- "The Chelsea Hotel Oral Sex Song" (2001)
- "Back When I Was Four" (2002)
- "Graveyard/Spirit of Love" (2002)
- "No LSD Tonight/Don't Let The Record Label Take You Out To Lunch" (2003)
- "Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror" (2005)
- "Had It All" (2005)
- "To Be Objectified" (2009)
- "Roll Bus, Roll" (2010)
- "Cult Boyfriend" (2011)
- Antifolk Vol. 1 (2002) - "You Don't Have To Be A Scientist To Do Experiments on Your Own Heart"
- Call It What You Want This Is Antifolk (2002) - "So Long (I'm Gonna Go Draw All Alone In My Shack)"
- Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before (2003) - "Part-Time Punks"
- The Art Star Sounds Compilation (2005) - "Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror"
- Still Unravished- A Tribute to June Brides (2006) - "Waiting For A Change"
- Anticomp Folkilation (2007) - "The River" (with Diane Cluck)
- Tallahassee Turns Ten: a Mountain Goats Cover Album (2012) 6
- Audio Antihero Presents: "Some.Alternate.Universe" for FSID (2012) - "Dog Eat Dog"
- Weary Engine Blues: Crossroads (2013) - "Farewell Transmission"
- The official Jeffrey Lewis website
- Russian-english podcast about Jeffrey Lewis in Moscow
- Efe Eme spanish magazine interview by Eduardo Tébar
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