Northeast Underground

Fred Armisen single series features fake Northampton band

The Blue Jean Committee - Massachusetts Afternoon coverIn a 2011 sketch on the late-night comedy program “Saturday Night Live,” some light-hearted fun was poked at a fictitious band on the Western Massachusetts music scene.

Featuring actor Jason Segel (“How I Met Your Mother”) and then-SNL cast member Fred Armisen (“Portlandia”), the bit was a musical send-up of the denim-clad Northampton band The Blue Jean Committee and its “local” hit “Massachusetts Afternoon.”

Now, the spotlight is once again focused on the song as well as its odes to “writing love letters,” “hanging out on the porch,” and “drinking cinnamon beer.”

As the first release in Armisen’s “Hometown Heroes” collection of “carefully chosen singles from regional music stars of decades past,” The Blue Jean Committee’s signature number is being issued by Drag City Records as a 7” split-single with “Embrace Me” from the synth/ post-disco band The Fingerlings, who SNL viewers may remember from a February 2011 sketch on the show that featured Armisen and SNL-alum Dana Carvey.

Watch The Blue Jean Committee perform “Massachusetts Afternoon” on Saturday Night Live in 2011 here:

Described in press materials as “little heard pop music classics,” that Fred Armisen heard on his juke-box, each song listed above actually shares its roots in a far more strange and twisted place – Fred’s own mind.

Though now ensconced as the band leader on NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Myers,” Armisen’s tenure on “Saturday Night Live” featured the comedian taking on a number of musical roles that often included him taking on the guise of a made-up musician or band and playing a song in the group’s signature style – easy listening, folk, alternative and more.

The release of a second “Hometown Heroes” single has just been announced, and will include The Bjelland Brothers’s “Sparkling Apple Juice” from a 2010 sketch Armisen appeared in with actor Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”), as well as “Can We Stay With You?”, which was first brought to life in a 2011 SNL sketch that featured Armisen, actor Jim Carey, and former SNL standout Kristen Wigg (“Bridesmaids”).

Could a single or two from Armisen’s iconic punk alter ego Ian Rubbish be forthcoming? Fans will just have to wait and see.

For more information on Fred Armisen and his “Hometown Heroes” collection please visit www.fredarmisen.com and www.dragcity.com.

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