When Andrew Romano and Alex Naidus first met in 2007, Naidus had just joined a band with his friends Kip Berman and Peggy Wang: The Pains of Being Pure At Heart.
When Naidus finally left Pains for L.A. in 2013, two hit albums and a few world tours later, he started playing with Romano to recapture the suburban-garage joy of making music for its own sake. It was “friendship incarnate,” Naidus remembers. The other members of Massage came from within the friend circle: Gabrielle Ferrer (keyboard/vocals) is Romano’s sister-in-law, Michael Felix (drums) is one of Naidus’ best friends, and David Rager (bass) is a childhood friend of Felix’s. When Felix moved to Mexico City in early 2020, Naidus’ wife, Natalie de Almeida, stepped in.
Massage first album, 2018’s Oh Boy, was a heartfelt tribute to their chosen heroes: The Feelies, the Go-Betweens, Twerps, Flying Nun. Their sophomore effort is called Still Life and is out now on Mount Saint Mountain and Bobo Integral.
What Gabi says: “Massage loves making mix tapes and playlists – Alex makes one on Spotify for every month, I make one about every year or two, ha. They take me forever! For this mixtape, I chose not only Massage relevant tunes but also ones that have great videos (just to help narrow it down a little!).”
Captain Sensible – Martha The Mouth
I’ll start off with a song that the band is obsessed with at the moment. Why wasn’t this a huge hit, it’s crazy?! This isn’t the official video, not sure there is one, but this edit is genius. It is such an unlikely perfect pairing. Don’t be surprised if you hear a little more Captain Sensible inspired production coming up soon.
Chris Knox – Not Given Lightly
We’re big Chris Knox fans and, although it may be obvious, this is my favorite song (rated New Zealand’s thirteenth best song of all time!). But again since this is really a video mixtape, this video is INCREDIBLE. It embodies the song so perfectly. Unflinching and flinching, the cuts and color shifts and extreme close ups. It makes the reveal at the end really hit, it makes me cry.
The Triffids – Beautiful Waste
For the last maybe 7 years, I’ve always put a Triffids song on mixes. It feels like there’s always more to discover in their catalog. I love this track so much, a perfect sparkly gem of a song. This video is super fun and again, a great pairing with the music.
The Vulgar Boatmen – Drive Somewhere
Vulgar Boatmen is one of my favorite bands, there is never a time I don’t want to listen to them. I think that they’ve had a big influence melodically and guitar wise on Massage. The video is live from 1992, Halloween Night at The Barn Of Barrington. I’m picking this track because I think it probably had the most direct influence on us, but this whole show is definitely worth a watch. There’s some female harmonies on the other tracks, which is cool to hear.
Look Blue Go Purple – Cactus Cat
This video was an influence on our video for Crying Out Loud (here the animation is drawn directly on the film, ours was rotoscoped). Such a beautiful song that really encapsulates friendship. So does the video!
RVG – Alexandra
I love RVG. Perfect Day was probably more of an influence on Still Life, but I remember seeing them play this song live and it was hands down one of the best performances I’ve ever seen. And this video is great.
Cut Worms – Don’t Want To Say Good-Bye
We love the Cut Worms and this animation by John Andrews. Such a good lyric video! It definitely inspired me to try hand-drawn animation for one of our videos (“Oh Boy”).