Comprised of Connecticut-born and Brooklyn-based founding trio Julia Zivic (vocals), her brother Jason Zivic (drums) and Itamar Gov-Ari (keys, guitar vocals), along with Mike Roninson (bass) and Chris Stelluti, Brooklyn-based neo-soul/indie soul/progressive soul quintet Vinegar Mother can actually trace its origins to when its founding trio started performing together under the moniker Julia Zivic and The Brothers. And as Julia Zivic and The Brothers, the trio a level of attention as they played the 2014 Greenwich Town Party Festival on a bill that included the likes of George Clinton, Santana, Buddy Guy and Dr. Dog — and they finished second in that year’s International TalentHouse Jimi Hendrix Competition for their rendition of “Red House.”
As the trio began to increasingly expand upon their sound, the founding trio decided to start anew and recruited bassist Zack Slaughter and Stelluti to record their debut EP as Vinegar Mother; however, shortly after the band formed, the band went through a lineup change that included Roninson replacing Slaughter, who joined the Marines. As Vinegar Mother, the band has developed a reputation locally as they’ve played a number of shows across this fair city — including The Knitting Factory and The Studio at Webster Hall — and along with a CMJ appearance last year, the band has opened for the likes of The Lonely Biscuits, Kat Wright and The Indomitable Soul Band, Joanna Teters and Mad Satta, thanks in part to an easygoing and jazzy take on neo-soul that sounds indebted to 90s Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and others, while possessing an expansive, prog-leaning song structure, as you’ll hear on the band’s latest single “Sunny Seat.”
As Vinegar Mother’s Julia Zivic explained to the folks at Impose, “Sunny Seat,” was inspired by personal experience and a journal entry she had been writing while committing to work. “I was writing on the subway after a bad falling out with one of my longest best friends,” Zivic explained. And as the story goes, as the G train she was on crossed the Gowanus Canal Bridge, the morning sun had hit her directly in the face. While being comforted but the sun’s warmth, Zivic wouldn’t shake the unbearable feeling of loss — and she begun to write portions of the song while on the train. “I remember writing about how desperate I was to get home to Itamar and Jay and make a song out of these emotions I had. This song and its natural coming about means a whole lot to me. It cuts me deep every time we perform it.” So it shouldn’t be terribly surprising that the song while being somewhat upbeat, possesses both a morning commuter’s weariness and a deep, bitter ache.
For the recently released video, Zivic’s vocals narrate and serve as the innermost thoughts and feelings of the video’s protagonist, also played by Zivic. Throughout the video, its protagonist is reminded of the fact that not only do ghosts linger, they are inescapable and find eerie ways to haunt you. And of course, we see Zivic rush back to her bandmates in Brooklyn to ostensibly write the song with an easygoing, cool-self assuredness.
Be on the look out for the band’s debut EP, The Sunny Seat, which is slated for a November 18, 2016 release, followed by a limited cassette release in March 2017 through Invertebrate Records — and for a growing slate of shows locally. Check out dates below.
October 27 – Shapeshifter Lounge – Brooklyn, NY
November 8 – Knitting Factory – Brooklyn, NY
November 18 – Radio Bean – Burlington, VT