For the Posers is the debut album from New York-based singer/songwriter/guitarist, Howie Statland and his new band, NYCSmoke. With 11 tracks of well-formed, intelligent and gritty rock, For the Posers reeks of the edgy attitude of New York's Lower East Side. After a creative journey, Statland has hit upon a musical nerve that leaves no room for wannabes.

It is no wonder that Howie Statland wound up where he is today. At a young age, Howie's mother, a pianist, began teaching him her craft in his hometown of Chicago. At age 13, Howie would hear his first Who album and be forever changed; abandoning the piano for a much louder instrument. "I wanted to be Pete Townsend," he recalls. With this igniting spark, he bought his first guitar and poured over collected albums by The Beatles, The Talking Heads, The Who, The Velvet Underground and Lou Reed, cultivating his talent.

Three years later, he began performing on the Chicago club circuit with various bands, further exploring his own sound and abilities. In 1989, Statland moved to New York City to attend college. It was here he met his future band mates of Thin Lizard Dawn who were subsequently signed to RCA Records. While in the band, he would record five albums and tour extensively. By their last year together, the band had grown artistically stagnant and collectively decided to dissolve the group.

While in Thin Lizard Dawn, Statland continued to pursue a variety of musical interests with a project called Low Flame. This solo effort resulted in two self-produced lo-fi albums; Slave to the Party and Low Flame; the latter being the score to his independent film of the same name written and directed by Statland.

In fact, it was Low Flame that caught the attention of renowned composer, Philip Glass. Glass had attended a screening of Low Flame at New York's P.S.1 Contemporary Arts Center where Statland provided live accompaniment. Impressed with Statland's compositions and talent, Glass invited him to collaborate on a score for a film by Ralph Steiner. This led to a live performance in New York for the film’s screening at the Anthology Film Archives and another well-received performance in Luxembourg. Howie views Philip as both a friend and an inspiration. "He has an amazing work ethic which I aspire to, " he says of Glass.

After experimenting with sounds and film during his Low Flame period, Howie decided it was time to "reel it back in and make a rock album." With his new band NYCSmoke and the debut of For the Posers, Howie has done just that.

Much of the raw material for this album came from Statland's Low Flame recordings and was inspired by a brief period of couch surfing and even living on the streets of New York City. Statland’s own recognition of fear, isolation and self-perseverance sets the tone of For the Posers.

Within the driving drum and bass of “Empire of Doubt (wine and roses),“ Statland revels in a broken dream that captures the breakup of Thin Lizard Dawn. Through the chaotic guitar solo and angry verses, Statland ultimately finds deliverance in the line, “Just one more thing before I go, don’t lose site of my rainbow.”

On “The Letter,” the smooth steadiness of the rhythm guitar and simplicity of the verses serve as the backdrop to a bittersweet love song in which Statland confesses, “Love is a poison, sucks all my words. Letters are better seen and not heard.”

With a nod to a certain Beatle-esque melody, “The Fallout” highlights Statland’s raspy-styled vocals, melodic guitar riffs and his solid songwriting skills. Describing the song as “"waiting for something you love to die," Statland sings, “If death is really God’s ocean, than we are his only wound. I heard you talk about devotion. I hope I hear from you soon. Your feast was a diet of illusion. You were begging for conclusion to your rainy days. “
Howie's philosophy of "simple is impactful" is apparent throughout the recording; from the arrangements down to the manic-noise guitar solos.
NYCSmoke is made up of Statland, Jon Weber (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) on drums, Martin Ewens (Big Mouth) on bass, and Rob Perez (Anxiety) on guitar.

The raw urgency heard on For the Posers is due in part to Statland's production, where he and his four-piece band played everything live in order to capture the true energy of his songs. For the Posers is a well-crafted, hard-hitting, straight-up rock n' roll album without any of the pretentiousness we've grown accustomed to these days.
With equal doses of sincerity, cynicism and melodic sensibility, Howie Statland and NYCSmoke challenge “the posers” and… anyone else who will listen.