The Building’s New Album Pays Tribute to Youngstown Music

click to enlarge Anthony LaMarca. - DAVID POKRIVNAK
David Pokrivnak
Anthony LaMarca.
Known for his role as guitarist in the indie rock act the War on Drugs and as the drummer in St. Vincent and Dean & Britta, multi-instrumentalist/songwriter Anthony LaMarca, who tours and records as the Building, moved back to Youngstown a few years ago. Once back in the town where he grew up, he started recording at Peppermint Productions, the vintage recording studio where polka superstar Frank Yankovic has recorded.

Last year during the pandemic, he recorded his latest album, Indianola Pizza Dough, working out of both his home and the Peppermint studio.

The album, which serves as a tribute to Youngstown music, comes out on Friday. An eclectic effort, it veers from nuanced indie pop numbers such as "Reconciliation Pt. 1" to stirring polka numbers.

“This was a really fun album to put together,” says LaMarca in a press release. “It’s kind of a mixtape of memory, mixing Peppermint’s polka/ethnic music history with its pop music history with my own family history. Peppermint is located on Indianola Ave, which is also where my great-aunt and uncle, who I was named after, had a pizza shop which fed many of the sessions at Peppermint back in the day. Some of those same musicians are also playing on the album."

The final mixes were printed to cassette on Youngstown polka superstar Joe Fedorchak’s old tape player. Peppermint co-owner Del Sinchak, a Grammy-nominated polka bandleader, sings on “Happy Times Polka.” Sinchak used to have a studio and label in Youngstown called WAM, which became United Audio and then became Peppermint.

The album includes the Building’s take on “You Excite My Soul,” the most recent song written by Tony March of Tammy Records fame.

“Tammy put out some killer doo-wop, soul and funk records over the years, and Tony [March] also used to manage the Edsels," says LaMarca. "When the Edsels recorded 'Rama Lama Ding Dong,' their backing band for the session was Del Sinchak’s band."

The album also features audio from an interview LaMarca did with the late Martha Krizancic, who ran Marjon Records with her husband Johnny in Hermitage, PA.

“They also did mostly polka/ethnic records, but also some pop gems came out of Marjon,” says LaMarca. “The Dead Boys recorded a 12-inch there in ’87 which was produced by Frank Secich of Blue Ash, who recorded all their stuff at Peppermint. The slate at the top of 'Can’t Control' is from a Blue Ash session. [It] felt like a fitting intro for my attempt at a power-pop tune. You can also hear a modern-day Gary Rhamy slate the track at the top of 'Different Story.'"

A few of LaMarca's musical friends from national acts perform on the album too. Bandmate Dave Hartley from War on Drugs sings some background vocals, and indie rockers Dean & Britta appear on “Reconciliation Pt. II.”

“This is my attempt to share what I love so much about Youngstown and Peppermint," says LaMarca. "And if you’re into the heavy emotional content too; the album is also about trust and truth and not lying to yourself or others. There’s also some thematic tie-backs to my first record, Reconciliation.”

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About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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