Zoe Boekbinder was born in Ontario, Canada and currently resides in New Orleans. She tours internationally, playing her songs with clever rhymes about love gone awry, backed by live looped vocal harmonies and electronic beats. Her next album will be a collaboration with inmates at New Folsom Prison to benefit arts in prisons. For this special episode of BTR Hear & There, Zoe is joined by her friend and tourmate, Mal Blum, for an intimate performance at Sardine, a project space in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
FIGHTS is a six piece band from Lafayette, Louisiana. Their name — an acronym for “Formal Institute of Great Hit Tunes” — is something they consistently live up to with their local crowd as they brandish a sound they describe as “unmatched energy in a somewhat messy psychedelic swirl of chaotic beauty.” BTRtv was in Lafayette in April for the annual Festival International de Louisiane, which celebrates the French cultural heritage of southern Louisiana. While there, we were able to shoot the band performing as they rehearsed for the festival, then at their two festival appearances — at Blue Moon Saloon, a local venue, and on one of the festival stages during one of the busiest days of the event. Together, the three performances combine for a unique episode of BTR Here & There, featuring J. Burton on lead vocals and keys, Jessie Lalonde on backing vocals and percussion, Brycen Gaddis on synth, Matthew O’Neal on bass, and dual drums courtesy of Dallas Griffith and Danny Devillier.
Based out of Portland, Maine, A Severe Joy is the new electro-pop project of musician José Ayerve, formerly of indie rock band Spouse. On stage he wears a Batman-like mask as he plays his beat-heavy pop ballads. Though the music is vibrant and booming, it still retains a sentimental tone, as he often sings about love stories. Here he performs under Tukey’s Bridge in Portland. Thanks to Chelsea Dowd for audio assistance.
The Banjees are an indie-rock band from Brooklyn. The four-piece — made up of Thompson Davis, Nick Barone, Peter Goldberg and Chris Rominger — blend lo-fi and 60s pop for fun, jangly music. On this episode of BTR Hear & There, they perform a frenetic, catchy new song called “Hong Kong Blondes” at the Gowanus Ballroom, an alternative gallery/venue space in Brooklyn.
Shenandoah and the Night is a dreamy indie-pop group from New York City. Led by sultry vocalist Sheah Ableman (formerly of San Francisco’s Yard Dogs Road Show), the band sometimes incorporates Doo-wop and folk into their music, channeling the sounds of Nina Simone, Janis Joplin and The Black Keys. Ableman is an especially captivating frontwoman, full of endless flair and personality. Here, the group performs at the bar Brooklyn Social in Carroll Gardens.
Ava Luna is a unique seven-piece from Brooklyn, whose music has been compared to the Dirty Projectors and TV On The Radio. Their songs — featuring elements of pop, R&B, and post-punk — are an impressive musical collage: soulful crooning and 60s girl-group harmonies interspersed between funky hooks and punk noise. Here, for a special SXSW edition of BTR Hear & There, a few band members speak with BTR’s Matt Lehtola and perform “A Year Of Mirth” inside their tour van.
Nigerian-born, but based out of Cincinnati, Ohio, Baoku Moses is an accomplished African singer, songwriter, drummer and dancer. Inspired by the famous Fela Kuti, his style of Afrobeat is exhilarating, laced with complex rhythms and bursting with Moses’ expert percussive skills. Many of his songs, like Kuti’s, teach messages of unity and peace. He currently leads the group Baoku & The Image Afro-Beat band, but on this episode of BTR Hear & There, he performs solo on a rooftop in Manhattan.
Led by singer-songwriter and filmmaker Marc Cantone, Brooklyn band The City and Horses plays fun and spunky indie-pop that channels everyone from Belle & Sebastian and Beck to The Pixies and The Velvet Underground. One of their songs was featured on the soundtrack of Paper Heart, a romantic comedy starring Michael Cera and Charlyne Li. Here they perform the quirky, catchy tune “We Will Never Be Discovered” at Grooveshark’s offices.
After years of releasing music as a singer-songwriter, Brooklyn-based musician Lauren Zettler needed to make a change. Her new electro-pop project, Lightyear, is catchy, yet dramatic, and shows her as graceful, but still vulnerable about her emotions. Drawing from influences like Emily Haines, Feist and Robyn while also tapping into her own technical skills — she’s a classically trained pianist and studied film scoring at the Berklee School of Music — Zettler is able to create beautifully fragile moments that build up to powerfully stirring points. On this episode of BTR Hear & There, Lightyear brings her pulsating music to an industrial warehouse gallery space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
Originally an electronic duo from Florida, Conveyor has evolved into a Brooklyn-based quartet whose ambient, experimental indie-pop is marked by warm, folk-inspired melodies that glimmer with bits of dazzling synth. The band — consisting of Gary Alan Busch, Jr., Michael Ryan Pedron, Evan Michael Garfield, and Timothy John Masters — experiments with different textures and moods, sounding like a hybrid of Iron & Wine crossed with Caribou. On this episode of BTR Hear & There, Conveyor perform a poignant new song from their forthcoming EP inside of a glowing Williamsburg loft.