Archive
This Portland, Oregon-based group is a bright, spirited collective with 6 or more voices joining in, rallying around the lyrics of bandleader Tim Perry. With a positive vibe and uplifting themes, they operate under the admirable notion of using music to change the world. With their own language and an infectiously positive outlook paired with infectiously catchy songs, Ages And Ages just might have a shot at achieving their goal while creating some brilliant music along the way.
TEEN last visited the studio in 2012 for a stripped-down session, right around the release of their debut album. Now, with a leaner, tighter blend of synths, live and programmed instruments, and killer vocal harmonies, Teeny Lieberson and crew are back to share their latest jams. We’ve been into them from the first listen, but now, with the full live band experience at this session, their growing acclaim is on full display.
Monika Heidemann, formerly of Brooklyn pop band Xylos, has set out on her own with a bass guitar and an array of production instruments to bring her own gorgeously-penned songs to life. With minimal instrumentation, her clear vocals cut through with a certain determination, demonstrating a skillful depth that begs a closer listen.
Las Rosas (featuring Jose Boye from the band Harlem) is a new Brooklyn psych trio making catchy, hooky pop tunes. Though still a pretty fresh project, the band seem to have tapped into one of those classic formulas that works exceptionally well. They stopped by to play some songs and chat with guest host Travis Harrison about their music. Pay close attention for a pro tip in the fine art of bottle opening.
Monomyth is a psych-pop foursome from Halifax, Nova Scotia. To borrow from their official bio, since they put it so perfectly, they play “janglophile pop with a smirking sense of humour, stadium-sized hooks, and starry-eyed harmonies from the barbershop of broken dreams,” with inspiration from the likes of Sloan, Big Star, Television, and My Bloody Valentine peppered amongst their three lead singers. During CMJ 2014, they stopped by Saltlands Studio in DUMBO, Brooklyn, to play some songs and share tales of their highly inspired creative process and the challenges of a rivalry with a similarly-named band.
White Reaper is a badass rock ‘n roll/garage-pop band from Louisville, Kentucky. You really don’t need to hear much more than that to know that you’ll love them from the first fuzzy chord. They stopped by in the middle of a CMJ blitz for this session sat Saltlands in DUMBO, Brooklyn.
Flowers is the London-based trio of Sam, Rachel, and Jordan. Formed in 2012 and booked for a tour supporting The Pains Of Being Pure at Heart before playing their first gig, they’ve been making brilliant first impressions all along the way with their charmingly fuzzy pop. From solid, minimalist structures to sonic mayhem and captivating vocals, they band has a way of captivating audiences. They stopped by Let Em In Music in Gowanus, Brooklyn, while in town for CMJ for this special session, recorded by engineer Nadim Issa.
Flashlights are a punk band from Orlando, Florida. Like many groups, what began as a solo acoustic project in 2007 (in this case, for singer/guitarist Terry Caudill) eventually grew to include members of the local punk scene. With songs about such classic topics as dead end jobs and lousy living conditions, heartbreaks and hangovers, the band owes more to the indie rock arm of punk music (Superchunk, Archers of Loaf, Sebadoh, Neutral Milk Hotel, etc.) than the harsher, poppier stuff of their fore-bearers. During CMJ 2014, the band stopped by Let ‘Em In Music in Gowanus, Brooklyn, for this special session, engineered by Nadim Issa.
Cy Dune is the pen name and “mythological rebel persona” of Seth Olinsky, songwriter of bizarro folk punks Akron/Family. His extensive history of experimental sonic expressionism has taken him to countless corners of the music world, and this incarnation of his work manages to pull many of those pieces together. A largely improvised project, Cy Dune blends live performance of guitar and vocal and instrumental loops. For this special session, recorded at Greenpoint’s Spaceman Sound, Seth performs and shares some insight into the genesis of this unique project.
[blip]video2[blip] Tei Shi, aka songwriter Valerie Teicher, was born in Argentina and spent time in Bogota, Vancouver, and Boston before laying roots in New York. Musically, Tei Shi comes from a place somewhere between shoegaze and dance music, with swirling layers of airy vocals floating on electronic loops and production. On her first release, dark, mellow melodies ruled, but newer material sees Tei Shi pushing things in a more assertive, bass-and-beat heavy direction.
Two Inch Astronaut is a trio from Colesville, Maryland, that exudes the classic post-punk guitar vibes that the kids love — those kids being us, obviously. Here, we present an extra video from their recent session, featuring the full performance of their song, “Cigarettes, Boys, And Movies.”
Winstons is the new, Brooklyn-based/Virginia-conceived duo of Lou Nutting (guitar, vocals) and Ben Brock Wilkes (drums, vocals). Formed less than a year ago, this garage-soul band has already stormed some of the best stages in town with their furious blues-tinged rock ‘n roll, and they brought their high energy performance to Spaceman Sound in Greenpoint for this session.
Streets Of Laredo, the New Zealand-originating family band fast on their way to becoming a household name in Brooklyn, makes the sort of joyous acoustic racket rarely seen in rock clubs these days. Drawing on 70s folk-rock (a la Bob Dylan and Paul Simon), and using horns, guitars, and lots of sing-a-longs, the bright-eyed optimism that brought the group to a new city in a new country is evident in their music.
Raindeer is a psychedelic synth-pop band from Baltimore, Maryland. True to their Baltimore, aka Charm City, roots, they’re a little quirky and very… well, charming in their pop goodness. Originally the solo project of Charlie Hughes, the band has a colorful, acid-tinged aesthetic that’s fitting for their sonic tendencies, which push things towards Britpop and garage realms while keeping it weird.
Johnny Lewis has a fascinating musical career history: he’s already done electronic production for The Larva Ink, Lizzo, and Bokonon, and he’s even been on the festival circuit, opening for national acts such as The Flaming Lips and EOTO. But he gave that up to move to NYC, where his love of acoustic music led to the writing of his first solo record. His production background certainly helped to make this stand out among the slew of folk and alt-Americana records out there, as the songs are expertly crafted and layered in a way that most debuts aren’t. Johnny brought his full live band to the studio to share the music and talk a bit about this musical journey.
Sunflower Bean is a New York-based trio of young psychedelic rockers. Comprised of Julia Cumming (vox/bass), Nick Kivlen (vox/guitar), and Jacob Faber (drums), they’re quickly making a name for themselves as a band to watch — especially at this year’s CMJ Music Marathon. Riffy, groovy, and heavy, they’ve got the right blend of lo-fi Sabbath vibes to keep the party going.
Pinegrove are a young group originally from Montclair, New Jersey, but now calling Brooklyn home while touring the national DIY circuit to share their eclectic sound. With inspiration from the post-rock, alt-country, and progressive rock worlds, their music, written by singer/guitarist Evan Hall, is heartfelt, quirky, and catchy. The foursome stopped by the studio before kicking off a summer tour to share some songs and chat about the band.
Tei Shi, aka songwriter Valerie Teicher, was born in Argentina and spent time in Bogota, Vancouver, and Boston before laying roots in New York. Musically, Tei Shi comes from a place somewhere between shoegaze and dance music, with swirling layers of airy vocals floating on electronic loops and production. On her first release, dark, mellow melodies ruled, but newer material sees Tei Shi pushing things in a more assertive, bass-and-beat heavy direction.
Two Inch Astronaut is a trio from Colesville, Maryland, that exudes the classic post-punk guitar vibes that the kids love — those kids being us, obviously. They dropped by to tear through some tunes and chat with Maia and special guest co-host, Travis.
Dub Thompson, the California-based project driven by Matt Pulos and Evan Laffer, has had a little help from friends in fueling their need to get weird. Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado helped move things along while the duo stayed with him in Bloomington, Indiana, for a summer, and that band’s crackly pop sensibility — and perhaps the free-flowing, blissed-out Midwestern summer vibes — seem to have found their way into the tunes.
Overlord is a bit of a Brooklyn institution. Longstanding torchbearers of the borough’s pop/indie rock tradition, the running joke about how their name sounds like that of a metal band is starting to wear a little thin. They’ve certainly developed their own reputation and are too good to exist as the punchline of their own joke. Originally more of a solo project for songwriter George Pasles, they’ve existed as a full band — with Sarah Brockett (of Palomar), Tris McCall (of My Teenage Stride), and Matt Houser (of The Human Hearts) — for long enough now to prove that they do, in fact, rule. Here, they sit down with both Maia Macdonald and Travis Harrison for a fun chat.
Roz And The Rice Cakes is a trio of good-natured, fun-loving kids residing in Providence, New Hampshire. Musically, there are some jazzy smarts going on, but the general direction is a little more experimental pop — perhaps even punky at times. We’re not really sure how they ended up doing the cool thing they do, but we sure do like it, and we’re not the only ones, as they’ve got an extensive list of A-list bands they’ve shared stages with.
Joanna Gruesome is an irresistible noise pop five-piece from Cardiff, UK. During the 2013 CMJ Music Marathon, the band took some time from their packed show schedule — where they seemed to make fans of nearly everyone who saw them — to drop by for this session. Full of catchy pop melodies, full-on walls of shoegaze noise, teen angst, and punk drum beats, they exude energy from every pore, both in the studio and onstage. Lead singer Alanna has a ferocious power that comes out in playful, sweet whispers and dark, abrasive screams that match the intensity of the fuzzed-out guitars. It only makes (too much?) sense that the band met in an anger management group and didn’t even get along at first — how else could you explain such perfect musical chemistry?
Sun Club is a Baltimore band that formed in 2012, blending their main influences of The Beach Boys and Animal Collective (though we hear other influences in there as well) into a sunny, frenetic, poppy good time. We get the sense that these guys are really fun and like to party. You should probably party with them, or at least go check them out on tour. Here they play some tunes and discuss the history of the band.
Greys is a garage punk band from Toronto and blasting out ferociously efficient jams is, to put it simply, what they do. While on tour with their pals The Dirty Nil, Greys lead singer Shehzaad was feeling a little under the weather, so tour mates Dave and Luke filled in on vocals for a couple songs at this session (though he came through to rock it on the featured song, “Brain Dead.”)
Future Of What is the Brooklyn-based pop trio of Blair Gimma, Sam Axelrod, and Max Kotelchuck. Blair’s distinct voice, low-key and beautiful in its simplicity, may be familiar from her previous solo/guitar-based project (also called Blair). Like much of our favorite pop music, there are some strong nostalgic vibes kicking around in the subject matter of these songs, and when you pair that with tastefully minimal, sharp production, it’s a winning combination. The band stopped by to share some songs, talk about the recording process (including their muse), and to investigate the case of Maia’s missing Casio keyboard.
New Myths is a NYC-based trio comprised of Rosie Slater (drums and vocals), Marina Ross (bass and vocals), and Brit Boras (guitar and lead vocals). Even with their conventional rock set up (drums/bass/guitar) they use clever vocal arrangements and effects to build catchy, danceable grooves behind their badass riffs. Formed in 2012, the band’s reputation has been growing quickly for such a young group, and is sure to keep going with the release of their debut full length.
When Landlady visited the studio recently, they did something bands don’t normally do at these sessions — they made our crew a part of their performance. It was a unique moment that was partially featured in the full episode from their session. Here, now, we present the full song, “Above My Ground,” as Adam Schatz takes the cameras from our crew mid-song and invites them to participate.
The Henry Millers is a New York-based band fronted by the duo of John MacCallum and Katie Schecter. Longtime friends before they became musical collaborators, MacCallum and Schecter have a unique chemistry fueling their synth-driven pop music. The band stopped by the studio to share some tunes and talk a bit about the project.
Johnny Lewis has a fascinating musical career history: he’s already done electronic production for The Larva Ink, Lizzo, and Bokonon, and he’s even been on the festival circuit, opening for national acts such as The Flaming Lips and EOTO. But he gave that up to move to NYC, where his love of acoustic music led to the writing of his first solo record. His production background certainly helped to make this stand out among the slew of folk and alt-Americana records out there, as the songs are expertly crafted and layered in a way that most debuts aren’t. Johnny brought his full live band to the studio to share the music and talk a bit about this musical journey.
Boyfriend is a badass female rapper from New Orleans by way of Nashville. Her rhymes may come off as raunchy at first, but maybe she’s just trying to tell you something you’re not ready to hear. Full of sex-positive anthems and a strong dose of theatrical comedy, her jams are hard and her attitude strong. She stopped by on a recent tour to perform some tunes and talk a bit about how she writes.
Asian Dub Foundation has been stirring things up for almost 20 years now. The London-based group began as a group of friends, inspired by their parents’ diverse music collections to create their own music, full of Indian and African touches, fused with modern influences from various punk, dance, and rap genres, all coated with fast, socially-conscious lyrics. Two of the current featured members of the group, Aktav8r and Nathan Flutebox Lee, dropped by to share a special performance, and to chat a bit about the band.
Spirit System is a band from Winston Salem, North Carolina, who call their music “etheralia/darkwave/gaze.” Helmed by Eric Gilstrap (also of Clouder) and Laurie Ruroden, along with drummer Gary Guthrie and (for this session) Gilstrap’s Clouder bandmate Max Goransson, the band takes this hybrid genre seriously, with deep bass and reverb everywhere. Spirit System is definitely tapping into something deep and dark, pulling it to the surface in song form.
White Hinterland is Casey Dienel. In the wake of her previous, production-heavy album, she retreated to the basement of her family’s house in Scituate, Massachusetts, to build a studio and learn the ins-and-outs of self-recording in order to craft a new, piano-and-voice-reliant body of work. In Dienel’s own words, the “themes of this record… are personal agency, strength, growth, and determination.” It’s raw and beautiful, and she stopped by to share some of these songs and talk about her work with Maia.
There are a couple of things we love about San Diego foursome The Donkeys: 1) Their music, of course, and 2) Their enthusiasm for travel. If you happen to follow their Instagram account, you’ll be treated to playful portraits of the signs welcoming this easygoing, distinctly West Coast band to the various states as they make their way back and forth across the country. This habit fits the band’s easygoing, sunny vibe well, and hints at their own nostalgic nod to the American rock ‘n roll heritage.
Bailiff are a no-nonsense bluesy indie rock trio from Chicago featuring the classic rock formula of drums, bass, guitar, and killer riffs which they push the next level. The result is super solid pop, drawing on the likes of Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, the Beatles, and Dylan — and not just the rock bits, there are hints of everything from Indian raga to Native American chant planted in these grooves. Here, the band plays some songs and chats with Maia.
Begun as a collaboration between former Vivian/Dum Dum Girl Frankie Rose and Drew Citron (a former member of Frankie’s band and NYC act Avan Lava), Beverly has taken on new life in the form of a live band (now fronted by Drew, without Frankie) and is quickly amassing fans. Lush pop harmonies and satisfyingly noisy guitars fill the space of their shoegaze pop songs in just the right way.
Challenger is the project of NYC producer/composer/songwriter John Ross, featuring a full band for live performances. Drawing on the synth and loop-heavy sounds of 80s new wave, the songs are dense and full of pop hooks. Here, the group plays some songs, then chats with Maia.
TEEN last visited the studio in 2012 for a stripped-down session, right around the release of their debut album. Now, with a leaner, tighter blend of synths, live and programmed instruments, and killer vocal harmonies, Teeny Lieberson and crew are back to share their latest jams. We’ve been into them from the first listen, but now, with the full live band experience at this session, their growing acclaim is on full display.
Tancred is the solo project of Jess Abbott, member of the Minneapolis band Now, Now. Born in California before growing up in New England, her current home in the Midwest may be a slightly unnatural fit for someone more accustomed to the coasts, but her direct, confessional music has certainly found a home with her fans, as demonstrated by a dedicated internet fan base built up around her YouTube and Tumblr presence. Initially an acoustic project, Tancred has developed into a full band sound on the latest record, and Jess took the music on the road for a brief tour in December 2013, which also brought her to our studio.
Pinegrove are a young group originally from Montclair, New Jersey, but now calling Brooklyn home while touring the national DIY circuit to share their eclectic sound. With inspiration from the post-rock, alt-country, and progressive rock worlds, their music, written by singer/guitarist Evan Hall, is heartfelt, quirky, and catchy. The foursome stopped by the studio before kicking off a summer tour to share some songs and chat about the band.
This Brooklyn foursome has been around just long enough to prove that they mean it, and the work is paying off as more and more praise deservedly heads their way. Driving, catchy guitar-pop is their game, bringing to mind some of their NYC forebearers (The Strokes, first and foremost), as they ride the line between lo-fi and intentionally fuzzy. The guys stopped by to share some tunes and chat with Maia about their music.
White Hinterland is Casey Dienel. In the wake of her previous, production-heavy album, she retreated to the basement of her family’s house in Scituate, Massachusetts, to build a studio and learn the ins-and-outs of self-recording in order to craft a new, piano-and-voice-reliant body of work. In Dienel’s own words, the “themes of this record… are personal agency, strength, growth, and determination.” It’s raw and beautiful, and she stopped by to share some of these songs and talk about her work with Maia.
Wild Moccasins is an indie pop band from Houston, Texas. Their infectious, exuberant jams are as colorful as the confetti and balloon drops that fans have come to enjoy at their live shows. A tight-knit crew of music nerds who found each other at concerts and record shops, they’ve grown together through songwriting and performance, and that connection is apparent in their records and live shows as they leave it all onstage.
SPEAK is the Austin-based art rock quartet of Troupe Gammage, Joey Delahoussaye, Nick Hurt, and Jake Stewart. Their music tends towards the dramatic side of electronic synthpop, in the form of darkly epic dancefloor jams topped with falsetto vocals, all while hints of their influences (reportedly Peter Gabriel, Blur, and Kanye West, which sounds pretty accurate) shine through.
Vancouver-based Gold & Youth write songs with a hazy, breezy, nostalgic air to them. Equally adept at crafting jams for West Coast summer drives as they are at soundtracking a midnight adventure in the city, their blend of electronics and other instrumentation lays just the right bed for their haunting vocal melodies. Fans of 80s synth-pop should take note: though there’s not much retro about this, nods to the likes of Depeche Mode and Roxy Music are definitely there, bringing electronic sounds to life in the most organic ways.
Unicycle Loves You is a Brooklyn trio who “write loud, noisy pop songs from hell.” While they don’t actually come across as being all that evil, they do have a way of making some terrifyingly great loud sounds. Evolving from jangly power pop to post-new wave to garage-psych, the band’s latest work finds them further mutating their raw pop songs with walls of sound. The band stopped by to play some tunes and chat with Maia about their recording process.
Miniature Tigers is an indie pop band that originated way back in the MySpace days in Phoenix, Arizona, but currently resides in the musical utopia of Brooklyn, New York. With several critically-acclaimed albums under their belt, they’ve amassed a solid fan base by touring extensively, spreading their pristine, catchy tunes far and wide. Singer and guitarist Charlie Brand has set out to craft relatable, passionate songs that listeners can connect with and, so far, that certainly seems to be working. The guys stopped by to play some tunes from their latest album and chat with Maia about their music.
Revolution In The Elbow of Ragnar Agnarsson Furniture Painter is an indie rock musical, written by Icelandic songwriter Ívar Páll Jónsson. Opening at the Minetta Lane Theatre in NYC, this surreal and philosophical story does indeed take place in the elbow of one Ragnar Agnarsson. Here, Jónsson and a few of his talented ensemble of musical collaborators join us in the studio to share stripped down renditions of the excellent music from the play, and to share a bit of the story behind the production.
High Waisted is a young NYC-based surf rock band. Already notorious for the wild, feel-good party vibe of their live shows, they were being called a “Buzz Band To Watch” by NME before almost anybody had heard their music. Conveniently enough, the music is catchy, fun, reverb-drenched, and poppy thanks to lead singer and guitarist Jessica Louise Dye and her three bandmate dudes. Here, they shred through some of their sunny tunes and give Maia the story behind the (altered) experience of recording their first release.
While San Francisco may, these days, be better known for more jangly and psych-inspired taste, Happy Fangs is a SF-based band making uncharacteristically badass rock ‘n roll. And it’s refreshing to get a kick in the ass from something with a little more rock power. Originally a duo — with such a cute, “met sharing a practice space,” story — it quickly became clear that Rebecca Gone Bad and Mr. Cobra needed a live drummer who could match their fierceness to take the band where it needed to go. Appropriately, their search for “a woman who plays drums as hard as Dave Grohl” led them to Jess G., and she’s more than capable of living up to the expectation. Musically, there’s a lot of pop in their hard rock (or perhaps it’s the other way around) and their theatrical-tinged performance has more than a little bite.
New York City’s Cloud Becomes Your Hand is great at making unexpected musical moves. Utilizing the unconventionally rockin’ and experimental sounds of a malletKat and violin in tandem with jumpy, glitchy, bizarre movements, tempos, and tones, their songs feel unique, occupying that under-populated field of avant-rock that a wider audience can actually enjoy listening to. The band stopped by to share some of their musical madness, and to chat about the project’s history.
You Bred Raptors? have a lot working in their favor to make them stand out from most other bands. What’s so special? This Astoria, Queens trio (check #1: not from Brooklyn) plays instrumental music (check #2), wears an array of bizarre masks when they perform (check #3), and has made a name for themselves by holding down a coveted spot in the NYC subways with the Music Under New York Program (check #4). Oh, and their instrumentation is an 8 string bass, cello, drums, and glockenspiels (checks #5–8). The result of all these unique traits is beautiful, strange, and challenging music that makes people stop, look, and listen long enough to get hooked on their prehistoric pop grooves (oh yeah, and check #9: their name is from Jurassic Park).
Begun as a collaboration between former Vivian/Dum Dum Girl Frankie Rose and Drew Citron (a former member of Frankie’s band and NYC act Avan Lava), Beverly has taken on new life in the form of a live band (now fronted by Drew, without Frankie) and is quickly amassing fans. Lush pop harmonies and satisfyingly noisy guitars fill the space of their shoegaze pop songs in just the right way.
Monika Heidemann, formerly of Brooklyn pop band Xylos, has set out on her own with a bass guitar and an array of production instruments to bring her own gorgeously-penned songs to life. With minimal instrumentation, her clear vocals cut through with a certain determination, demonstrating a skillful depth that begs a closer listen.
The Stargazer Lilies are a shoegaze-inspired band based out of northeastern Pennsylvania. Some may recognize John Cep and Kim Field from their previous NYC-based project, Soundpool, which was known for a dancier sound. They’ve now left that clubby vibe behind in favor of their current more cosmically-derived, minimalistic and primal noisy rock sound, with heavier live drums, incredible walls of guitar textures and riffs, and ethereal vocals.
There’s a character in the New York music scene who we at BTRtv affectionately refer to as Doctor Schatz. His actual name is Adam, and he’s the force at the center of this whirlwind of a band, Landlady. He also happens to play with a diverse range of other acts — from Man Man and Zongo Junction to Father Figures and more — where you might find him wrestling a saxophone, making obscenely interesting electronic sounds, or, in this case, singing and fronting a great indie rock band. In the case of Landlady, the compositions are complex yet catchy, and the lyrics crafted in such a way that they seem to be aiming for hopeful, Flaming Lips-style psychedelic sing-a-longs. There’s an intense brightness emanating from this Adam Schatz character in everything he does, and these songs are a direct expression of that. Don’t be surprised if he (via this project or another one) becomes a household name in music in the coming years.
Boyfriend is a badass female rapper from New Orleans by way of Nashville. Her rhymes may come off as raunchy at first, but maybe she’s just trying to tell you something you’re not ready to hear. Full of sex-positive anthems and a strong dose of theatrical comedy, her jams are hard and her attitude strong. She stopped by on a recent tour to perform some tunes and talk a bit about how she writes.
This Portland, Oregon-based group is a bright, spirited collective with 6 or more voices joining in, rallying around the lyrics of bandleader Tim Perry. With a positive vibe and uplifting themes, they operate under the admirable notion of using music to change the world. With their own language and an infectiously positive outlook paired with infectiously catchy songs, Ages And Ages just might have a shot at achieving their goal while creating some brilliant music along the way.
Teen Girl Scientist Monthly seem to have a permanent wink and smile, from their cheeky nerd-chic band name to their catchy, jangly, sci-fi-tinged pop-punk tunes. They keep the energy up and seem to alway be having fun while making music as satisfying as any favorite 90s alt/punk band and as cool and clever as the latest indie darlings.
Future Death is an Austin-based band with an amazing mix of swirling, chaotic post-punk and noise that few bands can pull off. Launched in 2012 by Alton Jenkins and Bill Kenny, and now with bassist Jeremy Humphries and finally vocalist Angie Kang added to the mix, the project has evolved substantially in its short history. Pay attention or these jams may blast past you so quick you won’t know what you missed.
TOY are an internationally-touring rock ‘n roll band currently based in London. One of the current darlings of the legendary Heavenly Recordings roster, their noise-drenched, psychedelic, shoegaze sound makes the perfect soundtrack to summer shenanigans. Thanks to the help of their friends The Horrors, this 4-year-old band got a fast start touring the world and taking on crucial, and well-deserved, critical praise.
NYC-based songwriter/composer PT Walkley did his time in the bar and club scene developing his rich, melodic indie rock songcraft. These days, PT makes records under his name but live shows are rare, since his time is largely taken up scoring films, writing songs for tv and commercials, and voicing characters for a hit Nickelodeon show. Armed with an ace band and his latest batch of personal, expertly-crafted pop songs, he stopped by the studio to play some tunes and chat with Maia.
Aloud are, as they put it, “a nationally touring four piece rock n’ roll band with lots of hooks, lots of harmonies, lots of guitars, and lots of heart.” Begun nearly a decade ago by the dual frontpersons of Henry Beguiristain (lead vocals/guitars) and Jen de la Osa (lead vocals/guitars) in Boston, the band has grown considerably with the addition of Frank Hegyi (drums/percussion) and Charles Murphy (bass/backing vocal) for maximum rock power. Their catchy tunes and busy tour schedule come through in the way they play their hearts out with every note. They stopped by, as a trio for this session, to share some music and chat with Maia.
Alice Boman has the kind of voice that creeps up on you, which may sound dramatic, but so does her music, so it fits. Beautiful, haunting, and with an impossible warmth, this Swedish songwriter has a hazy aura that’s completely mesmerizing. On her recent US tour, she stopped by to introduce us to her songs and chat with Maia.
Paper Castles, a Burlington, Vermont, staple, began as a trio headed up by songwriter Paddy Reagan in 2009. A few years and lineup shifts later, he’s joined by John Rogone, Brennan Mangan, and Wren Kitz to fill out the sound on his “sad songs about nothing.” Sure, it’s melancholy and soft, but more importantly, the music is extremely well-crafted and catchy. The band, along with their bedbug-sniffing dog, stopped by the studio to share some tunes and chat with Maia.
Hailing from New Orleans, The Revivalists are a funky, soulful experience of a rock n’ roll band. Horns and pedal steel paired with a love for the warmth of vintage sounds set them apart from your average guitar band and make for a unique blend of musical genres. The band took a moment out of their busy schedule on the road to share some songs and chat with Maia.
We Are Scientists first appeared on the scene about a decade ago, touring internationally and becoming massively popular on the strength of their hit-packed debut album. Now, well into their career and still making memorable, danceable songs, they’re touring in support of their latest batch of tunes, and they stopped by to share those and chat with Maia.
Dub Thompson, the California-based project driven by Matt Pulos and Evan Laffer, has had a little help from friends in fueling their need to get weird. Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado helped move things along while the duo stayed with him in Bloomington, Indiana, for a summer, and that band’s crackly pop sensibility — and perhaps the free-flowing, blissed-out Midwestern summer vibes — seem to have found their way into the tunes.
Slothrust, a Brooklyn by way of Boston band, is a rock trio aiming for the gut, spearheaded by the deep, forceful vocals of songwriter Leah Wellbaum, who grew the band from a previous solo effort. Blasting from subtle, smooth Pavement-isms to full on thrashing happy punk is sort of their thing, and they do it oh so well. Though the band is comprised of musicians with jazz and blues backgrounds, they don’t get hung up on that, opting for the approach of making catchy, memorable rock songs by any means possible.
NYC’s Walking Shapes is a band with the rare ability to create songs that are at once totally original while also bringing to mind familiar melodies, so you’ll swear you’ve heard them before. That feeling that you must know this one… it has to be a radio hit by Kings Of Leon, or Flaming Lips, or The Strokes, or Fleetwood Mac… no, but it’s cut from the same perfectly-executed musical fabric. There’s a sweet blend of decades of guitar-based rock and pop music here as the soundtrack to a band finding its way and building their own legacy. The guys stopped by after a whirlwind of tour, record release, and 24 NYC shows in 24 hours to share some music and talk a bit about the inspiration for their album.
Carsick Cars are a rock trio from Beijing. Singing mostly in English and taking a broad interpretation of noise rock, their songs are exceptionally catchy and melodic, and the Sonic Youth (who they’ve toured with) influence is definitely hard at work — pleasantly so. They’ve been at the forefront of the Chinese indie music movement for almost a decade, though lineup changes have left Zhang Shouwang as the sole founding/consistent member of the band even as the group’s popularity and work with other artists and projects has continued to grow their reputation worldwide.
Picastro is a decade-strong Toronto-based project, built around the songwriting of Liz Hysen. Through lineup changes, the band has maintained a soft, sleepy tone in its sparse and experimental indie rock. Unconventional folk, noise, and rock elements all find their way into the songs on record, while here, Liz performs solo, stripping them down to their barest core to expose the simple, beautiful nature of her music.
This Portland, Oregon-based group is a bright, spirited collective with 6 or more voices joining in, rallying around the lyrics of bandleader Tim Perry. With a positive vibe and uplifting themes, they operate under the admirable notion of using music to change the world. With their own language and an infectiously positive outlook paired with infectiously catchy songs, Ages And Ages just might have a shot at achieving their goal while creating some brilliant music along the way.
Brooklyn-based Shilpa Ray left the Happy Hookers at home and brought her harmonium to the studio for a solo set, which included two tracks from her new EP. Just off a tour supporting Nick Cave, who also released Shilpa’s EP via his label, her songs feature a familiar howl and darkness while tackling the issues and concern of the modern world.
Thus Owls is a transatlantic band centered around husband and wife duo Erika and Simon Angell. Originally an outlet for Erika’s songs in her home country of Sweden, meeting and falling in love with Simon’s music on tour ultimately led to the pair being married and living together in Montreal. Musically, their style is an experimental collage of genres, from rock to folk and pop, building lush, epic melodies with a nostalgic, almost psychedelic feel. Erika’s connection to her grandmother — largely tied to growing up in the same house she once lived in — inspired the stories, artwork, and songs on the band’s latest record.
The Dough Rollers are an early blues-inspired rock quartet, begun by Jack Byrne and Malcolm Ford in 2008 (now joined by Kyle Olson and Josh Barocas). This hard-touring band has played with Bob Dylan, John Mellencamp, and Queens of the Stone Age, and released a 7″ via Jack White’s Third Man Records. They rolled through our studio to share some tunes and chat with Maia.
Melaena Cadiz is a Brooklyn-based songwriter originally from Kalamazoo, Michigan, who plays a dreamy sort of Americana/folk. We last caught Melaena solo at her home in Brooklyn for an episode of BTR Hear & There whilst in the midst of a year-long collaborative monthly song project, but this time around she brought her full band to the studio to share some of the songs from her upcoming record.
Oh My Goodness is the duo of multi-instrumentalists and producers Therese Workman and Tyler Wood, originally from Maine and now based in Brooklyn, New York. Their dizzying amalgam of experimental hip hop, pop, and funk may be hard to categorize, but it’s luckily real easy to get into. Don’t mistake this for sample-heavy, chopped up beats: this duo is the real deal, mixing it up and playing live, delivering looping vibes and spitfire lyrics right in your face. They stopped by to school us on how it all happens, and to chat with Maia about who, what, and why OMG is.
During the 2014 SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas, the BTR Live Studio team set up shop at a lovely house on the East Side and invited bands to play music and chat in the backyard. Southern Tier Brewing Company provided beverages and the fine Austin weather did the rest.
Crobot is a big, dirty, groovy rock band from Pottsville, Pennsylvania. These guys have clearly studied the works of classic rock and metal’s heaviest hitters, as they pump out riff after riff of absolutely solid tunes. The band stopped by to share some music and sit down for a chat with Maia.
During the 2014 SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas, the BTR Live Studio team set up shop at a lovely house on the East Side and invited bands to play music and chat in the backyard. Southern Tier Brewing Company provided beverages and the fine Austin weather did the rest. Mother Falcon, a group of young, classically trained musicians based in Austin, have a very unique take on music. Beginning as a jam session among a group of high school cellists looking to explore other genres, the massive band also incorporates violins, cellos, saxophones, and trumpet, piano, accordion, banjo, and bassoon to blend rock, jazz, and hip hop rhythms with lush vocal arrangements to craft their orchestral rock. In addition to entertaining audiences with their own impressive display of talent, they launched Music Laboratory, a summer camp for middle and high school orchestra students. The large band crammed themselves into the backyard at the BTRhouse for a very special session.
During the 2014 SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas, the BTR Live Studio team set up shop at a lovely house on the East Side and invited bands to play music and chat in the backyard. Southern Tier Brewing Company provided beverages and the fine Austin weather did the rest. K Ishibashi (aka Kishi Bashi) has racked up quite a musical resume over the past few years. From his NYC synth rock band, Jupiter One, to collaborations with of Montreal, Regina Spektor, and Sondre Lerche, this singer/violinist/composer continues to stretch his sonic palette — originally developed as a solo project with complex live loops, Kishi Bashi has filled out his show with a full band. Here, they perform an intimate session at the BTRhouse as a trio that includes Mike Savino from Tall Tall Trees.
During the 2014 SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas, the BTR Live Studio team set up shop at a lovely house on the East Side and invited bands to play music and chat in the backyard. Southern Tier Brewing Company provided beverages and the fine Austin weather did the rest. Roman Remains is Liela Moss and Toby Butler from The Duke Spirit. This London-based duo (joined live by additional musicians) has crafted an album and live show full of fantastically dense, noisy, frenetic, fractured pop songs. For this special backyard session, they stripped their setup way down to acoustic instruments to play a couple of songs for us at the BTRhouse.
During the 2014 SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas, the BTR Live Studio team set up shop at a lovely house on the East Side and invited bands to play music and chat in the backyard. Southern Tier Brewing Company provided beverages and the fine Austin weather did the rest. Jess Williamson is a native of Austin, Texas, though she spent time in New York City studying photography. The quieter, slower pace of Austin is appropriate for her folk and country-inspired music, which is soft and spacious, gently carrying her distinct voice and personal lyrics. Jess took time in the midst of the craziness of her hometown’s massive music festival to stop by the backyard of the BTRhouse, where she treated us to a few songs (captured brilliantly by our Edwina mic from Ear Trumpet Labs) and sat down for a chat with Maia.
During the 2014 SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas, the BTR Live Studio team set up shop at a lovely house on the East Side and invited bands to play music and chat in the backyard. Southern Tier Brewing Company provided beverages and the fine Austin weather did the rest. Cheers Elephant is a Philly band with wonderfully sticky hooks, harmonies, and a hell of a sense of humor. With musical sensibilities and a sound that lands them somewhere between the Kinks and Spoon, there’s a lot to love here. They were the first in a long week of sessions at the BTRhouse, and they definitely got things off to a great start!
Special Explosion is an excellent rock band from Seattle that plays a type of music they call “dreamy rock” (or if they’re feeling cheeky, “Dreamo,” which we actually sorta like) and it is — catchy, dynamic, emotionally-laden, pretty music. The male/female (brother/sister) dual vocals help the group rise above many other guitar rock bands, pushing things a little more into that oh-so-sweet indie pop territory. On their first trip to NYC, they stopped into the studio to play some music and speak with Maia about how they formed at School Of Rock.
The members of Los Angeles-based band Incan Abraham have been friends since kindergarten. It’s that childhood bond that fuels much of the imagery, sounds, and aesthetic of the band, from their bouncy, sun-kissed psych pop songs of dreamy adventures to their nostalgic album art. They stopped by to share some tunes from their upcoming release on White Iris Records.
This week in Austin, Texas, thousands of musicians and fans are at the South By Southwest Music Festival. A huge event featuring showcases, unofficial parties, and countless opportunities to hear new music, we’ve got a team down there working on special episodes of BTR Live Studio and throwing a huge, free, day party on Saturday, March 15 at The Liberty (details here – http://breakthruradio.tumblr.com/post/77843659959/btrsxsw2014).
This week in Austin, Texas, thousands of musicians and fans are at the South By Southwest Music Festival. A huge event featuring showcases, unofficial parties, and countless opportunities to hear new music, we’ve got a team down there working on special episodes of BTR Live Studio and throwing a huge, free, day party on Saturday, March 15 at The Liberty (details here – http://breakthruradio.tumblr.com/post/77843659959/btrsxsw2014).
Gardens & Villa are a band from Santa Barbara, California. Members Adam Rasmussen, Chris Lynch, Dusty Ineman, Levi Hayden and Shane McKillop craft lush, beat-driven music full of creative pop harmonies and featuring unique instrumentation — with prominent synths, tastefully effect-laden bass, and memorable lead melodies played on flute. With these quirks, Gardens & Villa seem to have tapped into something special, producing some of the catchiest, most danceable pop music that we’ve heard in a while.
Glasvegas is a Scottish indie rock band from Glasgow consisting of James Allan (vocals), Rab Allan (lead guitar), Paul Donoghue (bass guitar) and Jonna Löfgren (drums). Characterized by rolling drum beats, washes of delayed guitars, and strong, narrative-driven vocals, the band has a huge following and a history of critical and commercial success. Here, the band performs in stripped-down duo form, but manages to maintain the epic pop power that their performances are known for.
Tropic of Pisces is the new project from Brooklyn-based Oberhofer guitarist Mathew Scheiner. The project’s debut is a home-recorded album, which was mixed by Mathew’s Grammy winning engineer/producer/father, Elliot Scheiner (Beck, The Flaming Lips, Fleetwood Mac, etc). Musically, Tropic of Pisces crafts exquisite pop music that manages to use pieces of funk, electro-pop, indie rock, and more.
MiWi La Lupa grew up and started playing music in Buffalo, New York, before finding his way to New York City to pursue his dreams. Once in the city, he racked up an impressive list of collaborators, from El-P and David Byrne to Femi Kuti and Charlie Hunter. Over time, his voice and songwriting style developed and grew strong, resulting in his signature frank, honest delivery and style. With the help of a number of talented friends, MiWi crafted his latest album by uniting a diverse range of sounds, styles, and influences with the common thread of his own vision.
Benjamin Verdoes makes his second stop by BTR Live Studio — previously seen as half of the buzzing duo, Iska Dhaaf — this time performing solo, demonstrating his unorthodox approach to songwriting. Already well known in Seattle and beyond, largely due to his work with the band Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, Verdoes is quickly building a reputation with this, the first work under his own name.
Blood Warrior is Greg Jamie (of o’death) and Joey Weiss (of Supermonster). Friends for most of their lives, they launched this project as a way to start playing music together after a decade of not doing so. As a band, Blood Warrior is based in Portland, Maine, though Long Island, New York, plays a large part in their story. The music is haunting and gorgeous, as much about the space as the sound, with sparse acoustic guitars and bare drum beats laying the foundation for the chanting and howling confessions of a shipwrecked soul. There’s an intense softness to Blood Warrior’s music that manages to evoke catchy, memorable melodies and the band shared some of these as they work towards the release of their next album.
Gregory and the Hawk is the solo project of Meredith Godreau from New York. Known for her touching lyrics and vocal talents, she conceived the band name in 2003 to set herself apart from other female singer-songwriters. The trick seemed to work, as she’s developed a loyal following of fans — thanks in no small part to her hard touring work ethic and the internet — and continues to grow as an artist, calling on talented musicians to lend their skills to the project’s recordings. Here, she stops by the studio for a solo performance of songs from her next album, which can currently be heard in demo form online.
Secret Someones is the fresh NYC-based project from singer-songwriters Bess Rogers, Lelia Broussard, Hannah Winkler, & drummer/multi-instrumentalist Zach Jones. Though they give a lot of credit to their love for fuzzy pop rock masters Weezer, the band’s music is so catchy that we might even say it’s got more pop potential than even their heroes.
Karikatura is a band based in New York City pumping out lively, body-shaking music that blends gypsy, latin, hip-hop, indie rock, afrobeat, and reggae styles into one huge, organic sonic party. Based on strong rhythms and topped with socially conscious-lyrics, bright horns, and an abundance of joy, the band, which was born on the road — conceived in South India and ultimately realized in NYC — can sound at home anywhere in the world.
PEP is a project built on the retro-pop love of Karys Rhea, who you may recognize from the band Starlight Girls. For this project, Karys drew heavily on 1950s girl-group melodies and, with the help of a full band, brings those ditties of teenage love to life. Take a listen and you’ll quickly hear just how infectious the upbeat vibe of PEP can be!
Tancred is the solo project of Jess Abbott, member of the Minneapolis band Now, Now. Born in California before growing up in New England, her current home in the Midwest may be a slightly unnatural fit for someone more accustomed to the coasts, but her direct, confessional music has certainly found a home with her fans, as demonstrated by a dedicated internet fan base built up around her YouTube and Tumblr presence. Initially an acoustic project, Tancred has developed into a full band sound on the latest record, and Jess took the music on the road for a brief tour in December 2013, which also brought her to our studio.
Hugh Cornwell is a bit of a legend. As the original guitarist, singer, and primary songwriter in UK hit-making band The Stranglers, he has more than enough credibility, not to mention a hell of a catalog of widely-known tunes under his belt. Just as The Stranglers grew from a howling punk band to a more refined pop unit, Cornwell’s solo work takes advantage of all this experience and development as an artist, blasting forth a more mature, but still gnarly, perspective.
The Can’t Tells are a trio of scrappy late twenty-somethings from Brooklyn — specifically (and alphabetically) Mike DiSanto, Blaze McKenzie, and Jonathan Smith. In 2006, the self-described music geeks came together in Boston, bonding over a shared love of especially-weird microphones (they must love the Ear Trumpet Labs Edwina microphones used in our sessions!). With a sound that careens from pleasant pop to explosive noise — often turning in an instant and catching the listener by surprise — they’re carving out a niche that seems to be right at the intersection of their influences of Elvis Costello and Mission of Burma, without mimicking either.
Iska Dhaaf (taken from Somali, translating roughly to “let it go”) is a Seattle-based duo composing meditative, circular post-punk. Nathan Quiroga and Benjamin Verdoes dive into rhythmically-driven music with poppy indie rock melodies, all inspired by Sufi poetry. The band stopped by to share some songs and chat with Maia about the project.
Yes, Australian indie pop band The Griswolds ARE named after the cinematic family we all know and love from the National Lampoon’s Vacation films. These self-described chameleons of pop reportedly found each other just the way a band should — by working out a sound-defining riff that became their first single. In the few years since that fortuitous collaboration, the band has toured extensively and in good company (Passion Pit, Django Django, San Cisco), and now the States is starting to catch on as their catchy melodies and huge choruses hit our shores.
Coastgaard may not quite be a surf-rock band, but the band definitely has that beachy vibe. Growing from the ashes of the band Sons Of Sons and honing a style inspired by the likes of The Beach Boys, David Bowie, and The Ventures, as much as alt rock from Pavement, The Pixies, and Neutral Milk Hotel, the Brooklyn-based five-piece have managed to find a take on super-catchy pop that feels both familiar and new. Here, they play some tunes and share the story of the whiskey-fueled inspiration for their Scandinavian-leaning moniker.
Jay Arner is a musician from Vancouver. While he may have played all the instruments on his latest album, live, the project is very much a group effort. Either way, the point is that Jay Arner — the person or the band — makes some extremely well-crafted, well-informed, subdued pop music.
Weekend began as a notoriously noisy shoegaze band in San Francisco, but a recent move to Brooklyn marked a shift in both their location and their sound. Shedding some of the wall of noise without sacrificing any of their anxious rhythms or ominous creeping bass, they’ve grown into a band whose dark tales come through with a new clarity on their upcoming release, Jinx.

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