Archive
PWR BTTM is the New York-based queer punk duo of Ben Hopkins and Liv Bruce. Switching off between drums and guitar, the band’s latest release examines their experiences with queerness, gender, and adulthood while living upstate. Full of fun, fuzz, catchy melodies, and extreme finger-tapping, their songs are just too good to not love. They stopped by Serious Business to rock out, share some stories of songs, and to give Maia a fabulous makeover.
Julien Baker is from Memphis, Tennessee, and currently in school at MTSU. Regionally, she may be better known as a member of the punk-influenced indie band, Forrister, though in recent months her solo work has caught the attention of the national music press. What makes her stuff stick — beyond an undeniably great voice — is the way she effortlessly spins heart-wrenching, brutally honest, confessional lyrics over sweetly melodic, looped guitar. Without much more than a few songs floating around to hear, she’s managed to captivate more than a few new fans, ahead of the release of her full recorded debut. She stopped by Serious Business Music to play a few songs and chat with Maia about her upcoming plans for both her solo work and band.
As a Chasidic, all-female, alt rock band from Crown Heights, Bulletproof Stockings stand out from the crowded Brooklyn music scene, and they’ve drawn considerable attention for their music, as well as their female-only rule for audiences. Musically, they manage to blast out heavy rock with the unconventional instrumentation of drums, piano, cello, and violin — without an electric guitar in sight. The quartet stopped by the new Serious Business Music in DUMBO to rock out and chat with Maia about their music.
Donovan Wolfington is apparently a person. He’s out there somewhere, but that’s a story for another day… This is about the band from New Orleans who borrowed his name: four guys making poppy punk rock, with some heavy parts and some happy parts and some sad parts. They didn’t name their album How to Treat the Ones You Love by happenstance. It serves as an exploration of their own lives’ difficulties and lessons, and an honest, literate way to attempt to be a slightly less terrible person in a not-always-so-great world.
Although Lena Fayre is a young artist, she’s already released an EP and two LPs, as well as had her music included in the hit tv show The Vampire Diaries. Where does that leave the 19-year-old Los Angeles-based indie pop singer? Looking towards the future, following her album full of post-relationship melancholy and beautiful songs. Her style is really about as flawless as it gets, with perfectly composed and arranged tunes to back up every bit of the hype. She stopped by Serious Business Music in DUMBO to play a few, and to share the story behind her album’s concept and cover art.
Dilly Dally is a Toronto-based band who descended upon NYC during the CMJ Music Marathon seemingly on a mission to destroy everything in their way — appropriate for a group whose website features an old school post-apocalyptic fighting video game. The band’s core members, Katie Monks and Liz Ball, have a long history of making music together, inspired by the dynamics of the Pixies, heavy darkness of Nirvana, noise of Sonic Youth, and the arty thrash of Yeah Yeah Yeahs. A tight band with catchy, powerful songs (not to mention Monks’ memorable vocal style), Dilly Dally is a long time in the making and set to make an impact. They stopped by Serious Business Music in DUMBO to tear through some songs and chat with Maia.
Des Ark is the name of Aimée Argote’s long-running musical project. Based in North Carolina, the band has taken many forms, but has always been guided by the focused and hauntingly beautiful words and music of Argote, from hushed tones to roaring rockers. Des Ark stopped by Serious Business Music in DUMBO to play some of their latest songs — which happened to have some of the most colorful titles we’ve seen in a while — and to chat with Maia about where the music comes from and how it’s heard.
Liz Vice is a musician from Portland, Oregon. With a soulful voice and love of storytelling, her jazz-tinged tunes are infused with a spirituality and warmth that recalls classic gospel. Liz stopped by Serious Business Music in DUMBO on a recent visit to NYC to play some music and chat with Maia.
Frogbelly and Symphony is an international band, splitting its time between Sheffield, UK, and Brooklyn, NY. Members Liz and Tom Hanley, Ben Trott, and Ray Rizzo come from a wide variety of musical backgrounds, bringing in a world of influences to their finely executed experimental tunes. The influence of traditional folk music and poetry is evident, but the prog and post-punk vibes can’t be ignored either. The band stopped by Serious Business Music in DUMBO to mesmerize us with some of their swirling jams, and to chat with Maia about the origins of their complex work.
Narc Twain is an indie rock band based in New York City and fronted by Jukebox The Ghost’s Tommy Siegel. This particular project came about thanks to the inspiration of some thought-provoking 21st-century dystopian poetry, and the hard-edged, punk-tinged music pairs well with Siegel’s dark perspective. The band stopped by Serious Business Music to give us a first listen to the new band’s songs and to chat a bit about conspiracy theories and music (but mostly conspiracy theories).
Astronauts, etc. is the primary musical outlet for Oakland, California’s Anthony Ferraro. With a background in classical music, Ferraro crafted the project’s initial recordings at home in his bedroom before fleshing them out with a solid stable of jazz players. Things took a decidedly indie turn when he wound up as a touring member of the band Toro Y Moi, whose chilled-out funk touches seem to have rubbed off a bit on Astronauts, etc.’s own psych-tinged pop. The group stopped by Serious Business Music in DUMBO to play some tunes and chat a bit about the band.
The Lighthouse and the Whaler, whose name is inspired by the Herman Melville classic, Moby Dick, is a four piece indie rock band from Cleveland. The lineup has undergone some changes since its inception in 2008, while they have received national attention since the release of their debut EP, A Whisper, A Clamour, in that same year. The guys, who have maintained a heavy tour schedule (often with BTR faves like Surfer Blood and Matt Pond PA), dropped by during a recent stop in New York to share a few songs and talk with Maia about the new album.
No longer the “baby band” they were back when we last checked in with them, Brooklyn trio Boytoy dropped by Serious Business Music to lay down some of their latest twin-guitar-attack groovy pop vibes. Check out their great new tunes, and get a peek at their impressive paradiddle skills!
Soda Shop is a New York band whose dreamy, shimmery indie pop evokes the same 50s nostalgia as their wholesome name. With songs centered around the songwriting/producing duo of Maria Usbeck (also of Brooklyn band Selebrities) and Drew Diver (formerly of The Drums), they rarely play live but have been making a huge impression with their fantastically recorded tracks. The band stopped by Serious Business Music to share a live taste of what they’re capable of, and to chat about the meaning of their songs.
Jonah Parzen-Johnson is a Brooklyn-based experimental folk musician, previously seen on BTR leading the afrobeat group, Zongo Junction. Utilizing a baritone saxophone and analog synth, he uses circular breathing to craft his very unique style of indie and folk-inspired solo work.
Kagoule is a band of three teenagers from Nottingham, Great Britain. Growing up as friends and bandmates, the trio has a special chemistry that fuels their creative forces, from their 90s alt-rock sound to the artwork and visual approach of everything they do. Full of spot-on dynamics and verse-chorus-verse turns to make Dinosaur Jr, Smashing Pumpkins, and Pixies fans take notice, the band is poised to bring their big sound, which is already making waves in their home country, to the U.S. in a big way.
Julien Baker is from Memphis, Tennessee, and currently in school at MTSU. Regionally, she may be better known as a member of the punk-influenced indie band, Forrister, though in recent months her solo work has caught the attention of the national music press. What makes her stuff stick — beyond an undeniably great voice — is the way she effortlessly spins heart-wrenching, brutally honest, confessional lyrics over sweetly melodic, looped guitar. Without much more than a few songs floating around to hear, she’s managed to captivate more than a few new fans, ahead of the release of her full recorded debut. Here, she performs “Sprained Ankle,” the title track from her debut album which will be released October 23 on 6131 Records, recorded during her recent visit to BTR Live Studio.
Gato Loco is an instant party — a wild, instrumental explosion of horns and beats harnessed into an avant-garde “psycho-mambo” group with a dizzying array of influences, pulling from jazz, rock, and latin sounds and grooves. The whole New York-based crew of Stefan Zeniuk (tenor & bass saxes), Tim Vaughn (trombone), Joe Exley (tuba), Lilly Maase (guitars), Ari Folman-Cohen (bass), Kevin Garcia (drums), and Rich Stein (percussion) crammed into the studio at Serious Business Music to blow it out and chat with Maia about how their memorable sound got to where it is now.
Air Waves is the long-running musical outlet for New York’s Nicole Schneit. With a five year gap between records, Air Waves has finally returned with a solid set of pop-leaning indie rock and a fresh band (featuring members of Hospitality). The group came by to play some tunes and chat with Maia about taking a break and then getting back into it, plus Nicole shares some useful advice for musicians.
Mal Blum is a New York-based musician who crafts excellent, revealing narrative-driven pop songs that tend to be endearingly sentimental. There’s punk, anti-folk, and folk vibes in every word, whether the performance is solo or with a full band. In whichever form, Mal Blum (the person or band) is a special joy to be around and listen to — not to mention, usually pretty hilarious. They brought the full band experience to Serious Business Music for this episode of BTR Live Studio.
Worriers is a Brooklyn-based punk band featuring an ever-evolving cast of collaborators that revolves largely around the songwriting, vocals, and guitar work of Lauren Denitzio, formerly of The Measure [sa]. Currently on the road to promote their most recent full-length, produced by Laura Jane Grace (of Against Me!) and put out by New Jersey’s Don Giovanni Records, the group stopped by Serious Business Music to play some of their fiercely honest and super catchy songs.
Good Old War found a great shortcut to a solid band name: combining elements of the three founding members’ names (Goodwin, Arnold, and Schwartz). Now a duo, the Philadelphia-based band excels in the sort of foot stompin’, clappin’-n-hollerin’ indie pop that’s been growing in popularity in recent years, and are known for their rousing live shows. The guys stopped by Serious Business Music to play some tunes and chat with Maia.
Shana Cleveland is a Seattle-based musician, artist, and writer. A member of the band La Luz, she also records and performs her own music under the name Shana Cleveland and the Sandcastles. Her soft, mesmerizing vocal style and distinct acoustic guitar picking makes for both catchy and hypnotic folk songs. She stopped by Serious Business Music in DUMBO for an intimate solo performance, and to chat with Maia.
Will Sprott is a musician with a memorable voice and songwriting style. Whether it be with his previous project, The Mumlers, or his current solo effort, there’s a timeless quality to his work. Originally from San Jose, California, and currently based in Seattle, there’s a sort of melancholy paired with sunny, West Coast vibes to Sprott’s tunes. He stopped by Serious Business in DUMBO, Brooklyn on his first solo tour (with La Luz) to share some tunes and talk about the project.
The Glazzies are the duo of Peter Landi and Dave Horn, based out of Sag Harbor, New York. With a heavy nod to fuzzy ’90s alt rock, their songs touch on grunge, psychedelic, and punk. Their love of the heavy, hooky style is so deep that they even had Dinosaur, Jr. drummer Murph play on their EP. The guys came by Serious Business in DUMBO to rock out and chat with Maia.
PWR BTTM is the New York-based queer punk duo of Ben Hopkins and Liv Bruce. Switching off between drums and guitar, the band’s latest release examines their experiences with queerness, gender, and adulthood while living upstate. Full of fun, fuzz, catchy melodies, and extreme finger-tapping, their songs are just too good to not love. They stopped by Serious Business to rock out, share some stories of songs, and to give Maia a fabulous makeover.
The Black Lillies is an indie roots band from Knoxville, Tennessee, headed up by singer/songwriter/producer Cruz Contreras. Drawing on Americana, rock, country, gospel, and more, this hard-touring Appalachia-inspired group is ready to stomp their way into your head with their tight, catchy tunes. They stopped by Serious Business Music in DUMBO to share some songs from their new, PledgeMusic crowd-funded record.
Lisa Alma is a producer, vocalist, and visual artist from Copenhagen, Denmark. Her synth-heavy, downtempo pop music, often accompanied by her own striking video work, tends toward introspection and melancholy, making it perhaps better suited for soundtracks than dance floors. She stopped by while in NYC working on new music, and shared a few songs and stories with Maia at Serious Business Music in DUMBO.
Julien Baker is from Memphis, Tennessee, and currently in school at MTSU. Regionally, she may be better known as a member of the punk-influenced indie band, Forrister, though in recent months her solo work has caught the attention of the national music press. What makes her stuff stick — beyond an undeniably great voice — is the way she effortlessly spins heart-wrenching, brutally honest, confessional lyrics over sweetly melodic, looped guitar. Without much more than a few songs floating around to hear, she’s managed to captivate more than a few new fans, ahead of the release of her full recorded debut. She stopped by Serious Business Music to play a few songs and chat with Maia about her upcoming plans for both her solo work and band.
The Brooklyn-based production duo of Devon Craig Johnson and Nasimiyu Murumba are musicians who play a variety of instruments in other projects, but here their powers combine to make the hooky pop hits of Baeb Rxxth. There are touches of trap, dance, rock, jazz, and soul in what they’ve got going on, but it all feels totally unique. They young band stopped by Serious Business Music in DUMBO to share some tunes and chat with Maia.
Bodega Bay is a New York-based art rock sextet. The band uses familiar musical ideas (think Velvet Underground, Pavement, Wire) in tandem with improvisation, sociopolitical commentary, performance, text, disruption, and assorted experimentation to arrive at their own distinct creations. Their latest release arrives in the form of a 33 1/3 lyric and art book, accompanied by a download code for 33 songs — which are, unsurprisingly, overwhelmingly good. There’s a freedom and playfulness in what they’re doing that underlies the very plainly stated truths of so many of their songs — which, again, are really, really good.
The Velvet Teen is a California-based indie rock trio. Begun as a solo project by Judah Nagler in 1999, the group has evolved over its 15-year career, and is currently playing in support of a strong new album. The band stopped by Serious Business in DUMBO to rock out and chat with Maia about their work.
Lindi Ortega is a country/roots songwriter and performer from Toronto. Currently based — appropriately — in Nashville, Ortega’s latest album takes a look at heartbreak, failure, fear, and misfortune in saloons, flophouses, and cheap motels. She stopped by Serious Business in DUMBO to share her soulful style and chat with Maia about her music.
Sye Elaine Spence is a singer/songwriter living in Atlanta, though she is originally from New York City. Spence spent time as a professional songwriter, collaborating with artists and producers and releasing some of her own pop-rock and soul songs before taking a break to refocus her musical career. Eventually, she met Michael Lesousky and set off on her current path of a quiet, poetic style of songwriting. Sye and Michael took a bus up from Atlanta to play a few songs and talk about the music at Serious Business in DUMBO, Brooklyn.
Reservations is a rock band based out of Austin, Texas. Beginning as a collaboration between songwriter Jana Horn and guitarist Paul Price (who also leads the band Good Field), Jason Baczynski eventually joined on drums after the band’s home-recorded debut EP. Now, with a fuller sound (achieved live with an expanded lineup) and a spectacular full length under their belt, Reservations is making their way around on tour and starting to get some much-deserved attention. Horn’s soft, dreamy vocal style pairs perfectly with the band’s fragile balance of reserved grooves and spaced-out guitars, drawing frequent comparisons to Mazzy Star. The band stopped by Serious Business in DUMBO to play some songs and chat with Maia about the ideas behind their new record.
MYZICA is the Nashville-based pop duo of Isaaca Byrd and Micah Tawlks. Still a relatively new project, things got started when Micah crafted instrumental tracks and asked Isaaca to lend her vocals. Things quickly grew as the two began writing together, leading to the sort of catchy, anthemic synth-pop the twosome expertly delivered in a dreamy, danceable dose to the Serious Business studio for this session.
Busty And The Bass is a feel-good, nine-member party band that formed in Montreal. Incorporating elements of funk, soul, jazz, and hip hop into their eclectic music, there’s no question that these guys mean business, and want to get you out on the dancefloor.
Krystle Warren is a songwriter originally from Kansas City, Missouri, and currently based in France. Known for her dedication to analog recording techniques (even going so far as recording her latest double-album live with 28 musicians and no editing), Krystle possesses a striking, soulful voice that leaves an impression, and has even made the rounds on tour with the likes of Green Gartside, Robyn Hitchcock, Joan As Police Woman, and Rufus Wainwright. Here, she stops by Serious Business Music in DUMBO, Brooklyn, to share a new song and chat with Maia about her music.
Laura Burhenn, a Los Angeles-based musician who has toured with Bright Eyes and The Postal Service, is the songwriter at the core of the Mynabirds project. The band, which is filled out by various friends in the studio and on stage, makes expertly crafted indie-pop that showcases Burhenn’s pristine, soulful vocals. Here, she presents some of her latest work in a uniquely raw, stripped down form.
Dead Stars is a Brooklyn rock trio with a huge, fuzzy, and explosive sound. Jeff, Jaye, and John wear their 90s alt-rock influences proudly on their collective sleeve (Dinosaur Jr, Pavement, etc.) and it comes through in their hooky, nostalgia-laden sound. They’ve played their way through the local scene for the past few years, catching the eyes and ears of plenty of critics and festival bookers, and are poised to keep riding high with their upcoming record.
Matt Pond (whose band, Matt Pond PA, many will be familiar with, already), recently released The State Of Gold, a rich album full of potential pop hits. Currently enjoying life in New York — upstate, a bit outside the clamor of the city — Matt and bandmate Chris Hansen joined us at Serious Business Music in DUMBO, Brooklyn, to share some tunes and chat with Maia.
As a Chasidic, all-female, alt rock band from Crown Heights, Bulletproof Stockings stand out from the crowded Brooklyn music scene, and they’ve drawn considerable attention for their music, as well as their female-only rule for audiences. Musically, they manage to blast out heavy rock with the unconventional instrumentation of drums, piano, cello, and violin — without an electric guitar in sight. The quartet stopped by the new Serious Business Music in DUMBO to rock out and chat with Maia about their music.
Diet Cig, which may or may not require a government warning, is actually New Paltz, New York-based duo Alex and Noah. They’re a young band cranking out satisfyingly concise and pointed slop-pop tunes with a thousand volts of fun. The two are caught in a whirlwind of touring, but found some time to stop by the brand new Serious Business Music in DUMBO to talk about their experience and to help break in the new live room.
Dar Williams is a folk songwriter currently two decades into her music career. Her latest release, Emeralds, draws heavily on that accrued history, crowd-funded through Pledge Music, recorded in studios all around the country, and involving a wealth of guest musicians and co-writers. Here, she visits Saltlands Studio in DUMBO to share some of her latest tunes and to chat with Maia about the inspiration behind her work.
The Washington, DC-based “technicolor pop” band Pree has a way with color. Visually, their art (and instruments) tend toward bright and vibrant hues, while musically, they shimmer and shine with a chaotic take on pop that can weave from a hush to explosive bursts. They stopped by Saltlands Studio to share some of their latest tunes and chat with Maia.
Rey Pila is the NYC-via-Mexico City rock quartet of Diego Solorzano, Rodrigo Blanco, Andres Velasco and Miguel Hernandez. Their driving garage rock has drawn considerable international acclaim, including shows with some of the biggest names in indie rock. Here, the band talks a bit about how landing a fan in Julian Casablancas of The Strokes affected the course of their new album. Featured song: “What A Nice Surprise” // Listen to the audio podcast with more music and interview Rey Pila’s sophomore album, The Future Sugar, will be released July 17, 2015. Follow Rey Pila on Facebook and Twitter.
Mariachi El Bronx is the alter ego of the LA-based punk band The Bronx. Begun when the band challenged themselves to adapt their music for an acoustic set, they took it one step forward and reinvented themselves as a traditional Latin band, and have continued to develop that in tandem with their louder, electric side. The whole crew crammed into Saltlands Studio to share some songs and chat with Maia.
Sophie B. Hawkins needs no introduction. The New York-based, Grammy-nominated songwriter has a long history of hit songs, releases, and life challenges. Here she shares her classic 1992 single, “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” in an intimate performance at Saltlands Studio in DUMBO, Brooklyn, recorded during her recent session for BTR Live Studio.
Turbo Fruits is a Nashville-based rock quartet. With songs about girls, partying, and the uncertainty of life, they go for the heartstrings and sound cool doing it. Notorious for their wild live shows, the band took things down a notch on a recent tour to stop by Saltlands Studio for this BTR Live Studio session.
Linda Oh is a jazz bassist, born in Malaysia, raised in Australia, and currently living in New York. With a background in classical music and composing for film, and after playing constantly with various groups, her own compositions have an exciting experimental groove — particularly here with her Sun Pictures album and group. She stopped by with her quartet to play some tunes and chat with Maia about her work.
Gnawa music blends ancient African/Islamic spiritual religious songs and rhythms, while incorporating poetry and dancing. InnoVe Gnawa is a group of artists from different parts of Morocco, led by master Maalem Hassan BenJaafer and celebrating the trance-inducing folk genre in NYC.
Laser Background, the hazy dream-pop brainchild of Philadelphia’s Andy Molholt, plays around in that murky field of tape hiss and slow grooves. There’s a playfulness here, falling somewhere in the fuzzy, psychedelic territory between the Beatles and Pavement, where pop melodies definitely rule, but everything sounds just a little bit… well, strange.
Tavche Gravche is a New York City-based group taking a fresh approach to traditional Balkan music, blended with original tunes. Composed of Clarinetist Vasko Dukovski, guitarist Dan Nadel, and bassist/founder Daniel Ori, the group blends Macedonian and Mediterranean sounds in an improvisation-fueled blast of danceable rhythms.
Solid Goold (previously Albert And The Solid Goold) are a prog-leaning pop trio headed up by eponymous keyboard player, Albert Goold. Jammy, self-deprecating, and all around cheery, the band has a feel good vibe that’s perhaps impossible not to love.
Kuf Knotz is an experimental indie/hip-hop artist based in New York, though the Philadelphia roots definitely show through at times. Blending classic rap, soul, and hard rock styles to shape the group’s sounds, Kuf Knotz bring a seriously strong feel-good vibe to any room, headed up by an ultra-smooth vocal style. For this session at Saltlands Studio, Brooklyn’s Mr. Reed joined the fun to provide some super soulful choruses and the group spoke with Maia.
Doe are a North London indie-punk trio whose years of DIY efforts have paid off, bringing their 90s-inspired sound all the way across the pond to those of us here in the states. The band blends the twin guitar attack of Sleater-Kinney, the hummable fuzz pop of early Weezer, and the weaving melodies of Helium into their own super catchy pop. Here, the band plays “Swings And Roundabouts,” performed during their recent visit to Saltlands Studio for BTR Live Studio
Turbo Fruits is a Nashville-based rock quartet. With songs about girls, partying, and the uncertainty of life, they go for the heartstrings and sound cool doing it. Notorious for their wild live shows, the band took things down a notch on a recent tour to stop by Saltlands Studio for this BTR Live Studio session.
Sophie B. Hawkins needs no introduction. The New York-based, Grammy-nominated songwriter has a long history of hit songs, releases, and life challenges. Her 1992 single, “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover” is probably already playing in your head, but for this session, she stopped by Saltlands Studio to share some of her latest work in a stripped-down, piano-led arrangement, and to have a revealing chat with Maia about life and music.
Andy Shauf is a songwriter from Regina, Canada. Treading mostly in the territory of melancholy, heartbreaking musical storytelling, the darkness in his songs is underpinned by warm tones. On a recent tour, he stopped by Saltlands Studio with his band to share some of the music from his recent release in advance of a busy summer full of festivals and international touring.
Brooklyn pop trio Pearl And The Beard return to BTR Live Studio with their latest batch of stomp-worthy, epic folk-rock songs. Taking a slightly heavier approach this time around, Jocelyn Mackenzie, Emily Hope Price, and Jeremy Lloyd-Styles raise their powerful voices to inspiring effect with every rousing chorus. As the trio wrapped up work on their latest album and prepped for a string of shows with Ani Difranco, they brought their big sound and SO MANY FEELINGS to Saltlands for this session.
Howard is one of those bands that blurs the lines between a solo project and band; named for the lead singer/songwriter, Howard Feibusch, their performance indicates that there’s more musical interplay than the name might imply. Musically, the Brooklyn-based band straddles the line between traditional songwriting and (tastefully) using modern technology to craft their own distinct take on folktronica. Following in the footsteps of the likes of Beck, Radiohead, and the Antlers, with fragile, crooning vocals over noise-laden ambience and beats, Howard has a refreshingly developed sound. They stopped by Saltlands Studio to share some music (in trio format) and to talk about the project.
A Deer A Horse is a Brooklyn-based trio self-described as “urgent rock n’ roll.” Centered around the riveting songwriting and vocal delivery of singer/guitarist Rebecca Satellite and compounded by bassist Angela Phillips’ memorable punk-stomp stage antics, ADAH has been quietly bubbling up in the Brooklyn music scene over the last few years, making quite an impression at every turn. Musically, they do great things with space, leaving room for tension in nearly every song, before exploding in perfectly timed, cathartic movements that drive their songs ahead. Satellite goes from hyper-focused poetic lightning rod to manic carnival ringleader, directing the force of the trio throughout each song’s twists and turns. Here, they joined us in the studio to share some music and talk about what they’ve got coming up.
Brooke Fraser is a hugely popular musician from New Zealand. She notably began her music career at the age of 18 with a major label bidding war and has since released full length albums to critical acclaim. Her latest batch of music marks a drastic sonic shift, from singer-songwriter to blossoming pop star, replacing acoustic instruments with dancier electronic elements. Brooke brought her band by Saltlands in DUMBO to show us how her magic is made.
Doe are a North London indie punk trio whose years of DIY efforts have paid off, bringing their 90s-inspired sound all the way across the pond to those of us here in the states. The band blends the twin guitar attack of Sleater-Kinney, the hummable fuzz pop of early Weezer, and the weaving melodies of Helium into their own super catchy pop. They stopped by Saltlands Studio on a recent visit to NYC to give us an introduction to their great sounds.
Highly Suspect is a Brooklyn-based heavy blues/garage rock band. The trio draws on classic blues rock sounds and subject matter, pushing their riffs through solid grooves and perfectly overdriven amps to hit just the right blend of catchy and heavy. It’s no accident that they’re about to hit the road as support for Scott Weiland of 90s grunge rock heroes Stone Temple Pilots, since they tread on similar, though updated, ground.
Remi is a 23-year-old rapper from Melbourne, Australia. Joined by his drummer/producer/buddy Sensible J., he’s on a fast-rising race to the forefront of the international hip hop scene with a slew of awards and critical acclaim from around the world. Here, the duo joined us on the front porch of the BTRhouse in Austin during a whirlwind SXSW for an intimate performance and chat.
Zydeco Radio is a fresh, young zydeco jam band led by Billy Mack (McDonald) on accordion and vocals and based out of Lafayette, Louisiana. Here, Billy and guitarist Bob Brahan are joined by talented pinch-hitters: Lane Mack on guitar, who happens to be Billy’s brother as well as a talented songwriter in his own right; and Hunter Romero, who is the Macks’ cousin, on washboard. The group didn’t miss a beat and kept the music hot in the backyard of the BTRhouse in Austin during SXSW!
Orenda Fink was once the voice of Azure Ray, among other projects — we loved that Art In Manila record, for example. These days, the critically-acclaimed singer and songwriter once based in Birmingham, Alabama, is a fixture Omaha, Nebraska, where her label, Saddle Creek, is based. Currently performing her own music under her own name — and it certainly stands on its own that way — Orenda is joined here and on tour by her husband, Todd Fink (of labelmates The Faint), for an intimate session in the backyard of the BTRhouse in Austin during SXSW.
Crying is a NYC chiptune trio. Their take on the video game-jamming blend of prog and pop-punk is packed with energy, highly explosive, and totally takes you to the next level. For this episode of BTR Side Tracks, we present “Sick” off their recent album Second Wind, as performed at the recent session for BTR Live Studio.
Kabaka Pyramid — aka Keron Salmon of Kingston, Jamaica’s — is a talented reggae musician and producer who draws heavily on his time as a rapper in the underground music scene. Kabaka, whose name references his desire for longevity in music and deep connection to Kemetic roots, aims for a higher consciousness and spirituality in his music, with the goal of steering future generations towards harmony and unity. The group stopped by the BTRhouse in Austin on a rainy morning to share some special, acoustic renditions of their songs on our front porch.
BTR Side Tracks is our recently launched series where we present previously unseen performances of full songs from artists who have visited us for a studio session. Back during 2014’s CMJ Music Marathon, the Florida-based punk band Flashlights stopped by Let ‘Em In Music in Gowanus, Brooklyn, for a special session, engineered by Nadim Issa. Here, the band performs “Don’t Take Me Seriously” off their latest release, Bummer Summer.
Our team kicked off a week of great stripped-down sessions in Austin during SXSW with the one and only Aaron Earl Livingston, aka Son Little. Using familiar blues-leaning licks and his remarkable soft and gritty vocals (think along the lines of Stevie Wonder) to sing his tales of love, loss, and life, Son Little has already seen and written so much, having collaborated with the likes of The Roots and RJD2 on various projects. He stopped by the BTRhouse to share some tunes and to chat with Maia.
Leave The Planet is the London-based shoegaze duo of Nathalia Bruno and Jack Milwaukee. Influenced by the likes of Slowdive, early Sarah Records releases, and Galaxie 500 (whose song inspired their band name), the pair came together as flatmates and eventually began collaborating based on their shared taste in music. They stopped by Saltlands Studio on a recent trip to the states to play some songs and chat about the band.
Old Monk is the brooklyn-based rock trio of Josh, Ian, and Tsugumi. Their heavy, prog-inflected indie rock is both catchy and complex, and they’ve been spending the past few years touring the country to get it heard. The band stopped by Saltlands Studio to play some of their latest songs, which explore the subject of love, and to share a few tales from the road with guest host Travis Harrison.
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.
It takes about fifteen years before music genres make a comeback, right? Great, then Vomitface has arrived right on schedule. There’s no denying that this Jersey City trio are straight up 90s with their loud-quiet-loud dynamics, heavy-ass chunky bass, self-deprecating angst-laden lyrics thru yelps, murmurs, and hollers, and even a convincing 90s grunge look. It all add up to a well-proven formula for a good time. Sure, there’s a bit of nihilism here (how could they leave that out?), but the sound is so good that we can’t help but get a little excited about it. The band dropped by Saltlands Studio to play some songs and chat about their history with guest host Travis Harrison.
Mark, Scott, and Nathan make up Heaven For Real, the indie rock trio from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Musically, they work in distinctly Pavementesque non-sequiturs and shout-alongs that tend to to be super catchy and fun. We’ve seen a couple of these guys before (Crosss and Monomyth) and if we’re lucky, perhaps they’ll bring even more of their friendly Halifax scene our way… They stopped by Let ‘Em In Music in Gowanus, Brooklyn, to play some songs, talk about the band, and address their non-existent connection to the Burpo family and their story, Heaven Is For Real.
Monomyth is a psych-pop foursome from Halifax, Nova Scotia. We caught up with them for a session of BTR Live Studio when they were in town for CMJ 2014. Not seen in that session is this full performance of “Cruel Blue Hello.”
Bonsai is a Brooklyn-based band made up of singer-songwriter Simone Stevens, Greg McMullen on guitar, and Bryan Bisordi on drums and bass (like, at the same time!). Though their orchestration can be a bit minimal, to amazing effect, the band weaves a lush world of sounds for each song and manages to fill them with refreshingly surprising shifts. Pop songs at their core, there are hints of country and rock (you could even call some of them “slowcore” — sure, why not?) scattered throughout. The band stopped by Let ‘Em In Music in Gowanus, Brooklyn, for this session.
On this episode of BTR Side Tracks we present a previously unseen performance from Minneapolis-based trio The Blind Shake. They perform the full version of their song “Old Lake, ” from their recent Goner Records release Breakfast Of Failures, not seen in their session for BTR Live Studio.
DRGN KING began as an experimental studio collaboration between Philadelphia-based songwriter Dominic Angelella and producer Ritz Reynolds. Eventually morphing into a quartet before shifting lineups around, DRGN KING now finds Angelella with a fresh crop of musicians giving life to the project’s catchy psych-pop songs. The foursome stopped by Let ‘Em In Music in Gowanus, Brooklyn, to share some tunes and talk a bit about the inspiration and history of the music.
Cariad Harmon is a charming London-bred folksinger who currently lives in New York. She dropped by Saltlands Studio, joined by her friend Orly, for this intimate session, then spoke with Maia.
BTR Side Tracks is our recently launched series where we present previously unseen performances of full songs from artists who recently visited us for a studio session. This episode features Eliot Bronson, an Atlanta-based Americana artist, who recently stopped by for BTR Live Studio. Here he performs “River Runs Dry,” off his recent self-titled release from Saturn 5 Records.
Maquina Supervium (it’s ok if you don’t quite know how to pronounce it) are a Brooklyn trio built around the jangly, noisy, experimental “intergalactic gospel” songs of singer/guitarist Jhedi, along with Steve on guitar (from Clouder) and Benji on drums (from Slang King and more). Here, they share some of the songs from their long-awaited album, and share some of the reasons behind the 2-year delay.
Crying is a NYC chiptune trio. Their take on the video game-jamming blend of prog and pop-punk is packed with energy, highly explosive, and totally takes you to the next level. Here, the band gives Maia some insight into exactly how they make their supercharged anthems.
Exit Verse is the latest project featuring the songwriting of legendary singer/guitarist Geoff Farina (Karate, Secret Stars, Glorytellers). Here, Farina ventures into far rockier territory than his recent projects, belting out anthemic choruses over catchy rock tunes strong enough to conjure up 90s flashbacks for those of us who were there. The live band also includes bassist Pete Croke (Brokeback, Tight Phantoms) and drummer Chris Dye (Speck Mountain, Chin Up Chin Up), who brought the songs to life with some serious intensity for this session at Saltlands, guest hosted by BTR’s DJ Latola.
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.
Ayad Al-Adhammy is the heart and soul of Brooklyn rock n’ roll gang, Team Spirit. Previously the brains behind Passion Pit’s synthy pop tunes, Ayad has taken his musical skill and spun it into a beer-soaked punk rock party full of fun, thrashy riffs, and catchy hooks. The band stopped by Saltlands to tear it up and give us a firsthand account of why they have so many cheerleaders.
The Blind Shake is a Minneapolis-based trio fronted by brothers Jim and Mike Blaha, with their friend Dave Roper on drums. Intense, uniform-clad, and seemingly from another time or world, the Blind Shake blasts out tight, catchy, surfy punk tunes. In addition to their own growing catalog of releases, the band has collaborated with the likes of psych legend Michael Yonkers and surf “Swami” John Reis. The guys stopped by Saltlands Studio to crank it out just for you in this session.
Jared Samuels and his collective of musical conspirators, aka Invisible Familiars, seems to be almost too good to believe. Distilling elements of every corner of rock radio through some hazy modern filter with careful production and spot-on flourishes. Samuels’ background playing with the likes of Martha Wainwright, Sharon Jones, Cibo Matto, and Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger makes a lot of sense, pulling it all together into some vaguely Beck-ish territory with funk and folk hits, pulled together with 60s rock hooks. Here, the band drops by Let Em In Music in Gowanus, Brooklyn, to share masterfully performed renditions of a few songs and chat about the project.
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, the 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.
Singer-songwriter Eliot Bronson grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. There, he played in folk band The Brilliant Inventions, would up in Atlanta, and released two solo records before getting himself to Nashville to record his latest cycle of Americana songs with a full band of seasoned musicians as well as sought-after producer Dave Cobb at the helm. Here, he stops by Saltlands Studio to share some raw, solo versions of the songs, highlighting his timeless and powerful vocals.
Mike Pace once led the popular NYC band Oxford Collapse, who dished out catchy, 80s college rock-tinged post-punk in the shape of records from Kanine and Sub Pop. Now, after a six year break from playing music, and picking up an acoustic guitar and moving to Austin, Texas, for a few years, those familiar 80s sentiments — touching on Pace’s Long Island upbringing and apparent nostalgia for the decade in general — are more apparent than ever in his first solo release with The Child Actors. Here, he presents the new music in duo form and talks with Maia about his experiences.
Dott is a band based in Galway, Ireland, who play shiny, harmony-driven garage pop. If you’re into super hummable melodies full of oohs and aahs, slathered with tasty guitar noise, they’ve got exactly what you need. During CMJ 2014, the band came all the way to New York to play some shows and join us for this session at Saltlands.
Literature is an indie-pop band based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The band’s roots were planted when songwriter Kevin Attics met Nathaniel Cardaci and Seth Whaland in Austin, Texas. After a move to Philadelphia, where they met fourth member Chris Schackerman, the band got up and running in 2012. Their mod-leaning indie pop found a great match in analog recording techniques, which the band put to fantastic use on their Slumberland Records release, Chorus. Literature stopped by Saltlands Studio in DUMBO while in town for CMJ, where they also cranked out a killer set at the official BTR showcase.

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