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NYC
As an avant garde artistic statement, denitia & sene are a testament to the current musical landscape in Brooklyn.
Blending sparse acoustics and glistening synth, Brooklyn’s Snowmine make indie-rock music that evokes both the aching sentimentality and darling harmonies of Fleet Foxes, and the body moving tribal beats and electronics of Yeasayer. The five-piece — led by new-classical composer Grayson Sanders — knows how to assemble songs that are well-textured and emotional, but it’s their real knack for building upon strong pop melodies that makes their work so appealing.
Katie Dill is currently one half of the music project Mean Lady, but has also been performing and recording her own music for years. Influenced by artists that range from Ella Fitzgerald to The Beach Boys and Bob Marley, Katie has written and recorded hundreds of songs, often folky tunes played on a range of instruments such as piano, banjo, ukulele and omnichord. In this episode of BTR Live Studio, Katie shares a couple of new songs, as well as a solo version of Mean Lady’s “Far Away, played on piano, and discusses some of the inspiration behind her many songs.
Don’t doubt Brooklyn four-piece Shark? despite their unusually punctuated name. They blend scruffy garage-rock and riotous post-punk for music that swerves from catchy lo-fi hooks to wild distorted yelping in the blink of an eye. The band — made up of Kevin Diamond (vocals/guitar), Andy Swerdlow (drums), Andy Kinsey (bass), and Chris Mulligan (guitar) — have toured relentlessly in and around New York City for years and finally, after a successful Kickstarter campaign, were able to release their first full-length album, True Waste, this past summer.
Reflecting on landing for the first time in the Big Apple.
Lost Bayou Ramblers got their musical start playing traditional Cajun music in their home state of Louisiana. Deciding that change and growth within the band was necessary led to the production of their newest album -- Mammoth Waltz -- which amps up the band and combines their traditional instrumentation and sound with recognizable rock n’ roll influences. In this episode of BTR Live Studio, Lost Bayou Ramblers share some Cajun history, new tunes and talk about the process of recording their latest album.
Zoe Boekbinder was born in Ontario, Canada and currently resides in New Orleans. She tours internationally, playing her songs with clever rhymes about love gone awry, backed by live looped vocal harmonies and electronic beats. Her next album will be a collaboration with inmates at New Folsom Prison to benefit arts in prisons. For this special episode of BTR Hear & There, Zoe is joined by her friend and tourmate, Mal Blum, for an intimate performance at Sardine, a project space in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
Dog Adrift is a new group from New York City, led by Mike Quoma and featuring members of The Unsacred Hearts, Balthrop, Alabama, Dean and Britta, and more. Musically, as Travis points out in the interview, they land somewhere in Chicago/Thrill Jockey territory, playing complex, jazz-derived instrumental songs that wind their wind through tempos, genres, and emotions. Most importantly, the band asks Travis the big question: what's the story behind that great Serious Business jingle?
Project E.A.R. (East Asian Revolution) is a musical movement of bands and acts from South East Asia with the mission of giving Asian music exposure across the globe. Originally brought together for the 2008 MTV Asia Awards, it is a collaborative project with members of groups from five countries in the region, including Ahli Fiqir from Singapore, Pop Shuvit from Malaysia, Saint Loco from Indonesia, Thaitanium and Silksounds from Thailand, and Slapshock from the Philippines. With musical influences from metal to rock and pop music, the group's sound changes from song to song and even verse to verse, as the players trade off songwriting and singing duties with ease. On their first ever trip to the US for the 2012 CMJ Music Marathon, the group dropped by our studio to talk about the project and to share some of the songs written for their upcoming record during a trip to Bali earlier this year.
On November 26, 2012, TBWA/Chiat/Day hosted a launch party for photographer Rose Hartman's new book, Incomparable Women Of Style. Before the event, BreakThruTV's Lauren Hawker spoke with Rose about the book and her career, during which she has photographed a number of celebrities, models, and fashionistas -- Jacqueline Onassis, Kate Moss, Bianca Jagger, Naomi Campbell, and Lauren Hutton among them -- and been a fixture at such famed hot spots as Studio 54.
BRAINSTORM is an experimental pop group from Portland, Oregon, who use memorable melodies, polyrhythmic singing, and shimmering guitar lines to build songs bound to lodge themselves in peoples’ heads. Everything the trio does is high energy, danceable, and simultaneously familiar and refreshingly new. The band chatted with Maia about how they blend their eclectic outsider music influences in an organic way, the mixtapes that brought them together, taking internet band friendships offline, and more. Bonus: bassist Dasha gets a new nickname!
Led by 18-year-old emcee Patrick "Wiki" Morales, Ratking is proof that hip hop runs deep into the veins of New York City.
This West Bend, Wisconsin, duo began making music when Jacquelyn Beaupre recorded some songs and asked Donivan Berube to help finish them up. Eventually, it turned into a fully collaborative project for the two who work, live, and play together -- and boast that, between the two of them, they can play anything. There's a natural, woodsy feeling in their music, especially on recordings, thanks to their unique recording techniques and honest, optimistic approach. They stopped by the studio to share some songs and talk about giving up the flute and finding it again, not knowing what they're doing, and how the project got started.
The holiday season is upon us, so, this week on BTR Pulse, we speak to people about their favorite holiday traditions and how this festive time affects them. We also ask how the current state of the economy may impact and alter their usual traditions.
Originally a minimalist noise pop duo, Bleeding Rainbow (formerly Reading Rainbow) are now a 4-piece rock band, capable of a fully trippy, fuzzed-out sonic assault. The Philadelphia band wears its 90s subculture inspiration proudly on its vintage t-shirt sleeve, evoking appropriately fuzzy shades of Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, Yo La Tengo, and more. The band sat down with Maia to chat about being caught stealing, how they got the crazy effects (intentional or otherwise) for a music video, and why it didn't take a lawsuit to get them to change their name.
Modern Rivals are five friends, some of whom have been playing music together since middle school. The Brooklyn-based quintet blends carefully orchestrated guitars, keyboards, and loops with clean vocals full of "oohs" and "aahs," taking cues from the likes of Local Natives and Animal Collective, to create an atmosphere of warm, lush tones. Currently at work on their first full length album, the band sat down with Maia to talk about growing up together and the benefits of crafting longer records.
Japanese drummer Yuko Araki is a veteran of such high profile projects as Cornelius, the Plastic Ono Band, and Cibo Matto. In MI-GU she is joined by her frequent collaborator, guitarist Hirotaka "Shimmy" Shimizu, also of Cornelius and one of their joint projects, IF BY YES. Together, the duo craft engagingly minimalist and experimental pop songs built on the interplay of Yuko’s propulsive drumming and the unique sounds generated by Shimizu's handmade effect pedals. In this interview, Cibo Matto's Yuka Honda helps out with translation as the band discusses writing songs, building pedals, and humor in music.
Walmart workers and activists stage Black Friday strikes in 100 cities and in 46 states, pushing back on Charlie Pierce's uncharacteristically imperceptive post on the bombardment of Gaza, and thoughts on why our hometown consistently votes Democratic.
The core of Passenger Peru is the duo of Justin Stivers (formerly of The Antlers) and multi-instrumentalist Justin Gonzales. Growing out of the Stivers-led Pet Ghost Project, the duo fleshes out their live act with a drummer and keyboardist, offering a creative take on artful pop and experimental rock, eliciting comparisons to the likes of Yo La Tengo, Arcade Fire, and Animal Collective. For this episode of BTR Hear & There, we caught up with the band in a backyard in Astoria, Queens, for a unique take on their song, "Weak Numbers."
Is imitation the highest form of flattery or the lowest form of creativity?
Cousins are a garage band from Halifax, Nova Scotia, that makes sweet n’ heavy, raucous pop music. Formed in 2009 by Aaron Mangle, the project's lineup fluctuates with additional members Leigh Dotey and Pat Ryan. For this session, Aaron and Leigh performed as a duo before sitting down with Maia to talk about getting over stage fright, and sharing a bit about our neighbors to the way north -- most notably that Halifax apparently has its own version of Brooklyn, just across the bridge. In the Spring of 2013, the band will release a new LP and a split EP with their band BFF Construction & Destruction.
The Rattlesnakes are a psych-punk band from Portland, Maine, with a touch of an amiable “who cares” attitude that lends a bit of excitement to what they do. Growing from a home recording duo to a three piece to the current quintet, the group’s growing pains show through in their music in the best possible way. Aggressive garage rock and punk at the core, they manage to fit in quite a lot of weirdness alongside their tight pop melodies. The band sat down with Travis (with a noticeable lack of beer, being early on a Sunday) to talk about other Maine bands who’ve graced the studio, as well as their latest cassette tape release.
Hailing from the Mississippi Gulf Coast, perhaps the most obvious trait of Rosco Bandana is their striking live energy. The songs are fast, the musicians are tight, and, most importantly, their blend of Americana and folk is tempered with a strong helping of Southern sweetness and a seeming desire to get a little rowdy. They are, after all, the product of teenage rebellion and its consequences, born out of principle songwriter Jason Sanford’s efforts to break out of his strict Christian upbringing and his subsequent discovery of indie rock. The band visited BTR Live Studio to play some songs and to sit down with Maia to talk a bit about how they found themselves winning the competition that landed them a record deal with Hard Rock Records.
Sean Parker continues to push the envelope on how the internet can be used to change societal norms.
On Thursday, October 18, right in the middle of the non-stop music madness that is the CMJ Music Marathon, BreakThru Radio teamed up with music blog I Guess I’m Floating to co-promote their Floating Fest at Pianos on the Lower East Side of NYC. Follow DJ Latola as he checks out the show and gets exclusive interviews from some of the bands on the bill: Conveyor shares tips on how to keep music fun, Night Panther reveals the best way to listen to music, Levek sheds some light on the Gainesville scene, and Connor McGlynn and Nathaniel Gravely from I Guess I’m Floating discuss how they pick the bands for shows like this.
New York City celebrates our veterans with their annual parade down Fifth Avenue.
Brooklyn indie folk-rock art collective Balthrop, Alabama, brings to mind the excitement and warmth of a party with all your family, friends, and neighbors in your childhood living room. Founded by Alabama-born songwriter-siblings Pascal and Lauren Balthrop, the “town” has a population somewhere around 10 at any given time, often including enough members of other notable NYC acts to make it a veritable supergroup, and always including live drawing by artist Michael Arthur. With their latest full length album, the tiny town of Balthrop gets electricity, and their familiar tales of love, dead people, and dead people in love are joined by the subjects of oil, brotherhood and death, happiness and woe.
Zombie Jazz outfit Father Figures began as a Brooklyn basement band like any other -- or maybe unlike any other. Instrumental jams with wild horns and trance-inducing keys, not to mention a whole host of otherworldly sounds coming from -- well, we’re sometimes not even sure where -- make this combo totally captivating.
As the East Coast continued its recovery from Superstorm Sandy, we visited the Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook which was devastated by flood waters. With many residents without power -- including those in Red Hook Houses, the largest public housing development Brooklyn -- and both big and small business forced to shut down, the Red Hook Initiative organized hundreds of volunteers to work together with FEMA and other local groups to help out the ravaged community. BTR Pulse spoke with everyone from small business owners to government officials on the scene.
The core of Passenger Peru is the duo of Justin Stivers (formerly of The Antlers) and multi-instrumentalist Justin Gonzales. Growing out of the Stivers-led Pet Ghost Project, the duo fleshes out their live act with a drummer and keyboardist, offering a creative take on artful pop and experimental rock, eliciting comparisons to the likes of Yo La Tengo, Arcade Fire, and Animal Collective. For this episode of BTR Hear & There, we caught up with the band in a backyard in Astoria, Queens, for a unique take on their song, "Weak Numbers."
On the ground interviews from Staten Island and Rockaway Beach, as we take you to some of the places in New York City that have been hardest hit. Today's show is all about people telling their own stories about how Sandy changed their lives.
Heliotropes is the musical vehicle of four Brooklyn women that hail from places as wildly divergent as West Virginia, New Jersey, and California. Begun in 2009, the band has been hard at work recording and releasing singles that showcase their fuzzed-out psych/shoegaze-inspired songs, full of dreamlike vocals and gut-pummeling riffs. Heliotropes land somewhere between Black Sabbath and Mazzy Star, which makes for a pretty perfect cocktail of musical intoxication.
Our coverage of Sandy's effects on New York City continues, with Chris Robbins of Gothamist reporting on the massive destruction on Staten Island, and Nick Pinto of the Village Voice on continuing power outages in Red Hook. Also, Molly's got a new essay about structural oppression and education.
Kurt Baker is a singer, songwriter, and rock n’ roll performer from Portland, Maine ,who has always gone by the famous saying “Have a Good Time All the Time." As the founding member of notable pop/punk outfit the Leftovers, he toured the world and grew into the living, breathing party machine that he is onstage today. Highly reminiscent of Elvis Costello and backed by the venerable KB Band, Baker breathes new life into the power pop genre with high energy guitars and well-crafted pop songwriting. The guys stopped by the studio to play some tunes and to chat with Travis about classic pop history, helping each other out, and -- most importantly -- getting girls.
Hurricane Sandy may have postponed the season opener of the Nets at the recently opened Barclays Center, delaying the newly Brooklyn-based team’s first match-up against the New York Knicks, but that doesn’t mean local basketball fans don’t already have opinions about the surely looming inter-Borough rivalry. BTR Pulse’s Lauren Hawker asks people which side they’ll be taking as Brooklyn gets it’s first major sports franchise since the Dodgers left for Los Angeles.
On October 25th, Force Meme Productions hosted the Fourth Annual HallowMEME Costume Party at The Bell House in Brooklyn. Celebrating online culture, the event features partygoers dressed IRL as their favorite internet memes and personalities. BreakThruTV’s Lauren Hawker spoke with Forced Meme’s Andrea Rosen and other partygoers, including the winner of the evening’s costume contest.
The strange case of the Toynbee Tiles and those trying to track their origin.
Brooklyn’s YVETTE are Noah Kardos-Fein and Rick Daniel. Taking the primal, ritualistic rawness and physicality from the New York no wave and post-punk scene, they push it towards the noisy, the industrial, and the all-out-abrasive. More than just piercing assaults, however, the duo’s songs are impressive displays of structure, craft, and intent that, while perhaps weird and jarring for some, are ultimately catchy tunes that move you -- as Travis says, “It hurts so good.” In this episode of Serious Business on BTR, the band sweated it out and then sat down to talk about how they write songs, taking time off when you need it, and being anti-shuffling.
What began as a love for all-things Chris Rock has evolved into a creative career move for this NYC based comic.
Teeny Lieberson was playing in the indie-psych band Here We Go Magic when a break from the group led to the writing of a batch of songs that formed the groundwork for what would become TEEN. Joined by two of her sisters and a friend, the band plays eerie, swirling psych-flavored pop music with a heavy emphasis on lyrics and vocals. The quartet treated us to a stripped-down set in the studio and chatted with Maia about their history and, curiously enough, dingy Nova Scotia venues.
Mike Higbee is a Paris-born, New York-based singer-songwriter whose most recent album, Secret Life, was recorded at Let ‘Em In Music, a studio in Brooklyn’s burgeoning Gowanus neighborhood. The album draws its influences as much from American indie folk-rock as it does from the swaggering oom-pah style and contemplative crooning vocals of 1960s Paris. For this episode of BTR Hear & There, Higbee performs a raw, solo version of "Love Letter" against the background of the New York City skyline as seen from a Long Island City balcony.
New York City has some amazing walking tours available for tourists and natives alike.
Originating in New Orleans and currently based half in Brooklyn and half in Providence, RI, Callers is a group with strong convictions and creative musicianship. Their latest, Reviver, is said to be "a statement on power, rhythm, beauty and language, and an exploration of inner vastness." In the process of crafting the LP, Keith Souza and Seth Manchester went from collaborating in the studio to joining the band, adding more support to the already complex songwriting and orchestrations of Sara Lucas and Ryan Seaton. Not a band beholden to any particular genre, Callers often incorporate shades of Fleetwood Mac, Dirty Projectors, and all the art rock, motown, experimental punk, and world music in between.
Brooklyn noise rock duo Talk Normal (aka Sarah Register and Andrya Ambro) layers a creative array of effects and feedback over jarring rhythms for a sonic experimentation that results in surprisingly tuneful songs. Travis sat down with the band to have a nice normal (note the lack of giant beers for the interview) talk about superfandom, the recording process, and multitasking during shows.
We talk to the photographer behind PopSpotsNYC, a site that celebrates of pop album cover photos taken in NYC.
The Bowery Riots are a 3 piece rock n roll band who take their name from the turn of the century gang The Bowery Boys and the 1849 Astor Riot. Devoted to early rhythm & blues and British invasion rock n' roll, their self-imposed mission is to make honest, literate music that pays tribute to their city and -- perhaps more importantly -- keeps people moving.
Ever since Ronald Reagan asked voters to consider, “Are You Better Off Than You Were Four Years Ago?,” during his 1984 campaign for reelection and they answered by returning him to the White House in a landslide, the question has been a benchmark for voters to consider every presidential election cycle. Given the shaky state of the country when President Obama took office in 2008, we decided to ask people their thoughts about this quadrennial concern as they consider whether to give him another term or turn to his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.
Brooklyn-based electronic/psychedelic producer Erin Rioux (pronounced ree-yoo) is a self-taught multi-instrumentalist who blends organic instrumentation with custom samples and beats. More than just a dance music machine, Rioux explores the realm of audio/visual pop experimentation, drawing inspiration from the Berlin nightlife scene and his own background growing up in Detroit.
Zombie Jazz outfit Father Figures began as a Brooklyn basement band like any other -- or maybe unlike any other. Instrumental jams with wild horns and trance-inducing keys, not to mention a whole host of otherworldly sounds coming from -- well, we’re sometimes not even sure where -- make this combo totally captivating.
Beach Day come from a surreal place they call Hollyweird, Florida (actually Hollywood, but the nickname seems to fit). The retro aesthetic of their hometown seems to have left quite an impression on the trio, whose music embodies the same sort of sunny pop as girl groups of the 50's and 60's. Capturing as much of their live vibe in the studio as possible -- both on their records and in this session -- the band proves that, though their surroundings and inspiration may seem frozen in time, their music is very much alive.
Ever since Ronald Reagan asked voters to consider, “Are You Better Off Than You Were Four Years Ago?,” during his 1984 campaign for reelection and they answered by returning him to the White House in a landslide, the question has been a benchmark for voters to consider every presidential election cycle. Given the shaky state of the country when President Obama took office in 2008, we decided to ask people their thoughts about this quadrennial concern as they consider whether to give him another term or turn to his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.
Today's episode of Spit Take Comedy on BreakThruTV features Reid Faylor, a stand-up comedian with the enthusiasm of an excited - albeit unstable - preschool teacher. In this episode, he touches on the sensitive subjects of dramatic pauses, love, and war.
Beat Radio is the perpetually-evolving project of Bellmore, Long Island’s Brian Sendrowitz, who’s been crafting hazy, literate, heartfelt pop songs under the name since 2005. In its current form as a duo (joined by a second Brian on drums), the band has been working on a fourth full-length album, Hard Times, Go!, with the additional help of a network of friends and collaborators. Inspired by nostalgia for an innocence that may or may not have ever been (mixtapes, sitcoms, pure pop music) and driven by a strong DIY ethic, the LP is an expansive, adventurous concept record that makes good on its promise to find a space that falls comfortably between Sendrowitz’s musical heroes: Bruce Springsteen and Robyn. Even BTR Live Studio’s host, Maia Macdonald, gets in on the fun, joining the band for a duet on vocals for the song “Stars Collided In Our Hearts” for this special session.
When Dinosaur Feathers stopped in for their session with Travis they graced us with that they call “The Trio.” The three songs, normally played back to back at live shows with no breaks, exemplify sort of power-packed performance the band presents at any of their live shows and they, unsurprisingly, nailed it all in one take, as presented here.
After nine years of development and countless court battles, the Barclays Center opened last Friday night in downtown Brooklyn. The 19,000 seat center will be the new home of the Brooklyn Nets, but also comes with high expectations and controversies. We asked residents and passersby their thoughts on the new arena.
Lightning Love are an indie pop trio from Ypsilanti, Michigan. The band began with Leah Diehl's solo demos of voice and piano, and was later fleshed out to a fuller sound with the help of her brother Aaron on drums and guitarist Ben Collins. Using simple pop structures as a basis for strong, confessional songs with a sweet, self-deprecating tone (sure, call it twee if you must) has worked well for the band, leading to extensive touring and growing national attention.
Eric Lindley is a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, and producer with a tendency towards sparseness and experimentation in his Careful project. An unconventional use of auto-tuned vocals over indie folk sets him apart from most dudes with guitars, and sets a strangely unsettling tone for his masterfully concocted, lovely songs.
With 120 leaders in New York for The United Nations General Assembly this week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's arrival is causing a stir. The controversial leader, who has spoken publicly about ending the state of Israel and suggested that 9/11 was an inside job, is staying at the iconic Warwick Hotel. We caught up with protesters -- including Nathan Carleton, communications director for United Against Nuclear Iran -- outside the hotel as Ahmadinejad arrived.
Today's episode of Spit Take Comedy on BreakThruTV features Narinder Singh, a New York-based comedian known for taking a refreshingly honest and hilarious look at the experience of being different and marginalized. Here he addresses the problems of having sexy lips, shopping with mom, and trying to get a chicken to hug.
The Well-Informed play their own style of classic piano pop in its finest form. They call it "Pop Revivalism for the Record Bin Romantic." We call it catchy. The group -- featuring Serious Business on BTR MVP Brian Kantor -- stopped by for a session then sat down with Travis for a beer-fueled chat about formative years in record shops, lost weekends, and Billy Joel's drummer.
iPhone fever is at an all time high with the release of the latest smartphone from Apple. Orders for the iPhone 5 topped 2 million in the first 24 hours -- more than double the amount of its predecessor, the 4S. Making up two-thirds of the company's profits, the iPhone is Apple's best selling product and has helped it to become the most valuable company in the world. This week on BTR Pulse, we visit Apple specialty store TekServe to find out more about this latest iPhone and ask people in New York about their use and thoughts on smartphones.
Kris Gruen, currently based in Vermont, was born in New York City with music in his blood, thanks to his father, iconic rock photographer Bob Gruen. His first album, Lullaby School, dealt in the Bon Iver-esque territory of subdued whisper-folk, while the sophomore release, Part of it All, takes a broader, more electrified approach, largely thanks to new collaborations. Contributing musicians and friends include drummer Butch Norton (The Eels, Lucinda Williams, Rufus Wainwright), bassist Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing, Dixie Chicks), Nashville’s Jason Goforth on lapsteel, and drummer Nick Brown from The Dig.
The Two Man Gentlemen Band is comprised of a fine pair of showmen with the best of taste in all things food, beverage, and general good times. The Gents play retro music of the hot jazz and retro swing variety (which they deliver to recitals on the roots and americana circuit via minivan) that harkens back to decades past -- pre-irony and electric instruments, and full of humor and wit. Their latest LP, Two At A Time, was recorded live to monophonic analog tape, using exclusively 1940s and 50s microphones and equipment without the use of any digital effects.
A very grown up Abigail Breslin makes an appearance at the debut of designer Stacy Bendet's latest collection.
Imagine the wildest party ever -- maybe it's on a beach or in an abandoned warehouse -- raging out of control to the tune of some blissfully inebriated, loud, hollering band. Wild Yaks are that band -- four dudes playing hard and singing their hearts out, pulling you into their own cult of fun. Taking a slightly different, more compact than a previous version of the group, this quartet wastes no time or energy in stirring up the excellent party vibes.
Through ads and sprawling payphone infrastructure, NYC joins the grid of American cities with publicly-supported wifi.
A native of Blue Point, Long Island, Travis McKeveny grew up with a wealth of great musical inspiration from the likes of Van Morrison, John Hiatt, and Jackson Browne, thanks to his guitarist/singer-songwriter father. Only two years into his own music career, Travis crafts impressive songs comprised of unadorned voice and bare acoustic guitar. Preparing for the release of his debut album, Last Year’s Leaves, he stopped by for a session of BTR Live Studio.
September 6-13 is Fashion Week in NYC. Over the coming days, designers, models, and fashionistas from across the world will invade the Big Apple to celebrate Fashion Week. This yearly September showcase will include endless runway shows and high profile parties with designers presenting what's hot for Spring 2013 at Lincoln Center as well as other venues throughout the City. In anticipation, we asked New Yorkers about what the week-long spectacle means to them.
Strongly influenced by her own military family background -- including extensive traveling throughout the world -- Michaela Anne today finds herself settled in the Ditmas Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, which is quickly revealing itself to have a burgeoning music scene of its own. Leading what she calls her "not exclusively country, country band" and making a name for herself on the Americana circuit, she stopped by BTR Live Studio to play some new songs as she prepares for her next release.
Sleepies proclaim themselves as “nice kid freak punk,” a sound they’ve been perfecting since forming in 2008. The band will soon be releasing their newest album, Weird Wild World, which was funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign last year. While gearing up for their record release tour, Sleepies stopped by our studio to talk with Travis and share some of their latest songs.
The Aviation Orange is a Brooklyn-based quintet with significant praise and experience for a relatively young group. With dueling male-and-female vocals, the band approaches their indie synth-pop with startling musical precision, building a sound that references the past yet still sounds modern. Fresh off the July release of the digital album, However Wild, the group plans to head back into the studio this fall, and shares some of those new songs with us for the first time in this episode of BTR Live Studio.
Michael Tracey is at the RNC, and we talk to him about the silencing of the Ron Paul delegates, the bizarre social scene and night life, and Ann Romney.
Public Displays of Affection, also known as “PDA,” can range anywhere from a simple peck on the cheek to a not so PG rated make-out session. The line between what is acceptable and what may be downright inappropriate is a matter of opinion, so BTR Pulse’s Veronica Grossman hit up Central Park to ask people their opinions.
An interview with Morrigan McCarthy of Restless Collective, a photography and multimedia collective.
Renowned for its inspirational coaches, cool music, and full body workouts, SoulCycle has built a cult-like following. Founded in 2006, the revolutionary indoor cycling class has taken spinning to another level. This week on BreakThruTV, Lauren Hawker visits SoulCycle’s Tribeca studio to catch up with instructor Chad Stringfellow, aka “String,” to learn about and take part in the intense, action-packed 60 minute class.
Recycle-A-Bicycle is a non-profit organization that accepts used bikes, refurbishes and sells them, then uses the proceeds to help the community.
The popularity of bicycles in NYC has been met with a rise in bicycle theft, causing many bikers to rethink the security measures they take.
Turnip King, as Travis puts it, are “extremely non-old.” While the members of the Sea Cliff, NY, band might be young, they’ve obviously already learned how to rock. And despite ditching their original name, Beach Moms, the group’s sound is still blissfully reverb-laden, fuzzy, and more than a bit psychedelic. In this episode of Serious Business on BTR, we hear some of Turnip King’s new tunes and plans for their upcoming album.
Brooklyn duo Cultfever created a world of their own for the songs on their self-titled debut album. Drawing on elements of classic indie rock and pop, their genre-jumping style makes for a satisfying mix of dynamic story songs and unconventional soundscapes. Stopping by to chat with Maia for this episode of Live Studio, Cultfever -- performing here as a four-piece -- shares some songs and a little about the making of their moody music video for “Knewyouwell.”
Tenants of three buildings in Sunset Park, Brooklyn stage a mighty resistance against their neglectful landlord.
Ourgoods.org offers a new spin on the bartering system, giving new meaning to the concept of artistic community.
Hailing from New Jersey, The Static Jacks are a poppy garage punk band that have been together since 2007. After the release of their first album, the group decided they needed to take a different approach to production and began recording in a converted storage unit in Jersey City. The resulting sophomore album is exactly what the band hoped to achieve -- a sound that is, according to the band, “spontaneous but polished.” The guys stopped by the studio to chat with Maia about Spray Tan and play a few songs.
Howth (rhymes with “growth”) just might be the most likeable indie rock band in Brooklyn. Previously working as a duo, Newkirk marks the recorded debut of the full five-member group of best friends. Developed over long periods of time and great distances, their sound is a delicate cacophony, winding from subtle folk melodies to danceable pop, with enough room left over for tasteful handclaps and the occasional sax solo freakout. Howth stopped by our studio while preparing for their record release tour to talk about the album, New Jersey, and their friend Jesse Newkirk -- he’s the one on the cover.
What's the sound of style? Well, it's a lot more glam than one hand clapping. In fact, as we've discussed Sew & Tell before, there is a ton of crossover between fashion and music, designers and rockers. For today's show, I got to talk with Susan Domelsmith, a Brooklyn jeweler who's also part of the all-girl Brooklyn band Open Ocean. Susan's jewelry line, Dirty Librarian Chains (best name ever?), is a beautifully tangled, bold array of pieces, each one made from repurposed vintage materials. From elegantly twisted chain necklaces, to simple, sculptural rings, these pieces are 100% rock 'n roll, and it's easy to see why the line has caught the attention of musicians like Debbie Harry and Vivian Girls. Susan's own music is no less innovative - she contributes keyboards to two projects: the throw-back punk band Open Ocean, and the experimental electronic pop duo Time Reveals. On today's show, Susan talks about the evolution of DLC, sourcing vintage materials, making music with fashion friends, and some of her favorite NYC libraries. Plus! An awesome playlist (what else would you expect?) featuring music from Open Ocean, Wild Nothing, Rubblebucket, Bill Fay, Bob Mould and more. So turn up the volume and settle in for some seriously stylish sound, with Sew & Tell on BTR!
The Nation's Liliana Segura on Texas' execution of an intellectually disabled man, activists in NYC protest the Spectra pipeline, and another mass shooting.
Condom makers Trojan handed out 10,000 free vibrators at locations throughout Manhattan this week to launch their new line of devices. Deploying purple, hot dog style “pleasure carts,” the savvy marketing campaign created quite the buzz with long lines at the first location in Midtown.
Shenandoah and the Night is a four piece ensemble from Brooklyn who, with their haunting melodies and attraction to minors keys, have been described as “moody pop” and “pop noir.” Currently preparing for the release of their second full length album, the group stopped by for a session of BTR Live Studio to discuss the making of their new record and the shift in their music as of late.
Sleepies proclaim themselves as “nice kid freak punk,” a sound they’ve been perfecting since forming in 2008. The band will soon be releasing their newest album, Weird Wild World, which was funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign last year. While gearing up for their record release tour, Sleepies stopped by our studio to talk with Travis and share some of their latest songs.
Katie Dill is currently one half of the music project Mean Lady, but has also been performing and recording her own music for years. Influenced by artists that range from Ella Fitzgerald to The Beach Boys and Bob Marley, Katie has written and recorded hundreds of songs, often folky tunes played on a range of instruments such as piano, banjo, ukulele and omnichord. In this episode of BTR Live Studio, Katie shares a couple of new songs, as well as a solo version of Mean Lady’s “Far Away, played on piano, and discusses some of the inspiration behind her many songs.
Condom makers Trojan handed out 10,000 free vibrators at locations throughout Manhattan this week to launch their new line of devices. Deploying purple, hot dog style “pleasure carts,” the savvy marketing campaign created quite the buzz with long lines at the first location in Midtown.
With the drama of the London Summer Olympics in full swing and winning performances from superstar athletes such as swimmer Michael Phelps and Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, we asked people to share their favorite Olympic moments and other thoughts on the number one sporting event in the world.
Elizabeth Devlin, with her haunting combination of lilting voice and enchanting autoharp, is a self-produced NYC singer-songwriter who’s been likened to artists such as Joanna Newsom. Staying away from traditional musical structure with many of her songs, she builds miniature narratives, such as with her new song, "A Chorus Divine,” which she performed for us at her apartment in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
After a musical hiatus following the disbanding of DeYarmond Edison, Chris Porterfield is making music again with his new project, Field Report. Garnering attention from Billboard, Paste, and Pitchfork, the music of Field Report has been described as thoughtful, smart, and intimate. In this session of BTR Live Studio, we catch up with the band, on tour with Counting Crows, and hear a little about Porterfield’s journey from DeYarmond Edison until now.
Cars and trucks make way for pedestrians as they take over the streets of NYC in a city-sponsored event.
Dusted consists of Brian Borcherdt (Holy Fuck) and Leon Taheny (Final Fantasy, Rituals, Bruce Peninsula). The duo plays to their strengths and longtime experience to overcome some of the usual difficulties of a two man band, producing a sound that is richly fleshed out. Their recently released album, Total Dust, is described by Brian as a sort of collage of songs that came together over time and in between touring. Dusted stopped by our studio to talk with Maia about their new album and share a few songs.
Kathleen Day of the Center for Responsible Lending talks predatory lending, and more with Kevin Diamond of Shark?
We catch up with Kevin Diamond of the Brooklyn quartet, talking about NYC scenes and benefit shows.
Performing as Cadence Weapon, Rollie Pemberton is known for his way with words -- even spending two years as Poet Laureate for the City of Edmonton. Pemberton’s last two albums, Breaking Kayfabe and Afterparty Babies, were nominated for Canada’s Polaris Music Prize while his latest release, Hope In Dirt City, is an attempt to capture the artist’s newest musical phase while also paying homage to earlier forms of hip hop. The album combines several genres of music fluidly for what Pemberton considers his most mature album yet.
On July 12th, BTR Pulse attended the first installment of 106.7 Lite FM’s “Broadway in Bryant Park.” The lunchtime series, now in its twelfth year, showcases performances by the casts of some of Broadway’s hottest shows, such as Stomp, Phantom Of The Opera, Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark, War Horse and Porgy And Bess. Performances run every Thursday at 12:30 through August 16th.
In honor of our beloved team member who left us far too soon.
Polly, a rapper with a decade of experience, produces songs of a storytelling nature. Although influenced by artists such as Eminem, Joe Budden and DMX, he boasts a style all his own. In the midsts of releasing a new album, we caught up with Polly at the Highline in NYC for this episode of BTR Hear & There.
Along with the rising Afrobeat scene in NYC, the twelve piece ensemble Zongo Junction has gained notoriety in the city. Afrobeat, which could be described as a politically motivated combination of funk, jazz and Nigerian Yoruba music, is known for complex rhythms and high energy tunes. After extensive tour on the east and west coasts, Zongo Junction has built a reputation on their ability to get a crowd moving. The band stopped by our studio while preparing for their next tour.
FIDLAR (an acronym for “Fuck It Dog Life’s A Risk) is a group of Los Angeles party rockers with a devil may care attitude; their songs advocate a hedonistic lifestyle of indulgence in the important things --- partying, sex and skating. Finishing up a recent tour with The Hives, FIDLAR was likened to the Replacements and Dead Kennedys by LA Weekly. The guys dropped by our studio to share some of their music and tales from the road.
Flying Pace is a four-piece based out of Brooklyn. The band’s melodic, multi-layered and weaving indie-rock music is topped off perfectly by the hushed, sultry vocals of frontwoman Kristie Redfield. The rest of the lineup — Marta DeLeon, Josh Arenberg, and George Flanagan — is made up of veteran New York City indie rock musicians whom have “dabbled” in a number of other local bands.
Sydney Wayser is a NYC singer-songwriter with roots in both Los Angeles in Paris. She recently visited our studios to play songs from her latest album, Bell Choir Coast, and to discuss the project with Maia Macdonald.
TGIF! And we all know what that means... Thank God for Indie Fashion! Today's show features a guest who provides an incredible service to socially & environmentally conscious fashionistas: Kate McGregor, owner and operator of the New York City eco-boutique, Kaight. In her store, Kate has made the work easy for us by offering a personally assembled collection of responsible labels, and sustainability-focused designers. Not only can New York residents take advantage of this gem, but Kaight has a webshop, too, making it ridiculously easy to be responsibly stylish. On today's show, Kate will talk about the concerns that led her to open Kaight, the criteria she uses to choose designers and labels, some of the changes she's seen in sustainable design since opening her doors, and one of the biggest challenges she's faced as a small business owner. All that, plus a playlist absolutely chock-full of great new music and releases, including tracks from ASPE, Dirty Projectors, Hot Panda, and BTR's Discovery Artist of the Week, Cardigan Strike Attack. Indie rock + sustainable summer dresses. Could you have a better Friday? #Probablynot
Former air traffic controller, Dave Munro got his musical start creating demos while serving away from home in the US Navy. Returning from deployment to find a hometown fan base who’d taken a liking to his work, Munro formed a band. Air Traffic Controller’s music combines life experience with a unique sound which has been gaining big name attention since 2009, resulting in -- among other things -- a nomination for MTV’s “Best Break-Out Artist” and a win for “Best Indie Rock Act” of the 2010 Boston Music Conference.
After five years of marriage, Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise have called it quits, bringing much speculation from the media about the role that Scientology may have played in their split. Since its inception in the 1950s, The Church of Scientology has often faced intense media scrutiny as one of the most controversial religious movements. This week on BTR Pulse Lauren Hawker asks people their thoughts about the Church.
Originally hailing from central Iowa, but now spending plenty of time on the coasts, Coolzey takes inspiration from a wide range of genres, including hip hop and 90s indie rock, and has toured with Raashan Ahmad, Akil of Jurassic 5, Sadat X of Brand Nubian, and Joe Jack Talcum of Dead Milkmen. When he visited us for a performance of his new, yet to be released song, “Want It The Most,” his hip-hop influences were on display. Here, he performs the song at a DIY event and arts space in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
On May 15th, Vancouver dark-dance band Mode Moderne celebrated the North American release of their new EP, Strange Bruises, on Little Organ Records. Centered around the music of Clint Lofkrantz, Felix Fung, and Philip Intile, Mode Moderne combines synths with chorusy, reverby guitars that instantly bring to mind some favorite moody pop songs from the 1980s. The band made their New York debut in early June, including a stop at our studios to record this exclusive live session.
Team Genius joins visits the studio for a session of BTR Live Studio and discusses and chats with Maia about their music.
Says Travis: “GOES CUBE makes music that pummels your ears. In a pinch you have to classify it as metal but these dudes churn out a brand of heavy music that is soulful and unique, not confined by genre dogma. SICK.”
Asthmatic Kitty recording artist Shannon Stephens returns with her new album, Pull It Together, produced with help from Grammy-winning engineer Kory Kruckenberg. The album highlights an evolution for Stephens, a wife and mother who has chosen to spend the greater part of the last decade out of the spotlight. She writes with a new worldview and explores the Seattle blues while staying true to her indie folk/rock roots. Pull It Together features collaborations with musicians Jeff Fielder (Mark Lanegan), James McAlister (Sufjan Stevens, Pedro the Lion), Steve Moore (Laura Veirs), Bonnie Prince Billy, DM Stith, and Galen Disston.
Teens interested in having anything other than their ears pierced could soon be banned from doing so in New York State. Many piercing shops already reject kids under 18 without explicit parental consent and state lawmakers could follow their lead if a new bill is signed into law. The bill, which would require written consent from parents to be provided and kept on file at shops for 12 months, has already passed both houses in Albany and next goes to the governor’s desk for approval or veto. This week on BTR Pulse we speak to people in New York, including a mother and a local piercer, about their experiences and the proposed law.
The Spinto Band is a hardworking group of guys from Wilmington, Delaware, who make excellent rock music (of the off-kilter pop variety, a la Talking Heads), host parties and concerts at their own space (The Garden Center), and run their own label (Spintonic Recordings). While on a recent tour, they stopped by our studio for a session and a chat with Maia.
Says Travis: “PS I Love You rocks viscerally, their songs charging ahead like big machines that run on melted down troubles and dreams. These young Canadians make rock that gives goosebumps. Watch our session and you'll agree.”
Artist info...
Dustin Wong. Beach House. Magik Markers. Hot Chip. Chad Valley. Laurel Halo. Yung Life. Grass Widow. BlackStar. Shannon and the Clams. And more...
Rodney King was found dead at the bottom of his swimming pool on June 17, 2012, at age 47. His beating by LA police in 1991, infamously caught on videotape, sparked a controversial trial and riots which exposed continuing racial tensions at the time. After King’s death, Reverend Al Sharpton said the beating "made America focus on the presence of profiling and police misconduct." This week on BTR Pulse, Lauren Hawker asks people about their memories of Rodney King and whether they think the issues surrounding those events have changed since then.
Atlanta band Bosco was formed around the musical vision of Savannah songwriter Brittany Bosco. Creating lush songs rooted in church music, verbed out guitars, 90s nostalgia, heavy percussion,and chill soul, Bosco pairs a strong design aesthetic and fashion sense with their evolving music. With the recent incorporation of synths into their sound, Bosco continues to redefine their output as collaborative musicians and artists.
As Lacrymosa, Caitlin Pasko, composes beautiful orchestral pop songs that build and weave a variety of textures into dreamy soundscapes. Adorned with sweeping string arrangements, delicate piano work and an angelic, soaring voice that rises and falls with exceptional control and ease, Pasko’s music is tender yet bursting with fervor — especially alongside her lyrical storytelling. Both her vocals and soft-spoken pop sensibilities call to mind Regina Spektor and Sharon Van Etten.
According to a 1992 law, women in New York have the right to go topless anywhere a man can, so long as they’re not engaged in commerce. Yet many people still don’t know this is legal twenty years after the ruling. This week, on BTR Pulse, Lauren Hawker caught up with Moira Johnston, a female rights activist from Philadelphia who has ditched her shirt to raise awareness about a woman's legal right to be topless in NYC.
With a style somewhat reminiscent of the late, great Townes Van Zandt, The Ghost Of Arthur James makes music that sounds at once haunting and hopeful. Here, he plays the song “New Mexico” at the City Reliquary, a cozy museum space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, that exhibits interesting ephemera.
The folk-pop tinged music of Brooklyn singer-songwriter Kelli Scarr is pure and poignant, smooth and seductive, reminiscent at times of Neil Young or Gillian Welch. Scarr — who has toured and worked with Moby and been nominated for an Emmy for her soundtrack work on HBO’s In a Dream — wears her heart on her sleeve lyrically, and her cool and soothing vocals are especially soul-stirring.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has started a nationwide debate with his efforts to combat obesity. Bloomberg is leading the charge by proposing a ban on sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces from restaurants, movie theaters, sport stadiums, and food carts. With critics suggesting this is an attack on civil liberties and the freedom of consumer choice, we asked people in New York what they thought.
Hey!!! Do you know what most “immoral” human act is celebrated in the month of May? Did you hear about the new “public” relations of social media juggernaut facebook? Do YOU KNOW what Obama’s opinions about men who love men, women who love women, and Joe Biden are? All this and more comes to you via the news-stylings of the one and only Chaz Mannenheim.
Based out of Los Angeles, RACES (formerly Black Jesus) blends bits of psych-rock, indie-pop, and even a little country twang for music that’s one moment guitar-driven and rollicking, and the next brimming with intense emotion and poppy hooks. The wild, but charming songs on the band’s Frenchkiss Records debut, Year Of The Witch, are further highlighted by frontman Wade Ryff’s raspy-textured, yearning vocals.
Flying Pace is a four-piece based out of Brooklyn. The band’s melodic, multi-layered and weaving indie-rock music is topped off perfectly by the hushed, sultry vocals of frontwoman Kristie Redfield. The rest of the lineup — Marta DeLeon, Josh Arenberg, and George Flanagan — is made up of veteran New York City indie rock musicians, whom have “dabbled” in a number of other local bands.
Through the entire month of May, Madison Square Eats has been indulging the intersection of Broadway and Fifth Avenue with array of specialty foods. With over 25 vendors -- including Asia Dog, Red Hook Lobster Pound and and Hong Kong Street Cart -- this foodie’s dream serves up a number of signature dishes all in one location. This week, on BTR Pulse, Lauren Hawker speaks to vendors and patrons at this outdoor food haven.
One minute rife with warm and contagious dance-pop beats, the next minute boasting edgy rock riffs, Kodacrome’s songs are full of relentless energy and shimmery appeal. The trio’s knack for strong pop melodies make for airy synth-rock soundscapes, while frontwoman Elissa Pociask’s rich and raspy vocals have a seductive texture to them, reminiscent of Beach House’s Victoria Legrand.
Night Manager is a fuzzed-out grunge band from Brooklyn who play reverb-soaked songs packed with psychedelic, piercing riffs and the soaring, engrossing vocals of frontwoman Caitlin Seager. With a sound reminiscent of Bleach-era Nirvana, the five-piece outfit specializes in retro pop melodies blanketed beneath layers of haze, and the way their sounds evoke nostalgia can easily be compared to current acts like Tennis and Best Coast.
Memorial Day weekend — full of cookouts and beach openings — marks the unofficial launch of summer. With vacations and getaways right around the corner and on peoples’ minds, BTR Pulse host Lauren Hawker asks New Yorkers about their plans for the season.
Bill Stiteler is a New York-based comedian. His credits include “The Newlywed Game” where he was the scoreboard operator for 130 episodes (4real). Here at Spit Take Friday’s 2-year anniversary show at Fort Useless, he jokes about French dads and wanting his own comedic partner, or, as he calls it, his “Garfunkel.”
Blurring the lines between genres, Emily Wells is a New York-based musician who channels hip-hop, synth rock, pop and even classical music. Her songs are at once sentimental, hypnotizing and electrifying. Though she’s been dubbed a hybrid of Nina Simone, Biggie Smalls and Bob Dylan, on stage Wells offers her own uniquely impressive one-woman show, playing a number of instruments and looping them live throughout her entire set. Here she performs a brand new song called “Come To Me.”
Originally an electronic duo from Florida, Conveyor has evolved into a Brooklyn-based quartet whose charming indie-pop features sweet harmonies, folk-inspired melodies, and bits of dazzling synth. The band — consisting of Gary Alan Busch, Jr., Michael Ryan Pedron, Evan Michael Garfield, and TJ Masters — play with various textures and moods, poppy and playful one moment, subdued and forlorn the next. Here, the band discuss the recording of their new album and perform a number of new songs.
Recently while down in Lafayette, Louisiana, to attend and cover the city’s annual Festival International de Louisiane, BTRtv stopped by a rehearsal for local band t-kette, who were preparing to play a show the next night. The trio -- made up of Allison Bohl, Rachel Nederveld, and Jessie Lalonde, who regularly switch instruments in the course of a live set -- play a fuzzed out strain of rock built on playful riffs with overlapping melodies and harmonies. Bringing to mind such notable punk and post-punk outfits as The Slits, Delta 5, and, occasionally, Black Tambourine, the group has been busy working on their debut album and touring various parts of the country -- when they’re not busy in their own vibrant South Lousiana scene.
This Is The Kit is the project of English-born singer-songwriter Kate Sables. Based out of Paris and often accompanied by longtime collaborator Jesse Vernon, she plays folk-rock that is sparse, stripped-down, and marked by a captivatingly tender and calm ambiance. Sables has been lauded by artists like Sharon Van Etten, and she is currently signed to Brassland Records, the label co-founded by The National’s Aaron and Bryce Dessner.
New York City-based Reckless Sons make rowdy, roaring rock ‘n’ roll. Led by dynamic frontman Matt Butler, the four-piece have opened for the likes of Peter Bjorn and John and Hercules and Love Affair, and, in 2009, they won the “Free The Noise” contest judged by SPIN, John Varvatos, Jane’s Addiction’s Perry Farrell and Island Records.
Originally a duo featuring Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe, Brooklyn’s Lucius now has four permanent members and performs with a rotating fifth. Their charming indie-pop borrows mostly from country and folk, but their songs vary in mood and style — some are quirky and frenetic (reminiscent of St. Vincent), while others are sparse and delicate (like Feist). Though they sing heartbreaking tales, it’s the powerful, yet tender, harmonies of Laessig and Wolfe that make the music especially poignant.
With the passing of Adam “MCA” Yauch last week, BTR Pulse looks back on the extraordinary contribution of the Beastie Boys, asking New Yorkers their thoughts on the hip-hop trio’s impact in the worlds of music, culture, and even politics.
On Tuesday, May 1st, the New Museum store hosted a launch party for CNNCTD+100, a project that spotlights the cross-pollination of downtown New York City's fashion, music, art and culture. Each of the 100 audio/visual pieces has an accompanying Playbutton, a wearable pin and mp3 player. BreakThruTV's Lauren Hawker attended the event and spoke to its co-founders and contributors like iconic designer Maripol and actress Paz de la Huerta.
Marked by beautiful, lush orchestration and impassioned, whispery vocals, Ravens & Chimes’ indie rock is enthralling and emotionally compelling. The Brooklyn five-piece has opened for bands like Billy Bragg and Tim Fite, and their honest, heart-on-the-sleeve songs — three of which have been featured on MTV’s Skins — have earned praise from musical icons Leonard Cohen and Jeff Mangum. Just recently, they were listed as one of The L Magazine’s “8 Bands You Need To Hear.”
Sean Bones’ brand of indie-rock oozes a chill and relaxed, almost tropical vibe. Based out of Brooklyn, he hooked up with producer Shane Stoneback (Vampire Weekend, Sleigh Bells, Cults) for his new, self-released sophomore album, called Buzzards Boy. The record’s shimmery songs — steeped in reverb and laden with resounding steel drums — make for the ideal breezy, beachy soundtrack.
At this year's Coachella, the late Tupac Shakur was brought back to life as a hologram to perform alongside Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. Video of the concert has become an instant sensation, helping to push the possibility of a “virtual tour” in the near future. On this week's BTR Pulse, host Lauren Hawker asks New Yorkers what they think of the late rapper's resurrection and who they would like to see represented as a hologram.
The Banjees are an indie-rock band from Brooklyn. The four-piece — made up of Thompson Davis, Nick Barone, Peter Goldberg and Chris Rominger — blend lo-fi and 60s pop for fun, jangly music. On this episode of BTR Hear & There, they perform a frenetic, catchy new song called “Hong Kong Blondes” at the Gowanus Ballroom, an alternative gallery/venue space in Brooklyn.
Berlin-based trio Fenster play charming chamber-pop. Despite eerie stories of graveyards and ghosts, their songs are minimalistic and calming, marked by their sparse, soft-spoken tenderness. The band also has its fair share of sweeping, climactic moments often accentuated by an assortment of sounds like rattling tambourines and emphatic handclaps. Here, they even use our studios’ sprinklers as an instrument.
Beast Make Bomb’s lo-fi pop melodies fuse gritty punk and 90s indie rock, sounding similar to the fuzzy, yet sweet tones of modern-day acts Dum Dum Girls and Best Coast. Their songs swim in a cool, laid-back vibe, yet are remarkably and undeniably catchy. Since winning Converse’s “Get Out of the Garage” Contest, the Brooklyn four-piece has opened for Queens of the Stone Age and Tokyo Police Club. Here they perform a brand new song called “Double Dipper.” Jessica Larrabee and Andy LaPlant are Brooklyn’s She Keeps Bees, a bluesy garage-rock duo whose music has been compared to the White Stripes and Cat Power, and lauded by The Guardian, the New York Times, and The New Yorker. Their songs waver between quiet, sparse moments and loud bursts of rock ‘n’ roll, conveying an overall deep and emotional soulfulness. Here they perform an unreleased track “Counter Charm.”
Based out of Portland, Oregon, Ramona Falls is the experimental indie-rock project of former Menomena member Brent Knopf. His debut album, Intuit, was released in 2009 and featured over 30 various musicians and friends, such as Benjamin Weikel (The Helio Sequence) and Janet Weiss (Wild Flag, Sleater Kinney). Here, the band performs “Brevony,” a new, unpredictably explosive and crunchy track from the forthcoming release, Prophet.
With the success in recent years of film franchises such as Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and most recently Hunger Games, BTR Pulse host Lauren Hawker hits the streets and parks of New York City to ask people their thoughts on adaptations of novels to films and whether they prefer one medium over the other.
Now in its 11th year, the Affordable Art Fair brought new and emerging art to New York City that even the most cash-strapped art lover can enjoy. The four-day event — which travels around the world to cities like London, Singapore and Brussels — aims to demystify the art-buying experience by presenting it as welcoming, fun, and most importantly: economical. BreakThruTV attended the affair and spoke to artists about their work.
Bird Courage is a folk-rock duo who perform their moving, mellow folk-rock in subway stations all over New York City. The pair — made up of New Zealand artist Samuel Saffery and Bushwick musician Erik Meier — teamed up after originally competing for busking spots. Together they create acoustic music that’s full of raw emotion, especially with the group’s fragile, almost hushed, vocals.
Night Manager is a fuzzed-out grunge band from Brooklyn who play reverb-soaked songs packed with psychedelic, piercing riffs and the soaring, engrossing vocals of frontwoman Caitlin Seager. With a sound reminiscent of Bleach-era Nirvana, the five-piece outfit specializes in retro pop melodies blanketed beneath layers of haze and the way their sounds evoke nostalgia nostalgic can easily be compared to current acts like Tennis and Best Coast.
Here we present an extra video from our BTR Live Studio session with You Won’t, featuring a performance of their song, “Three Car Garage.”
Originally from Cambridge, Mass., You Won’t mix lo-fi rock and stripped-down folk. Beneath the layers of raw distortion, their songs are strewn with sincere lyrics and endearing twangy-pop melodies. The band — made up of Josh Arnoudse, Raky Sastri, Tony Leva — released their debut full-length, Skeptic Goodbye, earlier this year.
New York City’s The Split combine jangly 60’s-inspired pop with gruff rock ‘n’ roll. The quartet — made up of Charlie Duerr (vocals, guitar), Lee Ferran (bassist), Steve Oben (guitarist), and Tim Gray (drums) — play songs that are simultaneously rough and catchy, reminiscent of older acts like The Rolling Stones and Chuck Berry or contemporaries like Harlem and The Soft Pack.
Blending sparse acoustics and glistening synth, Brooklyn’s Snowmine make indie-rock music that evokes both the aching sentimentality and darling harmonies of Fleet Foxes, and the body moving tribal beats and electronics of Yeasayer. The five-piece — led by new-classical composer Grayson Sanders — knows how to assemble songs that are well-textured and emotional, but it’s their real knack for building upon strong pop melodies that makes their work so appealing.
From Copenhagen, DK, The Foreign Resort are a three-piece influenced by shoegaze, new wave and post punk. Their dark and driving music — propulsive and packed with the kind of intensity that immediately engulfs — is reminiscent, at times, of Joy Division and The Bravery. The band formed back in 2006, and have since shared the stage with acts like A Place To Bury Strangers and Swervedriver.
With businesses large and small closing up shop due to the fluctuating economy, many wonder whether it’s pragmatic to go the entrepreneurial route and start one. On this week’s BTR Pulse, host Lauren Hawker asks New Yorkers what businesses they’d want to create — if they’d even be willing to take the risk — and how they would fund them.
WOMEN’S RIGHTS!! POLITICAL PITTER-PATTER!! THE KONY KRAZE!! BreakThruRadioTV's Month In Review has it all! Join host Chaz Mannenheim for an unbiased, unbridled look at yesterday's top stories.
Tall Ships are a three-piece from Brighton, UK, whose intricate music twists and turns to become serpentine-like math rock. Made up of Ric Phethean, Jamie Bush and Matt Parker, the band’s epic, layered sound has drawn comparisons to Foals and Battles, and they’ve shared the stage with bands like Los Campesinos! and We Are Scientists.
Crinkles do dreamy and lush lo-fi pop, their hazy hooks comparable to those of acts like Real Estate and Youth Lagoon. Originally from Burlington, VT, the five-piece — featuring Jonathan Campolo, Nicholas Campolo, Daniel Crosby, Kyle Kabel, and Andrew Chugg — moved to Brooklyn in 2009. Since then, they’ve amassed a number of tracks, many of which are on their debut full-length entitled Loss Leader. Here, Crinkles premiere some of those new songs.
Brooklyn’s Emanuel and the Fear — a large eclectic ensemble sometimes boasting as many as 11 members — play a genre-bending style of orchestral-pop. Led by fiery frontman Emanuel Ayvas, the band’s poetic, yet bold, songs infuse classical music à la Beethoven, chamber-folk à la Arcade Fire, and straightforward intense rock.
San Diego five-piece Cuckoo Chaos create intricately layered indie-pop that’s peppered with surf rock and Afropop. Their songs, full of sweet harmonies and jangly guitars, have moments of unpredictable creativity and instant catchiness. Live, the band — made up of Jackson Milgaten, Scott Wheeler, Dave Mead, Jeremy Scott, and Craig Barclift — show not only their energy, but also the technical skill and precision of their music. Here they perform four brand new, previously unreleased songs off their forthcoming album.
Jessica Larrabee and Andy LaPlant are Brooklyn’s She Keeps Bees, a bluesy garage-rock duo whose music has been compared to the White Stripes and Cat Power, and lauded by The Guardian, the New York Times, and The New Yorker. Their songs waver between quiet, sparse moments and loud bursts of rock ‘n’ roll, conveying an overall deep and emotional soulfulness. Larrabee is an especially captivating performer, her passion evident in her intense vocal work.
The Student Loan Forgiveness Act — proposed by Michigan Representative Hansen Clarke (D) — aims to pardon outstanding student loan debt for Americans who have made payments equal to 10% of their discretionary income for 10 years. Theoretically, this bill would give borrowers something of a second chance, allowing them to use their money for investments and purchases, which, in turn, would create new jobs. On this week’s BTR Pulse, we asked young New Yorkers their thoughts on the bill, and whether they believe their college education was worth it.
Beast Make Bomb’s lo-fi pop melodies fuses gritty punk and 90s indie rock, sounding similar to the fuzzy, yet sweet tones of modern-day acts Dum Dum Girls and Best Coast. Songs like “Coney Island” swim in a cool, laid-back vibe, yet are remarkably and undeniably catchy. Since winning Converse’s “Get Out of the Garage” Contest, the Brooklyn four-piece — made up of vocalist/guitarist Ceci G., bassist Sam Goldfine, lead guitarist Glenn Van Dyke, and drummer Hartley Lewis — has opened for Queens of the Stone Age and Tokyo Police Club.
Comprised of Greg Walters and Cason Kelly, Tiny Victories experiment with countless sounds and samples to create exhilarating electronic music that combines chillwave and dream-pop. The Brooklyn-based duo make their futuristic pop anthems come to life with waves of noise that throb, buzz, and ripple with real sonic power. Walters’ deep, Joy Division-like vocals also give the songs an added gritty texture.
Formerly a backup singer for Lindsay Lohan and the Spice Girls’ Emma Bunton, Nefatari Cooper has taken her dancehall pop music to center stage. Simply known as Nefatari — a name inspired by the Egyptian queen Nefertiti — her newest single “Day U Mess Up,” is a sensual, yet bold and cheeky anthem for women. Her Jamaican roots also shine throughout the song, with all its pulsing and hypnotic beats.
Get to know David Cope, a rising stand-up comic out of New York who is in the process of moving to LA for a dream and a girl.
When Particles Collide is made up of former jazz performer Chris Viner and high school chemistry teacher Sasha Alcott. Based out of Bangor, Maine, the duo blends punk and 90s indie rock, drawing from influences like Sleater-Kinney and the Pixies. Their songs are full of rowdy bursts of energy — especially when Alcott lets out her ferocious yelps.
Brooklyn four-piece Diehard churn out punchy, catchy raucousness in the style of ‘90s indie rock darlings Superchunk and Archers of Loaf. Made up of Ezra Selove (guitar/vocals), Evan Flath (bassist/vocals), Liz Schroeter Courtney (guitar/vocals), and Zeph Courtney (drums), the band is upbeat and hard-hitting without ever sacrificing fun, unforgettable melodies and the charm and playfulness of the male/female harmonies.
Channeling Queen, Of Montreal, and the Fiery Furnaces, multi-instrumentalist Bryan Scary makes psychedelic-pop that’s overflowing with dramatic, whimsical and swooping hooks. The inventive and somewhat oddball Brooklyn musician created Daffy’s Elixir — a new, double disc conceptual album set entirely in the wild, wild west — thanks in part to a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised $16,000. Featured song: “Ballroom Kid”
As increasingly tragic stories of cyberbullying make the headlines — most notably the Tyler Clementi story and the subsequent trial of his roommate, Dharun Rhavi — the line between simple online expression and malicious online attacks may seem blurrier than ever. On this week's BTR Pulse, host Lauren Hawker asks New Yorkers their thoughts on cyberbullying, the privacy and censorship concerns surrounding it, and whether it's preventable.
Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon’s quirky, yet charming folk-pop has landed her on tour dates with St. Vincent, performances at the Glastonbury and Latitude festivals, and even a spot on Gruff Rhys’ (of Super Furry Animals) record label. Her haunting lyrics (many inspired by past pet death experiences) stand in contrast to her airy Nico-like vocals and minimalistic music, a combination that makes for beautifully compelling and intriguing songs. Featured song: “Fold The Cloth”
Originally formed while still in Pittsburgh, indie-rock trio Steel Phantoms now call Brooklyn home. The three-piece — featuring drummer Aaron Harris, keyboardist Yos Munro and guitarist Jesse Newkirk IV — blend bits of contagious new wave, jangly folk-pop, and warm dual harmonies, for chill, catchy songs that channel everyone from The Bangles to XTC. Featured song: “Bedouin”
Though it’s been a few years since their last album, London-based Little Barrie are back with a new and improved lineup. Featuring guitarist and vocalist Barrie Cadogan, bassist Lewis Wharton and drummer Virgil Howe (who also happens to be the son of Yes guitarist Steve Howe), the trio fuses garage rock and 60s funk. Their gritty, yet soulful music packs the kind of spunky swagger that calls to mind classic rock n’ roll and recent acts like The Strokes and The White Stripes. Featured song: “Tip It Over”
With the 84th Academy Awards just days away, BTR Pulse's Lauren Hawker asks New Yorkers for their thoughts and opinions on the film industry’s biggest night. From their favorite flicks to the politics behind the nominations, the locals weigh in.
Diane Cluck is an anti-folk troubadour who has been making music for over a decade, influencing artists such as Sharon Van Etten and Johnny Flynn. Her songs — though sparse and usually only featuring an acoustic guitar — carry emotional weight felt through her dark and witty lyrics, powerfully haunting and textured voice, and brilliant and complex plucking. Starting in March, she will embark on a “Song-of-the-Week” project, releasing up to 24 new songs over a six-month period.
Brooklyn-based Gunfight! play rowdy, stomping “post-country” — or what Serious Business’ host Travis Harrison jokingly re-dubs “Creedence-core.” Having formed while attending Boston’s Emerson College, the quartet sticks to rollicking arrangements, completely free of any digital bits and sampling (they claim to even avoid “Applebee’s samplers”). Whatever the genre or instrument preference, the band’s music, with its twangy roughness and whiskey-soaked, barking vocals, sounds like a boisterous brawl.
Indie pop band Summer Camp is made up of Jeremy Warmsley and Elizabeth Sankey. Hailing from England, the duo write dark and conflicted tales of love and longing, while their music is shrouded in nostalgia, sounding as though it’s of another time. The catchy, lo-fi tunes, like “Better Off Without You” and “Brian Krakow,” draw inspiration from playful 60s girl groups and yet simultaneously seem perfect for any 80s movie soundtrack (or an episode of My So-Called Life). Here they perform a special acoustic set for BTR Live Studio.
Nigerian-born, but based out of Cincinnati, Ohio, Baoku Moses is an accomplished African singer, songwriter, drummer and dancer. Inspired by the famous Fela Kuti, his style of Afrobeat is exhilarating, laced with complex rhythms and bursting with Moses’ expert percussive skills. Many of his songs, like Kuti’s, teach messages of unity and peace. He currently leads the group Baoku & The Image Afro-Beat band, but on this episode of BTR Hear & There, he performs solo on a rooftop in Manhattan.
Though they’re from Brooklyn, Country Mice’s psychedelia-meets-Americana makes them sound like they could be from the bluesy South or rootsy Midwest. Frontman Jason Rueger (who is actually originally from a little Kansas town called Beattie) is joined by guitarist Ben Bullington, bassist Mike Feldman and drummer Kurt Kuehn, and, together, the quartet’s blend of twangy folk and howling lo-fi make for a charming and compelling alt-country vibe.
Influenced by groups like The Misfits, The Jesus Lizard and Rage Against the Machine, New York-based Big Ups play riotous, earth-shattering punk rock. The four-piece — made up of NYU students Brendan Finn (drums), Joe Galarraga (vocals), Carlos Salguero (bass), and Amar Lal (guitar) — are a bottomless pit of energy and angst, and their songs quickly erupt into loud, ferocious scream fests.
Brooklyn trio Pearl and the Beard’s strain of heartwarming and catchy indie-folk is packed full of darling choruses, heart-on-the-sleeve lyricism, and the robust orchestration of glockenspiel, accordion and cello. Jocelyn Mackenzie, Jeremy Styles and Emily Hope Price harmonize exceptionally and charmingly well, but the three-piece also know how to be crafty and whimsical — many of their songs have lively twists scattered between all the sweet melodies.
The last bits of confetti from the Lunar New Year celebration have fallen and the Year of the Dragon is now in full swing. BreakThruRadioTV’s Lauren Hawker heads downtown to explore New York City’s Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), and interviews Assistant Curator Ryan Wong about the festivities, as well as the surrounding Chinatown neighborhood’s history and ever-changing face.
Born in Libya to Pakistani parents, Roach Killa creates intoxicating, beat-heavy music that combines elements of reggae, hip-hop, and Bhangra. Though he currently lives in Canada, he’s toured Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and his hypnotic dance-floor anthems have garnered international acclaim — his single “Yaara Dildara” once ranked #1 on the BBC Asian Network Music Chart, while another called “Bomp” topped Italian Dance Charts. He was also featured on a dancehall compilation album alongside Sean Paul and Beenie Man.
Originally from Pittsburgh, but now residing in Brooklyn, Ball of Flame Shoot Fire take conventional indie rock and flip it on its side, sounding like a crazed hybrid of Man Man, Wolf Parade and Animal Collective, with the slightest hint of Harry Nilsson. Within the same song, the quirky band — consisting of Patrick Kelly, Jess Tambellini, Peter Henry, Tim Good, and Winston Cook-Wilson — waver between catchy melodies and dissonant raucous, tamed verses and explosive anthems. They incorporate trumpets, synth and accordion, and the vocals alone are an unpredictable joyride, a mix of sing-talking, yelps and screeches.
Brooklyn’s Field Mouse play shimmery shoegaze that’s both graceful and completely addictive. Since their 2010 debut, You Are Here, the band — consisting of singer/guitarist Rachel Browne, guitarist Andrew Frutal, drummer Geoff Lewit and, more recently, new bassist Danielle DePalma — has further refined their pop sensibilities. Featuring lush, pretty arrangements and Browne’s delicate vocals, the songs bloom into dreamy soundscapes and flow smoothly from start to finish.
With Super Bowl XLVI this Sunday, BTR Pulse’s Lauren Hawker hit the streets of New York City to discuss the New York Giants and New England Patriots rematch, gauge people’s thoughts on who will win, and see how local bars and patrons plan to celebrate one of the year’s biggest sporting events.
Led by singer-songwriter and filmmaker Marc Cantone, Brooklyn band The City and Horses plays fun and spunky indie-pop that channels everyone from Belle & Sebastian and Beck to The Pixies and The Velvet Underground. One of their songs was featured on the soundtrack of Paper Heart, a romantic comedy starring Michael Cera and Charlyne Li. Here they perform the quirky, catchy tune “We Will Never Be Discovered” at Grooveshark’s offices.
Jump Into The Gospel, a five-piece from New York City, create synth-heavy pop gems complete with big, bright catchy choruses and electrifying dance-worthy melodies. Their anthems ooze cool, rockstar swagger and radio friendly glossiness. The group is led by exuberant frontman Louis Epstein and features bassist Lakis Pavlou, guitarist Ben Vescovi, drummer Chris Stein (live member of The Drums), and keyboardist Erik Tonnesen (live member of Holy Ghost!). They’ve collaborated with Cobra Starship and their addictive tunes have even made a fan of Twilight’s Robert Pattinson, who was spotted at one of their shows.
New York-based Guards is led by long-haired California crooner Richie James Follin (brother of Madeline Follin from Cults). The band — which also includes Loren Ted Humphrey, John Fredericks and Kaylie Church — produces charming, retro lo-fi pop that calls to mind the sweet vocal harmonies and cheery melodies of classic Doo-wop and 60s girl groups. Their songs are chock full of hearty organ chords, dark lyricism, fuzzy reverb and rollicking choruses, and even feature cameos by Chairlift’s Caroline Polachek and MGMT’s James Richardson.
Before President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 24th, BTR Pulse host Lauren Hawker asked New Yorkers what issues they hoped he would discuss. We look back at the speech today to see whether their expectations were met.
George Flanagan is a Queens-based comic who performs all over the city. He is the founder and host of the Spit Take Friday comedy showcase that takes place monthly at Fort Useless in Bushwick, Brooklyn, where it began in March of 2010. Also a musician, he often finds the humor in music-related subjects. Here, amongst other topics, he pokes fun at the idea of the perfect lovemaking song, drawing parallels between loud punk rock and quick, noisy sex.
Ryan Lott — the man behind Son Lux — marries lush orchestral arrangements with glitchy blips and bleeps, making for rich and lovely electro-pop. He created his second album, We Are Rising, in response to NPR’s All Song’s Considered RPM Challenge, a test that asks musicians to put together an entire album in February, the shortest month of the year. He succeeded with the help of members of My Brightest Diamond, The Antlers and Midlake. Here, Lott performs in a more stripped-down, intimate style, spotlighting his quivering, pained vocals and sad, haunting lyrics.
Speedy Ortiz is the new project of Quilty’s Sadie Dupuis. From Northampton, Massachusetts, her brand of dense lo-fi grunge draws heavily from the ‘90s flannel-covered slacker scene. The music is a foggy mixture of somber tones and nonchalant inflections, but hints of sunny, catchy melodies peak through occasionally. Here Dupuis plays with guitarist Matt Robidoux and drummer Mike Falcone.
Brooklyn’s Spanish Prisoners play swirling, multi-layered indie rock full of airy, glowing pop melodies tangled up in fuzzy, trembling reverb. The four-piece — made up of Leo Maymind, Mike DiSanto, James Higgs, and Amberly Hungerford — have taken their dreamy psychedelic music on the road with the likes of Foals, The Rosebuds, and John Vanderslice. Gold Fools, their self-released record, was one of NPR’s “Five Best Bandcamp Albums of 2011.”
From Italian dishes to hot noodle soups, New York City's neighborhoods — such as Chelsea, Tribeca, Chinatown and the East Village — have an endless breadth of food options and cuisines. On this episode of BTR Pulse, host Lauren Hawker asks folks where they go for the city's best grub.
After years of releasing music as a singer-songwriter, Brooklyn-based musician Lauren Zettler needed to make a change. Her new electro-pop project, Lightyear, is catchy, yet dramatic, and shows her as graceful, but still vulnerable about her emotions. Drawing from influences like Emily Haines, Feist and Robyn while also tapping into her own technical skills — she’s a classically trained pianist and studied film scoring at the Berklee School of Music — Zettler is able to create beautifully fragile moments that build up to powerfully stirring points. On this episode of BTR Hear & There, Lightyear brings her pulsating music to an industrial warehouse gallery space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
Hailing from Wales, Los Campesinos! play wild indie-pop that’s clever, catchy, and overflowing with fiery, jarring punk-infused moments. Though the seven-piece has gone through a number of personnel changes over the years, the band’s nurtured a tight, sunny-meets-rowdy sound — inspiring everything from joyous head-bobbing to adrenalized raised fists. Underneath the energetic, sweet melodies are tales of heartache. Here that vulnerability especially shows, as they perform stripped-down versions of songs off their latest album, Hello Sadness.
Western Civ, a four-piece from Chapel Hill, NC, (originally from Florence, AL) follow in the footsteps of ‘90s indie staples Guided By Voices, Archers of Loaf, and Pavement with their brand of meandering, layered, spasmodic rock. Their songs are unpredictable, fierce gems — smoothly and melodically resting on a plateau before jump-starting into a dissonant, serpentine arrangement that’s then topped off by lead singer Rich Henderson’s potent yelping.
From our schools and public transportation system, to environmental concerns and rising rent prices, BTR Pulse’s Lauren Hawker asks New Yorkers what they would change if they had Mayor Bloomberg’s job.
David Cope is a young, New York City-based comedian known for his offbeat humor and soft delivery. He helps to curate the weekly stand-up show Hot Soup at O’Hanlon’s Bar, and he’s performed at the Bumbershoot Festival and on NBC’s Last Comic Standing. Here he comments on iPad arrogance and outrageous Facebook statuses at Spit Take Friday, a monthly comedy showcase in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
Thieving Irons features former Pela guitarist Nate Martinez alongside musicians Dan Brantigan, Josh Kaufman and Andy Nauss. Together the Brooklyn four-piece play charming folk-pop whose tone is somber yet warm, and whose texture is rustic yet robust. The beautiful full-bodied orchestration — including wincing banjos, charging pianos, and heralding trumpets — gives their songs a lush, layered sound. Combine that with Martinez’s distinct pained vocals, and the result is music that’s thick with emotion and brawn.
With 2011 left behind and a new year upon us, BTR Pulse host Lauren Hawker heads down to New York City's Greenwich Village to ask people what they predict for 2012. From politics and the presidential election to the Super Bowl and celebrity divorces, she gauges their guesses.
Born in England as Shahanara Taj, 18-year-old Rani Taj has quickly risen to become one of the most popular female dhol players after her version of Rihanna’s “Rude Boy” became a YouTube viral hit. The dhol — a double-headed drum that’s beaten with two wooden sticks and is popularly used in Punjabi Bhangra music — has historically been played by men. But Taj, having learned the dhol from experts Harjit Singh of Azaad Dhol and the Dhol Blasters, has broken this tradition. Here she performs and explains how she creates the tantalizingly hypnotic beats.
Having played with the likes of rock bands Gem, Death of Samantha, Cobra Verde, Nada Surf, and a little indie outfit called Guided By Voices — you might have heard of them — it’s safe to say that Doug Gillard needs no real introduction. An accomplished guitarist and songwriter, he can shift easily between Guided By Voices’ loud, post-punk anthems, and the more mellow, muted ballads of his own solo repertoire.

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