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Blood Red Shoes is a rock n' roll band from Brighton, England, made up of the duo of Laura-Mary Carter on guitar and Steven Ansell on drums, with both contributing vocals. Big riffs, impossible drumming, and epic pop songs about mortality, alienation, escape, and hope, all bolstered by a fierce live show and a dry sense of humor, have grown the band's reputation over the past few years. Here they play a few songs and chat with Maia about an encounter with the Rolling Stones, among other things.
Minneapolis noise band Marijuana Deathsquads is the ever-evolving, experimental project lead by Ryan Olson, (here he’s the pixelated member, and producer/writer of POLICA and GAYNGS), Isaac Gale (whose videos for Bon Iver, Polica, P.O.S., and On An On you’ve probably seen), and Stefon Alexander (P.O.S), and supported by multiple drummers and other performers contributing synths, vocals, and miscellaneous sounds to the sonic chaos. For this session, the group was in a stripped-down four piece format (they had the minimum 2 drummers and without Stef there, Isaac handled all vocal duties). Live, they’ve had as many as 7 drummers behind the twisted, effected vocals and electronics, making for a total sensory overload of percussive insanity enveloping their impossibly tight, maniacal, intricate experimental sound. From Marijuana Deathsquads’ explosive energy to its members’ work in other bands and in their hometown music and art scenes, there’s a seemingly endless supply of creative power here to love.
When it comes to papaya spots, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Twin Peaks is a Chicago-based band comprised of Cadien, Clay, Connor, and Jack -- four young dudes blasting out fuzzy rock 'n roll. Catchy hooks, a pile of effects, and blasts of attitude have brought a whole lot of attention to this foursome, based on their demos and hard-touring. After trying to hang it up and go to school, the guys realized they were destined (or doomed?) to rock, and headed right back into their own world of honest garage rock.
On Saturday, May 4th, artists, architects, poets, technologists, entrepreneurs, and inventors shared their ideas and invited participants to actively shape their city and involve themselves in its urban improvement. StreetFest served as the grand finale of the New Museum's Ideas City festival, a four-day conference featuring workshops and more than one hundred independent and public events for proposing solutions and accelerating creativity. BTR Pulse’s Lauren Hawker was there.
NYC-based El Jezel have been together for nearly a decade, combining elements of glimmering, wistful shoegaze and charging, melodic post-rock. The blend of male and female vocals, along with their ability to waver between various genres mid-song, keeps their music unpredictable and refreshing. For our BTR Hear & There Christmas Special, in front of a brightly decorated Brooklyn home, they brave the cold winter weather to perform (as a duo) an acoustic version of their holiday tune, “Working On Christmas.”
NSFW! It’s not even the topless dancer that makes us think this one could bring some grief from your boss… Celebrate a very special birthday with The Barnyard Boys, back again to wreak havoc on our studio and earholes, all while making sweet love to our eyes and the mother Earth as their own special way of celebrating Christmas. If that sounds scary, well, you’ve been warned. Papa Buns leads the chaos and fun as we take a trip inside the world of this communally-living powerhouse of a band. Just watch it (but seriously, not at work, you’ll totally get fired - and possibly sent to the psychiatrist).
Austin's Mirror Travel had a previous music life as the popular band Follow That Bird. Label issues and perhaps some "big" bird issues were all factors in the new moniker, which also set the band off in a newer, more focused direction. Their music is dreamy garage pop, and totally fun. The band, made up of Lauren Green (guitar/vocals), Paul Brinkley (bass/vocals), and Tiffanie Lanmon (drums), stopped by to play some tunes and talk a bit about their history and recent recording experience.
On this week’s episode of BTR Pulse, new correspondent Sarah Fraser hits the streets of New York to ask people what advice they’d give to their younger selves.
Genghis Hans is the cleverly named Brooklyn-based pop duo of guitarist/singer Hansdale Hsu and producer Stryker Matthews. Hints of tropicalia and chillwave drop in and out of their songs, all of which feature a kind of shimmery, mellow vibe that make a worthy soundtrack for life. We caught up with the band as they played at The Warehouse, on the border of Brooklyn and Queens.
JR Larson joins Collective Craft to curate the Roger Smith hotel in New York City.
Grandchildren are a Philadelphia-based band with lots of a drums, keyboards, horns, and mind-boggling arrangements. This six member-strong group (Russell Brodie, Adam Katz, Aleks Martray, Tristan Palazzolo, Roman Salcic, and John Vogel) uses a collage style to weave together their unique electro-acoustic orchestral pop. They crammed themselves into our studio to play some tunes, swap instruments, and chat about how they pull this whole wonderful menagerie together.
NSFW! It’s not even the topless dancer that makes us think this one could bring some grief from your boss… Celebrate a very special birthday with The Barnyard Boys, back again to wreak havoc on our studio and earholes, all while making sweet love to our eyes and the mother Earth as their own special way of celebrating Christmas. If that sounds scary, well, you’ve been warned. Papa Buns leads the chaos and fun as we take a trip inside the world of this communally-living powerhouse of a band. Just watch it (but seriously, not at work, you’ll totally get fired - and possibly sent to the psychiatrist).
It’s Network Week on BTR, so I’m taking some fashion cues from a hot new addition to the style network in my hometown of Minneapolis, MN. Askov Finlayson is a craft and quality-focused boutique for men, opened in 2011 by brothers Eric and Andrew Dayton. The storefront stocks independent labels from MN, the USA, and abroad, and is part of a Minneapolis neighborhood trifecta of cool, sitting alongside the Dayton brothers’ other two businesses, farm-to-table restaurant The Bachelor Farmer, and the elegantly laid-back Marvel Bar. On today’s show, we’ll hear from co-founder Eric Dayton about why he chose to invest in the Twin Cities culture scene, a few of the local and long-distance labels carried in Askov Finlayson, their newly developed in-house label, and the quirky story behind the boutique’s unusual name. Plus, a playlist full of indie Minnesota music genius, including tracks from the Eastern European-influenced Dark Dark Dark, Jagjaguwar labelees Peter Wolf Crier, Paste Magazine favorite We Are The Willows, and more. So take a wintery trip up north with me to my hometown, and embrace some its rustically refined style here on BTR!
Joanna Gruesome is an irresistible noise pop five-piece from Cardiff, UK. During the 2013 CMJ Music Marathon, the band took some time from their packed show schedule -- where they seemed to make fans of nearly everyone who saw them -- to drop by for this session. Full of catchy pop melodies, full-on walls of shoegaze noise, teen angst, and punk drum beats, they exude energy from every pore, both in the studio and onstage. Lead singer Alanna has a ferocious power that comes out in playful, sweet whispers and dark, abrasive screams that match the intensity of the fuzzed-out guitars. It only makes (too much?) sense that the band met in an anger management group and didn't even get along at first -- how else could you explain such perfect musical chemistry?
It's Network Week on BTR! On today's show, architect, urban planner, and author Alex Garvin talks to us about the best and worst in planning America's cities. And later, we're talking with theoretical physicist and cosmologist Lawrence Krauss, the star of a new documentary called "The Unbelievers" about his travels with fellow atheist Richard Dawkins promoting free thinking across the globe.
Melaena Cadiz is a Brooklyn-based songwriter originally from Kalamazoo, Michigan, who plays a dreamy sort of Americana/folk. Collaboration and exposure for friends is a common theme for Cadiz, as her live band often includes other talented solo musicians and members of bands. Taking the cross-pollination even further, her current monthly Singles Project pairs songs with the work of her visual artist friends. For this episode of BTR Hear & There, we visited Melaena Cadiz at her home in Brooklyn for an intimate solo performance of the Singles song from March.
Beginning as a synth-pop duo in London, Lovelife (aka LVLF) sure have gotten around. After spending some time in Brooklyn, they're now based in L.A., where they continue to work on new music. With tight, exquisitely-crafted pop songs full of lush production and heavy on the electronics, it's easy to assume these hits are full of loops and automation, when in reality there are talented musicians playing live behind it all. Add in that the group has done official remixes for some of the biggest international rock and pop bands and it's easy to get confused -- but seeing the foursome in action here should be more than enough to convince anyone that their smooth crooning, sexy pop songs, and perfect aesthetic (just take a look at their Instagram account if you don't believe us) is all truly impressive.
The Brooklyn-based indie pop group that makes you see double.
Shark? return! Remember, it's not “Shark!” or “Shark” -- the question mark is important, asking "is it a shark?" every time (yes, just like their early tune/theme song, "Shark?"). Now that we're all caught up, let's take a look at these Brooklyn dudes. You'll quickly come to love Kevin Diamond's deadpan growl and nihilistic tales, Andy Kinsey's kick-you-in-the-teeth bass, and Andy Swerdlow's drum machine-come-to-life beats. And newcomer Jared Hiller shreds on guitar in a beautifully dirty way. While they've been a favorite of the local NYC scene for the past few years thanks to a healthy appreciation for beer (and fine wine!), clever cover song choices, and a not entirely tongue-in-cheek fixation on 90s pop culture (especially Jock Jams -- they must really love Jock Jams), the inclusion of their single, "California Grrls," in GTA V is liable to spread their fame a bit further. Honestly, it's about time. We love a good, fuzzy jam blasted out with deafening guitar noise and surf grooves, and between their EPs and now a couple of full length albums, Shark? has plenty of that to offer. Fans of Pixies, The Modern Lovers, The Replacements, The Beach Boys, and anything called punk before 1990 should stop screwing around and get into Shark? ASAP.
The final night of Hanukkah is celebrated in Brooklyn and the Rockefeller Christmas Tree lights up Manhattan.
traumahelikopter (lowercase intentional) have got it figured out: play short, fast, loud songs, and do it faster, louder, and more intensely than anyone else. This Dutch band from Groningen Noord is a trio, but with two guitars (no bass) and a minimal drum kit, they're anything but traditional. Their unique setup and infinite energy give these punk anthems a fresh angle on the genre. They stopped by during CMJ to blast through some jams and chat about their music.
Situated on the Bowery in New York City since 1879, The Bowery Mission has been an important safe haven for homeless men and women. As homelessness numbers in the city this past year reached their highest level since the Great Depression, The Bowery Mission has diligently worked to gather as many donations and volunteers as possible. BTR Pulse’s Lauren Hawker spoke with Matthew Krivich, the Director of Operations, about their preparation for another bustling season of holiday giving.
This Month Brought Memories Of Tragedy And Thoughts Of Good Cheer Indeed!!! Chaz Mannenheim, your Newsman Of Yesteryear, brings to you the meaty substance of today’s most popular news stories including the Toronto Mayor’s hilarious addiction crisis, the unending enigma that is the JFK assassination, and the always entertaining answer to the question, “What Are You Doing For Thanksgiving!!!” Thrill as Chaz Mannenheim brings you all the news you missed and all the news you love!!! MONTH IN REVIEW: NOVEMBER 2013!!!
Duologue are a 5-piece band from London. With a rich falsetto sitting neatly on top of a finely-crafted web of electronics and stringed instruments, they build memorable pop tunes that deserve repeated listens. Programmed loops and breakbeats blend perfectly with ambient, folk, and pop elements, making for an immersive sonic experience. The band stopped by to share some songs and to chat with Maia about making music without a drummer and going undercover while traveling.
Norwegian songwriter Susanne Sundfor exists at the intersection of two worlds (as cleverly depicted in the video for her single "The White Foxes") -- the ancient, natural world of forests and ruins, and the modern, manufactured world of technology, all covered in snow. This is true both thematically, as her songs are often lyrically cold and dark with subtle overtones of brilliant warmth, as well as sonically, blending lush piano elements with the more mechanical, almost industrial elements of pop music. Susanne stopped by to play some solo tunes and talk about the therapy of making art and how her own style developed.
As big businesses prepare to open their doors for Black Friday, local stores are getting ready for Small Business Saturday. Started by American Express in 2010, the promotion is aimed at rallying people to shop at independent and local businesses across the country. This year, American Express is offering special deals to cardholders who shop at qualifying small business locations, while many of the stores will be offering a number of discounts and giveaways to those who decide to shop small on Saturday, November 30th. BTR Pulse's Lauren Hawker spoke with a few shop owners who will be taking part in this year's Small Business Saturday.
Australians have long been known for their love of beer, but the country is also infatuated with espresso coffee. As part of the newest wave of New York's always changing cafe culture, several spots owned or run by Australians have begun opening up across the city and introducing coffee names such as the "flat white" and the "long black." Coffee purveyors such as Bluestone Lane, Toby's Estate, Bluebird Coffee, and Little Collins are all attempting to recreate the Melbourne and Sydney coffee culture right here in the Big Apple. BreakThruTV’s Lauren Hawker spoke with Bluestone Lane’s Aaron Cook and Nicholas Stone, as well as Bluebird’s Tyson Stagg about the trend.
Connecticut-based indie rock band OVLOV are, like their Northeast pals in Speedy Ortiz, Grass Is Green, and other Exploding In Sound-affiliated acts, keeping the 90s guitar rock vibe alive. With Dinosaur Jr.-level volume and walls of shoegaze distortion, they've been keeping it heavy since 2008. Fronted by Steve Hartlett (vocals/guitar) and with an evolving/rotating cast of contributors and collaborators (for example, am features guest vocalist Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz on a few tracks), the band is set to keep the melodies and hooks huge as they tear through the underground scene. They stopped by to play some tunes and chat with Travis about transportation options, lovemaking, and music.
Toasties Deli in NYC's Chelsea neighborhood is a pleasant experience all around.
Wolf People -- a British band signed to North American label Jagjaguwar -- comes from the imagination of singer and guitarist Jack Sharp, who crafts fantastical story songs from bits of history and his own imagination. Named for the children's book, Little Jacko and the Wolf People, and taking the shape of bluesy, retro rock drawing on 60's folk and 70's classic rock, the band uses powerful hooks and complex, drifting melodies to produces psychedelic results. On their first ever North American tour, the band stopped by to play some tunes and talk about their recent releases.
As big businesses prepare to open their doors for Black Friday, local stores are getting ready for Small Business Saturday. Started by American Express in 2010, the promotion is aimed at rallying people to shop at independent and local businesses across the country. This year, American Express is offering special deals to cardholders who shop at qualifying small business locations, while many of the stores will be offering a number of discounts and giveaways to those who decide to shop small on Saturday, November 30th. BTR Pulse's Lauren Hawker spoke with a few shop owners who will be taking part in this year's Small Business Saturday.
Anthonie Tonnon is a songwriter and performer based in Auckland, New Zealand, who performs both solo and with a four piece band. Formerly known as the frontman for the pop band Tono And The Finance Company, his solo work has been quickly gathering steam with a busy schedule touring and opening for internationally-renowned acts. Tonnon's work melds the dramatic, the dreamlike, and the surreal into tuneful tales filled with everyday characters. While on a US tour, he joined BTR Hear & There on the border of Bushwick, Brooklyn, and Ridgewood, Queens, for a very intimate performance of his song "A Friend From Argentina."
Los Angeles-based together PANGEA began with lead singer-songwriter William Keegan's teenage 4-track recordings. Over the years, with the addition of Danny Bengston on bass, Erik Jimenez on drums and, later, Cory Hanson on lead guitar, the band grew their garage pop beast from West Coast DIY shows to iconic LA venues and national tours. With previous releases on Lost Sound Tapes and Burger Records, the group's debut full length is set to premiere this January via Harvest Records. The band stopped by to rock out and chat about their recent 7," how switching labels has caused delays in releases, and fans with notable ass tattoos.
Minneapolis noise band Marijuana Deathsquads is the ever-evolving, experimental project lead by Ryan Olson, (here he’s the pixelated member, and producer/writer of POLICA and GAYNGS), Isaac Gale (whose videos for Bon Iver, Polica, P.O.S., and On An On you’ve probably seen), and Stefon Alexander (P.O.S), and supported by multiple drummers and other performers contributing synths, vocals, and miscellaneous sounds to the sonic chaos. For this session, the group was in a stripped-down four piece format (they had the minimum 2 drummers and without Stef there, Isaac handled all vocal duties). Live, they’ve had as many as 7 drummers behind the twisted, effected vocals and electronics, making for a total sensory overload of percussive insanity enveloping their impossibly tight, maniacal, intricate experimental sound. From Marijuana Deathsquads’ explosive energy to its members’ work in other bands and in their hometown music and art scenes, there’s a seemingly endless supply of creative power here to love.
Charlene Kaye is a New York-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Growing up in Hawaii, Kaye developed a background in classical music that creeps into her glam-inflected, high-energy style, with Kaye shredding on guitar and singing her heart out over a tight double-drum and keyboard foundation. Extensive touring, festivals showcases, and praise from major entertainment and news sources all point to big things.
Put simply, Grooms are a noise pop band based in Brooklyn. From shifting lineups and genre experimentation to near-breakups, Travis Johnson's signature pop songwriting has always been at the core of the group. Whatever shape they take, Grooms' songs can be identified by their use of unique guitar tunings, dark lyrics, and impeccable use of space in the music. The band stopped by to play some songs from their latest release, and to chat with Travis about the process behind making it.
Twin Peaks is a Chicago-based band comprised of Cadien, Clay, Connor, and Jack -- four young dudes blasting out fuzzy rock 'n roll. Catchy hooks, a pile of effects, and blasts of attitude have brought a whole lot of attention to this foursome, based on their demos and hard-touring. After trying to hang it up and go to school, the guys realized they were destined (or doomed?) to rock, and headed right back into their own world of honest garage rock.
In 2012, the ING New York City Marathon was canceled in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. However, on Sunday, November 3rd, the annual event returned for 2013 -- one of many major marathons going on this fall. Partly because of the bombings at the Boston Marathon that took place in April of this year, the NYPD were in a state of high security throughout race weekend. BTR Pulse’s Lauren Hawker spoke with runners at the Javitz Center about their experiences last year and expectations for this year’s marathon, as well as with Rachel Johnson -- a spokesperson from Team in Training, one of the oldest sports fundraising campaigns from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society -- about the current state of fundraising-associated running.
Baoku Moses is a Nigerian-born, Cincinnati-based artist specializing in African cultural performance and an Afro-beat musician, singer, songwriter, bandleader, and composer. As the leader of Baoku & The Image Afro-Beat Band, his exhilarating take on the genre is heavily inspired by the legendary Fela Kuti and is used to preach, teach, entertain and educate about the issues facing all of humanity.
ideo2lip] FYuppies are a band from Omaha, Nebraska, who deliver angular, energetic post-punk that sits somewhere between the groove of Fugazi, the minimalist tales of the Fall or the Minutemen, and the anthemic sonic assault of Hüsker Dü. Begun as an antidote to teenage boredom and honed in the basement venues of the midwest, the band developed its own take on the pop song -- aggressive, and head on, if a little skewed. In this episode of Serious Business on BTR, they blast through a few jams and spend some time chatting with Travis, just a bunch of dudes sitting around drinking seltzer, talking about tufts and influential bands.
Rickshaw Dumplings is shaping the way we eat dumplings in NYC.
Happy November! Can you believe it's *already* here?? In the spirit of things-that-arrive-ahead-of-their-time, I have an awesomely forward-thinking guest for you on today's show. (Seriously, this lady will be *huge* fashion news soon, so tune in and get a stylish leg up on all your friends!) Kelsy Parkhouse launched her line Carleen right after graduating from Pratt, and with good reason: her unique sensibilities had earned her rave reviews from both Pratt profs and outside industry professionals. Armed with an ability to blend seemingly disparate styles into a cohesive aesthetic, Kelsy took the plunge and debuted Carleen with a S/S 2013 collection, based on her thesis work at Pratt. While the label is still young, Kelsy's subsequent collections have generated even more genuine fashionista buzz, and on today's show, you'll hear Kelsy talk about the strong female fashion role models in her family, what it was like to launch a label right out of school, how Patti Smith inspired her S/S 2014 collection, and where she likes to shop for vintage goods in NYC. All that, plus a spooky playlist full of fun tracks from artists like Mr. Gnome, Lightning Dust, Vampire Weekend, and the latest Arcade Fire! So tune in, turn it up, and get ready to be hipper-than-thou with Sew & Tell on BTR!
Zula are a young Brooklyn band with a West African name and tunes built around the songwriting of cousins Henry and Nate Terepka. Exploring psychedelic sounds with a heavy dose of delay, their songs are pleasingly disjointed, experimental pop jams that makes clever use of groove and melody -- not to mention a lot of really weird sounds. What it all adds up to is a deliciously unpredictable blend of jazz, rock, pop, electronica, and ambient bits and pieces, strung together through whatever weird magic these guys possess.
Last November, we spoke to residents of the Red Hook community that had been devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Despite the fact that Sandy has left a mark on the Brooklyn neighborhood, the strength of the community, and its organizations, have persevered through many obstacles. Now, one year later, BTR Pulse returns to Red Hook to speak with some of the residents, business owners and community leaders affected.
On October 24th, Forced Meme Productions hosted their fifth annual HallowMeme Costume Party at The Bell House in Brooklyn. Celebrating online culture, the event features partygoers dressed as their favorite memes and internet personalities. BreakThruTV's Lauren Hawker spoke with Forced Meme's founder Andrea Rosen and other participants.
Formed in 2008 in Sheffield, England, the Crookes consist of George Waite, Daniel Hopewell, Russell Bates and Tom Dakin. Heralded as a prominent group in the UK’s New Pop movement, their list of press accolades is extensive and their fan base apparently large and growing. Romanticism is heavy, with soaring melodies and strident lyrics (which even Noel Gallagher has praised), carried out by Waite's undeniably strong vocal delivery. They stopped by to blast through some tunes and to chat with Maia about their new record.
Hailing from the far Northeast reaches of Bar Harbor, Maine, Coke Weed make woozy, swirling, psych rock. There's a clear bit of Velvet Underground/Yo La Tengo rock n' roll meditation underneath the sweetness and oh-so-cool vibes of their tunes. With a fantastic new album getting some actual radio play (yeah, that still happens when your band is this good), they stopped in to light up the studio with their sounds and to chat with Travis.
BTR explores the fascinating life of one of NYC's most celebrated buskers and how this world-wide community is fighting for its freedom of expression.
Emma Louise Niblett, better known by the stage name Scout Niblett, is an English singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. With six albums under her belt, full of sparse, folk-tinged indie rock, Scout is in the middle of a solid music career. She came by with her band to play some tunes and to get down to some serious talk about metal.
Join BTR's Matt Latola as he makes his way through the 2013 CMJ Music Marathon, proving that you can see plenty of great artists at the annual NYC music festival even without a badge. Along the way, he checks out showcases at venues such as Silent Barn, Pianos (for Floating Fest), The Grand Victory (for BTR's own official CMJ showcase), and the brand new Baby's All Right (for their very first show ever, no less, put on by BrooklynVegan), featuring artists such as Eagulls, Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, Omar Souleyman, Heliotropes, The Meaning Of Life, and EULA, among many others.
Salsa Y Salsa is quickly becoming a BTR favorite happy hour spot.
The graffiti mecca in Long Island City known as 5 Pointz has served as a cultural resource as well as a safe, legal space for graffiti artists from all over the world since 1993. Just recently, New York’s City Council unanimously approved a plan to demolish the site and build two high-rise towers in its place. But the case took a twist last week when 16 artists filed a lawsuit alleging a violation of the unique 1990 Visual Artists Rights Act, which grants limited so-called “moral" rights to certain visual artists. This is the first lawsuit in the nation in which graffiti artists have sought legal protection for their artwork. BTR Pulse’s Lauren Hawker spoke with artists and supporters at the Brooklyn Courthouse this past week who have been granted a temporary restraining order against any demolition at 5 Pointz.
Forest Fire, the NYC-based band led by songwriter Mark Thresher, has seen some changes over the years. Though it began as an alternative folk-rock band, these days the group has found more inspiration from the art-rock likes of Joy Division, Laurie Anderson, Suicide, and Kraftwerk, all of which seems to come out in their use of repetition, straightforward melodies, and synths. They stopped by the studio to talk about their recording process and some of the ideas behind their new album. Here, we present a performance of the song “Cold Kind/Fixation” not seen in their original BTR Live Studio Session.
Celestial Shore is a post-rock trio from Brooklyn. Their music can be difficult to unravel, as they wind mathy, jazzy movements through pop structures, laying down some seriously impressive sonic tricks along the way. Here, they share some tunes and chat with Maia about what they did this summer, and how they got such kick ass album artwork (hint: they asked members of another band to make it).
Asuka Sushi is a reminder that there's no dining experience quite like being treated like you belong.
The Pack A.D. (the A.D. stands for “After Death”) is a Canadian garage rock duo from Vancouver, British Columbia, made up of singer/guitarist Becky Black and drummer Maya Miller. With 4 albums on Mint Records and their recent signing to Nettwerk Records, the band is aiming to take their heavy stoner rock grooves to the next level. They stopped by while on tour to rock out in our studio and talk a bit about their latest EP and video.
The annual CMJ Music Marathon is once again upon NYC, bringing with it seemingly countless artists playing shows all over the city. BTR Pulse's Lauren Hawker spoke with people about why they enjoy CMJ and which artists they're looking forward to checking out this year. Among those mentioned: and the kids, Wild life, The lonely wild, Sheppard, Ghost wave, Father john misty, Belt, Ukulelien, Suā, Yuck, Facts, Savages, Caged animals and Suā.
Sleepy Kitty is a two piece indie rock band from St. Louis via Chicago. Made up of frontwoman Paige Brubeck and drummer Evan Sult (previously of Harvey Danger and Bound Stems), the duo started as an experimental sound project before ultimately morphing into a full on band. An appreciation for indie rock and post punk acts like Pavement and The Fall meets with the bravado of show-tunes to produce the heavy-hitting pop music of Sleepy Kitty. Here, we present a performance of their song “Mockingbird” not seen in their original BTR Live Studio session.
Ebony Bones -- born Ebony Thomas -- is a British singer-songwriter, record producer and actress. Known for her onstage antics and fantastic costumes, her list of credits, collaborations, and accolades is extensive -- and for good reason. Her music is as colorful and vibrant as her personality, shapeshifting and genre-jumping all over the place without missing a beat. Ebony stopped by to play some songs and talk a bit about recording in India, the influences that shape her eclectic music, and more.
Steel Phantoms return to the studio for a second round of Serious Business On BTR! Now in ultra-compact duo form, Aaron Harris (former drummer for Montreal band Islands) and Jesse Newkirk (guitar wizard and notorious nice guy) continue to blast out catchy punk-ish pop gems. Critical acclaim, a killer live reputation, and a growing list of high-profile gigs keep the band riding high after the recent release of their self-titled EP. The guys sat down with Travis to share their secrets for getting a full band sound out of a duo while avoiding the easy way out (aka noise or blues rock).
There's always been an interesting bond between sad, dark music and dance pop. SISU, fronted by multi-instrumentalist Sandra Vu (Dum Dum Girls, Boredoms, Raveonettes), is a great example of this in action. Sonically entrenched in what Vu calls the "loner sounds" of echo-ridden, cold, distorted synths and paired with irresistibly seductive, breathy vocals, the songs explode with emotion.
Enrollment for the Affordable Care Act began on October 1st. It is expected that 7 million people will register online for coverage under the ACA, commonly known as “Obamacare,” before it takes effect on January 1st, 2014. For the 48 million citizens who do not currently have health insurance, it is mandatory to apply by March 31st, 2014, or they will face a tax penalty. Despite the fact that the White House claims Obamacare will decrease the deficit by $210 billion within a decade, there is a great amount of controversy over how effective the health insurance reform will be. Opposition to the law is even partially responsible for the shutdown of the federal government. BTR Pulse’s Lauren Hawker spoke with people about Obamacare and how they think the health reform might effect them.
Aly Spaltro began her musical career in the back room of a DVD rental shop in Brunswick, Maine. Bart & Greg's DVD Explosion was where she worked the night shift and spent her nights practicing, writing songs, and sometimes sleeping in her guitar case. She cut her teeth performing -- solo, then as part of a duo, then solo again -- in the state's biggest city, Portland, before moving on to conquer Boston and NYC, ultimately landing in Brooklyn as a home base for her critically-acclaimed, internationally-touring project. To celebrate the March 2013 release of her debut full-length album as Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, BTRtv and HillyTown joined Spaltro for a trip home to Maine to visit the town where she got her start and to unveil the new album with the help of a live band at SPACE Gallery.
Forest Fire, the NYC-based band led by songwriter Mark Thresher, has seen some changes over the years. Though it began as an alternative folk-rock band, these days the group has found more inspiration from the art-rock likes of Joy Division, Laurie Anderson, Suicide, and Kraftwerk, all of which seems to come out in their use of repetition, straightforward melodies, and synths. They stopped by the studio to talk about their recording process and some of the ideas behind their new album.
Los-Angeles based post-punk outfit DTCV (formerly Détective) was formed in March 2012 by James Greer (ex-Guided By Voices), Guylaine Vivarat (ex-Useless Keys, Tennis System) and Chris Dunn (ex-Chicago - the city). The GBV connection is tight here, as Greer not only played in the band but actually wrote the book on them (Guided by Voices: A Brief History: Twenty-One Years of Hunting Accidents in the Forests of Rock and Roll) and had his former bandmate Robert Pollard provide the artwork for DTCV's latest release. The musical influence is there, but thanks to Vivarat's sweet vocal presence, the result lands closer to Pixies territory.
BonChon on John Street is one of the best college spots in NYC.
Dancing time!
Sleepy Kitty is a two piece indie rock band from St. Louis via Chicago. Made up of frontwoman Paige Brubeck and drummer Evan Sult (previously of Harvey Danger and Bound Stems), the duo started as an experimental sound project before ultimately morphing into a full on band. An appreciation for indie rock and post punk acts like Pavement and The Fall meets with the bravado of show-tunes to produce the heavy-hitting pop music of Sleepy Kitty.
On Wednesday, September 25th, hip hop pioneer Big Freedia --known as the Queen of Bounce -- enlisted over 350 booty shakin' dancers to help him set the Guinness World Record for Most People Twerking Simultaneously. BTR Pulse’s Lauren Hawker spoke to Big Freedia about Twerkin' and what he thought of Miley Cyrus' VMA performance.
Previously seen on an episode of Serious Business On BTR (where we all learned how to properly pronounce their name), Howth just couldn't get enough and had to get back in the studio... Okay, the fact is they've got a whole new batch of tunes and want to get the word out about them. Even better, though, these songs are all about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles -- no joke. Our 80s/90s nostalgia radar went off, too, but the band manages to make better thematic use of the TMNT to cover some serious and personal issues than we knew was ever possible. Take a love for those heroes in a half shell and combine it with an ability to craft ridiculously catchy, mature indie pop songs and you probably still won’t have a sense of how good Howth’s new stuff sounds until you hear it for yourself. Radical.
The Library is on Fire is the American indie rock trio of Steve Five, Pete Sustarsic, and Travis Tonn. Formed in 2007 and reportedly born out of a manifesto by the same name as the band and written by Five, these guys can be found rockin' out at a beach or loft party when they're not holed up in their loft, putting the finishing touches on their 4-track-recorded album. Appropriately, there are Guided By Voices connections all over their work, as it's no secret that the lo-fi indie rock legends have been a huge influence. They stopped by to tear through a few tunes and to extend formal invitations to some of their heroes to crash on the couch.
Pommes Frites, a Belgian french fry shop, is a great snack spot in NYC.
It's "Orange Is the New Black" Week here on BTR, and I have a really unique, engaging topic and guest on the show for you today. There is a growing trend amongst international women's prisons to host annual beauty pageants; Russian-born, U.S.-based filmmaker Irina Vodar was behind a 2007 documentary titled Miss Gulag that looks at just such a pageant, held by inmates at a Siberian prison camp. The incarcerated women design and construct three different costumes for three phases of competition, each with the hope of winning the crown title. On today's show, you'll hear Irina talk about the women in Miss Gulag, why she felt compelled to tell their stories, the positive impact of the beauty pageant on their lives and transformations, her take on Russian fashion culture, and her latest documentary, "The Cycle," a deeply personal exploration of a socially taboo topic. Plus, a playlist full of great new folk and punk from artists like Tica Douglas, Neko Case, Summer Cannibals, and more. So suit up and tune in! It's time to fall in line for fashion with Sew & Tell on BreakThru Radio!
Los Angeles lo-fi psych trio Tashaki Miyaki don't reveal much about themselves. Named after a mispronunciation of Japanese director Tashaki Miike's name and often operating under aliases themselves, the mysterious vibe seems to be working in their favor. With a drummer/singer leading their laid back pop tunes, the band dropped by our studio to share some music and talk about their upcoming record, all in a special black-and-white episode of BTR Live Studio.
On August 20th, a pedestrian named Sian Green -- a British tourist -- lost her leg at 49th Street and 6th Avenue in midtown Manhattan as a result of an incident involving a taxi and a cyclist. The event spurred on already ongoing debates about the place of bikes and cyclists in a city where bike use has been on the rise in recent years. Right Of Way, a bike advocacy group organized a DIY extension of the bike lane on 6th avenue past its current boundary, near where the August accident occurred. BTR Pulse’s Lauren Hawker spoke with Right Of Way's Keegan Stephan, as well as Liz Patek, a local bike blogger.
Golden Suits is Fred Nicolaus from the band Department of Eagles. His experience co-writing songs for that group, combined with a strange year which included a rat-infested apartment, a painful breakup, an emotional trip to Germany, and other challenges inspired Nicolaus to write a solo album. With a nod to classic pop and the aid of contributions from members of Grizzly Bear, Ava Luna, and Mason Jar Music, Golden Suits' music combines nostalgia, sentimentality, obscure literary references, and personal confessions. Here, we present a performance of “Under Your Wing” from Golden Suits’ recent session of BTR Live Studio.
Golden Suits is Fred Nicolaus from the band Department of Eagles. His experience co-writing songs for that group, combined with a strange year which included a rat-infested apartment, a painful breakup, an emotional trip to Germany, and other challenges inspired Nicolaus to write a solo album. With a nod to classic pop and the aid of contributions from members of Grizzly Bear, Ava Luna, and Mason Jar Music, Golden Suits' music combines nostalgia, sentimentality, obscure literary references, and personal confessions.
Dish + Drink's quest for the best burger in NYC continues with a burger from Schnipper's Quality Kitchen.
Haaaaaay! Guess what??!! Sew & Tell has its first nail artist on the show today, and she's suuuuper awesome. Ashley Crowe is a Chicago-based freelance nail artist who started a blog called Astrowifey to document her passion for nail art, as she herself learned and experimented in the early days of nail art popularity. Little did she know that her blogging and hobby would soon transition to an incredibly successful career and cult following, but lucky for us, it did! Winner of this year's Refinery29 Nail Art Nation contest, Ashley's bold, expressive work is inspired by pop and contemporary art, rock music, and fashion. On today's show, you'll hear from Ashley about how her passion for nail art became a career, her role in the development of Tipsy Zine, the first U.S.-based lifestyle nail art publication, a few of her nail art role models, and insider tips on some must-have polishes, upcoming trends, and DIY upkeep for healthy nails. All that, plus a playlist mixed with post-punk and atmospherically autumnal music, including tracks from Franz Ferdinand, Man Man, Aisha Burns, Hookworms, and more. So tune in and prepare to nail fall fashion with BTR and Astrowifey!
Shake Shack and Cronut creator, Dominique Ansel, team up to make custard.
Dumpster Hunter is the NYC-based quartet of Jeff Taylor, Mark Guiliana, Steve Wall, and Chris Morrissey. Taylor (who has played with artists like Feist, Matisyahu, and Trixie Whitley) leads this gang with an impressively versatile performance style, rasping poetically cyclical lyrics over jazzy grooves. Dumpster Hunter's carefully executed compositions make maximum use of explosive, cathartic moments of joy, elevating their subtle, fragile indie rock to shimmery dance pop at a moment's notice.
Now in its 87th year, New York City’s annual Feast of San Gennaro runs for eleven days in September on the streets of Little Italy. From sausage and peppers to raw clams and piña coladas, the city’s longest-running street carnival boasts more than 300 street vendors sprinkled among live music and carnival games. BTR Pulse’s Lauren Hawker spoke with people at the festival.
Strange Talk are an Australian foursome making summery dance music. A live band that commands the dance floor with more beats and synths than your favorite club DJ, they've got the right pedigree to do the genre justice. With the requisite classically trained musician, a dance producer/DJ, and an array of funk/soul musicians, all the elements are there to make the kind of catchy, upbeat dance music that fits right in at festivals and headlining gigs on the international circuit.
Since the last time Speedy Ortiz dropped by our studio, the band has played countless shows all around the country and landed on the radar of the music scene at large. That same charming, lo-fi grunge sound that made them endearing early on still applies, but now the pairing of Sadie Dupuis' melodies with satisfying fuzz comes on like a confident juggernaut -- not that there was any lack of confidence before. If you're like us and have a serious soft spot for the likes of 90s greats such as Helium, Pavement, and Mazzy Star, Speedy Ortiz should already be your new favorite band.
As top designers showcased their spring and summer collections for next year during this fall’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York City, BTR Pulse’s Lauren Hawker caught up with bloggers, designers, and celebrities to discuss what they were wearing and chat about their personal styles.
Birds in Weather is a Brooklyn indie rock trio whose meteorological moniker is more than just an excuse to put birds on their artwork (though that does tend to happen). Comprised of a painter, an opera singer, and an alcohol distiller who were brought together by floods in both Brooklyn and Denmark, BiW craft dynamic, Velvety art-pop songs. Here, we present an additional video from their recent session, featuring a performance of their “Internet Song.”
The Box Tiger is an international indie rock band from the outskirts of Toronto, Ontario, led by songwriter Sonia Sturino; however, as one member lives in Portland, Maine, surely they can be considered international. The band clearly has a lot of heart, as dramatically displayed in their performances, which blast through huge hooks and spirited choruses for an overwhelming experience. Though still a young band, their rigorous tour schedule and opening slots for some popular, like-minded bands such as The Joy Formidable are a clear indicator that they're on a mission.
Originally known as Boy Without God, Gabriel Birnbaum's eccentric indie folk project, Wilder Maker, is full of enough noise and passion to live up to the new name. With the help of a large cast of friends and acquaintances, Birnbaum makes each song a journey, weaving a story through bursts of noise and varied riffs and time changes, with plenty of room to live and breath. Then there are pop songs -- well, they're all pop songs, really, but these tight little nuggets have horns that stab in all the right places, just daring you to dance, and maybe even get a little wild.
The original Shake Shack lives up to its reputation.
A playful rock trio from Long Beach, California, Tijuana Panthers don’t waste time with overwrought effects or needlessly lengthy tunes. They have a surf vibe that makes every 2-minute tune sound extra poppy and fun -- and appropriately, thankfully, these guys actually do surf. The guys dropped by to play some tunes and talk about the Fellini-inspired music video for their catchy single, "Boardwalk."
Here And Gone Is August! And Here Are Some Hot Topics And Crackling Commentary From CHAZ MANNENHEIM: NEWSMAN OF YESTERYEAR! Watch Chaz Speak To The Street Urchins Of NYC About That Steroid Pumping Yankee, A-Rod!! Gender-Bending Convict Chelsea Manning! The Newest Member Of The Obama Family And More!!! Watch MONTH IN REVIEW: AUGUST 2013 Here And Now!!!
Brooklyn-based songwriter Leah Siegel is Firehorse. Like her performance moniker, Siegel and her music are appropriately independent, assertive, and free-spirited. An early interest in music through classical violin and self-taught guitar and singing brought Siegel to songwriting at an early age. Add to this mixture the inspiration of heavy musical legends like Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell, the Velvet Underground, Led Zeppelin and both Tim and Jeff Buckley, and you've got the formula for a powerful, dramatic take on rock. Not content to rest on the ever-growing-laurels of this project, Siegel also fronts Brooklyn Boogaloo Blowout and sings in the Citizens Band, not to mention a new collaboration with Dave Hodge (Broken Social Scene, Bran Van 3000, Basement Jaxx) called Leisure Cruise which features guests from Metric, Blondie, Stars, Broken Social Scene, and more.
Radical Dads are the Gowanus, Brooklyn-based trio of Lindsay Baker, Chris Diken, and Robbie Guertin (formerly of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah). In addition to pumping out great pop jams accompanied by only the most excellent artwork, the band professes their appreciation for "gummy snacks, hitting the fizz, snoozin’ on Sundays, meditation, meditating on pizza, pizza itself, sunglasses, friends, all-time peace, and the search for the attainment of the transcendence of coolness." We can get behind that. Oh, and the music rules, too.
Celebrate Labor Day Weekend here on the Party Hour with Break Thru Radio as tonight we feature a playlist featuring some of the acts from this weekends Electric Zoo out in NYC. Tonight the playlist features remixes by A-Trak, Steve Aoki, Avicii and Bingo Players. We got some party favorites with tracks by Datsick, Flux Pavilion and David Guetta. Dance and Dubstep ALL SHOW LONG! GET SOME!
Mira Sushi & Izakaya is a great spot for food and drinks, just maybe not for happy hour.
Emily Bell is a Texas musician who belts out soulful rock n' roll that effortlessly incorporates elements of delta blues, '60s rock, and girl-group glam. Raised in musical theater and taught by seasoned performers, her power is clearest onstage, where she delivers what she likes to call "technicolor rock 'n' soul" with the help of her partner and musical companion John Evans. Gaining popularity in Austin through riveting SXSW performances and her performing-arts fests, Summer Camp! and Winter Camp!, Bell is set to continue making a name for herself in both the local and national scenes.
Where the people go (and don't go) in New York City for summer.
Tennis fans descended upon Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, New York, on Monday, August 26th, for the opening day of the 2013 U.S. Open. This year's tournament, as usual, will be extremely lucrative for the city, generating more than $720 million. BTR Pulse’s Lauren Hawker spoke to people about their love of the sport and who they look forward to seeing in competition.
BTR staff check out NYC's Mission Chinese Food for the first time.
Amidst debate over the federal minimum wage, NYC politicians attempted to live one week on $92.
Atlanta's Mood Rings tread in enjoyably murky musical territory. While it's clear that pop music has been a strong influence, the band's output is heavier on vibe and feel than hooks and choruses. The group might be communicating some far out astral messages that we're just not ready to understand, but in the meantime, dig into the mood. Here, they play some tunes and chat with Maia about the evolving sound of the group and their intense love for Enya.
New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez, who admitted to steroid use in 2009, is currently fighting an unprecedented 211 game suspension that was given to him by Major League Baseball for his alleged involvement with a biogenesis lab. We asked people whether they think A-Rod is a villain or a scapegoat for the League's ongoing steroid issue.
Katie Mullins is a Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter with a background as an opera singer and actress. Not your typical “girl with guitar,” she’s known for utilizing the mbira, a thumb-piano in the Zimbabwean tuning that she made herself, as well as a baritone ukulele and looping pedals to sculpt lush soundscapes to deliver her hauntingly beautiful songs. The recent addition of a keyboard to her arsenal has opened up new creative worlds for Katie, who spent a summer afternoon with BTRtv, hanging out in a rooftop pool in Gowanus, Brooklyn, using her new instrument to play the song "Boats And Buoys."
Tawiah is a South Londoner who attended The BRIT School, laying the foundation for a strong early start to her musical career. After going on to collaborate and perform with Mark Ronson, Erykah Badu, Cee Lo Green, Wale, and others (in case new listeners need some idea of the ridiculous level of talent she exhibits) she’s now focusing on her own music. Tawiah's own alternative soul has all the promise of the contemporaries she's been known to fill in for, like Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen.
Steel Phantoms return to the studio for a second round of Serious Business On BTR! Now in ultra-compact duo form, Aaron Harris (former drummer for Montreal band Islands) and Jesse Newkirk (guitar wizard and notorious nice guy) continue to blast out catchy punk-ish pop gems. Critical acclaim, a killer live reputation, and a growing list of high-profile gigs keep the band riding high after the recent release of their self-titled EP. The guys sat down with Travis to share their secrets for getting a full band sound out of a duo while avoiding the easy way out (aka noise or blues rock).
New York Burger Co. combines too many strong flavors and is otherwise somewhat forgettable.
Horsehands are a Boston-based post-punk trio. Not necessarily the post-punk you may be thinking of, though, with "angular guitars" (we never really knew what that meant either) and off-key yelps, but truly something AFTER punk rock. More in line with Guided By Voices -- who the band is quick to identify as a key influence -- than Fugazi, Horsehands weave weird, whirling, winding melodies and grooves into a jazzed-up, spazzed-out take on pop.
A federal judge ruled on Monday, August 12th, that the NYPD's "Stop and Frisk" policies are unconstitutional and discriminate on the basis of race, ordering the appointment of a federal monitor to oversee reforms in the program. Later that day, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, alongside Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, slammed the decision calling it "dangerous" and claiming that "Stop and Frisk" saves lives. This week on BTR Pulse, Lauren Hawker asks people their thoughts on the policy.
The Meaning Of Life is a band from Brooklyn who pulls together the oft-surreal lyricism of singer/bassist Marta DeLeon and the emotive guitar lines of Christian Gallardo to form dreamy pop music with hints of shoegaze and psych-rock. This music video -- the band’s first -- is for “Laura V.,” a song off their first EP, Play Fuego, and was produced in cooperation with BTRtv/BreakThru Radio.
Previously seen in one of our favorite episodes of BTR Hear & There, Brooklyn/Philly band The City And Horses are back for a visit to the studio to share more tunes. Lead by songwriter Marc Louis, this genre-hopping project gets compared to the likes of The Velvet Underground, Belle and Sebastian, and Jonathan Richman for its smart, twisting indie pop songs -- along with the inevitable Jethro Tull tags thanks to the presence of a flute. Currently weaving tales of "the sadomasochism of anxiety disorders, the real or imagined simplicity of the 1990s, and lovingly loveless relationships," the group rarely performs live and never tours, but when they do, it's well worth seeing in action.
Radical Dads are the Gowanus, Brooklyn-based trio of Lindsay Baker, Chris Diken, and Robbie Guertin (formerly of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah). In addition to pumping out great pop jams accompanied by only the most excellent artwork, the band professes their appreciation for "gummy snacks, hitting the fizz, snoozin’ on Sundays, meditation, meditating on pizza, pizza itself, sunglasses, friends, all-time peace, and the search for the attainment of the transcendence of coolness." We can get behind that. Oh, and the music rules, too.
The cheeseburgers at brgr in NYC are impressively good and well worth a try.
The Volga is the largest river in Russia. Say it twice, and it is the title of a musical film from 1937. It is also the name for the current musical group led by songwriter Ivan Kuraev, performing gentle folk pop songs with a compelling touch of humor (see the featured track, "Up My Ass"). Since early 2013, Kuraev has been joined by some of his most talented and accomplished musical friends in the band: Kristin Mueller on vocals and electric guitar, BTRtv VIP Brian Kantor on drums, Ian Riggs on bass, and Karen Waltuch on viola and backing vocals (her work can also be found on albums by Wilco, The Walkmen, Beth Orton, Yellowbirds, and many more).
Revelers gathered in Times Square on Monday, August 5th, to celebrate National Underwear Day, an attempt to break a world record for the largest gathering of people in underwear. The event, now in its 11th year, focuses on body confidence awareness and empowers participants to be more comfortable in their own skin. BTR Pulse’s Lauren Hawker spoke with people at the event.
It’s July and Chaz Mannenheim is here to bring you the stories that you already know! Or maybe you don’t! Did you hear about George Zimmerman? What about the Royal Baby? Who is Carlos Danger, you ask? Chaz has the answers! And with the help of the man on the street he brings the top-notch kind of commentary! Hear the news of yesterday today and tomorrow! Watch MONTH IN REVIEW with your host CHAZ MANNENHEIM!!!
Still Corners is the duo of Greg Hughes and Tessa Murray. Hughes -- from Austin, Texas, but residing in London for the past decade -- is constantly developing his production and songwriting through the project. With a minimal setup of drum machine, guitar, and synth, the duo pours tons of emotion into their dreamy, cinematic pop songs. They stopped by the studio to play some tunes from their latest release, and to talk about the unlikely way they got together.
Here's what you need to know about Hector's Pets: this rag tag band of rocker dudes could totally play the house party of your dreams, and decked out in shorts, hawaiian shirts, leather jackets, and shades, they totally look the part as much as they sound it. The guys also happen to have great "pet" nicknames, and in this interview they managed to do the unthinkable and push Travis to the limits of his comfort levels with ass talk. But wait, we're getting distracted here (appropriately). Think garage rock n' roll with serious pop undertones, bolstered by the presence of a tambo man (always a plus in our book).
Cafeteria in Chelsea is a great spot for Sunday Brunch, but it may not be worth the price.
New music from Deer Tick and old music from Deer Tick are a part of today's mix.
Dane checks out some of the hot spots in NYC's Koreatown.
Ben & Jerry's brings free city-inspired ice cream flavors to 11 US cities including NYC.
There are 15 precious weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day for New Yorkers to let their hair down and soak up the sun. This week on BTR Pulse, Lauren Hawker asks people what their ideal summer weekend would be.
Dope Body is a band from Baltimore, Maryland. Though their use of punk tactics -- abrasive blasts, loops, yelps and shouts -- gets them pegged as a noise band, there's also a tight groove running through their jams that makes them largely danceable; as Travis says, it’s very physical AND musical. Here, we present an extra video of Dope Body playing “Road Dog” at their recent session of Serious Business on BTR.
Stephen Kellogg, last seen in the music scene fronting his band, The Sixers, had a rough 2012. Last year saw change and hardship for his family and home, as well as the end of a decade-strong band, and now Kellogg is endeavoring on the next step in his musical evolution. Based in Southern Connecticut and drawing influence from the songwriting sensibilities of folk music and the showmanship of classic rock, he's set out with a simple mission, in his own words: "Using words and intention in the hopes of a positive legacy for my family." Despite his claims to have stumbled accidentally into making a living singing songs and playing guitar, it looks like that legacy is going to turn out just fine.
Thursdays at Bryant Park has a lot more to offer than just foliage.
Cheap Time are a Nashville-based rock trio who pull together bits of pop and punk for razor tight tunes. Growing out of the solo project and demos of frontman Jeff Novak, the band invokes a perfectly nasty punk spirit to deliver their pure pop songs. They stopped by while on tour supporting punk giants Social Distortion to tell Travis a few stories from the road and to tear it up in the studio.
Jesse Woods only moved to Austin, Texas, a few years ago, but his adopted city's trademark blend of musical genres (blues, rock, country) comes through clearly in his lo-fi folk music. Recording in his own all-analog studio and enlisting the aid of some of his local scene's heavy hitters, he's diving deep into his smoky take on twang with the upcoming release of his debut LP. Accompanied by a drum machine and cellist, Jesse brought the tunes to life in our studio, and sat down with Maia to chat about his songwriting process, and making the jump from recording to playing live.
The world's media was in a frenzy this week over the arrival of the British royal baby. Tuesday's first glimpse of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with the newborn, named George Alexander Louis, was the culmination of many weeks of global anticipation. Meanwhile, the birth of the boy has, for many, seemed to stir up memories of the beloved Princess Diana, whom Kate is so often measured against, and whose efforts to raise her sons, were often considered part of a trend to balance modernity with the traditions of the royal family -- an issue William and Kate now face themselves. BTR Pulse’s Lauren Hawker spoke with people in New York, including at the British owned and operated Tea & Sympathy, about the royal family, in light of the birth.
Asuka in Chelsea is a great deal for both sushi and happy hour.
Body Language is a Brooklyn foursome -- though with the addition of that all-too-important 5th member, Computer, the band members' names conveniently spell out M-A-G-I-C, an appropriate description for the particular way all their moving parts work together. The keyboard, glockenspiel, shared vocal harmonies, and percussion-driven tunes they create have just the right touches of rock, soul, funk, r&b, and dance to make a fresh blend of pop music. The band stopped by to play their new single, talk about being mistaken for body language (as in the form of non-verbal communication) on Facebook, and more.
Dope Body is a band from Baltimore, Maryland. Though their use of punk tactics -- abrasive blasts, loops, yelps and shouts -- gets them pegged as a noise band, there's also a tight groove running through their jams that makes them largely danceable; as Travis says, it’s very physical AND musical. This sort of flexibility is what enables them to share the stage with more dance-oriented acts like Mykki Blanco as frequently as their thrashier brethren in Roomrunner. Here, they kept some of that boundless energy just barely under wraps as their sound exploded in the studio.
New York State toughens texting-while-driving laws.
Left to her own devices, Julia Easterlin is easily a one-woman band. Aided by a tight live rhythm section, her songs -- based around complex vocal loops and effects -- take on a new life that further explores her rich history as a student, musician, and curious explorer of the world. While the technical aspects of her performances can feel like a novelty at first, the complexity of her rhythms, melodies, and songwriting quickly shine through and transport the listener to a much deeper place. Fans of Bjork, St. Vincent, or Tune-Yards will likely find their new favorite songwriter and performer in Easterlin.
On July 13, 2013, a jury in Sanford, Florida, acquitted George Zimmerman of the murder of Trayvon Martin, the 17 year old African American boy he admittedly shot and killed during an altercation in February 2012. Although the case put the state’s so-called “Stand Your Ground” law in the forefront of national debates, Zimmerman’s defense relied on a self defense argument and the shooting and trial have sparked many other discussions about the state of race relations in America. The day after the verdict, rallies were held across the nation; BTR Pulse’s Lauren Hawker visited one such rally in NYC’s Union Square, where she heard citizens speak out against the verdict -- among them Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate for the city and mayoral hopeful, and Kevin Powell of BK Nation, a non-profit community organization. Hawker then spoke with others in the city the day after the event
On July 4, 2013, BreakThruTV’s Lauren Hawker spoke with people at a “Restore The Fourth” rally at NYC’s Union Square. Participants in the group call for an end to unconstitutional surveillance of digital communications by the U.S. government, basing their arguments on the Fourth Amendment of the Bill Of Rights.
Brooklyn band Friend Roulette's name alone brings to mind a very particular image: a group of friends hanging out, swapping stories and instruments, stringing together fun, lively tunes into a huge, beautiful racket. With six members and some of the most unusual instrumentation going (counting two drum sets, violin, bass clarinet, and ewi -- that's an electronic wind instrument for the curious -- among its arsenal) plus the occasional addition of a string quartet, this is a concoction truly deserving of being described as dreamy chamber pop. Don't let the break with rock conventions scare you, though; this is catchy, accessible, lively music that'll grab any listener and hold on tight.
Demonstrators gather across the country to express outrage at Saturday's verdict in Florida.
Jane Eyre -- briefly known as Boy King Island in its early stages -- is a quickly rising band on the New York scene and marks a shift from the critically acclaimed folk of songwriter Jesse Rifkin’s previous efforts as The Wailing Wall. While fans might first notice their outfits (Travis sure did) or the omnipresence of R. Buckminster Fuller's portrait onstage, the songs should really be taking precedence here. Combining the group's collective backgrounds in music studies, rock bands, and assorted experimental noisemaking situations, Jane Eyre is a powerful force generating uniquely memorable, experimental pop music.
The LA pop-rocker with some words of wisdom for the industry.
Weekend began as a notoriously noisy shoegaze band in San Francisco, but a recent move to Brooklyn marked a shift in both their location and their sound. Shedding some of the wall of noise without sacrificing any of their anxious rhythms or ominous creeping bass, they've grown into a band whose dark tales come through with a new clarity on their upcoming release, Jinx.
Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who resigned in 2008 amid a prostitution scandal, launched his bid for New York City Comptroller on Monday July 8th, collecting petition signatures in Union Square to secure his place on the ballot while surrounded by a throng of reporters, onlookers, and some hecklers. BTR Pulse’s Lauren Hawker spoke to people about Sptizer's attempted return to elected office and how it may compare to Anthony Weiner's comeback attempt.
A lifetime music nerd, BTR's Matt Lehtola has never been to a music festival like Bonnaroo before. Join him as he loses his 4-day music festival virginity and learns what it's all about. Shot entirely on a GoPro camera, Lehtola and DJ Wynn took in the sights and sounds of the festival culture to bring to BreakThruTV.
Nature Cruise are the trio of Eric, Laura, and Steven: high school buddies from Long Island, NY, who've grown up and reunited to take a fresh approach to making music together. Their approach is clear -- a tight, forceful rock band crafting meticulously composed and arranged pop songs -- so it's no surprise that they often put their spin on covers of classic pop gems from the likes of Tears For Fears and Michael Jackson at live shows. They stopped by BTR Live Studio to share a first look at their music - both revived material and brand new songs - and to share some of the background on this fresh project.
Yoni Gordon is a soulful troubadour who cut his teeth in Boston before landing in Brooklyn. Standing tall and proud, his live show is a whirlwind of storytelling, bravado, and all-out-heart as told through a rock n' roll spectacle. Backed by a vibrant band -- horn section and all -- Gordon throws every bit of himself into his music like he truly means it. Here, he brings his band by the studio to blast through a few songs, and to make band introductions with the appropriate fanfare.
Activists spend their holiday exercising their right to protest NSA surveillance.
Songwriter Matt Bauer was born in Kentucky -- though he recently lived in Brooklyn and currently calls Austin home -- and the music of the region makes itself apparent in his work. Drawing on traditional mountain music, bluegrass, and folk, his songs tell carefully crafted tales with heavy tones and fantastically crafted orchestration.
Since the recent revelations that the National Security Agency is gathering data on Americans' use of telephones and foreigners' use of the internet, a debate has begun about the proper balance between national security and civil liberties. In the wake of the scandal, protesters held a rally in New York's Union Square to show their support for Edward Snowden, the man who leaked the details. While many expressed their discomfort towards government surveillance of citizens, others offered a more favorable view. This week on BTR Pulse, Lauren Hawker speaks with people in New York on both sides of the debate.
Shades of classic rock and 50's/60's pop permeate The Blank Tapes' stoner/pych-rock vibes. Hailing from San Francisco, Matt Adams is a prolific songwriter -- not to mention a talented visual artist -- with a timeless approach to music. Now in perhaps its leanest and strongest form yet, The Blank Tapes are a trio these days, featuring Adams along with girlfriend/resident-Moe Tucker-style-drummer Pearl Charles, and D.A. Humphrey on bass, and they’re ready to spread their songs across the land, taking us all on Vacation.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BTR!
Astoria, Queens-based pow wow! is the brainchild of Eddie and Jeff Nazareno, brothers originally from the suburbs of northern New Jersey. The duo has solidified their lineup with bassist John-Paul Anthony, lead guitarist and co-vocalist Amanda Burden, and drummer Sal Garro and playing their own sort of party soul music, with traces of brit-pop, shoegaze, and plenty of indie rock touches.
Emily Wells is known as a talented multi-tasking multi-instrumentalist, exercising an acrobatic array of electronics in her live performance. For her latest release, she has shed the protective wall of gadgets and sounds and picked up only an acoustic guitar to reimagine the songs from her 2012 debut. The translation is flawless, and reveals a new perspective on these compositions, which easily hold their own with the stripped-down approach.
Thirsty Thursday on D+D takes a look at the Lantern's Keep, a swanky bar in the Iroquois Hotel near Times Square.
Following the example of cities like San Francisco and Seattle, Mayor Bloomberg is hoping to implement a mandatory composting plan during his final term as mayor of New York. The plan, effective by 2016, would require New Yorkers to begin separating food waste and other organic materials out from their trash, or risk being fined. This week on BTR Pulse, guest host Heather Mundinger speaks with people in New York about adding another mandatory step to their trash sorting and recycling process.
Nature Cruise are the trio of Eric, Laura, and Steven: high school buddies from Long Island, NY, who've grown up and reunited to take a fresh approach to making music together. Their approach is clear -- a tight, forceful rock band crafting meticulously composed and arranged pop songs -- so it's no surprise that they often put their spin on covers of classic pop gems from the likes of Tears For Fears and Michael Jackson at live shows. Here, the band plays “The Crush Of A Crowded City,” one of the songs from their recent session -- make sure to check back soon for their full episode with more music and interview.
Brass Bed is a four-piece band from Lafayette, Louisiana, that's been busy finding its way over the past few years. Brushing off the sheen of studio perfection and pop shine, their sound has grown more raw, showing off all its bare, psychedelic soul. There's a certain haze to their new sound that perfectly suits the new approach, taking on the confusion and uncertainty of life in song, and making a big, beautiful sound along the way. Here, they play a few tunes and chat with Maia about growing into their sound and getting feedback from longtime friends and fans on new directions.
Crazy Pills is the ever-evolving rock n' roll outlet of NYC musician, Amanda B. (aka “Tha Kitten”). Here, she fronts a rip-roarin' trio (with members of pow wow! and Clouder), blazing through catchy tunes with equal parts garage, punk, and soul. The band stopped by the studio to play some tunes, talk about their upcoming album, and to give Travis a chance to present a challenge to David Letterman and to make a very special announcement for his internet viewers.
NYC by way of Chile this jazz artist is one to watch.
David Wingo, a film composer from Austin, developed his group, Ola Podrida, from a recording project to a live band while living in NYC. Though their time in New York was brief -- only about 3 years before Wingo took it back to Texas -- it was a productive time that saw the band sharing stages with some big names, from Fleet Foxes and Beach House to a spot at All Tomorrow's Parties, curated by Explosions In The Sky. Now a fully-collaborative four-piece band, Ola Podrida continues to craft catchy indie rock with cinematic touches.
It has been fifty years since President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law with the goal of abolishing wage disparity between the sexes. Now, half a century later, women still earn less than men: an average of 77 cents on the dollar. For African-American and Latino women, the pay gap is even greater. Meanwhile, a recent Pew survey showed that a record 40% of women are the primary breadwinners in families with children under 18. This week on BTR Pulse, Lauren Hawker speaks with people in New York about pay disparity among men and women and also with Patricia Gatling, Commissioner and Chair of The New York City Commission on Human Rights, who weighed in on what women can do if they are being discriminated against by their employer.
Toubab Krewe are a true musical phenomenon. Hailing from the jam-friendly city of Asheville, North Carolina, they blend rock, folk, and West African influences into a psychedelic, instrumental blend of original grooves. Hard-touring, with a heavy foot in the festival circuit, the band is coming up on a decade of spreading their sound throughout the global music community. Here, they play their version of the traditional folk song, “In The Pines.”
Toubab Krewe are a true musical phenomenon. Hailing from the jam-friendly city of Asheville, North Carolina, they blend rock, folk, and West African influences into a psychedelic, instrumental blend of original grooves. Hard-touring, with a heavy foot in the festival circuit, the band is coming up on a decade of spreading their sound throughout the global music community. Here, they play some of their unique music and chat with Maia about how they came to incorporate their various influences into one sound.
Psychic Twin is the project of Erin Fein, an Illinois native from the Champaign/Urbana area who recently moved to New York. Writing and recording in solitude over the past two years, Fein doubled her vocals to create the ghostly mood of what would become Psychic Twin. Joined by Brett Sanderson and, later, Jonny Sommer to flesh out the music's mysterious synth-rock atmosphere, Psychic Twin is expecting to release a new record later this year.
Since the recent revelations that the National Security Agency is gathering data on Americans' use of telephones and foreigners' use of the internet, a debate has begun about the proper balance between national security and civil liberties. In the wake of the scandal, protesters held a rally in New York's Union Square to show their support for Edward Snowden, the man who leaked the details. While many expressed their discomfort towards government surveillance of citizens, others offered a more favorable view. This week on BTR Pulse, Lauren Hawker speaks with people in New York on both sides of the debate.
Music and art fill 5th Avenue in Manhattan for the ninth annual Museum Mile Festival.
Dru Cutler's story begins in Tampa, Florida, where he played in a punk band with a narcoleptic drummer before taking his interest in music in a more focused direction, studying Music Composition and working full time as a stage performer at Busch Gardens. Years later, with a wealth of experience in various bands, composing for film and web videos, and continuing to study music, Cutler is hard at work making a name for himself with his own dark, crooning brand of indie rock. For this episode of BTR Hear & There, he brings his band to the back room of the Branded Saloon in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, for a ferocious stomp through the song "Train."
Dana Falconberry -- a Michigan native currently based in Austin, TX, whose songwriting is distinctly inspired by visual art, books, and film -- has come a long way from her early days studying classical ballet and modern dance. Her early recordings relied on a sparse and delicate touch, but, with her latest release, she brings on orchestration from a six-piece band to expand on her nostalgia-laden, orchestral pop-folk. Taking lyrical inspiration from idyllic childhood retreats to Michigan's Leelanau Peninsula, the band gives life to Falconberry's stripped-down songs inspired by dreams, memories, and landscapes both real and imagined.
Grass Is Green is one of the best post-punk bands currently in Boston. Rippin' weirdo noise and explosive energy is all over their music and live show, so it's no surprise they've been getting great press with every move. Here, the guys play some jams and talk about being on the receiving end of some outlandish BrooklynVegan commenter attacks.
What Happened In May 2013?? Someday, People Will Want To Know!!! Chaz Mannenheim Is Bringing It To You Today!!! That’s Right, Yesterday’s News, Not Tomorrow, Not Years From Now -- TODAY!!! With the aid of the man on the street, Chaz will enlighten you about what’s going on with Angelina Jolie’s Mastectomy, The Obama Administration Scandals, and The Sudden Embrace Of Homosexual Love By The Boy Scouts Of America! Witness, with your own eyes, the pure wonder of news being delivered to you, in review, with the enigmatic Newsman Of Yesteryear, Chaz Mannenheim!
Blood Red Shoes is a rock n' roll band from Brighton, England, made up of the duo of Laura-Mary Carter on guitar and Steven Ansell on drums, with both contributing vocals. Big riffs, impossible drumming, and epic pop songs about mortality, alienation, escape, and hope, all bolstered by a fierce live show and a dry sense of humor, have grown the band's reputation over the past few years. Here they play a few songs and chat with Maia about an encounter with the Rolling Stones, among other things.
Brooklyn trio Dead Stars make self-described nerd grunge, which turns out to be the perfect description of their sound. Jangly and fuzzy in all the right places, with hooks reminiscent of everything catchy from Weezer, Pavement, and Superchunk as well as the rumbling rock of Hum or Archers Of Loaf. The list could go on -- just take a look at that book of favorite CDs from the 90s to get an idea, as our suspicion is these guys had very similar musical upbringings to most who grew up in the 'burbs. This is straight up, no-frills, rock music -- the sort that was once called "alternative" before it morphed into mainstream rock and then disappeared from the airwaves altogether. And Dead Stars ably give it new life.
Going down next weekend in New York City is the annual Governors Ball Music Festival June 7th through the 9th. To celebrate the many artist and genres performing at next weekends music festival the Party Hour has packed the playlist with several of the musical acts on the line up. Indie Rock, Dance, Hip Hop and Remixes are featured this hour.
Eastern Hollows is a Brooklyn quintet led by Travis DeVries, whose previous solo efforts and work with The Turn-ons received critical acclaim. Drawing on strong shoegaze and brit pop influences, the band has been blasting through the Brooklyn scene with moody, psychedelic jangly guitar pop.
Nearly two years after he resigned from Congress because of a high profile sexting scandal, Anthony Weiner has tossed his hat into the race for New York City Mayor. Weiner, whose campaign focuses on helping the middle class thrive, is quickly gaining steam in the polls. After only a week of officially being in the race, Weiner is trailing frontrunner Christine Quinn by just 5% for the Democratic nomination, according to a Marist survey. BTR Pulse’s Lauren Hawker asks New Yorkers how they feel about Weiner's viability as a candidate, especially in light of his past negative publicity.
Eternal Summers -- previously a duo of Nicole Yun and Daniel Cundiff, more recently fleshed out with the addition of bassist Jonathan Woods -- are a band coming into their own. While previous releases explored post punk and lo-fi rock territory, their current power trio format pushes things solidly into its own territory, crafting a unique pop sound that's entirely their own. The band is currently running a Pledge Music campaign, offering everything from vinyl pre-orders to sweaty shirts and house shows in order to facilitate the production of their new album.
CitiBike Share launches this Memorial Day. Here's what New Yorkers can expect.
Actress Angelina Jolie made headlines recently when she revealed in a New York Times op-ed piece that she recently had a preventative double mastectomy after learning she has a faulty gene, known as BRCA1, which gives her an elevated risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer. Jolie says she is telling the world her story because she wants to be an example for other women. BTR Pulse’s Lauren Hawker spoke to people in New York about Jolie's decision, including oncologist Dr. Lynn Ratner and breast cancer survivor Lynn Buckner who, herself, underwent a double mastectomy.
Bird Courage appeared on BTR Live Studio back when they were the duo of Sam Saffery and Erik Meier and accustomed to playing primarily in subway stations around Brooklyn. Since then, they’ve been making a name for themselves above ground, building a joyful ruckus with just three musicians -- thanks to the addition of percussionist, Sean McMahon -- and acoustic instruments. It's a testament to their dynamic, highly-accessible songwriting that the music works in almost any situation, and their steadily-growing fanbase seems happy to follow right along, going so far as to successfully crowdfund their next album, Māia Manu, via Kickstarter in just 4 weeks. For this episode of BTR Hear & There, we found the trio playing in the entryway to Kavé Espresso Bar in their neighborhood of Bushwick.
Not Blood Paint are quite possibly robots, or maybe aliens, or, at the very least, four musicians with a serious penchant for completely over-the-top theatrics. Musically, the quartet treads heavily in pop of the bizarre, glammy art-rock territory (strains of Bowie, Of Montreal, Dirty Projectors, etc), pumping out tightly constructed gems solid enough to blast past all the makeup and costumery. Every show is a different experience -- “experience” being the key here -- and their reputation absolutely precedes them. Take a trip with the band for some extreme eye contact, guitar-shredding silver humanoids, and an introduction to the New Suit Methodology.
Pop Zeus is the project of Brooklyn’s Mikey Hodges. As the story goes, it was impressed upon his young music-loving self that idols Prince, Stevie Wonder, and Todd Rundgren all played every instrument on their records. When Mikey was ready to start making his own music -- less than two years ago -- this idea stuck, and he banged out 10 power pop jams using borrowed gear. Here, he performs with his band and talks with Travis about their shared connections with Guided By Voices, among other things.
CitiBike, New York City's new bike share program, is launching in Manhattan and Brooklyn on Memorial Day. Despite early popularity of the idea, some New Yorkers have expressed unhappiness with the placement of some of the 300 bike share dock stations. This week on BTR Pulse, Lauren Hawker asks people in New York their thoughts.
BTR’s Matthew Demello and Jordan Reisman sat down with fitness guru and musician Cherie Lily and her husband, Andrew WK, a well-known musician and partier himself. The couple discussed their philosophies on life, partying, and fitness as well as their own relationship. Andrew WK’s recent selection to be a cultural ambassador for the US State Department –- which the department quashed before the gig even began -– was also explored.
Shades of classic rock and 50's/60's pop permeate The Blank Tapes' stoner/pych-rock vibes. Hailing from San Francisco, Matt Adams is a prolific songwriter -- not to mention a talented visual artist -- with a timeless approach to music. Now in perhaps its leanest and strongest form yet, The Blank Tapes are a trio these days, featuring Adams along with girlfriend/resident-Moe Tucker-style-drummer Pearl Charles, and D.A. Humphrey on bass, and they’re ready to spread their songs across the land, taking us all on Vacation.
Eternal Summers -- previously a duo of Nicole Yun and Daniel Cundiff, more recently fleshed out with the addition of bassist Jonathan Woods -- are a band coming into their own. While previous releases explored post punk and lo-fi rock territory, their current power trio format pushes things solidly into its own territory, crafting a unique pop sound that's entirely their own. The band is currently running a Pledge Music campaign, offering everything from vinyl pre-orders to sweaty shirts and house shows in order to facilitate the production of their new album.
Did you know that your trippy tapestry was influenced by a Buddhist ritual?
Conor J. O’Brien -- whose Dublin-based band, Villagers, has been nominated for a Mercury Prize, won an Ivor Novello Award, and shared stages with some of the biggest names in music -- delivers an intimate, solo performance of his songs here on BTR Live Studio. In a departure from his previous effort, O'Brien embraces collaboration, instrumental music, and a whole lot of symbolism and poetic storytelling to achieve something that he feels is secular yet spiritual, and which sings the things that he can not say.
On Saturday, May 4th, artists, architects, poets, technologists, entrepreneurs, and inventors shared their ideas and invited participants to actively shape their city and involve themselves in its urban improvement. StreetFest served as the grand finale of the New Museum's Ideas City festival, a four-day conference featuring workshops and more than one hundred independent and public events for proposing solutions and accelerating creativity. BTR Pulse’s Lauren Hawker was there.
The grand finale for New Museum's StreetFest shows NYC is a city just chuck full of ideas.
Formed in Brooklyn in 2011, Clouder made a big splash with their roaring, guitar-driven 60's-inspired rock 'n roll. After a brief hiatus as singer Eric Gilstrap moved south, the guys are back in action, playing shows up and down the East Coast and working on new music, pushing their psychedelic wall of sound into new realms, spilling beers, whipping hair, and breaking hearts -- we welcome these men back to Serious Business On BTR with open arms.
Fear of Men are a band from Brighton, England, born of an art school project by vocalist/guitarist Jessica Weiss and her home recordings of ambient soundtracks to short films. Now a four piece and drawing their inspiration from art and philosophy, Fear of Men deliberately juxtaposes iconic museum imagery and lyrical themes of loneliness and fragmentation with buoyant pop melodies, resulting in songs with often bleakly nihilistic subject matter swimming in hummable pop tunes.
The landscape of professional sports changed on Monday, April 29th, when NBA center Jason Collins revealed in an interview with Sports Illustrated that he is gay. Collins is the first active player in the history of major U.S. team sports to come out as openly gay. As opinions from notable NBA stars, as well as other well-known personalities, began rolling in, BTR Pulse’s Lauren Hawker asked people about the historical timing of this announcement and what the future may hold for sports and sexual orientation equality.
The oldest trophy in professional sports pays a visit to New York City.
The music of Xenia Rubinos is uniquely dependent on beats in a big way; drummer Marco Buccelli contributes much more than just your standard percussion, crafting entire soundscapes from a mish-mash of drums and effects, tirelessly modified and honed into one of the most impressive music-making machines we've had the pleasure of seeing in action. Xenia, herself, is a force to be reckoned with, culling enormous vocal power into dramatic tunes that she propels through her keyboard. Somehow, these two have tapped into a deep well of energy and passion that pleasantly comes across in every move they make.
On Monday, April 15th, two bombs exploded in the crowded streets near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Three people were killed and more than two hundred others injured, leading to a massive manhunt, the lockdown of a major city, the death and injury of law enforcement officers, and the eventual death of one suspect and capture of another. BTR Pulse’s Lauren Hawker asks people their thoughts on the media's coverage of the events as well as what rights and considerations they believe the suspect in custody should be allowed.
New Yorkers show solidarity with their rival city in the wake of the Boston Marathon attacks.
Arms is a project led by former Harlem Shakes guitarist Todd Goldstein. Now in its ninth year and having undergone personnel and stylistic changes, it continues to revolve around Todd's songwriting alter-ego. On record, Arms has evolved from its lo-fi roots into a fully-realized -- though still-developing -- pop music venture.
Raccoon Fighter is a trio of Brooklyn-dwelling men making rip-roarin' rock 'n roll. They offer heavy, groovy, Sixties-inspired, punk thrashin', headbangin' stuff coming at you in hi-fi sound. And even their mellower jams pack a solid, gritty punch that draws on their raw energy. Here, they play some tunes and talk with Travis about their new album.
The London-based quartet of Roxanne Clifford, drummer Patrick Doyle, guitarist James Hoare, and bassist Marion Herbain make up Veronica Falls, an often misunderstood pop band. The gothic elements of their pretty, pristine pop songs have often overshadowed the band's pure musical prowess. These days, they seem to be dead set on reclaiming their reputation -- shedding their morbid roots, maturing and proving themselves to be a fully-formed indie guitar pop act. They're not just talking about death and sadness, but rather the more existential matters of a fading twenty-something existence, something we're sure their audience can relate to.
On Tuesday, April 16th, a committee of New York Assembly lawmakers approved a bill to legalize marijuana for medical needs. If the bill should eventually pass into law, New York State would join several other US states where doctors are certified to authorize marijuana use for patients with serious medical conditions. This week on BTR Pulse, Lauren Hawker asks people in New York their thoughts on making medical marijuana available and whether there are benefits in legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
Bird Call is a NYC-based musical project founded by singer and musician Chiara Angelicola. Featuring synthesizers and heavily-yet-pleasantly processed vocals, their music covers a wide range of emotional territory through vulnerable lyrics and an experimental look towards the future; aliens, the planets, and a whole world of questions can be found inside. Here, the band performs at a popsicle party for an audience of children and their families at a daycare in Brooklyn, NY.
Songwriter Sam Cohen -- previously of the band Apollo Sunshine -- has been developing his psych-pop style for years now, gaining a strong following along the way. The band features Josh Kaufman, Brian Kantor, and Annie Nero, all friends and regulars of the Serious Business world whom play in such bands as Rocketship Park, Higgins, the Bandana Splits, and Balthrop, Alabama, among others. With this illustrious company, Cohen’s sunny, timeless pop songs attain an outsize, cinematic quality that easily conjures vivid imagery.
White Mystery are the brother-sister ginger rock 'n roll slaying duo of Miss Alex White and Francis Scott Key White. Making the most of the classic atomic-hot drums-and-guitar combo and sharing vocal duties, these two blast out tunes with impossible energy and gusto. They dropped their rock bomb on our studio and sat down for an interview with Travis, to share a bit about their hard-touring lifestyle.
Isaac Delusion are three Paris-based multidisciplinary artists, on a mission to explore the movement of light through their musical world. An evolving experiment, they continually seek to explore new musical landscapes through simple, sweet pop songs, catchy beats, and touches of hip hop loops, electronics, and dreamy folk. Their work has allowed them to tour internationally, playing festivals around the world
In a society where bullying is an ongoing major cause for concern and, in light of recent news that dodgeball has been banned in certain elementary schools, BTR Pulse’s Lauren Hawker asks people in New York whether they believe kids today are too coddled.
Clementine & The Galaxy is the NYC-based duo of vocalist Julie Hardy and producer Mike MacAllister. Sparked by a commercial project collaboration between the two experienced musicians, the pair bring together their vastly different styles to craft a unique sound with soaring vocals and glam-tinged electronic pop.
Erik Paparazzi has been recording and touring in various incarnations of The Paparazzi since way back. His heroes are the underdogs of pop like Harry Nilsson, Nick Lowe, Todd Rundgren, Lee Hazelwood, Brian Wilson, and all the other musical visionaries who can get down with happy accidents, soul power, and the lushness of it all. And his experiences performing with the likes of Cat Power, Dirty Delta Blues, and other notable acts informs his powerful solo work. Here, he catches up with Travis, talks about his work, and offers a rousing interpretation of a perhaps-familiar commercial.
Ryan McPhun is the driving force of The Ruby Suns. Previously seen behind the drums with Aussie group Architecture in Helsinki and Kiwi singer Lawrence Arabia, this California native via Oslo, Norway, headed to New York to craft his latest record into a flawless piece of hi-fi pop with the help of engineer Chris Coady (Beach House, Grizzly Bear, Gang Gang Dance). A breakup record at heart and a pop record through and through, this is music for headphones, dance parties, and everything in between.
On Monday, April 1st, thousands of baseball fans flooded Yankee Stadium for a MLB Opening Day game between the arch- rival Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. BTR Pulse’s Lauren Hawker talks to fans about their teams, the rivalry, and what opening day means to them.
Brooklyn post-punk trio Fan-Tan began in 2007 when Ryan Lee and Sandee K moved from Chapel Hill, NC to Brooklyn, NY, and solidified when they met drummer Mike Sherburn while on the road to SXSW in 2011. Drawing on the best of shoegaze and post-punk to create a long-developing sound that's both sprawling and jagged, Fan-Tan are finally ready to take off with their debut LP.
Supercute! is a an all-girl band from Brooklyn who definitely live up to their name. Founded by 19-year old singer Rachel Trachtenburg -- whose musical roots go back to playing drums in The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players at age 6 -- and joined by bandmate Julia Cumming, this duo is currently prepping their debut album, produced by British songwriter Kate Nash. Here, the girls are joined by friends to complete the super cuteness, just before they head out on tour.
A new art exhibition from Nick Cave! (But not THAT Nick Cave.)
What could be better than a vintage boutique that stays open until 2 am? Browsing that boutique with a cocktail in hand! And thanks to The Dressing Room on NYC's Lower East Side, you can do just that! On today's show, I'm joined by co-founder and retail curator Alex Adame, who maintains a tastefully eclectic mix of vintage pieces and new designs from local and independent labels. On the show, Alex will talk about turning their inventive vision into reality, how The Dressing Room has changed as its grown, some of the independent designers they carry, a few of her own vintage wardrobe treasures, and more. Later, Dane & I will talk cocktail shop, and there's a playlist full of new music from artists like Bettie Serveert, Sanders Bohlke, Little Green Cars, and more. Give your Friday a makeover with vintage style on Sew & Tell!
Big Harp is the duo of Chris Senseney and Stefanie Drootin-Senseney (who have performed with The Good Life, Bright Eyes, and She & Him.) The band formed in December 2010, after a three-year whirlwind where the two met, had a baby, moved halfway across the country, got married, moved halfway across the country again, and had another baby. Once out of the baby haze, the two holed up together for a week and crafted a record full of intimate, low-key folk-rock. In the time since that initial spark, they've toured and made another record (Parallels), pushing those mellow roots towards an even more lively, inspired act both on stage and in the studio. Here, they sit with Maia for a special session of in the backyard of the house where the BTR crew was stationed in Austin, TX, during the recent SXSW music festival.
Ten years ago this month -- on March 20, 2003 -- U.S. led forces invaded Iraq. One of the original rationales for the war was to find weapons of mass destruction that many leaders believed Saddam Hussein to possess and to disarm him. No weapons were ever found. Over the course of the war, tens of thousands of people were killed, including more than 4,000 US service members -- and some estimates of civilian casualties have been much higher. This week on BTR Pulse, Lauren Hawker asks people in New York how they felt about the war at the time and how they feel now.
Opened in May 2011 in Jersey City, Mana Contemporary is a multi-dimensional art complex that provides services and space for artists, art patrons, collectors, and the local community. BreakThruTV’s Lauren Hawker attended the exclusive first look at one of their new shows, Ray Smith: Here | Now. The New York and New Jersey area is still recovering from Hurricane Sandy. Among those affected was Ray Smith, a Mexican-American artist whose Brooklyn studio suffered major flooding. Mana offered Smith refuge by offering studio space and an exhibition to showcase his waterlogged work.
JuiceBox began in 2009 as the brainchild of NYC saxophonist Nick Myers and more recently solidified their soul/jazz party style with the addition of singer Lisa Ramey. The talented group of young musicians cut their teeth with parties and regular club nights to hone their explosive funk style, which has since taken them to a wide range of venues both at home and far away (they just returned from a tour of Italy). The group stopped by the studio to share their music and to talk about their beginnings, including how they made sweaty hipsters dance.
Infamous Brooklyn punks, party-starters, Mets fans, and wranglers of legendary DIY venues Market Hotel and Shea Stadium, So So Glos are always up to something. A true rock 'n roll band of brothers via divorce and remarriage, their childhood musical beginnings found a new life in 2007 when they formed the band and set out to tour, make records, and operate all ages venues.
Fletcher C. Johnson is conveniently the leader of the band, Fletcher C. Johnson. Based in Brooklyn, his group blazes through the distortion-heavy garage rock genre with catchy vocals and big hooks. Currently on their first national tour and coming off SXSW adventures promoting their debut LP on Burger Records, the band is on the West Coast spreading their good vibes through the end of the month.
New Yorkers show their Irish pride in Manhattan over the weekend.
Astoria, Queens-based pow wow! is the brainchild of Eddie and Jeff Nazareno, brothers originally from the suburbs of northern New Jersey. The duo has solidified their lineup with bassist John-Paul Anthony, lead guitarist and co-vocalist Amanda Burden, and drummer Sal Garro and playing their own sort of party soul music, with traces of brit-pop, shoegaze, and plenty of indie rock touches.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg was dealt a major setback on Monday, March 11th, when a New York Supreme Court judge struck down his controversial plan to limit large sugary drinks in the city's restaurants and other venues. The ruling came the day before the ban was to take effect. This week on BTR Pulse, Lauren Hawker asks people in New York their thoughts on Mayor Bloomberg's many aggressive public health campaigns and whether they think they are living in a "Nanny State."
Cold Blood Club usually exhibit their inspired take on dance pop through sweaty beats and joyous bursts of electro enthusiasm. In this setting -- stripping their music down to the essentials and spreading out in an artists’ studio near the border of Brooklyn and Queens -- there’s the added warmth of bare vocal strength blended with minimal instrumentation and a bit of wine, like the most fun open studio visit possible.
Bowmont began as a studio project in 2012 by Danish born singer & multi-instrumentalist Emil Bovbjerg and Grammy award-winning engineer & producer Jeremy Loucas. Now a five piece eclectic electro-rock collective based in Brooklyn, NY, the band evolved from those first songs written as demos by Bovbjerg to turn out lush, simply crafted pop songs.
Leaving behind the more aggressive group The Twees, Jason Abrishami started Brooklyn indie band Lazyeyes with the intention of creating a more dynamic form of pop music in a positive environment. Coming from the Brooklyn art scene, this group makes major use of delay effects (among others) to turn out a constantly evolving batch of fresh songs.
October Gold works with a simple formula: folksy acoustic guitar plus classically informed violin playing, combined with great pop songwriting equals great, catchy tunes. It's the latest collaboration of Montreal-based singer/songwriter Kit Soden and his partner in music (and life), violinist Aliza Thibodeau. On record, the duo is backed by a full band, producing a lush soundtrack to their tales, but live they keep it simple, with just their go-to acoustic instruments and voices.
In celebration of New York Beer Week, BTR Pulse explores the wonderful world of craft beer. Lauren Hawker visits three of the city's notable beer shops and speak to the owners about the week long festivities, and the ever-growing interest in craft beer.
The infamous New York graffiti artist makes his gallery debut.
Endless Jags is a Portland, Maine-based rock band, comprised of members of Brenda, Gully, Foam Castles, Haru Bangs, Jaw Gems, Astronautalis, and more. With jangly guitars, dual lead singers, killer pop melodies, and a uniquely collaborative approach to songwriting, they've quickly made a name for this group with potential to eclipse even their existing -- and well-established -- other groups. The guys stopped by the studio on a recent tour to play some songs, and to chat with guest host Bryan Bruchman (of Portland music blog, HillyTown, and BTRtv) about their songwriting process, and how they're not a supergroup, despite being a pretty super group.
NYC indie rock band MiniBoone is the real-life mashup of the catchiest, spazziest, most heart-wrenchingly honest, tuneful bits of every one of your favorite bands, all happening at once. Live, they're an explosive ball of energy, all yelps and leaps and full on SICK RIFFS. Lovers of MiniBoone are crazy for the band, and rightfully so. Here’s a taste of the fun in their upcoming episode of Serious Business on BTR, as they kick out the song, “I Could, I Could.”
Tall Tall Trees, an NYC-based band formed in 2008, is the musical project of multi-instrumentalist/songwriter Mike Savino. Though typically performing as a quartet, Savino often -- as during this session of BTR Live Studio -- performs solo, utilizing only his banjo, modified by an arsenal of effects and looping pedals. Even without the accompaniment of his bandmates, the sound is full and dynamic, from booming drum hits to playful banjo runs and perfect vocal melodies. Mike played a few songs and sat down with Maia to talk a bit about his -- and the project's -- musical trajectory.
Yukon Blonde is a Canadian indie rock band from Vancouver, though they tour so much they’re rarely actually there. Originally called Alphababy, the quartet has toured internationally and drawn critical praise for their catchy, hook-and-harmony-heavy songs. The band stopped by our studio on a recent tour of the states to talk about getting government help for a music career, the difference between American and British harmonies, and more.
Dynasty Electric is an internationally-touring Brooklyn band making psychedelic electronic dance rock. Built on the foundation of Jenny Electrik's seductive vocals and featuring the production of Seth Misterka, their retro-futuristic pop sound falls somewhere between Madonna, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Jefferson Airplane. With the help of hip-hop mogul Damon Dash, the duo recorded with producer Ski Beatz and crafted an album of dance-pop gems, perfect for the New York nightlife scene. Hot off a massive remix project for their song "Golden Arrows," via Indaba Music, the band hit our studio to share some songs, and to chat with Maia about making the transition from an electronic duo to a larger group with more live elements, and the surreal experience of performing at Burning Man.
Takka Takka began in 2006 as Gabe Levine put together a live band to support his home-recorded demos. Since that time, the band's lineup has changed with nearly each release (3 LPs, 2 EPs), with only Levine and drummer Conrad Doucette lasting through each change. Currently in a compact, efficient trio format with the addition of Craig Montoro (formerly of Volcano, I'm Still Excited! and Sufjan Stevens) on bass, the band's latest release heads further down the minimalist, African-inspired path hinted at on their 2008 release, Migration. In this episode, Travis kicks things off with some directorial advice, makes a plea to Bliss cymbals for sponsorship, and chats with the band about lineup changes, the new record, and the difficulty of making music.
Union Street Preservation Society is an Americana/bluegrass band based in Brooklyn, NY (yes, on Union Street). This quintet is most at home around a single mic, slinging harmonies and strumming folk instruments with remarkable skill. The result is lively roots string music in the truest sense, and though the songs are new and original compositions, they feel immediately familiar and timeless.
Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch passed away on February 1st at the age of 88. Taking office in the late Seventies, when the city was largely considered broken down and in need of a renewed spirit, Koch took on crime and graffiti, budget problems, and affordable housing needs, as well as -- infamously to many -- the AIDS epidemic and race relations. This week on BTR Pulse, we ask New Yorkers how Koch and his three terms will be remembered.
Vandaveer is the song-singing, record-making, globetrotting project of alt-folk songwriter Mark Charles Heidinger. Currently situated in Washington, DC, the band exists in many forms, featuring a rotating cast of characters with Heidinger always at the core of its Americana rumblings. Here, as a trio with Rose Guerin and J. Tom Hnatow, the band plays some tunes and chats about the Federal Reserve Collective and recording murder ballads in a farmhouse.
On February 2nd, Grand Central Terminal celebrates the centennial anniversary of its opening. To mark the occasion, New York Times Urban Affairs correspondent Sam Roberts spoke with BreakThruTV’s Lauren Hawker about his new book, Grand Central: How A Train Station Transformed America.
EMEFE is a lively 10-piece afro-rock band from New York City whose members boast some impressive history: Antibalas, Sharon Jones & the Dapkings, Soulive, Charles Bradley, TV on the Radio, Medeski Martin and Wood, etc. Their music is all about being free from worry and, with strong funk, soul, hip-hop, and rock influences in the mix, they also have a way of making audiences move. Here, packed into our studio, the group makes a great racket and chats with Maia about their band name and the philosophy behind the project.
From fuzz-punk beginnings to their current "psyched lo-fi pop with stoned enthusiasm," Seattle trio The Pharmacy have been working hard to expand both their minds and their sound. The pop songs on their latest release, Stoned & Alone, were recorded in a number of locations and here they sit down with Travis to share some of their stories about the process, plus burgers, hippie sex, and plenty of drugs.
Originating in what they call “a small town with no future and one stoplight,” Slam Donahue felt they had to move to NYC. Focusing on songwriting and their devotion to melody, the band signed to Cantora Records and just kept on writing, winning critical praise and an ever-growing audience. The songwriting team of David Otto and Thomas Sommerville have developed a style of anthemic pop inspired equally by Bowie and the Beatles that has a way of tricking a listener into singing along before they even know the words. Relatable lyrics, familiar chords progressions, and a heavy helping of oohs and aahs make it all work nicely. For this episode of BTR Live Studio, the band left their comfort zone, performing with just an acoustic guitar and piano, and telling stories about the dangers of speedballs, making friends at SXSW, and the culture shock of moving to NYC.
NYC Restaurant Week is the time of year when restaurateurs showcase their menus in pre fixe fashion at manageable prices, allowing everyone from casual diners to intense foodies to try out a variety of cuisines and experiences they may not normally partake of. BTR Pulse’s Lauren Hawker visited Gramercy Terrace, where she spoke with General Manager Tyler Vaughan and Head Chef Jeff Seizer about the restaurant’s menu and the benefits of the event. NYC Restaurant Week ends February 8th.
Millionyoung is the Florida-based indie/electronica musical act of Mike Diaz. No matter the form - from DJ to duo to full band - the project covers everything from downtempo chillwave to sunny guitars and upbeat grooves. There's a straightforward, sweet quality to Diaz's lyrics and, with his latest batch of songs, things get downright sexy, thanks to the inspiration of soul music. Here, Millionyoung appears as a duo, leaning heavily on keyboard and sampled elements, as well as electric guitar.
Parks are a Boston-based indie pop band formed by songwriter Brian E. King. Leaving behind his previous project, Oranjuly, and enlisting Matt Girard, Liz McBride, Stu Dietz, and Brian Fitch -- all of noteworthy Boston-area acts themselves -- King's distinct vocals head up the group's instantly catchy pop hooks. Fans will hear the new line-up’s fresh songs and sound when their debut full-length record (engineered by Grammy Award-winner Ducky Carlisle) is released later this year. But the band stopped by to preview the new direction for BTR Live Studio and chat with Maia about getting band names wrong and why you should never interview your musical heroes.
New York is currently experiencing its worst flu season in three years. According to the state's Health Department, nearly 20,000 people are experiencing flu-like symptoms, which has led Governor Andrew Cuomo to declare a statewide public health emergency. This week on BTR Pulse we ask people in New York if about flu shots and whether they’re worried about the severity of this epidemic.
Launched in 1975 and spanning 15 issues through 1979, Punk Magazine was an integral part of the music and art scene of the mid-to-late Seventies. Co-founded by cartoonist and editor John Holmstrom, publisher Ged Dunn, and Legs McNeil, the publication is often credited with popularizing the term “punk,” along with the scene then developing at famed NYC venue, CBGB. On Friday, January 11th, Holmstrom celebrated the release of The Best Of Punk Magazine, a collection of work from the magazine. On hand for the energetic occasion at Powerhouse Books in Dumbo, Brooklyn, were a cast of punk rock regulars, some of whom we spoke with, including legendary rock photographer Bob Gruen; co-founder of the Dictators, Andy Shernoff; and Gary Storm, former DJ at WBFO in Buffalo.
Hailing from Sydney, Australia, Winter People manage a lush and remarkable post-rock/folk sound, creating a charming blend of styles that fits right alongside modern bands like The National, Arcade Fire, and Ra Ra Riot just as well as it might on a tape of appalachian folk songs. Citing the solitude of coming from an island nation as a prerequisite for creativity, here the band offers advice on being a democracy of six people and gives their recommendation for the perfect time to listen to the featured track, "Gallons."
Mail The Horse is a grunge gospel/country rock band that found its start in New Hampshire before moving to Brooklyn, NY. The band still has a New England connection through their Western MA-based label, TinyRadars, which is also home to fellow Serious Business on BTR favorites, Bunny's A Swine. Interweaving melodies, soul, and Americana influences along the lines of Dylan and the Boss are bolstered by a healthy sense of humor to drive these love songs to the failure of love. The guys played some tunes and sat down with Travis to talk about spending all your money at your place of work, getting robbed by strippers in Nashville, and using every room of the house in making a record.
Yukon Blonde is a Canadian indie rock band from Vancouver, though they tour so much they’re rarely actually there. Originally called Alphababy, the quartet has toured internationally and drawn critical praise for their catchy, hook-and-harmony-heavy songs. The band stopped by our studio on a recent tour of the states to talk about getting government help for a music career, the difference between American and British harmonies, and more.
As we leave behind 2012 and begin 2013, we ask people in New York City about any new year’s resolutions they may be considering and whether they think making resolutions actually helps people to make their desired changes.

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