Archive
BTR Hear & There
Zoe Boekbinder was born in Ontario, Canada and currently resides in New Orleans. She tours internationally, playing her songs with clever rhymes about love gone awry, backed by live looped vocal harmonies and electronic beats. Her next album will be a collaboration with inmates at New Folsom Prison to benefit arts in prisons. For this special episode of BTR Hear & There, Zoe is joined by her friend and tourmate, Mal Blum, for an intimate performance at Sardine, a project space in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
The core of Passenger Peru is the duo of Justin Stivers (formerly of The Antlers) and multi-instrumentalist Justin Gonzales. Growing out of the Stivers-led Pet Ghost Project, the duo fleshes out their live act with a drummer and keyboardist, offering a creative take on artful pop and experimental rock, eliciting comparisons to the likes of Yo La Tengo, Arcade Fire, and Animal Collective. For this episode of BTR Hear & There, we caught up with the band in a backyard in Astoria, Queens, for a unique take on their song, "Weak Numbers."
The core of Passenger Peru is the duo of Justin Stivers (formerly of The Antlers) and multi-instrumentalist Justin Gonzales. Growing out of the Stivers-led Pet Ghost Project, the duo fleshes out their live act with a drummer and keyboardist, offering a creative take on artful pop and experimental rock, eliciting comparisons to the likes of Yo La Tengo, Arcade Fire, and Animal Collective. For this episode of BTR Hear & There, we caught up with the band in a backyard in Astoria, Queens, for a unique take on their song, "Weak Numbers."
Mike Higbee is a Paris-born, New York-based singer-songwriter whose most recent album, Secret Life, was recorded at Let ‘Em In Music, a studio in Brooklyn’s burgeoning Gowanus neighborhood. The album draws its influences as much from American indie folk-rock as it does from the swaggering oom-pah style and contemplative crooning vocals of 1960s Paris. For this episode of BTR Hear & There, Higbee performs a raw, solo version of "Love Letter" against the background of the New York City skyline as seen from a Long Island City balcony.
Elizabeth Devlin, with her haunting combination of lilting voice and enchanting autoharp, is a self-produced NYC singer-songwriter who’s been likened to artists such as Joanna Newsom. Staying away from traditional musical structure with many of her songs, she builds miniature narratives, such as with her new song, "A Chorus Divine,” which she performed for us at her apartment in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
Polly, a rapper with a decade of experience, produces songs of a storytelling nature. Although influenced by artists such as Eminem, Joe Budden and DMX, he boasts a style all his own. In the midsts of releasing a new album, we caught up with Polly at the Highline in NYC for this episode of BTR Hear & There.
Originally hailing from central Iowa, but now spending plenty of time on the coasts, Coolzey takes inspiration from a wide range of genres, including hip hop and 90s indie rock, and has toured with Raashan Ahmad, Akil of Jurassic 5, Sadat X of Brand Nubian, and Joe Jack Talcum of Dead Milkmen. When he visited us for a performance of his new, yet to be released song, “Want It The Most,” his hip-hop influences were on display. Here, he performs the song at a DIY event and arts space in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
FIGHTS is a six piece band from Lafayette, Louisiana. Their name -- an acronym for “Formal Institute of Great Hit Tunes” -- is something they consistently live up to with their local crowd as they brandish a sound they describe as “unmatched energy in a somewhat messy psychedelic swirl of chaotic beauty.” BTRtv was in Lafayette in April for the annual Festival International de Louisiane, which celebrates the French cultural heritage of southern Louisiana. While there, we were able to shoot the band performing as they rehearsed for the festival, then at their two festival appearances -- at Blue Moon Saloon, a local venue, and on one of the festival stages during one of the busiest days of the event. Together, the three performances combine for a unique episode of BTR Here & There, featuring J. Burton on lead vocals and keys, Jessie Lalonde on backing vocals and percussion, Brycen Gaddis on synth, Matthew O’Neal on bass, and dual drums courtesy of Dallas Griffith and Danny Devillier.
With a style somewhat reminiscent of the late, great Townes Van Zandt, The Ghost Of Arthur James makes music that sounds at once haunting and hopeful. Here, he plays the song “New Mexico” at the City Reliquary, a cozy museum space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, that exhibits interesting ephemera.
Based out of Portland, Maine, A Severe Joy is the new electro-pop project of musician José Ayerve, formerly of indie rock band Spouse. On stage he wears a Batman-like mask as he plays his beat-heavy pop ballads. Though the music is vibrant and booming, it still retains a sentimental tone, as he often sings about love stories. Here he performs under Tukey’s Bridge in Portland. Thanks to Chelsea Dowd for audio assistance.
Recently while down in Lafayette, Louisiana, to attend and cover the city’s annual Festival International de Louisiane, BTRtv stopped by a rehearsal for local band t-kette, who were preparing to play a show the next night. The trio -- made up of Allison Bohl, Rachel Nederveld, and Jessie Lalonde, who regularly switch instruments in the course of a live set -- play a fuzzed out strain of rock built on playful riffs with overlapping melodies and harmonies. Bringing to mind such notable punk and post-punk outfits as The Slits, Delta 5, and, occasionally, Black Tambourine, the group has been busy working on their debut album and touring various parts of the country -- when they’re not busy in their own vibrant South Lousiana scene.
The Banjees are an indie-rock band from Brooklyn. The four-piece — made up of Thompson Davis, Nick Barone, Peter Goldberg and Chris Rominger — blend lo-fi and 60s pop for fun, jangly music. On this episode of BTR Hear & There, they perform a frenetic, catchy new song called “Hong Kong Blondes” at the Gowanus Ballroom, an alternative gallery/venue space in Brooklyn.
Shenandoah and the Night is a dreamy indie-pop group from New York City. Led by sultry vocalist Sheah Ableman (formerly of San Francisco’s Yard Dogs Road Show), the band sometimes incorporates Doo-wop and folk into their music, channeling the sounds of Nina Simone, Janis Joplin and The Black Keys. Ableman is an especially captivating frontwoman, full of endless flair and personality. Here, the group performs at the bar Brooklyn Social in Carroll Gardens.
Ava Luna is a unique seven-piece from Brooklyn, whose music has been compared to the Dirty Projectors and TV On The Radio. Their songs — featuring elements of pop, R&B, and post-punk — are an impressive musical collage: soulful crooning and 60s girl-group harmonies interspersed between funky hooks and punk noise. Here, for a special SXSW edition of BTR Hear & There, a few band members speak with BTR’s Matt Lehtola and perform “A Year Of Mirth” inside their tour van.
New York City’s The Rusty Guns combine bluegrass, country music and rock ‘n’ roll for wild and unbridled music. The four-piece — with Terry Jenkins on drums, Mark August on banjo, Harlan Short on bass, and Chris Cornwell on guitar and mandolin — crank out rousing songs about outlaws, bandits and lovers. Here they perform at The Chapel, a DIY space in East Williamsburg.
Lushlife is the dynamic hip-hop meets indie-rock project of Philadelphia’s Raj Haldar. Layering his powerful, yet slick Nas-like rapping over ambient soundscapes, his music moves forward with palpable energy and cool swagger. Some of his genre-crossing songs have featured Fleet Foxes, Drake, and Gang Gang Dance samples, and he’s collaborated with Cities Aviv and Heems of Das Racist. On this episode of BTR Hear & There, we capture Lushlife’s intimate and engaging live performance of “Magnolia,” the first track on his forthcoming album Plateau Vision.
Nigerian-born, but based out of Cincinnati, Ohio, Baoku Moses is an accomplished African singer, songwriter, drummer and dancer. Inspired by the famous Fela Kuti, his style of Afrobeat is exhilarating, laced with complex rhythms and bursting with Moses’ expert percussive skills. Many of his songs, like Kuti’s, teach messages of unity and peace. He currently leads the group Baoku & The Image Afro-Beat band, but on this episode of BTR Hear & There, he performs solo on a rooftop in Manhattan.
Led by singer-songwriter and filmmaker Marc Cantone, Brooklyn band The City and Horses plays fun and spunky indie-pop that channels everyone from Belle & Sebastian and Beck to The Pixies and The Velvet Underground. One of their songs was featured on the soundtrack of Paper Heart, a romantic comedy starring Michael Cera and Charlyne Li. Here they perform the quirky, catchy tune “We Will Never Be Discovered” at Grooveshark’s offices.
After years of releasing music as a singer-songwriter, Brooklyn-based musician Lauren Zettler needed to make a change. Her new electro-pop project, Lightyear, is catchy, yet dramatic, and shows her as graceful, but still vulnerable about her emotions. Drawing from influences like Emily Haines, Feist and Robyn while also tapping into her own technical skills — she’s a classically trained pianist and studied film scoring at the Berklee School of Music — Zettler is able to create beautifully fragile moments that build up to powerfully stirring points. On this episode of BTR Hear & There, Lightyear brings her pulsating music to an industrial warehouse gallery space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
Originally an electronic duo from Florida, Conveyor has evolved into a Brooklyn-based quartet whose ambient, experimental indie-pop is marked by warm, folk-inspired melodies that glimmer with bits of dazzling synth. The band — consisting of Gary Alan Busch, Jr., Michael Ryan Pedron, Evan Michael Garfield, and Timothy John Masters — experiments with different textures and moods, sounding like a hybrid of Iron & Wine crossed with Caribou. On this episode of BTR Hear & There, Conveyor perform a poignant new song from their forthcoming EP inside of a glowing Williamsburg loft.

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