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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
Bobby Long is originally from England, but left the open mics of London and has been living in New York City for long enough now that its influence has seeped into his life and music. It’s no accident, as this young songwriter studied American folk music and followed the voices of his heroes Hank Williams, Woody Guthrie, and Elliott Smith to the streets of their homeland — even using the late Smith’s guitar amp in recording his album. Here, we find him playing solo in a park, accompanied only by his faithful dog.
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.
Gabe Rothschild and Sal Garro (drummer for Quiet Loudly and pow wow!), both of the Brooklyn/Austin trio The Governors, also play together as Hige Kuma. In this special episode of BTR Hear & There, Gabe and his wife Sao perform a song together while preparing Japanese-inspired street food aboard their food truck, the Love Balls Bus, at the Spiderhouse Cafe in Austin, TX, during SXSW.
Originally from Cambridge, Massachusetts, You Won’t mix lo-fi rock and stripped-down folk. Beneath the layers of raw distortion, their songs are strewn with sincere lyrics and endearing twangy-pop melodies. The band — made up of Josh Arnoudse and Raky Sastri — released their debut full-length, Skeptic Goodbye, last year. The duo stopped by the BTRhouse in Austin, TX, during SXSW this year for a very special episode of BTR Hear & There, performing a song written by their friend, My Name Is Gideon.
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.
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.
For the past few years, Portland, Maine’s Tyler Jackson (also of recent BTR Live Studio guests Endless Jags) has been turning out fuzzy pop gems — leaning towards psych rock at times, riff-heavy indie rock at others — under the name Foam Castles. The project began, like many, as a home recording project that then began featuring an amorphous lineup of musician friends before solidifying into a full-fledged band. Here, Jackson presents a new song, stripped down to its essence, as he first wrote it, and performed with only an acoustic guitar and vocal microphone. /// In this, the fourth in a series of BTR Hear & There episodes shot on location in Maine, in collaboration with HillyTown.com, Tyler Jackson of Foam Castles performs live and acoustic in his basement practice space in Portland, Maine.
Lisa/Liza is the project of Portland, Maine’s Liza Victoria. This ethereal-sounding folk singer has an appropriately hazy mystique about her, offering little more in biographical detail than where she calls home. We know there’s more to the story, but it’s not important. Her gentle songs have such a fragile quality that they just barely make it out of her body, and the reward when they do is high. At this shoot, she spoke about wanting to play electric guitar, and contemplating the addition of more instruments and collaborators; in the time since then, she’s performed as a duo with a saw player and later added a drummer plus, boldly, an electric guitar. This is a fresh, evolving project, captured here at a critical point, just as changes were bubbling up and about to come to fruition, but while still performing solo with only an acoustic guitar — train interruptions and all.
if and it are a prolific Portland, Maine, trio with a knack for creative dynamics. Playing sparse folk songs in a modern indie rock format, the group has a warmth and sensitivity often lost on your average rock band. In this, the first in a series of BTR Hear & There episodes shot on location in Maine in collaboration with HillyTown.com, if and it perform live at Bunker Brewing Company in Portland’s developing industrial neighborhood of East Bayside.
Mal Blum is a 24 year old songwriter and performer from New York who spends her time writing songs, traveling the country playing songs, and writing songs about traveling the country playing songs. Her clever and playful style of songwriting has brought praise from many music blogs and publications, as well as the cult hit cable access/internet show, The Chris Gethard Show. For this special episode of BTR Hear & There, Mal is joined by her friend and tourmate, Zoe Boekbinder, for an intimate performance at Sardine, a project space in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

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