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Modern Rivals are five friends, some of whom have been playing music together since middle school. The Brooklyn-based quintet blends carefully orchestrated guitars, keyboards, and loops with clean vocals full of “oohs” and “aahs,” taking cues from the likes of Local Natives and Animal Collective, to create an atmosphere of warm, lush tones. Currently at work on their first full length album, the band sat down with Maia to talk about growing up together and the benefits of crafting longer records.
In the second part of this two-part episode of BTR Live Studio, Japanese drummer Yuko Araki (Cornelius, the Plastic Ono Band, Cibo Matto) and guitarist Hirotaka “Shimmy” Shimizu (Cornelius, IF BY YES) share another song and a story about working with Yoko Ono.
Japanese drummer Yuko Araki is a veteran of such high profile projects as Cornelius, the Plastic Ono Band, and Cibo Matto. In MI-GU she is joined by her frequent collaborator, guitarist Hirotaka “Shimmy” Shimizu, also of Cornelius and one of their joint projects, IF BY YES. Together, the duo craft engagingly minimalist and experimental pop songs built on the interplay of Yuko’s propulsive drumming and the unique sounds generated by Shimizu’s handmade effect pedals. In this interview, Cibo Matto’s Yuka Honda helps out with translation as the band discusses writing songs, building pedals, and humor in music.
Brooklyn indie folk-rock art collective Balthrop, Alabama, brings to mind the excitement and warmth of a party with all your family, friends, and neighbors in your childhood living room. Founded by Alabama-born songwriter-siblings Pascal and Lauren Balthrop, the “town” has a population somewhere around 10 at any given time, often including enough members of other notable NYC acts to make it a veritable supergroup, and always including live drawing by artist Michael Arthur. With their latest full length album, the tiny town of Balthrop gets electricity, and their familiar tales of love, dead people, and dead people in love are joined by the subjects of oil, brotherhood and death, happiness and woe.
Cousins are a garage band from Halifax, Nova Scotia, that makes sweet n’ heavy, raucous pop music. Formed in 2009 by Aaron Mangle, the project’s lineup fluctuates with additional members Leigh Dotey and Pat Ryan. For this session, Aaron and Leigh performed as a duo before sitting down with Maia to talk about getting over stage fright, and sharing a bit about our neighbors to the way north — most notably that Halifax apparently has its own version of Brooklyn, just across the bridge. In the Spring of 2013, the band will release a new LP and a split EP with their band BFF Construction & Destruction.
Hailing from the Mississippi Gulf Coast, perhaps the most obvious trait of Rosco Bandana is their striking live energy. The songs are fast, the musicians are tight, and, most importantly, their blend of Americana and folk is tempered with a strong helping of Southern sweetness and a seeming desire to get a little rowdy. They are, after all, the product of teenage rebellion and its consequences, born out of principle songwriter Jason Sanford’s efforts to break out of his strict Christian upbringing and his subsequent discovery of indie rock. The band visited BTR Live Studio to play some songs and to sit down with Maia to talk a bit about how they found themselves winning the competition that landed them a record deal with Hard Rock Records.
Brooklyn indie folk-rock art collective Balthrop, Alabama, brings to mind the excitement and warmth of a party with all your family, friends, and neighbors in your childhood living room. Founded by Alabama-born songwriter-siblings Pascal and Lauren Balthrop, the “town” has a population somewhere around 10 at any given time, often including enough members of other notable NYC acts to make it a veritable supergroup, and always including live drawing by artist Michael Arthur. With their latest full length album, the tiny town of Balthrop gets electricity, and their familiar tales of love, dead people, and dead people in love are joined by the subjects of oil, brotherhood and death, happiness and woe.
The Sanctuaries are a band from New York City who formed in 2010. Merging the jangly guitars of both the 60s and 90s via classic Rickenbacker style, the quartet pumps out memorable, upbeat pop songs. Currently hard at work on the followup to their full length debut, they’re keeping fans happy with an EP that includes remixes of their earlier work, as well as a unique series of “cooking with mom” music videos. Keeping things on topic, the band played some of those tunes and sat down with Maia to talk nicknames, moms, and NJ basements.
Heliotropes is the musical vehicle of four Brooklyn women that hail from places as wildly divergent as West Virginia, New Jersey, and California. Begun in 2009, the band has been hard at work recording and releasing singles that showcase their fuzzed-out psych/shoegaze-inspired songs, full of dreamlike vocals and gut-pummeling riffs. Heliotropes land somewhere between Black Sabbath and Mazzy Star, which makes for a pretty perfect cocktail of musical intoxication.
Lost Boy? began as NY musician Davey Jones issuing forth DIY releases and free downloads with titles and artwork playing on pop culture, featuring songs that explore familiar territory — invoking the attack of The Fall, the voice and unfiltered honesty of Daniel Johnston, the clever tunefulness of REM, the noise of Dinosaur Jr, and the bashing of early Nirvana. But, these days, Jones is joined by a full band, bringing new life to his lo-fi jams. Currently wrapping up a new album due in the Spring of 2013, the quartet has been honing their live shows and reworking some of the Lost Boy? back catalog to take advantage of a richer recorded sound that better represents the live experience. Of course, if their BTR Live Studio session is anything to go by, the live experience includes a lot of bouncing and smiling, and we wonder how they’ll record that.

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