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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.