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.
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.
Jeff Beam is a young multi-instrumentalist songwriter from Portland, Maine. Crafting psych-rock inspired by the likes of The Beatles, The Flaming Lips, and Deerhunter, his colorful, experimental pop is striking, whether performed solo or with a full band. This is a performer who truly cares about his sounds, so much so that his latest release — which he openly describes as featuring “observations on humanity, existence, perception, and the attempt to find inner peace amidst a tumultuous outer world” — is available not just in the usual modern formats, but also in a mono cassette release with handmade artwork (which he notes sound slightly slower and lower in pitch). Previously seen in an episode of Serious Business on BTR, playing bass in The Milkman’s Union, Beam also accompanies Lady Lamb The Beekeeper for occasional live performances.
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.
Snowden’s mastermind and songwriter, Jordan Jeffares, crafted the long-awaited followup to the critically-acclaimed debut LP, Anti-Anti, through touring and moving the project’s home base multiple times, ultimately landing in Austin, TX. No One In Control demonstrates how the band’s sound changed in these years, abandoning some of its early dance party vibe for a more developed, mature stance, producing sounds perhaps more appropriate for solitary enjoyment via headphones than on a dancefloor full of sweaty hipsters, thus carving out a niche beyond its initial influences.
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.