BTR Live Studio
PEP is a project built on the retro-pop love of Karys Rhea, who you may recognize from the band Starlight Girls. For this project, Karys drew heavily on 1950s girl-group melodies and, with the help of a full band, brings those ditties of teenage love to life. Take a listen and you'll quickly hear just how infectious the upbeat vibe of PEP can be!
Tancred is the solo project of Jess Abbott, member of the Minneapolis band Now, Now. Born in California before growing up in New England, her current home in the Midwest may be a slightly unnatural fit for someone more accustomed to the coasts, but her direct, confessional music has certainly found a home with her fans, as demonstrated by a dedicated internet fan base built up around her YouTube and Tumblr presence. Initially an acoustic project, Tancred has developed into a full band sound on the latest record, and Jess took the music on the road for a brief tour in December 2013, which also brought her to our studio.
Hugh Cornwell is a bit of a legend. As the original guitarist, singer, and primary songwriter in UK hit-making band The Stranglers, he has more than enough credibility, not to mention a hell of a catalog of widely-known tunes under his belt. Just as The Stranglers grew from a howling punk band to a more refined pop unit, Cornwell's solo work takes advantage of all this experience and development as an artist, blasting forth a more mature, but still gnarly, perspective.
The Can't Tells are a trio of scrappy late twenty-somethings from Brooklyn -- specifically (and alphabetically) Mike DiSanto, Blaze McKenzie, and Jonathan Smith. In 2006, the self-described music geeks came together in Boston, bonding over a shared love of especially-weird microphones (they must love the Ear Trumpet Labs Edwina microphones used in our sessions!). With a sound that careens from pleasant pop to explosive noise -- often turning in an instant and catching the listener by surprise -- they're carving out a niche that seems to be right at the intersection of their influences of Elvis Costello and Mission of Burma, without mimicking either.
Iska Dhaaf (taken from Somali, translating roughly to “let it go”) is a Seattle-based duo composing meditative, circular post-punk. Nathan Quiroga and Benjamin Verdoes dive into rhythmically-driven music with poppy indie rock melodies, all inspired by Sufi poetry. The band stopped by to share some songs and chat with Maia about the project.
Yes, Australian indie pop band The Griswolds ARE named after the cinematic family we all know and love from the National Lampoon's Vacation films. These self-described chameleons of pop reportedly found each other just the way a band should -- by working out a sound-defining riff that became their first single. In the few years since that fortuitous collaboration, the band has toured extensively and in good company (Passion Pit, Django Django, San Cisco), and now the States is starting to catch on as their catchy melodies and huge choruses hit our shores.
Coastgaard may not quite be a surf-rock band, but the band definitely has that beachy vibe. Growing from the ashes of the band Sons Of Sons and honing a style inspired by the likes of The Beach Boys, David Bowie, and The Ventures, as much as alt rock from Pavement, The Pixies, and Neutral Milk Hotel, the Brooklyn-based five-piece have managed to find a take on super-catchy pop that feels both familiar and new. Here, they play some tunes and share the story of the whiskey-fueled inspiration for their Scandinavian-leaning moniker.
Jay Arner is a musician from Vancouver. While he may have played all the instruments on his latest album, live, the project is very much a group effort. Either way, the point is that Jay Arner -- the person or the band -- makes some extremely well-crafted, well-informed, subdued pop music.
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.