In their own words, Toronto trio Metz plays simple rock music. Yet, their tunes are actually anything but simple -- a lot of intention goes into every pounding drum beat, booming bass sound, thrashing guitar lick, and howling vocal part. In a musical landscape that sometimes seems to put a premium on quantity, equating more musicians with a more impressive sound, it's refreshing to just see three dudes put everything into some sick, huge music. Perhaps best of all, they're smart, funny, kind people, and were a joy to have in the studio. Watch as Travis tries to join the band, talks about Aerosmith, and gets a bit of background on how the guys started playing together.
Don’t doubt Brooklyn four-piece Shark? despite their unusually punctuated name. They blend scruffy garage-rock and riotous post-punk for music that swerves from catchy lo-fi hooks to wild distorted yelping in the blink of an eye. The band — made up of Kevin Diamond (vocals/guitar), Andy Swerdlow (drums), Andy Kinsey (bass), and Chris Mulligan (guitar) — have toured relentlessly in and around New York City for years and finally, after a successful Kickstarter campaign, were able to release their first full-length album, True Waste, this past summer.
Dog Adrift is a new group from New York City, led by Mike Quoma and featuring members of The Unsacred Hearts, Balthrop, Alabama, Dean and Britta, and more. Musically, as Travis points out in the interview, they land somewhere in Chicago/Thrill Jockey territory, playing complex, jazz-derived instrumental songs that wind their wind through tempos, genres, and emotions. Most importantly, the band asks Travis the big question: what's the story behind that great Serious Business jingle?
In their own words, Toronto trio Metz plays simple rock music. Yet, their tunes are actually anything but simple -- a lot of intention goes into every pounding drum beat, booming bass sound, thrashing guitar lick, and howling vocal part. In a musical landscape that sometimes seems to put a premium on quantity, equating more musicians with a more impressive sound, it's refreshing to just see three dudes put everything into some sick, huge music. Perhaps best of all, they're smart, funny, kind people, and were a joy to have in the studio. Watch as Travis tries to join the band, talks about Aerosmith, and gets a bit of background on how the guys started playing together.
Though likely a reference to the classic rhyme ("Rub-a-dub-dub, Three men in a tub... the butcher, the baker, the candlestick-maker..."), we like to think that Hank Baker named the Brooklyn-based Butchers & Bakers with Guns N' Roses in mind. Bringing to mind Helium and Show Your Bones-era Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the band plows through tight psych-inspired indie rock, with enough of a hint of grunge to make that flannel you're rockin' feel totally appropriate. The band sat down with Travis to talk about how the guys are constantly being punished for originally hiring a different singer, nerd out on Nuggets, and contemplate marketing the band through online dating.
The Pint-Sized Cocktail Orchestra is a jazz collective from New York City. Comprised of a group of friends who are veterans of other musical groups and backgrounds, they came together through a shared appreciation for jazz. With multi-instrumentalist Bob Parins (seen recently playing with the likes of Vetiver, Josh Mease, the Fruit Bats, etc.) at the helm, the group is clearly dedicated to classic jazz and the pursuit of a good time. Travis sat down with P.S.C.O. to discuss their style and stature, while the band explained the double entendre nature of their name.
The Rattlesnakes are a psych-punk band from Portland, Maine, with a touch of an amiable “who cares” attitude that lends a bit of excitement to what they do. Growing from a home recording duo to a three piece to the current quintet, the group’s growing pains show through in their music in the best possible way. Aggressive garage rock and punk at the core, they manage to fit in quite a lot of weirdness alongside their tight pop melodies. The band sat down with Travis (with a noticeable lack of beer, being early on a Sunday) to talk about other Maine bands who’ve graced the studio, as well as their latest cassette tape release.
Zombie Jazz outfit Father Figures began as a Brooklyn basement band like any other -- or maybe unlike any other. Instrumental jams with wild horns and trance-inducing keys, not to mention a whole host of otherworldly sounds coming from -- well, we’re sometimes not even sure where -- make this combo totally captivating.
Kurt Baker is a singer, songwriter, and rock n’ roll performer from Portland, Maine ,who has always gone by the famous saying “Have a Good Time All the Time." As the founding member of notable pop/punk outfit the Leftovers, he toured the world and grew into the living, breathing party machine that he is onstage today. Highly reminiscent of Elvis Costello and backed by the venerable KB Band, Baker breathes new life into the power pop genre with high energy guitars and well-crafted pop songwriting. The guys stopped by the studio to play some tunes and to chat with Travis about classic pop history, helping each other out, and -- most importantly -- getting girls.
Brooklyn’s YVETTE are Noah Kardos-Fein and Rick Daniel. Taking the primal, ritualistic rawness and physicality from the New York no wave and post-punk scene, they push it towards the noisy, the industrial, and the all-out-abrasive. More than just piercing assaults, however, the duo’s songs are impressive displays of structure, craft, and intent that, while perhaps weird and jarring for some, are ultimately catchy tunes that move you -- as Travis says, “It hurts so good.” In this episode of Serious Business on BTR, the band sweated it out and then sat down to talk about how they write songs, taking time off when you need it, and being anti-shuffling.
Brooklyn noise rock duo Talk Normal (aka Sarah Register and Andrya Ambro) layers a creative array of effects and feedback over jarring rhythms for a sonic experimentation that results in surprisingly tuneful songs. Travis sat down with the band to have a nice normal (note the lack of giant beers for the interview) talk about superfandom, the recording process, and multitasking during shows.
Zombie Jazz outfit Father Figures began as a Brooklyn basement band like any other -- or maybe unlike any other. Instrumental jams with wild horns and trance-inducing keys, not to mention a whole host of otherworldly sounds coming from -- well, we’re sometimes not even sure where -- make this combo totally captivating.
When Dinosaur Feathers stopped in for their session with Travis they graced us with that they call “The Trio.” The three songs, normally played back to back at live shows with no breaks, exemplify sort of power-packed performance the band presents at any of their live shows and they, unsurprisingly, nailed it all in one take, as presented here.
Forget what you may know about Dinosaur Feathers. They've evolved from solo bedroom pop project to dance party karaoke machine, and -- most recently -- hard hitting rock band. Now armed with a real live drummer, more guitar riffs, and an ever-evolving arsenal of bizarre sounds, they continue to build on their infectiously sunny melodies towards jazzy punk/pop bliss. In this episode, Travis sits down with the band to talk about hitting pedestrians with your tour van, questioning the meaning of being a musician, and sharing a moment of true harmony.
The Well-Informed play their own style of classic piano pop in its finest form. They call it "Pop Revivalism for the Record Bin Romantic." We call it catchy. The group -- featuring Serious Business on BTR MVP Brian Kantor -- stopped by for a session then sat down with Travis for a beer-fueled chat about formative years in record shops, lost weekends, and Billy Joel's drummer.
The Two Man Gentlemen Band is comprised of a fine pair of showmen with the best of taste in all things food, beverage, and general good times. The Gents play retro music of the hot jazz and retro swing variety (which they deliver to recitals on the roots and americana circuit via minivan) that harkens back to decades past -- pre-irony and electric instruments, and full of humor and wit. Their latest LP, Two At A Time, was recorded live to monophonic analog tape, using exclusively 1940s and 50s microphones and equipment without the use of any digital effects.
Imagine the wildest party ever -- maybe it's on a beach or in an abandoned warehouse -- raging out of control to the tune of some blissfully inebriated, loud, hollering band. Wild Yaks are that band -- four dudes playing hard and singing their hearts out, pulling you into their own cult of fun. Taking a slightly different, more compact than a previous version of the group, this quartet wastes no time or energy in stirring up the excellent party vibes.
Sleepies proclaim themselves as “nice kid freak punk,” a sound they’ve been perfecting since forming in 2008. The band will soon be releasing their newest album, Weird Wild World, which was funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign last year. While gearing up for their record release tour, Sleepies stopped by our studio to talk with Travis and share some of their latest songs.
Turnip King, as Travis puts it, are “extremely non-old.” While the members of the Sea Cliff, NY, band might be young, they’ve obviously already learned how to rock. And despite ditching their original name, Beach Moms, the group’s sound is still blissfully reverb-laden, fuzzy, and more than a bit psychedelic. In this episode of Serious Business on BTR, we hear some of Turnip King’s new tunes and plans for their upcoming album.
Howth (rhymes with “growth”) just might be the most likeable indie rock band in Brooklyn. Previously working as a duo, Newkirk marks the recorded debut of the full five-member group of best friends. Developed over long periods of time and great distances, their sound is a delicate cacophony, winding from subtle folk melodies to danceable pop, with enough room left over for tasteful handclaps and the occasional sax solo freakout. Howth stopped by our studio while preparing for their record release tour to talk about the album, New Jersey, and their friend Jesse Newkirk -- he’s the one on the cover.
Sleepies proclaim themselves as “nice kid freak punk,” a sound they’ve been perfecting since forming in 2008. The band will soon be releasing their newest album, Weird Wild World, which was funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign last year. While gearing up for their record release tour, Sleepies stopped by our studio to talk with Travis and share some of their latest songs.
Ski Lodge plays jangly pop reminiscent of The Walkmen, The Strokes, or, perhaps more directly, The Smiths. Recently, they were listed by The L Magazine as one of “8 Bands You Need to Hear in 2012” and stopped by the Serious Business studio to play some of their newest songs and chat with Travis.
After a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise money for production of a new album, Quiet Loudly recently headed into the studio. The resultant album, Go Into The Light Smiling, is the band’s first in three years. They stopped by our studio to play some songs from the new album and chat with Travis.
Flying Pace is a four-piece based out of Brooklyn. The band’s melodic, multi-layered and weaving indie-rock music is topped off perfectly by the hushed, sultry vocals of frontwoman Kristie Redfield. The rest of the lineup — Marta DeLeon, Josh Arenberg, and George Flanagan — is made up of veteran New York City indie rock musicians whom have “dabbled” in a number of other local bands.
Brainchild of former Titus Andronicus drummer, Pete Feigenbaum, Dinowalrus has been making music since 2008. This psychedelic synth punk band from Brooklyn found popularity with the underground scene early on but hoped to reach a broader audience with their second album, embracing a sound reminiscent of 1980s new wave while still holding on to their psychedelic roots -- a sound that Travis describes as “beautiful from all corners.”
Stopping by for their second visit to the Serious Business studio, Bunny’s A Swine still manage to bring their endearingly rough-edged sound with a new batch of tunes, as well as the right kind of humor and antics to keep Travis on his toes. This self proclaimed “awk pop” trio takes their inspiration from the bands they love, people they meet, and... beer. For a great time with just the right dash of ‘super awkward’ and ‘super fun,’ make it a Bunny’s A Swine time.
Says Travis: “GOES CUBE makes music that pummels your ears. In a pinch you have to classify it as metal but these dudes churn out a brand of heavy music that is soulful and unique, not confined by genre dogma. SICK.”
Says Travis: “PS I Love You rocks viscerally, their songs charging ahead like big machines that run on melted down troubles and dreams. These young Canadians make rock that gives goosebumps. Watch our session and you'll agree.”
Is/Is hails from Minneapolis and plays fuzzed out, reverb-laden garage rock. Sarah Rose leads on guitar and vocals, backed by the powerful rhythm section of Sarah Nienaber on bass (and backing vocals) and Annie May on drums. Here, the trio play some new songs and talk to Travis about their most recent touring.
New York’s Higgins combine the best elements of rock ‘n’ roll and straightforward pop for music that’s full of harmonious crooning, groovy melodies, catchy hooks, and tales of lost loves and regrets. The band— who draw inspiration from acts like The Kinks, Hall & Oates and The Beatles — was founded by Kevin Fish and Brian Kantor, but, over the years, has expanded and contracted as various friends have pitched in. The current core line-up of Fish, Cantor, Billy Filo, and Josh Kaufman perform for this session.
Flying Pace is a four-piece based out of Brooklyn. The band’s melodic, multi-layered and weaving indie-rock music is topped off perfectly by the hushed, sultry vocals of frontwoman Kristie Redfield. The rest of the lineup — Marta DeLeon, Josh Arenberg, and George Flanagan — is made up of veteran New York City indie rock musicians, whom have “dabbled” in a number of other local bands.
Night Manager is a fuzzed-out grunge band from Brooklyn who play reverb-soaked songs packed with psychedelic, piercing riffs and the soaring, engrossing vocals of frontwoman Caitlin Seager. With a sound reminiscent of Bleach-era Nirvana, the five-piece outfit specializes in retro pop melodies blanketed beneath layers of haze, and the way their sounds evoke nostalgia can easily be compared to current acts like Tennis and Best Coast.
Originally an electronic duo from Florida, Conveyor has evolved into a Brooklyn-based quartet whose charming indie-pop features sweet harmonies, folk-inspired melodies, and bits of dazzling synth. The band — consisting of Gary Alan Busch, Jr., Michael Ryan Pedron, Evan Michael Garfield, and TJ Masters — play with various textures and moods, poppy and playful one moment, subdued and forlorn the next. Here, the band discuss the recording of their new album and perform a number of new songs.
New York City-based Reckless Sons make rowdy, roaring rock ‘n’ roll. Led by dynamic frontman Matt Butler, the four-piece have opened for the likes of Peter Bjorn and John and Hercules and Love Affair, and, in 2009, they won the “Free The Noise” contest judged by SPIN, John Varvatos, Jane’s Addiction’s Perry Farrell and Island Records.
Sean Bones’ brand of indie-rock oozes a chill and relaxed, almost tropical vibe. Based out of Brooklyn, he hooked up with producer Shane Stoneback (Vampire Weekend, Sleigh Bells, Cults) for his new, self-released sophomore album, called Buzzards Boy. The record’s shimmery songs — steeped in reverb and laden with resounding steel drums — make for the ideal breezy, beachy soundtrack.
Beast Make Bomb’s lo-fi pop melodies fuse gritty punk and 90s indie rock, sounding similar to the fuzzy, yet sweet tones of modern-day acts Dum Dum Girls and Best Coast. Their songs swim in a cool, laid-back vibe, yet are remarkably and undeniably catchy. Since winning Converse’s “Get Out of the Garage” Contest, the Brooklyn four-piece has opened for Queens of the Stone Age and Tokyo Police Club. Here they perform a brand new song called “Double Dipper.” Jessica Larrabee and Andy LaPlant are Brooklyn’s She Keeps Bees, a bluesy garage-rock duo whose music has been compared to the White Stripes and Cat Power, and lauded by The Guardian, the New York Times, and The New Yorker. Their songs waver between quiet, sparse moments and loud bursts of rock ‘n’ roll, conveying an overall deep and emotional soulfulness. Here they perform an unreleased track “Counter Charm.”
Night Manager is a fuzzed-out grunge band from Brooklyn who play reverb-soaked songs packed with psychedelic, piercing riffs and the soaring, engrossing vocals of frontwoman Caitlin Seager. With a sound reminiscent of Bleach-era Nirvana, the five-piece outfit specializes in retro pop melodies blanketed beneath layers of haze and the way their sounds evoke nostalgia nostalgic can easily be compared to current acts like Tennis and Best Coast.
New York City’s The Split combine jangly 60’s-inspired pop with gruff rock ‘n’ roll. The quartet — made up of Charlie Duerr (vocals, guitar), Lee Ferran (bassist), Steve Oben (guitarist), and Tim Gray (drums) — play songs that are simultaneously rough and catchy, reminiscent of older acts like The Rolling Stones and Chuck Berry or contemporaries like Harlem and The Soft Pack.
Says Travis: "As a major-league Bruce Springsteen freak, I'm a man prone to wild fits of Brucing-out, an involuntary physiological occurrence involving air-guitar, grimaces of ecstasy, rushes of blood to the head and heart; often some degree of fist-pumping is involved, and sometimes there are tears, yes, true tears. When a new Springsteen album and tour rolls around as it has recently withWrecking Ball, Bruce-outs tend to increase. In this delicate time, I felt as if I needed the council and comfort of some fellow Bruceophiles so I called my pals Tris McCall (music writer for the NJ Star Ledger), Mary Phillips-Sandy (Editorial Producer, COMEDY CENTRAL's Indecision) and Joe Willie, Esq. (Writer/vocalist for the Unsacred Hearts). We held an inside-Baseball-style panel discussion where we could tackle some burning Boss-questions in an extended format. What do we really think of Wrecking Ball? Why do we love and trust this man so much? What are the contours of his relationship to his massive audience and how do these directly affect the new music he writes, the decisions he makes? BossTalk!!!
Crinkles do dreamy and lush lo-fi pop, their hazy hooks comparable to those of acts like Real Estate and Youth Lagoon. Originally from Burlington, VT, the five-piece — featuring Jonathan Campolo, Nicholas Campolo, Daniel Crosby, Kyle Kabel, and Andrew Chugg — moved to Brooklyn in 2009. Since then, they’ve amassed a number of tracks, many of which are on their debut full-length entitled Loss Leader. Here, Crinkles premiere some of those new songs.
Jessica Larrabee and Andy LaPlant are Brooklyn’s She Keeps Bees, a bluesy garage-rock duo whose music has been compared to the White Stripes and Cat Power, and lauded by The Guardian, the New York Times, and The New Yorker. Their songs waver between quiet, sparse moments and loud bursts of rock ‘n’ roll, conveying an overall deep and emotional soulfulness. Larrabee is an especially captivating performer, her passion evident in her intense vocal work.
Beast Make Bomb’s lo-fi pop melodies fuses gritty punk and 90s indie rock, sounding similar to the fuzzy, yet sweet tones of modern-day acts Dum Dum Girls and Best Coast. Songs like “Coney Island” swim in a cool, laid-back vibe, yet are remarkably and undeniably catchy. Since winning Converse’s “Get Out of the Garage” Contest, the Brooklyn four-piece — made up of vocalist/guitarist Ceci G., bassist Sam Goldfine, lead guitarist Glenn Van Dyke, and drummer Hartley Lewis — has opened for Queens of the Stone Age and Tokyo Police Club.
When Particles Collide is made up of former jazz performer Chris Viner and high school chemistry teacher Sasha Alcott. Based out of Bangor, Maine, the duo blends punk and 90s indie rock, drawing from influences like Sleater-Kinney and the Pixies. Their songs are full of rowdy bursts of energy — especially when Alcott lets out her ferocious yelps.
Brooklyn four-piece Diehard churn out punchy, catchy raucousness in the style of ‘90s indie rock darlings Superchunk and Archers of Loaf. Made up of Ezra Selove (guitar/vocals), Evan Flath (bassist/vocals), Liz Schroeter Courtney (guitar/vocals), and Zeph Courtney (drums), the band is upbeat and hard-hitting without ever sacrificing fun, unforgettable melodies and the charm and playfulness of the male/female harmonies.
Originally formed while still in Pittsburgh, indie-rock trio Steel Phantoms now call Brooklyn home. The three-piece — featuring drummer Aaron Harris, keyboardist Yos Munro and guitarist Jesse Newkirk IV — blend bits of contagious new wave, jangly folk-pop, and warm dual harmonies, for chill, catchy songs that channel everyone from The Bangles to XTC. Featured song: “Bedouin”
Brooklyn-based Gunfight! play rowdy, stomping “post-country” — or what Serious Business’ host Travis Harrison jokingly re-dubs “Creedence-core.” Having formed while attending Boston’s Emerson College, the quartet sticks to rollicking arrangements, completely free of any digital bits and sampling (they claim to even avoid “Applebee’s samplers”). Whatever the genre or instrument preference, the band’s music, with its twangy roughness and whiskey-soaked, barking vocals, sounds like a boisterous brawl.
Influenced by groups like The Misfits, The Jesus Lizard and Rage Against the Machine, New York-based Big Ups play riotous, earth-shattering punk rock. The four-piece — made up of NYU students Brendan Finn (drums), Joe Galarraga (vocals), Carlos Salguero (bass), and Amar Lal (guitar) — are a bottomless pit of energy and angst, and their songs quickly erupt into loud, ferocious scream fests.
Originally from Pittsburgh, but now residing in Brooklyn, Ball of Flame Shoot Fire take conventional indie rock and flip it on its side, sounding like a crazed hybrid of Man Man, Wolf Parade and Animal Collective, with the slightest hint of Harry Nilsson. Within the same song, the quirky band — consisting of Patrick Kelly, Jess Tambellini, Peter Henry, Tim Good, and Winston Cook-Wilson — waver between catchy melodies and dissonant raucous, tamed verses and explosive anthems. They incorporate trumpets, synth and accordion, and the vocals alone are an unpredictable joyride, a mix of sing-talking, yelps and screeches.
Jump Into The Gospel, a five-piece from New York City, create synth-heavy pop gems complete with big, bright catchy choruses and electrifying dance-worthy melodies. Their anthems ooze cool, rockstar swagger and radio friendly glossiness. The group is led by exuberant frontman Louis Epstein and features bassist Lakis Pavlou, guitarist Ben Vescovi, drummer Chris Stein (live member of The Drums), and keyboardist Erik Tonnesen (live member of Holy Ghost!). They’ve collaborated with Cobra Starship and their addictive tunes have even made a fan of Twilight’s Robert Pattinson, who was spotted at one of their shows.
Speedy Ortiz is the new project of Quilty’s Sadie Dupuis. From Northampton, Massachusetts, her brand of dense lo-fi grunge draws heavily from the ‘90s flannel-covered slacker scene. The music is a foggy mixture of somber tones and nonchalant inflections, but hints of sunny, catchy melodies peak through occasionally. Here Dupuis plays with guitarist Matt Robidoux and drummer Mike Falcone.
Western Civ, a four-piece from Chapel Hill, NC, (originally from Florence, AL) follow in the footsteps of ‘90s indie staples Guided By Voices, Archers of Loaf, and Pavement with their brand of meandering, layered, spasmodic rock. Their songs are unpredictable, fierce gems — smoothly and melodically resting on a plateau before jump-starting into a dissonant, serpentine arrangement that’s then topped off by lead singer Rich Henderson’s potent yelping.
Brenda channels the vintage sound of ‘50s rock ‘n roll, the angular gruff noise of ‘90s indie rock, and straightforward feel-good pop — like an interesting fusion of Built to Spill and The Walkmen. Their songs are both thrilling and sweet as they travel through dynamic, rough raucousness before sailing into smooth, catchy melodies. In the past they’ve shared the stage with acts like Grizzly Bear and The Flaming Lips, and just last summer upon hearing a rough cut of their debut album, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, invited these Portland, Mainers to play the first Solid Sound Festival in Massachusetts.
Having played with the likes of rock bands Gem, Death of Samantha, Cobra Verde, Nada Surf, and a little indie outfit called Guided By Voices — you might have heard of them — it’s safe to say that Doug Gillard needs no real introduction. An accomplished guitarist and songwriter, he can shift easily between Guided By Voices’ loud, post-punk anthems, and the more mellow, muted ballads of his own solo repertoire.