Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Friends: Friend Crush

Causing a quiet stir since they formed in September 2010, Brooklyn-based Friends are proof that indie, pop and sparkling vocals go together stunningly. The band consists of lead singer Samantha Urbani, Lesley Hann on bass, percussion and backing vocals, Nikki Shapiro who plays guitar, keyboards and some percussion, Matthew Molnar on keyboards, percussion and bass and last but not least Oliver Duncan is the band’s drummer. The band is tentatively signed to the indie outfit “Lucky Number” records and have already had two successful and critically acclaimed singles.

Last week saw the release of the band’s third single “Mind Control” which has been really well received and showcases the bands inspiring, poppy, upbeat sound and a full length album looks set to follow later in the year (with, as yet, no major label take up – note to record labels out there: take it up!)

Tell us What They Sound Like?

Kind of poppy, funky, electronic-y, trippy and really infectious. They seem to take all the best nits of pop and mix them with indie cool to come up with this awesomely danceable music. It’s sort of punky too, there’s a real DIY feel to this – not overproduced or overblown.

The band started out named as “Perpetual Crush”, again almost aiming themselves as a sweet disco type outfit – in reality there’s so much more to them than that. Lead singer Samantha Urbani was an artist for a while but always knew she wanted to do something relating to music, as she’d been writing songs for a lot of her life. She then took the fruits of her labor and played them to her friend Matthew Molnar (who is now the bands keyboard player) and the rest is history. They eventually settled on the name “Friends” for the band after hearing and loving the Beach Boy’s album of the same name (incidentally it also happened to be Brian Wilson of the said band’s favourite album that they did).

If you wanted a comparison – a band to say “they sound like this” maybe think about an outfit like The Waitresses or something similar. They’ve got that really strong feminine, punchy, harmonised vocal that goes so well with the bubblegummy keyboards and strong drum sound. Here’s their first single “Friend Crush”, a perfect example of what we’re talking about!



There’s also some kind of ghostly ethereal sound to their music – in the background to the tracks you can hear echoy sighs and breathy sounds, which give a lightness of touch to the music – softening tracks which otherwise might sound a bit harder edged. Overall it’s a really special thing, they could just be another crossover outfit, trying to be all things to every genre, but they’re not. It’s like they’re managing to take the best of all elements of music and put them together.



There’s something so infectious about their basslines, something that makes you want to if nothing else drum on the desk in time. Their videos just seem to have a gloriously arty feel to them, “I’m His Girl” is everything that encapsulates what was great about 1980s pop music – kind of has an MTV cool feel to it, but brought right up to date for a modern audience.

Are They Playing Live?

They love live. They’re playing across Europe over the next two months and have just earlier this month played SXSW in Texas. 17th April has them playing a live date at the Eco Plex in Los Angeles. However, after their escapades in Europe they’re coming back stateside to play some dates throughout June, starting on the 16th of the month at the Schubas Tavern in Chicago, followed by dates in Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Austin and Houston, finishing their stint is a gig at the Bowery Ballroom in New York on 7th July before they hotfoot it back for the Europe festival season. Full details and venues can be found here: Friendzone. If you want a break from the norm, you want something poppy, uplifting and inspiring – Friends should be your go-to band, full of energy, enthusiasm and pizzazz you can’t fail to warm to them!

Imogen is a freelance writer from England who writes for a number of finance journals covering topics as diverse as saving money on car insurance and investing in the stock market. Music is one of her passions and she is rarely seen writing at a coffee shop without her enormous headphones!
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