Brooklyn, New York is one hell of a place. If its history doesn’t ring in some credit, its music scene sure does, and lately it’s been hard to ignore. There’s straight forward rock (The Hold Steady), the eccentric rock (We Are Scientists), the signature rhythm and blues (Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings), and even punk fits in (D.C. Snipers). So, one shouldn’t be surprised that indie-rock has its own hand of cards in the game, too.
Bishop Allen is one such act that stands out. Although they’ve lately hit a stride with their hit song “Middle Managament” featured in Nick & Norah’s Playlist, the Brooklyn duo, comprised of Justin Rice and Christian Rudder, are long time heroes in the ol’ New York burrough. Since their 2003 critically acclaimed debut, Charm School, Rice and Rudder have continued to carve out one indie-pop hit after the next. In fact, throughout 2006, the two released a four track EP each month, aptly titled January EP, February EP, etc. Together the releases culminated in what is now referred to as, the 12 EPs.
Of course, such a feat would hardly go unnoticed and in 2007, Bishop Allen found a new home with Dead Oceans. It was there on the new label that the two put out their first true studio record, Bishop Allen & the Broken String. Although some of the twelve tracks were reworked renditions of former tunes found within the 12 EPs, it was another well received project that brought not only critical acclaim, but commercial marketability. Songs “Click Click Click Click” and “Middle Management” were used in television shows, films, and even video games. Not too bad for a couple of kids that once recorded demos on their own.
Musically, it’s all there. There’s nothing pretentious or unwarranted about the catchy melodies and lucid guitar lines here. One can listen to hits “Click Click Click Click” and “Middle Management” and not find it hard to see why the band has taken off. It’s just beauty in simplicity. Never do either members overreach. No, they keep it honest and sincere in its benevolent approach to the genre. That’s a bit rare today, as so many acts seem to hone in on “what’s in” and “what’s working.” For Rice and Rudder, it’s just what works for Rice and Rudder.
The two have quite a year penciled in already. Considering its been two years now since their sophomoric release, they’ve been hard at work readying the release of their third record tentatively titled, Grrr... However, what is confirmed is a closing night set at Schubas’ Tomorrow Never Knows, where they’ll no doubt perform one hell of a set in the cozy, friendly atmosphere the venue offers.
Oh, we’re selling you on this, aren’t we?
Bishop Allen 2009 Tour Dates
01/16 – Montreal, QC @ Il Motore
01/17 – Toronto, ON @ El Mocambo
01/18 – Chicago, IL @ Tomorrow Never Knows
01/19 – Columbus, OH @ Skully’s