Funny how the universe works. Once I decided to re-examine my feelings about electronic music this year, my inbox began filling up with artists who have found a way to combine man and machine in a more emotionally satisfying way than what I’ve encountered in recent years. One such band is Brooklyn-based trio Howard. A new or maybe not-so-new but “new to me” genre has surfaced called folktronica. Pleasing beeps and boops are woven together with unadorned, quiet vocals, organic-sounding instrumentation and honest contemplations. Have a listen and see what you think.
Previously known as Orange Television (based in Massachusetts), Howard Feibusch (producer, guitar, vocals) and Myles Heff (bass) were joined by Chris Holdridge (drums). Howard is poised to release their debut album Religion with an album release show at Mercury Lounge in New York City on January 19. Their debut single was “Song About Something.” Indie Shuffle included their single “Money Can’t Buy” on its “Best Folk Music of 2014” list, but the term folk music is clearly a misnomer. Or perhaps it IS folk music for our complicated times. Maybe today’s folk music, just as the folk music of earlier centuries included “found” and “handmade” instruments, includes the instruments made by our species that we now find ourselves surrounded by. Though instead of letting technology rule us and dehumanize us, the new practice may be to weave it, dare I use the phrase more organically, into our fragile human experience.
In addition to their album release show on the 19th, Howard will be playing at Chelsea Nights in New York City tomorrow night (January 2). For those in Western Massachusetts, they’ll be opening for Brooklyn power-trio &Co at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton on Sunday (January 4).