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It’s Monday evening (happy hour, actually) in a booth at Johnny Brenda’s in Fishtown. And Bennett Daniels, the creative force behind Neighborhood Choir, just admitted that he’s never been interviewed before. However, he’s cool, collected and much more comfortable than would be expected.
All of Neighborhood Choir’s gently rippling lo-fi pop tunes are written by Daniels, at home, layer by layer. What makes them sonically intriguing comes from the reel-to-reel tape machine they’re recorded on: a Tascam 388.
“I like using it because it’s modest,” says Daniels. “What you play is what people hear. Can’t change notes like Pro Tools. And the fidelity is really strange. You only get eight tracks because it uses quarter-inch tape so sometimes things bleed together. But that makes it kind of fun, to see how things will turn out.”
But how Daniels got the Tascam 388 is a better story than how it works. Continue reading →
German IDM duo Mouse on Mars play Johnny Brenda’s tonight. Coming out of the heyday of their genre in the nineties, Mouse on Mars have continued to make surprising and enthralling electronic music all the way up to today. Parastrophics, their most recent record, was released in 2012 on Monkeytown. Where a lot of current electronic music focuses on neatly produced sonic landscapes that fill-in all of the voids, Mouse on Mars take a much more abstract and fractured approach that blends math-like dissonance with chopped melodies. Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show with Philadelphia’s Spaceship Aloha can be found here. Watch the video for “Polaroyced” from Parastrophics below.
Neighborhood Choir is the project of Philadelphia’s Bennett Daniels, a side player and regular bassist in the city’s tight-knit space rock scene. He plays in Brendan Codey‘s band, as well as the noisier outfit Hippie Johnny. Left to his own devices in the Choir, Daniels makes what he refers to as “glo-fi pop.” Which is an appropriate description when you’re crediting somebody on your recording with “slide guitar and twinkles” (that would be collaborator Paul Sukeena). But if that sets off your worry instincts that maybe this music might be too noodley and naval-gazing for you liking – fear not. Daniels strikes a great balance between creating a vibey ambience and crafting catchy, memorable pop numbers, walking the same tightrope as Grandaddy and American Analog Set, and doing it admirably. Grab a free download of “St. Raymond of the Dogs” below, and check out more of Neighborhood Choir’s music at its Bandcamp page.