Spotlight

North Highlands

 

Benefits is the first cut from the Wild One LP, and it sounds like the work of a band in the throes of songwriting maturation: the verse’s lilt cedes to a dance-rock break, the guitars buried in the mix but arpeggiating around singer Brenda Melvi’s sweetly intoned “Take what you want”s in a way that might recall a gentler Metric.” – Stereogum

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North Highlands
“I’ll Do My Best” b/w “Halo”
Available July 30, 2013

North Highlands began in 2009 as a recording project by songwriter and NYU music student Brenda Malvini.  It quickly blossomed into a collaboration of five college friends brought together by their uncertainty with the future and a shared drive to create music while struggling to live in a city like New York.  North Highlands’ sound grew out of the band’s offbeat musical backgrounds shaped primarily by their respective upbringings and regional musical ties. Malvini and Daniel Stewart (guitar) hail from California, Jasper Berg (drums) from Seattle by way of South Africa,  Mike Barron (guitar) from Chicago, and Andy Kasperbauer (bass) from Iowa. Coming from different places and picking up different pieces along the way has become what North Highlands is and represents—a blending of influence and experience.

Sugar Lips, the band’s first EP, was a DIY effort recorded in a Brooklyn basement. It was more playful and light, leaning towards folk and orchestral pop as main influences. The band was young and held a lighthearted exuberance that could be in part due to a childlike naiveté of being a college student in New York City. As the band continued, the sound evolved into what would become their first full-length, titled Wild One, a thicker, louder, more cohesive effort that gave a nod to 70s soul and dreamy pop. The context and overtones were darker, as the band’s buoyancy was replaced by doubt and questions of self-worth in part due to love, money, and happiness in a big city. The band worked with producer Kyle “Slick”Johnson, and released the record in October 2011. It was pressed on vinyl by small Chicago label BLVD Records.

Following a few short tours, the band decided to take a lengthy break from touring and recording to work on discovering a new sound and to pause and reflect on new influences and experiences. The band became fascinated with artists like Pylon and Siouxsie and the Banshees, whose simplicity and rhythm became a backbone for many of North Highlands’ new sketches and demos. This newfound love for 80s post-punk and new wave allowed the band to scale back in their orchestrations and to feature Malvini’s spirited vocals as the forefront guiding aspect.

Over the course of a year, the band went through hundreds of musical ideas, until finally, two of their finest songs,“I’ll Do My Best” and “Halo” were crafted and complete. The decision to create a 7” was unanimous, and the quintet looked to friend Julia Pott to provide artwork.

In the beginning of the summer, North Highlands were informed that they were the winners of a $20,000, two-week recording residency at Guilford Sound studios in Southern Vermont. Feeling honored and determined, the band has been working hard crafting their follow-up full-length which will be recorded at Guilford in the middle of August.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT JEFF ANDERSON: JEFF@WEARESOLIDGOLD.COM