Nestled somewhere between garage rock and indie pop lives a Seattle band called Tea Cozies. Taking their influence from 60s British Invasion bands and 90s indie rock, this four-piece creates a cyclone of reverb drenched guitars, girl-on-girl harmonies, and surf rock beats.
Vocalist/guitarists Jessi Reed and Brady Harvey met in high school in Colorado and started playing music soon after. They relocated to Seattle and recruited bassist Jeff Anderson and later, drummer Garrett Croxon (former Fleet Foxes) with the final lineup cemented in 2010.
The band's debut album Hot Probs (produced by Erik Blood) is soon to be followed by a new EP, Bang Up in October 30, 2012 with their sophomore album to follow. Tea Cozies have recently shared the stage with Ty Segall and Wussy and made appearances at Doe Bay Festival, City Arts Fest, and SXSW.
Jessi Reed - guitar, vocals
Brady Harvey - guitar, vocals, keys
Jeff Anderson - bass
Garrett Croxon - drums
BANG UP (EP) release date 10/30/2012
1. Muchos Dracula
3. April Fool
4. Cosmic Osmo
5. Silhouette in a Suitcase
DEAD MAN'S SISTER (Single) release date 4/16/2011
1. Dead Man's Sister
2. Cosmic Osmo
"Dead Man's Sister" radio airplay: 90.3 KEXP Seattle, 107.7 The End, KBCS Bellevue; KEXP Song of the Day, Virgin America Airlines.
HOT PROBS (LP) released nationally 9/15/2009
1. Boys at the Metro
2. Pretty Pages
3. Like Luca Brasi
4. Huffy Walrus
5. Corner Store Girls
6. The South Turned Him Sour
7. Paris Syndrome
9. 40° N
10. Behind the Glass Eye
All have received radio airplay: 90.3 KEXP Seattle, 89.3 KAOS Olympia, Opbmusic.org Portland, 90.5 KCSU Ft.Collins CO, Radio 1190 Boulder CO, Woxy, ETC
"Pretty Pages" featured in Mtv's $5 Cover Seattle.
"Corner Store Girls" hand picked for Caffe Vita's GIVE Compilation.
PRETTY PAGES (Single) Released 03/25/08
1. Pretty Pages
*both tracks have radio airplay: 90.3 KEXP Seattle
TEA COZIES (EP) Released 10/10/06
1. Stir the Cup
3. Knee Sox
*All 5 songs have had radio airplay and have been streamed on many internet radio websites.
"Tranciting" radio airplay: 90.3 KEXP Seattle, 107.7 The End
* "Tranciting" is featured on "Sounds from the Seattle Underground," a compilation of local Seattle bands presented by Nadamucho.com and Global Seepej Records released on 7/1/08
An Afternoon With The Tea Cozies
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he Bomber Jacket had the privilege to meet up with two members of the Seattle band Tea Cozies for co...he Bomber Jacket had the privilege to meet up with two members of the Seattle band Tea Cozies for coffee the day after a crazy, sold-out show opening for Ty Segall. The setting was a neighborhood coffee shop in an old house with a spectacular wrap-around porch. The interview took place outside in the sun on the back deck. There was live music playing from a venue nearby, which contributed to the pleasant, late-afternoon atmosphere. The interview was interrupted halfway through by a man who was eager to network with the band, and the ladies politely humored him. The following is what transpired.
THE BOMBER JACKET: Why don’t we start off by just introducing you guys. Names and instruments. Pretty straightforward.
Jessi Reed: I’m Jessi. I play guitar and sing in Tea Cozies.
Brady Harvey: I’m Brady, and I play guitar, and I sing and play keyboards.
How did you form?
J: Brady and I went to high school together. We grew up in Colorado, and we moved out to Seattle to start a band. That’s where we met Jeff, our bass player. He was actually a guitar player in another band, Daguerreotypes, but we converted him to bass because neither of us wanted to play bass. It’s not that bass is not cool…
B: We just like guitars.
J: [Laughs] And then Garrett (drums) came later. He’s been in a ton of bands. He’s an amazing drummer. His major claim to fame is that he was in Fleet Foxes before they got huge. So those two are Washingtonians, and we are Coloradoans.
Was there a particular moment when you knew you wanted to play in a band or do music? A song or an artist that inspired you?
J: Yes. For me it was Led Zeppelin. My first show that I saw was with my dad, and it was Jimmy Page and Robert Plant at Red Rocks. It was unbelievable. I was so naïve about music that when they left the stage after the show they hadn’t played their biggest hits, and I was super pissed. They hadn’t played “Communication Breakdown,” they hadn’t played “Stairway to Heaven,” or all of the major jams, and I was mad. My dad said, “If you yell really loud and clap maybe they’ll come back out,” and I was like, “Are you kidding me? They’re done, they left, they said goodbye.” He said, “Look, just yell! These other people are doing it, just yell and clap!” so I yelled and clapped really loud, and they came back out, and it that was magical. I thought, “This is what I want to do.”
B: I was always doing music since I was a kid. My mom was my music teacher in elementary school, which was kind of weird because it was always in our house, but I had never picked up an electric guitar or any of those instruments. It had always been classical instruments all the time. I went to the Hall Dance at our school, and [Jessi’s] band played. They were going to do this cover of a song that I knew by The Living End–they’re this cool punk band from Australia–but for some reason your singer girl was too nervous to do it. She froze up and wouldn’t sing. And they were like, “Brady come sing it!” and I was a little too freaked out to do it, but then afterwards I was like, “I should’ve done that…I wanna do that!” So I did. It was cool. It was one of those things where I thought, “I could do that better than that girl.” [Laughs] She sucked.
Do you have a favorite song of yours to play live?
J: My current favorite to play is a new one that’s going to be on our EP called “Muchos Dracula” because it’s really fast. It’s like a punk-rock song. It’s pretty easy to play, but there’s just lots of energy.
B: Yeah, I like that one. I think it’s our whole band’s new favorite because we all love it. Except Garrett has to play it really fast, so I don’t know if he likes it as much. [Laughs]
J: He hates opening with that song. He’s begged us several times to not open the set with it. I guess a lot of the new ones for me are more fun because we just wrote them and they’re fresh. It’s exciting to play and see what people do.
Moving in a different direction…How would you describe the Seattle music scene? Is it accessible for new bands? What was it like trying to book shows and get to know other bands when you moved up here?
B: People are really nice throughout the scene for sure. You can get a show at a lot of places pretty easily when you first are trying to start out.
B&J: There are so many venues!
B: Unless you’re under 21. It’s a little bit trickier. But it is really easy to meet people and just ask them their opinion: “Hey, do you know any other bands who could get on this bill?”
J: I do remember when we first started out we would read [the local newspaper] The Stranger…it was like our bible. We didn’t have friends. The only people we knew were from when I tried starting other bands using Craigslist ads, and those were my only friends, and they were a bunch of weirdos. No offense to them. They all went on to start other cool bands. But there were all these cool bands getting written about in The Stranger who were playing The Capitol Hill Block Party, and I remember e-mailing those bands, not knowing them at all, and getting so many that never ever responded. They probably never listened to anything that we sent them because they got that kind of e-mail all the time. It took a long time to feel, at least for me, that we were part of the scene, not just looking at it like it was inside a zoo as bystanders. I still feel like that sometimes. There are so many opportunities to play in Seattle and meet people, but for a while I felt like an outsider to it all.
How do you feel about the role of KEXP in the Seattle scene? You have been played on the station. What was it like the first time you heard yourselves on the radio?
J: That’s a really good story actually.
B: I went down to Easy Street Records to try to get our record in the store. It was our EP, our first one. The clerk there kinda gave me the shove-off: “I dunno, I’ll have to listen to this…see if it’s sellable…I don’t really know…I’ll give you a call in a couple of days.” The standard spiel. So I call him, and he’s like, “I haven’t listened to it yet. Why don’t you just bring some down? I looked at the cover, and it looks pretty cool. Why don’t you just bring some?” So I bring them down there and meet the guy again, and he said, “This might sell…I dunno.” His name was Troy. All of a sudden, later that same night we were listening to KEXP and the DJ said, “Yeah, this is a new band…just met this person today…”
J: “Dropped off a demo…”
B: And I was like, “What? I didn’t drop off a demo at KEXP!” So he played it. It’s because he works at both places, but we didn’t know!
J: We didn’t understand the connection. We were like, “This guy on the radio is lying! We didn’t give KEXP our CD. What a liar!” We realized later that it was the same guy from Easy Street who later became our band manager: Troy from The Young Evils. He was a little harsh with us at first.
B: That’s been incredible. Without KEXP as a resource I don’t know if we would’ve done as well as we have. It’s awesome because you go on the Internet and see where people are listening to you from, and there’s people all over the world. It blows your mind that people can listen to you in Indonesia. It’s totally weird like that.
J: KEXP is without a doubt the lifeblood of this city and the music scene here. I can’t even imagine what it would be like without KEXP.
I understand you are both involved with the under-21 battle of the bands, Sound Off! Can you speak a little about that? What it’s like for younger bands to play and get recognized in Seattle?
J: Seattle is pretty unique, as far as a big city, because we do have The Vera Project, which is an amazing resource for young bands. Sound Off! is just this weird spotlight that hits one time of year where these bands who are very serious about it and put a lot of work into it get recognized and get a little bit of press and [get to play] some cool shows. If they want to continue with it and work hard it can be sort of a launching pad for them. There are some rad prizes that they get. It’s super fun for us to work with them: to get to know these bands, see them at that point in their career, see how talented they are. It’s pretty refreshing for me. To once a year go through that with them. They’re all nervous. It’s scary and stuff, but it’s really just a lot of fun. I feel really thankful to be able to work on that.
What exactly is your role in Sound Off!?
J: I oversee Sound Off!
B: She’s the big cheese! It’s awesome too because afterwards you can see where they go as a band. Just Thursday night we were at Chop Suey and saw Kithkin play. The crowd was like freaking out. They killed it! They totally nailed it.
J: Those kids are gonna be huge.
B: They’re gonna be massive. They’re gonna play Block Party. They’re totally on the up and up. It’s awesome to see a band come out of Sound Off! and totally blow up like that.
If you could tour anywhere, where would you go?
B: I think they would like us there.
J: I love British music so much. It would be amazing. It would be a dream.
B: It would be a sweet dream.
J: Not just England. Ireland, Scotland, Wales…let’s do it all.
Do you have a favorite band in the U.K.?
J: A lot of favorites! Beatles, Kinks, I love Blur, I love Pulp, Elastica…
B: The Undertones.
J: The Smiths, Joy Division, Buzzcocks, Wire.
(To Brady) Are you into the same type of music?
J: David Bowie.
B: It’s weird. I remember one time in high school I was looking at all my CDs, and I really don’t listen to anything that’s not British. I mean I do, but I kinda don’t. I like the Pixies.
J: I’m gonna just name bands.
Tea Cozies play Chop Suey in Seattle 5/5/12. Photo by Zoe Kool
What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you at a show?
J&B: Blue Moon.
J: The Blue Moon is a notorious dive bar. We played our first ever show there, which was funny because we dressed up for it. We wore dresses.
B: We’d never been in there.
J: We went in and were like, “Wow. This is where all the homeless people drink.”
B: It smelled like pee.
J: The second time we played there, it was during “Tranciting,” which was sort of our hit off the EP. This one guy who had just been sitting there liked that song so he got up and started dancing during the song. We were like, “Cool! Dude’s dancing.” And then he peed his pants [laughs]. Which was not funny, but we felt really proud that we rocked so hard he peed himself.
B: We really rocked him out.
J: I think that night I broke a lava lamp on stage.
B: Yeah, you did!
J: They had a lava lamp on stage, and I just swung my guitar and knocked it. It was cool to watch the bubbly bits on the ground.
You played a few new songs last night at Chop Suey. Are they going to be on a new record? What are you working on?
J: It’s going to be a four-song EP. We know which songs are going on it. We’re just recording it now, so we’re hoping for an end of summer release date.
Will you be touring around the Pacific Northwest for the EP?
J: Yeah, we’re talking about something in the fall around the Pacific Northwest, then possibly a more substantial tour in the spring.
Where are you thinking about going?
J: We want to go down to Austin again. We did that last year, and that was really fun. I really want to get out to the East Coast because we haven’t done a tour of the East Coast yet. Following the EP we’re putting out our second album. We’re in recording mode right now.
Where do you record?
J: It depends. We did our first album with Erik Blood at MRX. We’re still trying to work out who we want to do our next album with and where. It changes how [the album] sounds so much. We put out a single last year, and the guy who did that, Andy, is an amazing engineer, so he’s always on the top of our list.
Was that “Dead Man’s Sister” last year? I really liked the video for that. What was filming like?
B: That was really fun. It was right over there (points) across the canal. That’s where the company is. They’re called Loaded Pictures, and they were so nice! We showed up to film it, and they had set up this crazy stage in the middle of the room, not where you usually perform in there. There were all these lights! It was awesome!
J: They would say, “Okay, you guys are playing, and just look overhead at the lasers shooting by.” We wondered, “What is this gonna look like? Lasers? What are they gonna do, just draw a line?” Then we saw the final thing and we went, “Holy shit! There are effing lasers in that video!”
Did you know what it was going to be like before you filmed it?
J: We knew the premise of it. We knew there were going to be aliens. We knew that the guys making it were super legit. They were so well spoken, and they approached us with the concept. I think the only things we added were that we wanted the aliens to be kinda Mod, like 1960s aliens. They got us the outfits that the Mod aliens wore. We had to come in and do fittings, and we had a hair and makeup lady.
You were on MTV’s $5 Cover. What was that like? Did you get a lot of exposure from filming it? How did that go?
J: I feel like one of the most awesome things that came out of $5 Cover was not so much the fact that it was on MTV, but it led us to meet so many great Seattle bands and [director] Lynn Shelton in particular. The Seattle film scene is so awesome, and there was no way we were going to have any connection to people making movies. We got to know these cool camera men, Lynn herself, and all these cool people working on it. Also the other bands, The Moondoggies and THEESatisfaction, were really cool artists who weren’t necessarily in our same genre, but they’re awesome people.
B: Lynn was told to weave the thread through the series that even though Seattle’s really huge, everyone’s connected in some way. It’s funny because before we never bumped into each other because we were in different genres, but now we do. Now we work with them on different things.
J: Jason from The Maldives was just a Sound Off! judge. It’s cool to have those connections, because we never would’ve crossed paths necessarily.
B: I think $5 Cover brought the Seattle scene a little closer together, which is awesome. It was fun!
You played South by Southwest last year. How did that go?
J: I had never been to Texas before, so I was expecting everyone to be wearing cowboy hats and have a piece of straw hanging out of their mouth and be riding a horse.
B: They do, just not in Austin.
J: It was so fun.
Did you meet a lot of other bands?
B: That was where we met Ravenna Woods. We played a show with them down there and got to know them better. There was this other band from Tacoma, The Nightgowns, who were totally awesome. It was kind of like a big vacation for musicians.
J: Anywhere you are there’s live music happening in every direction. “Do I want to go in this coffee shop and watch this amazingly famous band? Or do I want to go into this skateboard shop and see this other famous band?” It’s so weird. We were walking by…where were we?
B: We were looking for Mexican food, and some guy asked, “Do you want to see J Mascis? He’s playing inside right now.” We walk into this tiny place and J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. is just jammin’ it out on his guitar right there.
What kind of venues did you play in?
J: We played a Thai restaurant.
Did you get free food?
J: It was really good! It’s called Thai Fresh.
J: We played a wine bar, which was cool because it was an outdoor show on a hill overlooking the city. We played right after the sun went down, so it was really beautiful. We played a cowboy bar. That was the most Texas moment. It had country superstars painted on the walls.
B: They had just opened, and they didn’t realize that they needed to have bands play there, which was weird because it was SXSW. They ran out of toilet paper! They were unprepared when they booked this show. They had a brand new sound system, but there was no sound guy, so someone who sort of knew a little bit [about sound engineering] barely messed with it, and it sounded incredible!
J: We tried to do as many shows as we could down there. The thing is that we flew down there, so we didn’t have a drum kit or amps. We had to borrow stuff, and that was funny. Next time we go down we’re definitely going to drive.
Anything else to add?
J: We’re putting together a show for August that we’re really excited about. We can’t announce any of the details yet, but it’s going to be in Seattle, possibly Chop Suey. I guess that’s not very juicy.
Secret show…no details yet…could be anything?!
B: It will definitely be off the chain! [Laughs] Just kidding! I hate that expression.
J: It will be the most “English” show in Seattle featuring no English people.
PHOTOS & SHOW REVIEW: TY SEGALL, WHITE FENCE, THE PHARMACY, & TEA COZIES @ CHOP SUEY SEATTLE, 5/5/12
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When I arrived home last Saturday night around 2AM from Seattle's Chop Suey club, I noticed that not...When I arrived home last Saturday night around 2AM from Seattle's Chop Suey club, I noticed that not only did my clothes, hair, and camera gear have beer all over them, but there was beer actually in my shoes. On my shoes, of course, but also inside my shoes. This will give you some idea of how "Cinco de Ty" went, as I have been referring to the Cinco de Mayo quad-bill garage-psych-pop spectacular starring California's Ty Segall and White Fence, and locals The Pharmacy and Tea Cozies. As a well-experienced garage rock concertgoer, I expected a rowdy crowd for the holiday as well as a packed house at the small venue even on a night with lots of concert choices, so I can't say the beer explosion was a total surprise. I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else; this was the show I most wanted to see this year in Seattle, and others could enjoy the Tacoma Dome with Van Halen's Diamond Dave preening over his hairplugs and adjusting his codpiece or something.
After a quick dinner at Chop Suey neighbor Piecora's Pizza, I arrived to see most of Tea Cozies set. Fellow music writer Chris Burlingame is a big fan and thought I would like them as well, and I really did. The guys held down the rhythm section and the girls handled the guitars, mixing a little '90s alt grit, the sweet side of Britpop, clever lyrics, and simple, catchy hooks into a very appealing and confident set. (Click on photos to enlarge)
Tea Cozies Play Chop Suey Friday
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The Tea Cozies can't get used to the sheer number and diversity of jackets Seattle locals own and we...The Tea Cozies can't get used to the sheer number and diversity of jackets Seattle locals own and wear.
"The amount of jackets out here is just crazy!" exclaims Jessi Reed, guitarist and singer in the local indie-rock band, which relocated from Ft. Collins, Colo. The four-piece group — two frontwomen and a male rhythm section — plays Chop Suey Friday. They've worked through their awe over Seattle's multicoat strategy to become one of the city's most-followed unsigned bands and a KEXP favorite.
Drawing from a mutual love of '90s Britpop — they cite Elastica, Blur and Supergrass as prime inspirations — the Cozies filter chiming pop melodies and left-hook guitar riffs through a booming wall of '60s garage-rock rhythms and echo.
Reed and fellow guitarist-singer Brady Harvey met in high school. Reed came to Seattle in 2004; Harvey followed the next year.
"A lot of bands weren't even stopping in Denver," Reed says.
The Cozies began their Seattle career in earnest with drummer Kelly Viergutz — a fellow Colorado transplant — and bassist Jeff Anderson. A self-titled EP and a 2009 album, "Hot Probs," established their distinctive sound.
With new drummer Garrett Croxon, formerly of Fleet Foxes, the first half of 2011 already has been eventful. The Cozies played four sets at Austin's South By Southwest conference in March and released two dark, resounding songs, "Dead Man's Sister" and "Cosmic Osmo," on Record Store Day in April.
"These songs are like they were written in a cave — a little more introspective," Reed says.
Nationally, the Tea Cozies might be most recognized from an appearance in an episode of "$5 Cover: Seattle," the MTV-backed Web series about the music scene directed by local acclaimed filmmaker Lynn Shelton.
The Tea Cozies' vignette, shot at local store American Music, spoofs the male-dominated world of rock. When the band's fictitious road manager, a man, picks up supplies, a fellow customer, also a man, mistakenly thinks the manager is the musician and Reed and Harvey are his groupies.
"Lynn tweaked a story that happened to us," Harvey explains. "Sometimes when a woman goes into music stores with a guy, they'll immediately help the guy. It does happen. Not necessarily at American Music."
Lovely Hearts Club presents: Tea Cozies - Dead Man's Sister
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Steeped in garage rock and british indie, Tea Cozies take influences from guitar-driven pop bands as...Steeped in garage rock and british indie, Tea Cozies take influences from guitar-driven pop bands as Blur, Elastica, and the Pixies. Though Seattle-based, the origins of Tea Cozies began in Northern Colorado where Jessi Reed (vocals, guitar), Brady Harvey (vocals, guitar) and former drummer Kelly Viergutz attended Fort Collins High School together.
Jessi started playing guitar at age 15 in punk rock bands, with stints on public access television and in high school talent shows. Brady, the daughter of a music teacher, was classically trained in flute, saxophone, piano, and choir. The two met in 10th grade, bonding over a love of britpop and camping. Brady quickly picked up guitar and they began playing music together with the addition of Kelly. The trio played only one Colorado show at a New Years Eve party, before relocating to Seattle due to boredom and ocean-craving.
With the addition of Jeff Anderson (bass, handclaps), Tea Cozies released a 5 song EP recorded in the living room of their house. Cutting their chops at just about every dive bar in Seattle, the band spent the year gigging relentlessly on tour and at local music festivals. In 2009, the band released the infectious Hot Probs (produced by Erik Blood), which Seattle Weekly describes as "equal parts garage rock and '60s girl group, punk and bubblegum, Blur and Bikini Kill." Hot Probs was picked up by regional radio such as KEXP and 107.7 The End, earning the band slots at the 2009 Seattle City of Music Awards and in the GIVE Seattle Compilation (along with Ben Gibbard and The Long Winters.)
In late 2009, the band parted ways with drummer Kelly Viergutz, who now plays in the folk-rock group, Origami Ghosts. Tea Cozies enlisted former Fleet Fox Garrett Croxon (drums) and are currently working on their sophomore album. Look for them in the upcoming MTV.com series $5 Cover: Seattle.
SXSW Bound: 3 Seattle Bands You Ought To Know
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In the tangled list of drop-down, drag-out music festivals in our country, there are three important...In the tangled list of drop-down, drag-out music festivals in our country, there are three important ones that come immediately to mind:
Here in the Northwest, Bumbershoot reigns supreme and has been host to the likes of Ani DiFranco, Beck, BB King and the Wu-Tang Clan. Farther south in California, we find the legendary Coachella, where movie stars wander the matted valley grasses during April, listening to the sonic tribulations of pop kings and queens. And in one week, beyond the dunes of Death Valley, farther south than the Four Corners, and just off Interstate 35 in the city limits of Austin, Texas, you will find South By Southwest (SXSW).
SXSW isn't just a festival, though; it's a slam-dancing genre party where techies go to gab about the wild world of multimedia, where film junkies look for that big break and, with as many as 2,000 bands at 90 venues, where musicians and fans alike descend into what has become one of the largest music gatherings in the world.
But don't feel left out in the cold, Seattle. At least three of our own will be making the trek from north to south to represent our name in music:
Wild Orchid Children: Slightly theatric, though sonorously serious, WOC is a wave of straight rock pummeled with hail stones of tribal drums and folklike realism. Occasionally dabbling in Seattle's current hotbed, the band's guitar will sometimes drift in and out of rockabilly-esque episodes before, during and after their jam-band tendencies show themselves. Live, these guys tend to use up to three drum sets, leaving us to wonder just how big their van will have to be as they make their way south. You can catch their frantic set live, post-SXSW, at El Corozon, March 27.
Tea Cozies: Though these guys (well, three women and one man) don't hail originally from Seattle, this quartet of Colorado transplants are of near-local status musically. The Tea Cozies are all about fun: They act fun, they sound fun -- heck, they even play fun when they aren't being absolutely serious musicians who know exactly how to put on a good show. Their sound is pop with a side of rock, though what might be the coolest about them is that their songs are completely danceable. With the instincts of Joan Jett, the Tea Cozies drive an audience into silence when they need to and pound you into oblivion when they don't. And, hey, who doesn't like a band whose name reminds you of Grandma's snoring?
The Horde and the Harem: The Horde and the Harem is a band whose music continues to propel itself entirely on the enjoyment of playing. It is evident in the lyrics and the way in which they're sung, in the instrumentation and the way the musicians play, and it is evident in the quadratic core of four-part harmony present for the entirety of each song. If the dodging dirge of rhythmic mathematics could ever let you down, the drummer in this band certainly won't. He lets out gut-busting cadences that drive the whole thing down the street like a slumbering elephant, teetering to the brink of disaster before choreographed turns take him in a new direction. We think these guys will have the most fun on their trip to Austin. Tonight, find them at The Sunset for a 9:30pm set.
SXSW post #1: The Preview and Q&A - March 11, 2011
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Among the Seattle acts I'll be trailing: Hip-hop act Shabazz Palaces, jangle-rock band Tea Cozies, f...Among the Seattle acts I'll be trailing: Hip-hop act Shabazz Palaces, jangle-rock band Tea Cozies, folk band The Head and the Heart and UW dance-music duo Beat Connection.
Led by dueling singer/guitarists Brady Harvey and Jessi Reed, Tea Cozies makes energetic pop rock. The band supplied theme music for Seattle director Lynn Shelton's "$5 Cover" series for MTV, but is still largely unknown. Harvey hopes to correct that at SXSW:
"I think our number one reason [for playing SXSW] is exposure. It seems like a really good way to get your music out to a lot of different kinds of people, and a lot of those people are writers, and labels, and other rad bands. And fans."
Song of the Day: Tea Cozies - Dead Man's Sister - March 4, 2011
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As we wrap up the KEXP Spring Membership Drive we’ve had the chance to hear what KEXP means to our l...As we wrap up the KEXP Spring Membership Drive we’ve had the chance to hear what KEXP means to our listeners and our volunteers who help power KEXP. Today we get to hear from a local artist who donated their new self-released single to KEXP listeners via the Song of the Day podcasts. These podcasts are a great way to check out new music from your favorite artists as well as find new favorite artists recommended by KEXP DJs.
One such artist is Seattle’s Tea Cozies who are a perfect blend of Brit Pop goodness mixed with the wit and swagger of garage rockers around the world. They first hit the scene with their Erik Blood-produced debut album Hot Probs in 2009. Lead by Jessi Reed and Brady Harvey (who have known each other since high school), the band is well-known for their high-energy, high-fun live shows and sweetly addicting songs which often feature oooohs and handclaps. Today’s song is a sneak peak at new material by the group which seems to be incorporating some psychedelic elements into their repertoire. Jessi and crew took a few minutes to share some info about this song and what they hope to get out of their upcoming trip to Austin, TX, for their first SXSW experience.
We’re nearing the end of the KEXP membership drive. What can you tell our listeners about KEXP’s role in your lives?
KEXP is immensely important to us. For one, it’s super supportive of local bands. KEXP has played a huge part in getting our name out there among the thousands of other talented bands in this region. The fact that an unsigned band can get international airplay on this station is pretty incredible. Because of you guys, we have fans in countries we’ve never set foot in and probably can’t find on a map without google. Like, Australia (SIKE. we don’t have fans there.) KEXP is magical, like a fairy… eating a unicorn.
Are you guys working on a new album or were you just getting this song out of your system?
We’re working on material for our next release, which will either be in the form of an EP or an album. We’ve just been writing and recording like crazy… hopefully getting some people excited about the new stuff while we’re down at SXSW. We can’t wait to get back in the studio.
What’s your songwriting process? Is there a primary songwriter or is it pretty collaborative?
Songs originate with either Jessi or Brady. We usually record a demo version on GarageBand, then bring it to the band to work through it as a collective. We write a lot of lyrics on the bus.
What can you tell me about “Dead Man’s Sister?”
(Jessi) — I wrote this song after watching the movie On the Waterfront for the first time. The lyrics are inspired by that story and I wanted the overall vibe to feel really cold and angular. In contrast, the reverby chorus “oooh ooohs” are kind of the empathy of the song, or the sister from the film. It’s sort of a sad song, but we all come out alright in the end. (… except the dead man.)
What’s the story behind the upcoming video? (also if you could touch on when you think it will be available that would be great too)
We just saw a rough cut today and it’s looking pretty incredible. The concept of the video is rock-n-roll concert + 60s sci-fi b-movie. It was really fun to shoot. The film crew we worked with, Loaded Pictures are incredible and came up with this insane story line. I don’t want to give too much away, but there are some hardcore dance sequences and ray guns involved. The video drops Monday, March 14.
Glad to hear you are heading to SXSW! What are you doing to mentally and physically prepare yourselves for the total insanity that is SXSW (i.e. what are you doing in your “Rocky”-style montage??)
I bought a travel sized thesaurus and purple cowboy boots… and my mom sent us a map of Texas. We also bought sunglasses. We’re making lots of lists, like lists of bands to see, places to check out, taco trucks to find. We’ve started speaking in a southern drawl and drinking whiskey out of boot-shaped glasses. In case we get heckled, we’re preparing some Texas sized retorts. Like, if someone said “don’t mess with texas” we’d say “don’t bash wah-shington.” We might get shot.
We hope not!
The Tea Cozies just played the SXSW Kick-Off Party & Musician’s Bazaar with D. Black, Wild Orchid Children, and State of the Artist and they are ready to head down to Austin for SXSW. For folks heading to Texas this year you can catch them for free at the Lovely Hearts Club showcase on 3/17 at Uncorked Wine Bar or the SXSeattle Party on 3/18. The line-up is incredible and includes Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Fences, Campfire OK, The Physics, The Redwood Plan, and more. More info can be found on their Facebook page.
In the meantime, here they are from last year’s Concerts at the Mural performing “The South Turned Him Sour.”
Another Rainy Saturday's kickoff party, starring Tea Cozies - January, 17 2011
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“Tea cozies are such an unnecessary thing, they’re like stockings you put on your teapot” jokes Jess...“Tea cozies are such an unnecessary thing, they’re like stockings you put on your teapot” jokes Jessi Reed, one of the two frontwomen for the fantastic Seattle indie pop/rock band that took their name from those unnecessary teapot stockings.
Few bands are as fun as Tea Cozies. They have very catchy pop sounds with a sly sense of humor and overt hooks. The Stranger called the band “a pillow fight gone right” and that seems accurate. Their songs are catchy and addictive and often very funny. The often cite Brit pop as their main influence and a quick search on YouTube will yield several different live Elastica covers. I met the two frontwomen of Tea Cozies, Jessi Reed and Brady Harvey for an interview last week to discuss the band and it’s history and its quite obvious that they are as funny off stage as their are on and on record. (For example, on asking about working with producer Erik Blood, Reed said “he sounds like he’s an evil genius because of his name, but he’s actually very sweet.”)
The band formed several years ago, when Reed and Harvey were high school friends and met original drummer Kelly Viergutz in their hometown of Fort Collins, Colorado. Reed moved to Seattle first and Harvey and Viergutz followed shortly after. In Colorado, Reed explains, “We used by called Kesque, which is from the Talking Heads song ‘Psycho Killer’. It is French for ‘what is this?’ We originally spelled it the French way, which was impossible for anyone who wasn’t French to know what we were saying. I don’t know if we were trying to be pretentious or what.” She added “We changed the name to the Americanized spelling and then when we moved to Seattle we thought ‘this name sucks’”.
The name that they decided didn’t suck came about, according to Reed, when “I think we were trying to think of something that paid tribute to our influences, which were British bands. It wasn’t a very interesting story. I think we were sitting at someone’s computer and someone said ‘cozy’ someone else said ‘tea cozy’ and we all laughed.”
When I wrote the review of their first LP, Hot Probs, for Three Imaginary Girls almost two years ago, I noted, “On the band’s bio, they list artists like Talking Heads, Can, Pixies and Stereolab as influences and their one-sheet bio features a quote comparing them to The Breeders and PJ Harvey. All fine artists and ones I’d want to be compared to, sure, but really, Tea Cozies have a lot more fun. And so do their listeners.” What I didn’t write enough about at the time was the musicianship the band has. Both Reed and Harvey are excellent guitarists and songwriters with a top-notch rhythm section to complement them. Bassist Jeff Anderson, a converted guitarist, completed the quartet with the three ladies from Colorado and drummer Garrett Croxon, who played in previous bands like Fleet Foxes and The Little Penguins, joined later, replacing Viergutz.
The most recent item involving the band that may have gotten the band the most attention yet is when they were featured in filmmaker Lynn Shelton’s web series “$5 Cover: Seattle”. In one episode, Reed and Harvey enter a guitar shop where a chauvinistic sales clerk assumed that their manager at the time, Troy Nelson (now in the acclaimed band The Young Evils and is a DJ on KEXP), was the one looking for equipment, not the women in actually in the band.
On meeting Shelton at a show at the Comet, Reed said “I was sitting on the ground putting my pedals away and this lady sat next to me and started talking to me about this documentary thing and gave me her card and left. I remember that everyone was asking me about what was she like and and if she seemed serious and was for real. I said that she sat on the ground next to me and that’s a good sign. A lot of people are too fancy to sit on the dirty floor.”
Of that experience, Harvey said “Talking to her, she’s so genuine and hilarious and she believed in [the project] so much that we believed in it too. Everyone who worked on it was just super cool and laid back. It didn’t feel like it was very corporate. It was very home-grown and it was all local people working on it.” She said they loved the experience because “The bands we met, we hadn’t heard before because our genres don’t usually mingle, like Champagne Champagne or The Maldives or THEESatisfaction. It was cool because we did become friends and start going to each others shows.”
Meeting Nelson turned out to be a lucky break for Tea Cozies, and not just because he became their manager shortly thereafter. Reed explains bringing their debut, self-titled EP into a record store for consignment with an endearing sense of naivete in hindsight, “We didn’t know what we were doing so we just thought we’d bring this CD right into the record store and sell it. We went in to Easy Street and gave it to the guy working there and he was nonchalant about it but said he’d listen to it and see if they could sell it. That night they played it on KEXP and we were like ‘what? How did that happen?’ We didn’t give it to them. We were freaking out. The guy on the radio said that someone came in and gave it to him. We were like ‘what a liar, we didn’t give it to him!’ and then we realized it was the guy from the record store, DJ Troy.”
Tea Cozies have several new songs that have yet to be released but plan to record them and release them in some form this year. “We’re trying to figure it out but something will definitely happen this year with those new songs,” Jessi Reed says. If the single they released on January 1 (“Dead Man’s Sister”) is any indication, it’ll represent another big step forward after the excellent Hot Probs. Brady Harvey concurs and loves the new songs and says “Our new songs are pretty fierce. They’re really good and will be good to have in a bundle at some juncture.”
$5 Cover is totally worth the price of admission - December 14, 2010
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Perhaps in an effort to quell the complaints that MTV no longer features, ya know, music, they are l...Perhaps in an effort to quell the complaints that MTV no longer features, ya know, music, they are launching a brand new webseries called "$5 Cover: Seattle" which is a fascinating docudrama about the Seattle music scene that not only features oodles and oodles of killer performances, but it's directed by the brilliant Lynn Shelton.
In anticipation of tomorrow's debut, PopWrap got a sneak peek at one of the featured bands -- Tea Cozies -- performing our favorite song from the series, "Pretty Pages."
ROBERT CHRISTGAU Consumer Guide - February 2010
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Tea Cozies 'Hot Probs' (So Hard) Such as getting mauled by bears, getting overwhelmed by Paris, an...Tea Cozies
'Hot Probs' (So Hard)
Such as getting mauled by bears, getting overwhelmed by Paris, and foreseeing the end of grrrlpop civilization as they know it ("Huffy Walrus," "Paris Syndrome").
Celebrating Seattle, 'City of Music' with Fleet Foxes, The Maldives, Tea Cozies - October 15, 2009
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While there were good performances during the awards ceremony, like all awards shows the afterparty ...While there were good performances during the awards ceremony, like all awards shows the afterparty was where the real action was to be found. It included a set by The Tea Cozies, a jangle-pop garage-rock band that was more upbeat and energetic than anything during the preceding two hours. Unfortunately by the time The Tea Cozies took the stage the Showbox had almost emptied. But the handful of folks who stuck around were treated to a fun, playful set by a young group with plenty of potential.
Unfortunately there was no hip hop celebrated in the form of an award Wednesday (maybe next year?) but local hip hop was in the house. Tilson of party-rap group The Saturday Knights along with Champagne Champagne members Pearl Dragon and Thomas Gray were up front and center in the crowd rocking out to the Tea Cozies. It is great that Seattle supports the music community with Seattle City of Music, but it is better that the scene supports itself. That’s something that comes more naturally than scented candles and a red carpet at the Showbox.
Tea Cozies Are So Good, Passersby Outside the Venue Stop to Dance on the Sidewalk - October 5, 2009
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While the Bit Saloon was packed to capacity during the Tea Cozies' set last night, that's not what w...While the Bit Saloon was packed to capacity during the Tea Cozies' set last night, that's not what was most remarkable about the whole thing. Even though everyone in the venue obviously loved the Tea Cozies' poppy garage rock, the people who showed the most enthusiasm weren't in the venue at all, but were actually outside on the sidewalk behind the stage, peering in the windows. After sizing up the situation, those people stuck around for half the set, throwing down dance moves out there on the street with more enthusiasm than anyone in the venue itself -- mainly because there wasn't any space to dance inside. The place was quite literally filled to bursting. Best of all, the band played my favorite song from their debut full-length, "Behind the Glass Eye," live for the first time, rendering their set one of my favorites of the entire festival.
REVERB: Tea Cozies: Bean Team - September 29, 2009
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Bouncing between quirk and mayhem with a bubblegum-punk quartet. "I'm Brady, and I like to giggle...Bouncing between quirk and mayhem with a bubblegum-punk quartet.
"I'm Brady, and I like to giggle."
"I'm Jessi, and I like to frown."
"I'm Kelly. I don't like anything."
In person, the Tea Cozies make the same first impression as their debut record, Hot Probs: charming, funny, unapologetically tongue-in-cheek. The band—drummer Kelly Viergutz, guitarists and frontwomen Jessi Reed and Brady Harvey, and bassist Jeff Anderson (who was in New York City at the time of this interview)—is equal parts garage rock and '60s girl group, punk and bubblegum, Blur and Bikini Kill. As always, it's the pretty pop sheen that sucks you in first, then the clever lyrics.
"Corner Store Girls," a catchy, saccharine ditty about prowling for boys, is the record's most approachable song. What's not to love about girl-group harmonies, a catchy synth organ hook, and lines like "Boardwalk boys always get fake names"? Hot Probs is packed with funny one-liners: "Told Mom and Dad I can't do the dishes/Now I gotta, now I gotta sleep with the fishes." The Tea Cozies' adorable quirks even extend to a baffling preoccupation with Steven Spielberg, unceremoniously told to go fuck himself on Hot Probs' first track, "Boys at the Metro."
"I hate Jaws," Reed explains. "It made me fear the ocean because of sharks, but it also made me fear fresh water because of the part where the shark goes into that bay and eats that kid off the boogie board."
Sure, these girls can write cute, clever songs, but when the band addresses their fears, it suddenly sounds less like pop and more like art, as on Hot Probs' apocalyptic last song, "Behind the Glass Eye." "[I wrote that] when I was riding the bus home every day during rush hour and was imagining the end of the world and meteors smashing into everything," Reed says. "I have recurring nightmares about the apocalypse."
Bouncing between cotton-candy pop and three-chord punk-rock mayhem might seem like an amateur move, but the Tea Cozies have cultivated a distinct sound that binds the record together—whether Harvey's shrieking into the microphone like a banshee or Reed's crooning about the end of the world. "To me, the best type of album is the kind that you can make seven different kinds of mixtapes from," Reed says.
"Sometimes I love listening to Nick Drake, and I just want to listen to an album that feels the same from the beginning to the end. But I really like an album that has a total jellybean mix of different kinds of songs in the same sound that you can pull apart, but together they sound amazing, too."
Tea Cozies - HOT PROBS album review - July 10, 2009
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Tea Cozies - Hot Probs so hard records A- If the sound of blistering guitars on the opening tra...Tea Cozies - Hot Probs
so hard records
If the sound of blistering guitars on the opening track, "Boys at the Metro," doesn't get a listener's attention, the "hey!" shouts will make it clearly known that Seattle's Tea Cozies are not willing to go unnoticed. Following a 5-song EP, which received airplay on Seattle's KEXP and numerous Internet radio stations, Tea Cozies continue to deliver an enticing mix of '60s girl pop and swirling garage rock on their full-length debut, Hot Probs.
With sweet harmonies and 3/4ths of the band being female, Tea Cozies possess the raw sound similar to that of bands like Vivian Girls, but the energy is at a much higher level and more likely to provoke people to dancing. While there are plenty of angelic seesaw rhythms and cute lyrics, such as, "I had a boy and he had a bike and we got along real nice," vocalists Jessi Reed and Brady Harvey are also witty and sharp-tongued. Pop culture icons Steven Spielberg, Oscar Wilde, Fred Astaire and Mary Shelley find their way into songs among words of wisdom, which reveal, "Even pretty pages crack in old books/ You can't rely on your good looks."
The music arrangements are just as interesting to listen to as the lyrics. Tea Cozies have a standard rock set-up -- with two guitars, bass, drums, and the occasional organ -- but they manage to incorporate unexpected twists and turns into songs. "Like Luca Brasi" switches back and forth from an upbeat pace to a dreamy stride, which happens a bit sudden but still sounds seamless. The song, which is about a girl who is hesitant to go swimming while on a trip with friends, but is convinced to do so and ends up drowning, summarizes the band pretty well. However, unlike the girl in the story who did not listen to her instincts, Tea Cozies are very instinctive. The band members are loud and forceful when they feel the need and slow it down if they get the urge, which adds a lot of diversity to the album.
For every straightforward pop track on Hot Probs, there is one rocking garage or soothing psychedelic track to counteract the sugary goodness. "Corner Store Girls" can be best described as bibbity bop as images of bunnies hopping in meadows, bees buzzing in gardens, and couples rollerskating at the boardwalk come to mind. The song is followed by "The South Turned Him Sour," which contains rich and gritty sounds of roller derbies and hot rod racing.
Toward the end of the album, the music loses a bit of momentum as songs become slower and more psychedelic. There are some instances where the vocalists sound bored, but that could be mistaken with bravado. Even as the songs slow down, there is a strong aura of confidence, but it is never pretentious.
Reviewed by: KARLA HERNÁNDEZ.
Tea Cozies: Choose Your Own - January 28, 2010
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Seattle band Tea Cozies are undeniable. Sly with garage tendencies of rock and pop, their Noir fire,...Seattle band Tea Cozies are undeniable. Sly with garage tendencies of rock and pop, their Noir fire, she to she vocals make Twister mat anthems. Guitar-synth smarts see the scooter mow down the 18-wheeler road hog. The combo of Jessi Reed and Brady Harvey is a pillow fight gone right. A catchy-catch pair of dashing choose your own adventure vigor.
Tea Cozies: “Boys at the Metro”
Choose your own adventure, as in:
- If you think the marks are worth trying to decode, turn to pg. 23
- If you reject Silas’s advice, and continue on, ignoring the voice, turn to pg. 32
- If you go straight to Prague, turn to pg. 38
- If you hide behind the curtain and wait, turn to page 46
I met Tea Cozies at a lodge, in the study, and we sat on a seven by seven foot ottoman:
Where did you record “Boys at the Metro? With who?
We recorded it at MRX with Blood. Erik Blood. We ate lots of Taco Del Mar that day I'm sure since that's what we eat every day. Erik was probably chain-smoking while playing the tambourine and looking important.
Talk about the sounds in the song.
The vocals are minimal and shouty with some mega phone. Drums and bass were recorded to tape and then dumped into Pro Tools. Erik made them sound pretty huge and evil. The guitars have delay and reverb with some crunchy distortion. They're on opposing beats to symbolize our constant inner-band battle for guitar solo supremacy. All of us hand clapped throughout, except Jeff (Anderson). It was a real team building experience.
What influenced the song?
Wine? The lyrics were all haikus at one point until we forgot about that and just started hating on Spielberg. Drunk people like it.
What’s the song about?
What was the hardest part about recording it?
The length of it. Due to the handclapping required.
If you were about to be mauled by a water buffalo, what would you do?
We would look it in the eye and tell it that it's beautiful. Then it would maul us passionately.
If you could be any mythical creature, what would you be?
A gnome, so we could be tiny and ride foxes.
Talk about the basement where you all rehearse.
We just moved in to this new place and it’s probably haunted. The house came with a framed picture of bamboo and tons of science books about leaves and earthquake statistics and medical journals. We think it’s probably the former abode of a hermit professor. The basement is huge with really low ceilings. No jumping for joy allowed.
How do you soundproof it?
We used the science books.
How does it smell down there?
Like mildew and knowledge.
Do you get complaints from the neighbors?
They haven't talked to us yet but one of them smiled at me when I locked myself out. In our last house we used to get passive aggressive notes on our doorstep about our "alternative schedules" and how other people "had studying to do."
Is the basement really creepy, or just partially creepy?
It's really partially creepy.
Whats coming up for Tea Cozies?
We're playing a secret haunted house party in March and a SXSW kickoff here in Seattle at the new Hard Rock on March 3rd. We’re mainly working on stuff for our new album. Email us for details about the ghost party if you like.
BRING THE HEAT: John in the Morning (KEXP) picks the soundtrack for your summer - June 2009
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In June's Seattle Sound Magazine, KEXP DJ John Richards picks out five NW bands to listen to this su...In June's Seattle Sound Magazine, KEXP DJ John Richards picks out five NW bands to listen to this summer. Check it:
BRING THE HEAT
"I'm not going to lie to you: When I see a name like that, I assume bad things. Of course, I thought that when a band named Death Cab For Cutie gave me its first release. This band brings to mind early Breeders or Elastica, and there ain't nothing cozy about that."
Sets can be between 30 mins and 1.5 hours.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.