Boy Things
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Boy Things

Hackettstown, New Jersey, United States | SELF

Hackettstown, New Jersey, United States | SELF
Band Rock Punk

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"Indie band Boy Things is a new group out of Hackettstown, New Jersey."

Indie band Boy Things is a new group out of Hackettstown, New Jersey, hitting the road on tour and mastering their latest EP. To find out what they are all about, I spoke to the band about their history, style and what is launching them into the music scene.

The Name: “Choosing a band name was along and tedious process. We actually made a Facebook thread among the band members to post suggestions, but all of them were terrible. Before practices, Eric used to jokingly yell in a girly voice, “Let’s do boy things!” So, we adopted it as our band name. We think it reflects our band’s weird sense of humor”.

The Members: “Eric, our drummer, is the oldest member at 22. Adam and Vince, the guitarist and bassist, are both 20. Beth, our vocalist and Blake, our vocalist/keyboardist, are both 19”.

The Influences: “One of the coolest things about our band is that our members come from a diverse musical background. For this EP, here’s where we thought our influences lied: Vince-Tokyo Police Club, Los Campesinos!; Adam- Foals; Eric- RX Bandits; Beth- Amy Winehouse, Dirty Projectors; Blake- Of Montreal.”

Their History. “The first time the group met together was in the later part of high school, around 2009. However, Beth and Blake have been friends since elementary school, and Eric has known them through their older brothers since the same time. Adam and Vince have been best friends for 17 years, they met in preschool.”

The Background Story:“After hearing how the band formed, you’d probably say that it’s a miracle we’re still together. Unbeknownst to Adam and Vince, Eric initially used them as spies to check up on his high school girlfriend during his fleeting relationship. Eric used band practice to get his weekly reconnaissance. Vince met Blake through jazz band, and Vince invited him to join the band. Everyone was friends with Beth from school, but we didn’t add her to the group until we decided on not using a male vocalist from the high school’s choir (Sorry Beth!).

Everyone has also played in projects before Boy Things. Eric has been an active member in the New Jersey punk scene since his early teens. His most well know punk project was Legitimate Business, also out of Hackettstown. Adam and Vince first started playing together in Three Flaming Axes from Hell and Back, a faux-emo band. Believe it or not, they also played in a Third Eye Blind cover band. Beth played sporadic shows by herself since the age of 12, including open mic’s, school talent shows, and some local festivals. Any attempt to make or join a band did not work for Beth until Boy Things. Blake has been playing piano and keyboard at home and in the school band since he was a little kid.”

Their Style: “We normally describe our music as “indie with an edge.” Our first couple songs were written before Beth joined the band and didn’t have lyrics- they were never released. Our first song as a group was “Circuits,” which was released on our first EP that was recorded by ourselves. It’s still up on our Facebook page.”

The Songs: “The songs always start with the music. For a majority of the songs, everyone writes their own parts off of a riff or a few chords. Beth writes a majority of the lyrics, and Blake writes almost all of the lyrics he sings. Many of the songs are character based songs and most are about relationships, romantic or otherwise.”

The Challenges: “Our biggest challenge as a band is our geographical separation. For the majority of the year, our bassist goes to college in Portland, OR. Our drummer recently started graduate school in NYC, and the rest of our members are attending school in NJ. We do our best to overcome the distance and school work by sending each other demos over the internet and playing shows over school breaks. We’re looking forward to the year we can play together full time!”

Their Goals: “Of course we’d love to be rich and famous, but we play in the band because it’s our passion. If people like our music, it’s a nice bonus for us!”

Their Outside Interests. “Let’s see… I wouldn’t say it’s very cool, but we love to play German board games. I think between all of us we’ve easily played over 1000 games of the Settlers of Catan. When we’re not sending each other new demos over the internet, you can probably find us in the online Catan community playing games or having a drink in the Catan tavern.”

How to Learn More:“At the current moment in time, you can listen to our first EP on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/boythings) and live performances on our YouTube page (www.youtube.com/boythingsband).” Keep an eye out for the new EP, which should be out by this October!

-Published in The Thoma, St. Thomas Aquinas College’s Newspaper, October 2011. - St. Thomas Aquinas College/Each Touch Belongs To Each New Sound


"Oh you guys.. YES – Boy Things."

I like my fans, on the face. Semi weird calling them fan’s because probably just under a 1/3 of them are my mates, so not really fans – as obligated mates.

But nonetheless – I like them. And one of the reasons I like them is because they are chatty. They send me things – and post obscure whatevers on my wall, and that my friends is nice. We are mates. We should be friends – I spam your feed often enough, we should get along.

So my mate Mei (fan and also mate – and yes, I say mate) sent this to me by way of my wall, like a month ago. I meant to post it, but then I got distracted – and life happened, and I forgot. Well life is not currently happening – and now I have remembered. YAY!

Intro Boy Things. I thought they were so wonderfully UK’ish which then made me want to pack my bags and move there. But I wouldn’t do that because music from the US/ Canada is pretty epic also. and frankly – Australia has some pretty sassed out tunes as well, so maybe I should just head the fuck home and embrace my people.. If we are basing an international relocation on music alone – these are all valid points.

However it seems this team hails from New Jersey, like Ronnie and Snooki! YAY – nobody is relocating for this group, everyone is STAYING WHERE THEY ARE! - Lucy vs. The Globe


"Forget Genre: It has no place for Boy Things"

Presque vu is French for “almost seen,” a phrase that describes the tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon where a person is unable to recall some … what’s the word? Exactly. After listening to the newly released self-titled EP from Boy Things, a band barely ten shows into their career, most can reasonably be left feeling they aren’t sure how to describe the band. Even the band’s drummer, Eric Dryburgh, considers the band to be “some sort of indie pop punk.”

Let’s not say this is bad though. In fact, some of the best bands carry a unique sound that is hard to place in the modern musical schema; The Joy Formidable is considered “rock” by iTunes, which doesn’t well-enough account for their intensely orchestrated distortion jams and pigeon-holes them in the same category as Nickelback. Bands like Tokyo Police Club and the Weakerthans aren’t blessed with an unfairly distinguishing line – they get classified as both “alternative” and “punk.” Is the term alt-punk fair anymore, with any music swaying away from a Top 40 sound labeled alternative, and too many bands being called punk simply because of their youth? Forget genre. It has no place for Boy Things.

Clocking in at six songs, five of which are legitimate song length (track four, “Salutatorian,” is really only 25 seconds of unreasonably tight gang vocals), the Boy Things EP is truly one gem after the next, featuring Beth Hansen’s Joey Ramone style approach to singing, and her brother Blake occasionally stepping in as the counterpoint male voice, which he does in the opening song “Buyer’s Remorse.” Every song has a solid hook, be it a melody from guitarist Adam Cumiskey played in parallel with Beth, or simply the hell no-‘s in the final track “Life Support.”

Of them all, “Cannibals” stands out above the rest as a shining example of the direction the band should develop toward. The longest song on the EP, “Cannibals” is … what’s the word? Oh, perfect. From the upbeat introduction into Beth singing, “I fell in love with a cannibal,” to the clearest synth line on the album, to the guitar solo and gang vocals just before the three minute mark, the song is packed with every appreciable aspect of Boy Things. Not listening to it on repeat (for an hour or so) is a disservice to your own ears. Please treat them right.

Perhaps one of the more exciting truths of the band is their live performance. If you’re enjoying the EP, the band’s live set should knock them up a level on your must-see roster. Just this past Saturday, Boy Things played the opening set for Melissa & Paul‘s one year anniversary show at Bar 46 in Hackettstown, N.J. On top of sounding almost identical to their studio recording, the band’s energy is captivating; Beth never quits dancing, obviously digging her own band’s music, and Eric beats on his drum kit like a toy. And when Blake jumps off of his synthesizer to sing, he and Beth do not sing to the crowd, but each other, emphasizing the back and forth that the lyrics intend to portray. It’d be fair to ask why Adam and bassist Vince Rickey don’t move much, but until venues shell out the cash for a larger stage, neither of them have much room. As pillars, they do the audience a favor, providing a focal point in the middle of refined commotion.

Overall the band’s sound is forged in the fire of too much inspiration. It’s easy to pick out similarities with The Strokes, Motion City Soundtrack, The Weakerthans, and even the lesser celebrated Elf Power and The High Water Marks. With so many comparable bands, Boy Things is uniquely a group developed under serious inspirational synthesis. Knowing this, it will be hard to guess the future tonality that Boy Things will present. New music will be unmapped territory, and for N.J. musicians to not sound like every other musician in the Garden State is a serious credit.

The biggest disappointment of the EP is that it isn’t a full-length album (if only they’d doubled their efforts in studio!). It’s rare to see a freshman release with so much potential that the ears beg for more, but Boy Things has truly delivered a mighty six tracks. Considering that the album is free to download on bandcamp, it seems to be a fair trade. However, it may be in everyone’s best interest to drop the $3 on the EP if you catch them at a show. They’ll need money if you want more music, right? - Lamplighter


Discography

Made in Japan EP - (January 2011)
Boy Things - Self Title EP (October 2011)
Growing Up - (January 2012)

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Bio

Hey! We're Boy Things. Five friends, who met through a series of social mishaps and eventually formed an indie-pop band. Stylistically, we could just play indie-pop, but our drummer has deep roots in pop-punk and ska: an ex-member of Legitimate Business and The Tattle Tales. We could just play pop-punk, but our singers have a background of baroque-pop and indie-rock. We could just play indie-rock, but our bassist and guitarist have a love affair with math-rock. So that's Boy Things, a upbeat indie/punk-pop/rock soundish-thing backed by lyrics celebrating the emotionally strenuous and the innocently sophomoric tribulations of our youth. Check out our ep.