Bronwen Exter
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Bronwen Exter


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"Delightfully Dark"

"Delightfully Dark Lounge Sweetness"

Where NOW staffers will be during NXNE

NXNE 2007 Critics' Pick!

Also featured in the NXNE delegate's official catalog with a half page unsolicited photograph announcing
- NOW Toronto

"Ithaca Times Interview"

Homeward Bound
By: Natasha Li Pickowicz

This Saturday, Ithaca native Bronwen Exter will play her first concert in Ithaca. Exter and her supporting band regularly play in Manhattan, especially around her neighborhood in the East Village. This Saturday, though, Exter and her band will leave the city to headline a show at Castaways.
Exter recently released her debut album, Elevator Ride, in September of 2006. Joined by a backing band that includes her brother, Trevor, on cello and vocals, Exter mostly plays songs written by guitarist and songwriter Jonathan Spottiswoode, who is also her partner and band member.

The down-tempo songs of Elevator Ride - highlighted by Exter's husky, reverb-heavy vocals - are noir-tinged, ethereal and spare. Exter has been compared to singers Astrud Gilberto and Hope Sandoval, but her dark good looks and warm pop songs really remind us of local favorite Mary Lorson.

We took a moment to speak with Exter about growing up in Ithaca, her hopes for the future, and the last time she was featured in the Ithaca Times.

Ithaca Times: Are you nervous for your first show in Ithaca?

Bronwen Exter: I'm really excited. I've wanted to play in Ithaca for a while, but I wanted to wait for the right moment - I've never actually gone out of town with this band before.

IT: Did you wait to pursue music until you were living in NYC?

Exter: I've always been a musician. In Ithaca, I studied violin - I even played in an ensemble at the Ithaca Festival. There was even a picture and story about me and my violin in the Ithaca Times when I was seven or eight! (Laughs) It's really embarrassing. But I didn't start playing the guitar until I was 22, and I didn't start writing songs until a few years ago. So it's definitely evolved over different forms. I really like where I am now.

IT: When you were growing up, did you play music with your brother, Trevor?

Exter: Only if we were forced to. (Laughs) To tell you the truth, he's a lot better than I am. He can play all the instruments, he's really amazing to collaborate with. I just played a show with him last night [in Park Slope], and it was one of the first times we've played exclusively as a duo. Trevor really hears things in my songs, and he adds so much.

IT: Are you planning to release a CD of your own songs?

Exter: Oh yes. I'm still writing songs, but I have enough for a full record. I have three sounds that I'm working on at the moment - a lounge garage band sound with the whole band; the duo with Trevor, which is spare, acoustic, really delicate, and I like that. I also have a project with this guy Boots in Brooklyn, and that's primarily electronic.

It's funny, I'm trying to work on the electronic sound through playing band shows. I'm trying to find the meeting point between those two, so it can be more of a hybrid. But I'm definitely moving in the direction of another record where I have more authorship.

IT: What will your sound be like this weekend?

Exter: The intrumentation will be drums, cello, electric guitar, and an acoustic guitar. I really like our sound, it's a little bit of a James Bond-retro thing, in my imagination, anyway. (Laughs) It's supposed to be cool, and not that earnest.

IT: These days, whom do you call your musical heroes and inspirations?

Exter: Lately, Peggy Lee and Billie Holiday for their singing. I love Tom Waits and Lhasa de Sela. Regina Spektor, Martha Wainwright, Sufjan Stevens, they're all current artists that I find really inspiring. There's a lot of great stuff out there!

IT: Do you miss living in Ithaca?

Exter: Well, I just saw Sim Redmond play at the Bowery Ballroom, and it was fantastic. So the worlds can collide really nicely. And I live in the East Village, which is really nice because you can really get a sense of community walking around. That said, I love Ithaca. I would love to live in Ithaca again.

Bronwen Exter will play at Castaways this Saturday, June 9. The Void Union will open. The show will begin at 9pm. For more info,

- Ithaca Times

"Hip Noir-ish Songs"

“Now based in New York, Exter recently released an excellent CD, ‘Elevator Ride.’ It’s full of hip, noir-ish songs that ooze atmosphere and sensuality.”
– Jim Catalano, Ithaca Journal (6/07)

Full Article Here: - Ithaca Journal

"Exter's Voice is a Warm Mist"

"On her début album, 'Elevator Ride,' Bronwen Exter's voice is like a warm mist capable of obscuring all of life's problems. " - THE NEW YORKER

"A Trip Your Ears Will Want to Take Again and Again"

OK, picture this: Lou Reed and Astrud Gilberto have a baby. She’s raised by the band Mazzy Star until the age of 16, when she falls in love with James Bond and runs away to Argentina. Got it? The soundtrack for this story is the music of New York resident Bronwen Exter. Hypnotizing you with her husky, half-whispered vocals, she’ll thrill you with the mixture of samba, tango and NYC cool, and entice you with lyrics about dreams, pain and roads from the moon to the sun.

To the instrumental foundation of bass, drums and guitar, Exter adds organ, piano, trumpet and saxophone. The work of songwriter and producer (and one-time PS DIY artist) Jonathan Spottiswoode is evident in the offbeat yet refined sound. From the refreshingly eccentric lyrics to the creative arrangements, Elevator Ride will be a trip your ears will want to take again and again.

- Performing Songwriter (Top 12 DIY Pick 100th issue, March/ April 2007) - PERFORMING SONGWRITER

"Narcotic Tranquility & Tragic Nightmare"

"Exter possesses a breathy, ethereal singing voice that is reminiscent of Rickie Lee Jones and the Cowboy Junkies Margo Timmins. Elevator Ride is full of enchanting tales of scorned women, the Deep South, and intoxicating tropical nights, with Exter's voice creating alternating senses of narcotic tranquility and tragic nightmare ... Basically, if you don't like this album, then there's something wrong with you."

BreakThru Radio - BREAK THRU RADIO

"Haunting Voice Echoing With Obscure Emotional Implications"

"New York vocalist Exter possesses a rich, breathy voice, and on this disc she applies it to fourteen songs written by pop dramatist Jonathan Spottiswoode. As a good interpreter should, she uncovers a new perspective on the material, her haunting voice echoing with obscure emotional implications. With the smooth-rock backing, it's something like an old Chris Isaak disc, providing a blurred but pleasing melancholy."

- On Tap Magazine - On Tap Magazine

"Beautiful Woman with a Lush Voice"

"A beautiful woman with a lush voice sings the songs of Jonathan Spottiswoode. Got a problem with that? I didn't think so. ... I love it loads."

- Aiding & Abetting - AIDING & ABETTING


Elevator Ride - LP (2006, Grantham Dispatch)



"On her debut album, 'Elevator Ride,' Bronwen Exter's voice is like a warm mist capable of obscuring all of life's problems. "- THE NEW YORKER



EXTER's debut CD, Elevator Ride, is the Beauty and the Beast-like collaboration of two downtown rockers and a sultry ingenue.

It is at once visceral and sophisticated.

Co-produced by Kenny Siegal (Johnny Society) and Jonathan Spottiswoode (Spottiswoode & His Enemies), it brings together the trademark rawness and punchiness of Siegal, the noir cinema of Spottiswoode's songwriting, and the breathy vulnerability of Exter's singing.

The youngest granddaughter of a Ukrainian communist, a Disneyland-tire maker, an Yves St. Laurent wedding dress model and the Chief Statistician for President Lyndon Johnson, Bronwen's life has always been filled with stories and characters.

In early 2005, Exter surveyed the downtown music scene in New York and drew together the two most maniacally-talented musical geniuses she could find: the brooding, prolific Englishman Jonathan Spottiswoode of NYC cult underground band Spottiswoode and His Enemies, and Kenny Siegal, force of nature, and ringleader of NYC rock and roll favorites Johnny Society.

During the following year, they spent weekends and school holidays in Catskill, NY, inside the haunted house and organ museum that is Old Soul Studios. With Brian Geltner (no shortage of grace or lunacy) on drums, and engineering genius Tom Schick (Ryan Adams, Rufus Wainwright, Norah Jones) at the controls, they made Elevator Ride.

Several of Spottiswoode's Enemies ended up making appearances, and Miss Exter's big brother Trevor sprinkled on some backing vocals and cello right before they finished.

The result is the fresh but retro debut, Elevator Ride, named for a suicidal lyric that evokes, for Exter, the moments before a socialite's tumble from the top of a skyscraper.

Bronwen is a Finalist in the Independent Music Awards for Best Pop/ Rock Song for "Trust What You Feel" which was featured earlier this year on ABC TV's "Six Degrees."

Otherwise written and arranged by Spottiswoode, Elevator Ride concludes with Bronwen Exter's first recorded song "Float." The track is dark but breezy, bringing the record to a haunting close that anticipates a lush second project, already in the works.

For Further Information Please Contact:

Amanda Case
AIC Entertainment