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Brooklyn, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Brooklyn, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Pop


This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



Publishes June 24, 2013 - Billboard

So this band Controller from New York sends over a nice email and their EP for us to check out. So I listen to it. Boy am I glad they sent their EP over. Thanks guys!

First thing I think of when I hear song one, ‘Kicking and Screaming’ is Gaslight Anthem which is plenty okay because I like them a whole lot. Then, bam, song number two, ‘Control’ comes on and I think U2. You could swear that was Bono in that chorus. And, low and behold, I look at the email sent over by Jonathan Bellinger telling us about his band and he says this: “We sound like a blend of Echo and the Bunnymen, early U2, The Who and the Buzzcocks.” No, really? Couldn’t tell. Okay, yes I could. I lied. But first and foremost I think, “Hey, this is pretty good stuff!”

This is a new band, and by new, I mean, they have been around since 2003. Confusing? Ya, it was to me too. So, here is the deal. Vocalist (and email writer) Jon Bellinger and guitarist Josh Shabtai used to play in….oh, screw it, he put it best, so here is what he wrote:

“The band traces its inception back to 2003, when Jonathan and Josh first began playing music together at a house party, spontaneously united by their shared love of punk, no wave, post punk, late 70's heavy metal music and video games. Playing loud and chaotic improvised sets at bars in NYC’s East Village throughout the early aughts, it wasn’t until they combined forces with Keith and Brian that the signature Controller sound fell into place. From the very first rehearsals, the band found its distinct balance at the intersection of punk ethos and pop music: passionate but disciplined, optimistic but dark and urgent; intimate and personal but sized for arenas. “

And there you have it. I couldn’t have written it better myself, which is why I didn’t. I know that seems lazy, and for that I apologize. I do wish I could have been at some of those early shows to be perfectly honest. Given the strength of their EP, I can imagine that those improvised sets were pretty intense, high energy events.

This is their first release, and it does not sound like a first one at all. That does make sense given their relatively lengthy history, but this does not have the sound or feel of a debut. This sounds like a mature, rounded band that is in control of its sound without stifling it. I suppose that is the “passionate but disciplined” part.

And these songs have gotten into my head completely. Controller makes catchy, sing-a-long-able songs and they make me happy. Now that doesn’t mean they are simple songs. That’s part of what is cool about them. These rich, layered, full, dynamic songs are still begging to be sung along with.

Their EP has probably been one of my favourite releases thus far this year, and I can see that lasting until 2014 easily. I love the sound and the energy these guys have. They have done a good job of capturing the energy that I would imagine would exist in their live show which is, as many people know, not an easy thing to do. It’s especially hard I think when there are such high production values like this EP has. Sometimes in the quest to make things sound this polished, the live feel gets completely lost. Not here. I really do wish I could have found a YouTube video or something of these guys performing, or better yet, at some point see them live myself.

Controller thus far is more than the Artist of the Day for me, but one of the artists of the year thus far. I know it’s only February but it’s going to be hard to uproot this one from my list.

Check out Controller on Facebook. You can get their self-titled EP on their bandcamp page and on Soundcloud. - Louder Than War

Controller is a stupid-good band out of Brooklyn, NYC. They just put out their very first EP and they're rocking a sweet show at The Studio at Webster Hall this weekend.

Full disclosure, you guys. Our friend Josh Shabtai is in this band. We've been friends for somewhere in the vicinity of 3 years now. For the last 8 months or so, he's been saying things like "Yo man! You should come to our show next week!" and "Yeah, we're working really hard recording some new stuff right now.". My only reaction was ever "Hah, cool man!". In all honesty, I didn't expect them to be any good. Not because Josh isn't a cool cat (he is), but because everyone has a band these days and I just didn't have any good gauge for his musical prowess. I dismissed him as just another bud with a band. Boy, was I wrong.

When the EP came out a few weeks ago, I almost peed myself. Controller possesses a truly unique sound. If you take The Gaslight Anthem, dip them in some pop-rock, and add a melodic vocal twang akin to U2, you kinda sorta get Controller's sound. This doesn't really do them justice, though. Their lyrics are easy to pick up and it's not hard to forget you're listening to the same 3 tracks on repeat. If you like honest rock 'n roll, you owe it to yourself to listen to the 3 track EP. It's free to stream and listen to, but if you like it, you should through a couple of bucks their way, as you should with any band you like. You can also find them on Facebook if you should be so inclined. Really looking forward to the show and hearing more from these fellas. Check 'em out and let us know what you think in the comments.
- Some Kind of Awesome

Brooklyn’s Controller are holding it down for all the rock heads out there who just like some guitar, drums, bass, and some lyrics sing along too when you are jumping in the pit. Or driving in the car. Or running in the sun. I recommend doing all 3 to “Make it Up”. You will live longer and die happier. “Kicking and Screaming” is a jam too. Gett all that and one more for name-your-price at their Bandcamp. Happy Friday! - The Burning Ear

We're newly obsessed with Controller's angular dance rock. We don't like to brag, but we get a lot of new music submissions at Buzzworthy. And as much as we'd like to make EVERYONE a STAHHHR, few bands have piqued our interest quite like NYC's Controller. Wanna know why? Well, call us jaded, but lately it seems like every Brooklyn band just wants to play sad sack, pastoral, manic pixie-approved indie rock. And while obviously we're major suckers for the aforementioned manic pixie indie rock, one listen to Controller's angular Bloc Party-meets-U2 dance rock has us yearning for, say, the year 2004 -- that far-away time when people actually lost their cool and danced to rock n' roll.

Controller is led by Jonathan Bellinger, who, as a Yale grad and the creative director of an Manhattan advertising agency, is kind of like a post-aughts Don Draper (if Don Draper didn't mind listening to The Beatles, that is). Although Controller is without a record label (to which we say, HOW?!) and does all of their own publicity (which should be easy when the leader's in advertising), the four-piece originally got their start in 2012 by playing around at neighborhood house parties, which eventually led to improvised sets at dive bars, which eventually led to recording their very first self-titled EP, released in February 2013.

Showcasing the band's heavy-hitting post-punk/no wave vibe, Controller's three-song EP is brief, but shows enormous promise (especially if you still lead most of your dance party mixes with anything by Bloc Party, Phoenix, or Joy Division). Starting with the brashly melodic "Kicking and Screaming," Bellinger's urgent vocals hit the perfect balance between Kele Okereke and very early Bono, followed by "Make It Up," which basically sounds like U2's "With Or Without You" making sweet, sweet love (TMI?) to Bloc Party's "Like Eating Glass." (Have we made enough U2 and Bloc Party references yet? Too bad!)

Finally, "Control," the EP's third track, is a percussion-heavy ruminative diary entry about getting older: "Tick tock, I feel time stop and turn into a tight knot in my mind," sings Bellinger. "I remember such a different time/ I remember when it was my head/ I remember when I didn't mind/ What have I become?/ I'm under control." Well, as long as we're paying da bills and watching friends get married on Facebook, we might as well distract ourselves with a balls-out dance party (and then get back under "control" for another day at the office).

Listen to Controller's EP any time you want (it's available in full on their Bandcamp page), keep an eye out for their upcoming summer East Coast tour dates, and get ready to hear a brand-new single later this year. (And while you're at it, will you sign a petition to have Controller play at my next birthday party?) - MTV


Still working on that hot first release.



CONTROLLER is a Brooklyn-based-four-piece whose brand of angular rock delivers a rousing punch, both on record and onstage. Eager to connect with audiences and full of brash energy, vocalist Jonathan Bellinger, guitarist Josh Shabtai, bassist Brian Dell and drummer Keith Gordon deliver an impassioned performance, mixing catchy melodic hooks with screaming guitars and an authoritative post punk rhythm session.

The self-titled Controller EP is the bands debut release. A three-part suite, the EP showcases the raw power and energy of Controllers sound, as well as the bands fearless, wide-eyed delivery.

Riding a wave of enthusiastic reviews from MTV, Billboard, and music blogs like Some Kind of Awesome, Louder Than War and The Burning Ear, Controller has developed into a formidable live act. At larger and larger shows up and down the East Coast and in their hometown at venues like The Studio at Webster Hall, Controller has carved out a distinct place at the intersection of rock, punk and pop: passionate but disciplined, optimistic but dark and urgent; intimate and personal, but sized for arenas.

The band is currently writing new material, booking a midsummer East Coast tour, and heading back into the studio to record new material in late 2013.

Band Members