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"Keepaway: Yellow Wings"

Brooklyn's Keepaway have the coolest tiled MySpace background image of all time (aside from maybe Autechre's)-- seriously, go check it out, get lost in the cascading fish scales. Now, pair that image with the equally entrancing loops of "Yellow Wings", whose rolling drums and tight group harmonies would make for a good slot-in next to Yeasayer's latest on your next mixtape. - Pitchfork Media

"Where No Man Has Gone"

IN- MySpace Demos
Fledging Brooklyn act IN (subtitled 'Strange Looks' to add googleability) mine the friendly, giggle-happy ambiance of mid-career Animal Collective. While some might say their close reproduction borders on theft, the band does distinguish itself, airing AC's frantic electronics out with more minimalist, tropical compositions. And even when they come really close, it isn't really an issue: imitating AC ain't easy, and the world is a much better place with more Sung Tongs-style tunes. - Acceptable Oddities

"Keepaway, "Yellow Wings""

How did Keepaway dudes somehow tap into our seratonin reserves with this song and give us a boost better than the [Lexapro] [St. Johns Wort] [smell of lemons] [Wellbutrin] [beer] that we use/abuse to keep ourselves steeped in quasi-happiness? Have we been reading the wrong Eckhart Tolle manuals? J/K, Eckhart Tolle is not our style. But the sparse, sweet guitar melody of “Yellow Wings” just inspired us to group hug—besides giving us serious early New Order vibes, the rush of fuzzy overdrive and sweetly sung, totally earnest and good-hearted-sounding vocals are fully enthralling. Lyric sample: I think I finally know what I want/ I wanna be two places at once. WE FEEL YOU. This was apparently produced by Eric Gorman and mastered in “Bassy” Bob Brockman’s studio (he made Ready to Die, know that album?) and as a result it is possible Cappadonna allegedly stole their weed. BUZZKILL.

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"Premiere: Keepaway's "Family of the Son""

Premiere: Keepaway’s “Family of the Son”


The office just got Keepaway’s debut EP, Baby Style — in case you didn’t know (which we didn’t up until now), the band formerly known as IN has changed their name to Keepaway). A short history: a friend of stumbled on IN, was absolutely blown away, and we wound up booking them for our September feature show, which subsequently wound up blowing all of us away. Then they wrote a “Musicians on Music” for us…about pizza.

IN was a hilariously cavalier band name. It is an unsearchable term in google, as it appears on nearly every website at least once. Even if you add “band,” you mostly get results about in-band signaling, which sure, is interesting in its own right, but not the obscure Brooklyn psych-band that loves pizza. So IN set themselves up to be relatively undiscoverable, recording demos and melting faces, but leaving people struggling to remember a name. It was their choice, making anyone who wanted to hear them ostensibly unable to.

So why change the name now? Who knows (these guys are fairly goofy, and probably have a reason way over my head…most likely having to do with pizza). But, if I had to take a guess, I’d say the trio realizes that they are sitting on one of the better 2009 Brooklyn rock releases in Baby Style, and probably desperately want people to hear it. Firmly in line with other modern psych bands, like Suckers and Yeasayer, Baby Style moves from a wide range of styles, from flowery pop to industrial electro. It’s got some seriously stunning moments, and you all should buy it immediately.

Here’s highlight “Family of the Son.” It’s a solid introduction to Keepaway: two layered percussion, both electronic and live, pounding through four-minutes of dense vocal harmonies and plucked guitars. It is obviously and possibly obliquely complicated, a technical jam. Somewhere in there, though, there’s a simple saccharine pop tune. It never gets completely unburied, and that’s fine. The emotion stays relatively elusive; the quality of the song doesn’t. - Jezebel Music


"What, another band from Brooklyn?" Yeah, yeah, yeah we hear Animal Collective and Ruby Suns fans should really take note here. Oh, that shut you up. We know very little about Keepaway, other than that 'Yellow Wings' comes from the recent Baby Style EP and this is far too accomplished for someone we know very little about. - Ragged Words

"Pizza Jams: Soundtracking the Fantasy of the Everyday"

Pizza Jams: Soundtracking the Fantasy of the Everyday

Musicians On Music is a weekly column in which we feature exactly that: musicians, both local and national, writing about music, the industry, other people’s music, or whatever they feel like writing. This week we feature Mike, Nick, and Frank from In, one of the most exciting – though least internet-searchable – new bands cropping up in Brooklyn. Our writer Drew Citron sat down with In last week, where they talked about trying to understand the ’80s. This week In continues their quest by examining one particular ’80s phenomenon: the Pizza Jam.

For a brief period between the early ’80s and the early ’90s – our childhoods – pizza was the flagship token of the tyke zeitgeist. This was when the mechanics of massive-scale corporate food production and commercial television were in full swing, mostly unchecked and uncriticized. The possibility of a certain kind of instantaneous common experience, minted in movies and proliferated in broadcast TV, had become mundane, elementary. We were getting reamed by the capitalist machine, but we were kids: there’s an honest intimacy to any crucial developmental experience, and a huge portion of ours was spent under the influence of the advertising aesthetics of the day. And so often, we were served pizza, with bright colors, a way-cool demeanor, and a subtly slamming soundtrack. These last – the pizza jams – became a part of our first language, as instrumental as “Uh-oh,” and “Mommy.”

We don’t want to revere pizza in particular – the Ninja Turtles turned it into a godhead, and we’ll leave that kowtowing in the sewer – it’s a useful locus; it’s got its greasy imprint all over late-20th century issues of post-Spockian child-rearing, technology and literacy, gender, violence in the media, the apex of the fast food nation, the rancid dream of free-market economics, and, in retrospect, authorship and the epistemology of art-making. For lots of attentive people of a certain age and demographic, the term “Pizza Jam” barely needs explication. We know it’s that pizza sound that gets kids moving as fast as their legs’ll get them to the nearest Hut. It’s that carefree vibe cut through with visions of gooey cheese and extra pepperoni. No anchovies, no worries. You eat this stuff with your fingers. You put your elbows on the table. You do some armpit farts. Whatever.

You know it when you hear it: a pizza jam is a jaunty number with a sonic or structural affinity to both the 8-bit compositions of video games and the kind of electronic funk that came from the sudden wide availability of synthesizers in the early 80s. It’s got a loping pace, a briefly phrased melodic hook and/or hooks, and, probably most definitively, a prominently mixed bass with an at least somewhat farty timbre.

The thing is, we were TV kids whether we like it or not. When we watch TV every day while our brain is as malleable as it will ever be, we learn what it sounds like when – ooh boy – the pizza comes steaming out of the oven. We learn what it sounds like when a sour apple Blow-Pop is sucked. We learn what it sounds like for a cartoon or video game character to jump up really high or slam into a mushroom and get really big. We learn a very specific way to soundtrack experience. We associate certain sounds with certain events we’ve all experienced in televisual representation. These associations become quotidian types, immediately identifiable ways to describe familiar and totally ordinary events.

And yet for all its recognizable identity, a pizza jam is authorless. Like all soundtrack music and library music, it’s defined by an association of particular sounds with particular displaced experiences – like the distinct soundtrack tropes that car chases or dark and stormy nights took in earlier film media – rather than the artistic imprint of a distinguishable creative agent.

Because of the essential authorlessness of these types, it’s easy to appropriate and reconfigure them in an ironic mode. These days, as we’re trying to digest the ’80s not just from memory but from revisiting events through videotapes and cassettes, people don’t have to identify themselves with Mega Man images or 8-bit melodies, or with what those items’ initial presentations meant to the community who created and received them. Instead, people can identify with the self-referentiality required to re-present those images. But we don’t think this is satisfying.

When we broach the subject of pizza jams, we want to ask: how can we value the essentially unauthored items of our childhoods and still engage our deeply felt experiences? How can we digest the ’80s and find what’s sincere and intimate there?

We’re trying to figure this out. Perhaps we can approach this musically by reclaiming ’80s sounds for something that acknowledges the “pizza” but makes feeling possible. Let’s remember: a truly affective soundtrack is not a dispensable background; it’s the air our ears breathe. (The pizza jam’s relationship to video games is not to be diminished: there’s something unique engrained in kids who played video games and watched a lot of commercials, hearing brief musical phrases over and over and over until they became an inadvertent raga of semi-passive play.) To find inspiration in the pizza jam is to grant our memories the meaning we might have thought standardized mass-media culture chewed up and shit out. It’s to reclaim the soundtrack of the fantasy of the everyday.

by Mike, Nick, and Frank of In - Jezebel Music



inIt’s always exciting when babes have brains to boot. So it was fun for me to sit down with the members of In, and realize that, after a few beers, we weren’t going to get carried away, but rather, carried inward to a palpable thought-swap on the modern state of music in Brooklyn. And on a Monday night, there are few places states of mind I’d rather visit. Mike, Nick, and Frank’s show last week at Public Assembly piqued my interest for both its experimental merits and its visibly mixed reviews among the crowd; I was curious to hear more, and glad I had a chance to hear it from the source: Let’s get started… where are you guys from?

Frank: I’m from Minnesota.

Nick: We [Mike and I] grew up together in Boston. Arlington, it’s right outside of Boston. It’s funny, it’s never had any claim to fame except that Uncle Sam was born there and Paul Revere rode through there. But in a recent report based on census figures, it’s one of the best places to live as a single person.

Mike: Arlington’s for lovers.

Nick: It’s totally erroneous, because people on the census said they were single and then had a high income. There’s a certain bracket of people who are single and make a lot of money in Arlington, Massachusetts but none of them are ever going to meet and a lot of them are like, widowed. So you met at a singles mixer in high school?

Nick: We met in 5th grade actually when we were making these plastic lizard toys.

Mike: Let’s not get into it. You’ve been playing music together for a long time then.

Mike: Nick and I, on and off, we used to noodle back in the day. And then we played at our high school’s “Battle of the Bands.” We won that. It was in the bag.

Mike: Won that. That’s out of the way, next thing. Arsenio Hall, got that out of the way. But then we took a break for four years, and started again.

Nick: We didn’t do anything during college, which is where I met Frank. Did you two play music together in college?

Frank: We didn’t. I was a few years older. Nick and I met at Wesleyan, but we were playing in a couple of other bands. I came back with a band I was playing with, from San Francisco, and we played a show together. His band Balloon and my band Snowblink played together.

Nick: After college I moved to SF, and we started playing together. We’re still babies, we just started playing in November, nine months ago.

Frank: So why are we so good? So what does everyone need to know about In?

Nick: I don’t know if there are any disclaimers.

Frank: That we’re trying.

Nick: We’re interested in the future and the nature of reality… we want them to know our music, that’s what we want them to know.

Mike: You know what though, maybe I just want people to know who I am, because that’s what people in general want. People just want other people to know who they are.

Frank: Even more than that, I think you want to be understood. Because the worst thing is to be misunderstood.

Nick: We want to use our band as a vehicle for understanding love on a broader scale.

Frank: I agree with that. I enjoyed the elements of physically active live drumming in conjunction with electronic music. Talk about your electronic influence.

Mike: I’ve been doing electronic music since Nick started playing guitar, more or less. I had played in an orchestra before that and I think that’s how I just started getting into non-linear production; having time in my room to work on a little tiny chunk for a while. I think that one of the reasons I like being in this band is because that’s where a lot of electronic musicians start – in their bedrooms working on very minute passes of a song or working on tiny details, and most of the time, not affecting, not really doing the music live. So playing with these guys has been quite challenging and fun, because I’ve gotten to have this feedback loop more with other people. As far as the electronic drums and the live drums go, I think it’s going to get interesting soon. I’ve been playing a lot of drums, but most of it’s sequenced, and we all have a drive to get away from the sequencer a little bit. And the only reason we use it now is because we don’t have enough hands to do everything. We want to compose digitally, but recreate it using our hands.

Frank: What Mike just got at, very lightly, some interaction between digital and live/analog – if there was one thing I want people to know about this band, it would probably be that there’s some indescribable relationship right now between analog music and digital music as they’ve developed in coincidence, or co-incidence, over the last 30 years that we’re trying to understand. That’s what the goal of this band is. We’re trying to mend something about what we’ve learned from the digital age, and something about acoustic production, or analog production, and sort out exactly what our vocabulary is in between those two. And I think, for me, right now a lot of that has to do with understanding the ’80s. I don’t think I really understand them. And I spent probably the raddest eight years of my life in the ’80s. At the ends of songs, I notice you really let the electronic loops go. Does that have to do with the little kid in you?

Mike: That’s what it’s always been for me, being a little boy, and someone saying “hey, don’t look in there, hey, shut that” and that’s kind of what In speaks to… going somewhere you shouldn’t go maybe. Electronic music is this rip we started a while ago, and it’s going to keep ripping, and people have mixed feelings about it. We’re just trying to rip it in a way that feels human.

Nick: You could write an algorithm to make the shape of a tree out of blue, yellow, and green squares, and it would look really cool, but it wouldn’t look like a tree. But we value both for different reasons. I notice your live performance and your recorded tracks are very different.

Frank: Right now, we have five tracks recorded that we will release in the next few months, depending on how long it takes to mix and master them.

Nick: We’re coming out with an EP soon, it’s going to be a lot different from those earlier recordings.

Mike: Those represent a kind of gestation period, and we’ve been pretty sure from the beginning that we didn’t want to just jam out for a year and not have anything to show for it. A big goal for us was to come up with some composed songs. But the ones we just recorded aren’t really in the format that the music is going to take eventually.

Nick: We feel very much like we’re laying a lot of stepping stones right now and the set you saw the other night is pretty indicative of phase two. I would say, phase one being the songs on MySpace. Phase three we don’t have a lot of stuff recorded from.

Mike: We’re in phase three now.

Nick: We’ll have new tracks on MySpace in the next few days… Are you taking anything on tour?

Nick: We might play some shows in the Midwest next month.

Frank: We got offered a show in California, in ten months, in Ukiah. Those are possibilities. All of it’s unconfirmed right now. Talk about the singing. And the lyrics, is it a new addition to the music?

Frank: Nick how do you feel about your vocals?

Nick: I feel good about my singing.

Mike: I’ve never sung before this band.

Nick: Frank and I have done a lot of singing.

Frank: There’s a really interesting balance going on in this band in that I’m playing drums and not singing as much, but in all of my old bands I’ve been centrally a singer. Singing is by far my most confident instrument. This band is about my left hand, it’s about learning to play drums and become balanced. Maybe, Mike, your vocals are what you’re doing for the first time. The newest thing in the band is all of us interacting, especially because New York is a crazy place to live, it’s so competitive in the way time operates here. You’re always pressured to use your time well. And we all have particular challenges in our lives and there’s something wild about spending this much time with people on these projects. That you don’t even know exactly what it’s for, just the enjoyment of the act. The feeling of newness or rawness that comes from being in a band in New York that has only been playing for nine months…the rawness comes more from being in an insane place than it comes from being new. That’s interesting that you say the rawness, because I was watching your show at Public Assembly, wishing that I was watching it in someone’s garage.

Nick: We’ve played some more fun and sweaty, darker, dancier shows…

Mike: We played at the Cakeshop. That was sweaty.

Frank: Also the shows at the Silent Barn, those have been pretty good.

Mike: That was one of our best shows, in the basement.

Frank: How much of it is garage, and how much is “Public Assembly?” We’re interested in both.

Nick: I think Brooklyn is in a weird state right now where it’s very much after a boom. We’re a bit beyond a creative boom, wherein the reason any of us live here, or we’re out at this bar, is that ten years ago there was so much energy and really attractive things being made, and I think that although there’s still a lot of that, there’s also a lot more crowdedness and a little less vitality, so that a place on North 6th St. is even akin to Public Assembly… North 6, the club, used to be kind of a grody thing, but now, the small, dirty club next to it is trying to be swank on its own. So we’re tying to figure out how we fit at the end of this legacy, or at the beginning of a new stage in it, where we’re feeding off of the edges of this feast that is sort of dying down…

Frank: The ebb and flow of New York is a mystery. I wouldn’t necessarily say we’re at the end…

Nick: You can’t go to a fun punk rock show anymore because it’s diluted somehow. But that’s why we’re here, it’s still very palpable and useful, invigorating and exciting, and easy to play out.

Frank: Yeah. I mean, it’s a totally intense act to try to reflect on trends in New York. At any moment there’s so much that you don’t know about that’s happening in this city. I think there is a musical boom that happened in Brooklyn, and it has in some ways been at its wane, but at the same time, I’m so confident that there’s so much I don’t know about here that is totally brilliant. And you see shades of it all the time, you see bands that make you excited to see them again, and then you get busy for two months and don’t. I was excited about your band. Why is it called In?

Mike: Top secret. - Jezebel Music


After scouring for hours and hours for some new S.F. tunes to relish and spread on here, I couldn’t help but think more artists here just need to let loose a bit more and experiment. For as strange of a place San Francisco often is, you’d think more artists would embrace it more and get a bit crazier than the steady flow of great but sometimes limited range of garage-inspired tunes. Anyways, maybe next search or show will be more fruitful. I ended up craving to listen to one of the catchier singles I’ve heard this year courtesy of the new band Keepaway that I’ve been meaning to post from the first time I heard its instantly infectious opening loop several weeks ago. Keepaway formed from the former SF ashes of Frank Lyon’s other more folk-oriented project Ship, whom he also collaborated with multi-talented (understatement) artist Dave Wilson. Nicholas Nauman also lends a keen hand to this track with some great guitar work… keep an ear out for more tunes from these dudes. - Naturalismo

"Pitchfork Best New Music"

Rating: 9

2009 saw a few fresh-faced youngsters (USF, Blind Man's Colour) attempting their best Animal Collective impression-- and if the continued appeal of Merriweather Post Pavilion is any indication, their sound is sure to become more prevalent. There's a hint of A.C.'s wooly weirdness in "Yellow Wings", from relatively unknown Brooklyn trio Keepaway's just-released debut EP, Baby Style. The clipped vocal samples and woozy synths that open the song have some parallels with MPP's blasted-beat utopia, while rubbery guitar lines add Feels-era reference points to the mix.

But on the evidence here, Keepaway also have an inclination toward indie-rock accessibility, allowing them to sidestep the formlessness that can suffocate more strict A.C.-devotees. "Yellow Wings" shares elements with Northwestern indie-rock heroes such as Modest Mouse, and not just in singer Nick Nauman's passing vocal similarity to Isaac Brock: The tune's lyrical sentiments ("I think I finally know what I want/ I want to be two places at once"; "All I've found is nothing is true/ And nothing has happened at all") echo bong-session musings perfected on early Built to Spill records. So yeah, while the trippy lean is undeniable on "Yellow Wings", it takes clear eyes and a crafty set of musical minds to create a song that's both this deliciously heady and instantly engaging. - Pitchfork Media


"Glue"/ "Riddim Hunt" single.
"Baby Style" EP.



They live in Brooklyn. They try to make cool things every day. This incarnation of the band is about a year old. They started playing about a year ago, and the shows have gotten people in the Northeast to love them. They enjoy a certain amount of anonymity because they've been playing as IN, which isn't internet searchable. But now they're Keepaway.

They combine the questing spirit of the most far-out experimentalists, from Black Dice to Merzbow to Steve Reich, with the tricksy booty-dropping sensibilities of Weezy and Gucci Mane, and a whole lot of sticky melody. They're explorers of untold tone-realms who never let themselves forget the hook.

Mike and Nick have been making things together since shortly after they were four square rivals in 1994. They had an award-winning cable access TV show. Then they did their own things. Mike invented new ways of making sounds. Nick met Frank at Wesleyan University, where they were in bands with other popular and famous musicians from that school like Anthony Braxton and gamelan master Sumarsam.

This is a band that seeks truth in a palpable way- with strange noises, fat beats, wicked grins, and the most heart-soaringly glorious songcraft you've heard since the time you ate some weird mold and thought you were listening to "Blackbird" by the Beatles but it was actually "Groove is in the Heart" by Dee-Lite and you cried and danced because the moment was so profoundly beautiful.