Keeps
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Keeps

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | INDIE

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Alternative New Age

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"Listen: Keeps - I Don't Mind"

Keeps is a still relatively unknown psych-pop band nonetheless blazing a steady and increasingly rapid trail. The two-piece released their first EP, Rift, in the fall of 2013 to little fanfare. But since then they’ve been hard at work on their full-length debut, Brief Spirit, which will arrive via Old Flame in February.

They’ve released this first single, which also happens to be it’s opener, and it’s confident, loud, dreamy and more polished than expected. The vocals, perhaps the strongest reminder of the band’s Nashville origins, come clean and proud, no longer hidden beneath synths as on much of Rift. The song starts with a cassette-tape click, synths and a drum machine quickly sailing in from the ’80s. It’s the starry-eyed soundtrack to your teenage dream; it’s your fearless foot pressing on the gas as you finally leave your hometown behind; it’s a reminder of all the happiness yet to come. - CMJ


"Keeps premiere alluring new song “I Don’t Mind” — listen"

On their first day of college in Nashville, Agustin Escalante and Robbie Jackson bonded over a reluctance to being caught in the clutch of the city’s glossy pop-country crowd. Instead, they found sanctuary in the likes of David Bowie, Echo and the Bunnymen, and Jesus and the Mary Chain. Little did they know that these shared interests would not only lead to a lasting friendship, but the birth of their own band, Keeps.

Together, they’ve held fast to their admiration of ’80s dream pop, while also incorporating the kind of pastoral Americana that’s pulled from Music City’s yesteryear. Keeps’ efforts will become fully realized on Brief Spirit, the band’s full-length debut, due out in February 2016 through Old Flame Records (home to the likes of Lost Boy? and Potty Mouth).

While the LP is still a few months down the road, the two-piece has offered a preview in “I Don’t Mind”, a track wherein the gossamer meets the twangy. With rolling guitar lines and a floating synth, two bygone eras of different genres fuse to make one modern, gosh darn enchanting sound. Think a dream pop Dawes, and you’re on your way to the sound of Keeps. Listen in below. - Consequence of Sound


"Keeps Nightmare Gig"

Every once in a while we’ll receive a press release from an unknown band, listen to that band and really like that band. It’s rare. That’s what happened with Keeps. The Nashville duo plays DC9 October 5, Webster Hall October 6, both with The Lighthouse and The Whaler. -ed.

We have certainly had our fair share of nightmare shows. Several come to mind off the bat. For one, house shows have almost always gone poorly. We’ve had the typical early band mini shows with small attendance, bad sound, whatever. But to this day, I don’t think any show has come close to our performance at Cleveland’s Brite Winter Festival.

Before I start, I want to make it very clear that the nightmare had nothing to do with the festival itself, the organizers or the venue we played. It had everything to do with us and our inability to handle cold weather. While some of us grew up in colder places like Indianapolis or Columbus, Gusti grew up in Houston. Brite Winter is a festival thrown in the colder months of the year that features local and regional bands and artists and holds many of its shows outside. But man, it was a cold winter. Even in Nashville we were freezing, so going 500 miles north was bound to bring something extraordinary.

We showed up in Cleveland after a day of preparation in Columbus to really get a feel for that Midwestern winter. We were feeling pretty confident and didn’t think the cold would get to us. So we hopped in the car, put on the new Juan Wauters record and made our way to our first ever music festival. Cleveland was cold. Real cold, man. However, the festival itself was beautiful. The streets of Cleveland were covered in great art, bright lights and beautiful music. We showed up early and hung out around the city and our hostel for a while, since our show was set for 11 p.m. We were scheduled to play a bar, which came as a relief as we were freezing to death. Upon further inspection of the bar, we learned that the stage would be outside. Sick.

We took refuge in the artist hospitality area where we were fed incredible food and given an assortment of local porters and stouts to keep us warm. Our drummer at the time was playing a set with his other band, COIN, two hours before our set, which we didn’t think much of until their set began. We hadn’t even thought about the potential of time overlapping between the two. As we continued to freeze in the ten-degree weather, we were going between both our venue and COIN’s venue to try and get all the kinks worked out. After their set, we rushed over to our show and set up super quick. At this point the sun had been down for a while and the Midwest nighttime winter was upon us. We kept our cool, sound checked and were thankful for the 80+ people who stayed outside to come see our set.

Our first song started and we were feeling good. The power of music, right? It can warm the hearts of so many people, but not your extremities. Slowly our fingers began to lose feeling. I looked to my left at our bassist at the time and he wasn’t looking so hot. He motioned something I couldn’t quite make out. Then he took off his bass mid-song and left the stage. The whole band looked at each other in disbelief. Where did he go? We weren’t sure. We weren’t sure for the remainder of the set that we played without a bassist. So the low end was out of the picture at this point and we were playing the sloppiest set of our lives. By the second song, none of us had any feeling in our fingers or feet. I legitimately couldn’t tell if I was putting any pressure onto my frets and couldn’t listen for it with my ears completely covered from the cold. I broke a string with no replacement guitar during the third song. It was all a mess. We ended up cutting two songs from our 45-minute set just to get our bodies out of the cold.

Miraculously, we still maintained the crowd we had before and they had a lot of grace for us and were the most encouraging, but we were not so stoked on our performance. We loaded out and turned on our car and thawed out for at least twenty minutes. We were defeated, but we also had to find our bassist. Our buddy who tagged along for the trip tracked him down and reported back to us that the cold made him so nauseous that he left the stage and got extremely sick. Poor guy. It was a hell of a night. Afterwards we went back to artist hospitality and drank more beer with the staff and had some good laughs about it all. Looking back, we loved every second of that trip. Sure, we didn’t play great and the cold was brutal, but it made us closer as friends and we often recall the night and look back on it with laughter. Mad respect to Brite Winter for putting on a great festival. Easily one the best events we’ve had the chance to play. Hopefully we get to play it again and redeem ourselves. We bought bigger coats now. I think they have down in them. Currently looking for a sponsorship with Burlington Coat Factory. - Brightest Young Things


"Q&A: DREAM POP DUO KEEPS CUTS THROUGH NASHVILLE'S COUNTRY ROOTS"

Keeps' sound is hard to place. The Nashvile duo makes the sort of shimmery, psychedelic dream pop that spans a few decades, falling somewhere between the 60s' washed out bohemianism and the danceable '80s synth that fueled their fast partnership. The pair put out their first EP in 2013 and are now gearing up for the release of their full-length debut, Brief Spirit, in February. We caught up with Keeps in the midst of their fall tour, discussing their upcoming record, musical kinship and working in one of America's most sonically saturated cities.


Let's start from the top. How did Keeps come together?

Robbie Jackson: Well, Gusti and I met our first day of college at Belmont University and kind of ditched all of our orientation stuff to jam. From there, we just started writing songs. I think for a week straight we wrote about a song a day on just a guitar and floor tom, and we started forming the band from there on out. It was super natural and happened so quickly. We knew we should be making music together, and we've been doing it for three years now.

Agustin Escalante: Yeah, it was nice to land in Nashville not knowing anyone and form a sort of musical kinship with someone so quickly. It all happened really organically and it was clear it was a really good fit from the start.


How has living in Nashville impacted your creative process?

Jackson: Nashville is just kind of a melting pot of creativity. So many people move there to pursue music--like we did--and it's hard not to feel inspired by it all. There's just a lot of great people doing great things.

Escalante: It was a little intimidating at first because literally everyone and their grandma plays music, but we quickly realized that it's not competitive at all. People here are really supportive and just excited about whatever is going on in town. It has definitely been only a good thing living in Nashville.


Who are some the influences behind your sound?

Jackson: Gusti exposed me to a lot of older folk songwriters like Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen, which finds its way into our music lyrically and structurally. But we've always had a mutual appreciation for '80s bands like The Cure, New Order and The Smiths, which has been a huge inspiration.

Escalante: If you would have asked me this five years ago, my answer would've been a bunch of old folk artists. Luckily Robbie has pulled me out of that and we've mutually expanded our musical horizons. He showed me a lot of '90s bands like Spacemen 3, Pavement, Yo La Tengo and Echo and The Bunnymen. It's nice to kinda have a myriad of artists that we can both bounce off of each other for inspiration.


You're in the midst of your fall tour with The Lighthouse and The Whaler. What's that like so far?

Jackson: I mean, The Lighthouse and The Whaler make incredible music and put on a great live show, so they certainly don't disappoint. We're playing a lot of new songs from the upcoming record, which has been a lot of fun. We try to put on a pretty energetic live show. It's loud, that's for sure.


How did the collaboration with them come about?

Jackson: We were referred by a good friend of ours to try and hop on this tour, and luckily we were able to make it happen. It's pretty fun because we've known about them for a long time, so to be able to go out on the road with them is pretty exciting.


Last summer you played a couple of shows with The Lonely Biscuits. How was that?

Jackson: So much fun. We've know the Biscuit boys for a few years now and have grown to be good friends with them. We got to play some really rad shows and hang out with good friends for two weeks, which is always the most fun. It meant a lot to us that they would let us hop on that tour.

Escalante: Yeah, those guys are just the coolest dudes. We were so happy to play some shows with them. We hope to do it again soon.


Tell me about your new single, "I Don't Mind".

Escalante: Well, the song sort of formed out of a goofy attempt at recreating some of those "cheesy" synth and drum sounds that we love from the '80s. The entire song is built from these loops of really happy synths I created on an old Casio keyboard. Lyrically, it's about the numbness that comes from monotony and routine. It becomes so easy to fall into that same sort of wheel-spinning routine day in and day out and not even realize it. I suppose this song is an attempt at breaking away from that routine, or at the very least being aware of it.


And that's from your upcoming LP, Brief Spirit. Are there any major differences you can highlight between the new record and your debut EP, Rift?

Jackson: Rift was very much just us trying to put something out to give to people, so in turn it ended up being some of our earliest tunes all thrown together. It was cohesive but maybe not indicative of where our sound was starting to go. I think Brief Spirit has a lot more consistency in terms of the sound we wanted and we were able to tell the stories we've been hoping to tell.

Escalante: Yeah, I'd say the biggest difference is just how much time and focus we spent on Brief Spirit. We sort of reconstructed as a band during the recording process, and I feel we've managed to narrow into a more consistent and unified sound. We're certainly still proud of Rift, but we recorded it in a week over summer after being apart for a couple of months. Brief Spirit was much more purposeful and constructive and took over a year to track. We're just excited to get it out, and hopefully some difference will be apparent. - IndieU


"Keeps' Sunny "Everday" Video Will Inspire You To Shed Self-Doubt"

Nashville psych pop duo Keeps—Robbie Jackson and Gusti Escalante—have just released their self-produced debut album Brief Spirit on Old Flame Records. Album song "Everyday," the music video for which premieres today, is bright and fresh from the first note to the last.
At first, Jackson and Escalante were apprehensive of making music videos—"We’ve always been terrified of the idea," they confessed to The FADER in an email. But as "Everyday" is "about how self-doubt can get so heavy that it can cloud the entire purpose behind what it is you're doing," as the duo sums it up, it was the perfect song with which to try their hand at music video production. I've been thinking that I've been thinking too much, Escalante sings, strolling down a sunny suburban street as seriously feel good Wakin On A Pretty Daze vibes back him. Throwing themselves into the goofy, fun plot of "Everyday"'s video is how Keeps are Peelin' away at the skin in order to see things so clearly now; it's part of the band's process of shedding hesitation and uncertainty.
"Of all the songs on Brief Spirit, we knew 'Everyday' would be the best fit for what a Keeps music video would look like," the duo continued. "We recruited our good friend Josh Gilligan who hadn’t made a music video before, but we knew he’d be the right man for the job because he'd able to help create something goofy and ridiculous. We recorded the whole thing in the matter of a day, and are really pleased with how it ended up. Hopefully just the right amount of cheese.
"The storyline for the 'Everyday' music video is a take on a dramatic crime drama of sorts. Two dudes wake up and have entirely different mornings. Gusti’s starts in a bummer way, while Robbie wakes up for his segment on TV for being a local hero who fights crime. His current case is tracking down some kidnappers (played by our buddies in The Lonely Biscuits) who end up kidnapping Gusti. The rest is history. We’re not holding our breath on any SAG Awards for this one, but if you do know anyone at the Guild, maybe give them a heads up on some up-and-comers."
Watch "Everyday" above, and order Brief Spirit here.
Tour Dates:
March 15 - Nomad / Austin
March 16 - Longbranch Inn / Austin
March 18 - Valhalla / Austin
March 19 - Flatstock / Austin
March 20 - Valley of the Vapors / Hot Springs
March 23 - Masquerade / Atlanta *
March 25 - Rock & Roll Hotel / Washington DC *
March 27 - Trocadero (Balcony) / Philadelphia *
March 29 - Beat Kitchen / Chicago *
March 30 - Firebird / St. Louis *
March 31 - The Tank Room / Kansas City *
April 1 - Little Harpeth Brewery / Nashville
April 28 - Schubas / Chicago
April 30 - Masquerade / Atlanta
May 5 - Space Bar / Columbus - Fader


"Keeps – “Let It Fall (Keeping Time)”"

Preceding the release of their upcoming album, Brief Spirit, Nashville duo Keeps’ new track, “Let It Fall (Keeping Time),” is like getting hit by a dream-pop tidal wave. Not floaty enough to be dream pop, too upbeat to be considered solely shoegaze, this song has the kind of top 100 alt-rock structure that gets stuck in your head, but it’s wrapped within the perfect combination of reverb, distortion, and subtle twang. Listen. - Stereogum


"Stream Keeps Brief Spirit (Stereogum Premiere)"

Young Nashville musicians Robbie Jackson and Gusti Escalante comprise Keeps, a band with an uncanny knack for pleasantly languid guitar music. The songs on their album Brief Spirit conjure many different kinds of beauty — shimmer, jangle, sparkle, chime — all while grounded in vaguely rootsy pop-minded rock. The duo namechecks a handful of titanic influences — Yo La Tengo, the Go-Betweens, the Cure — and if you dig that sort of pantheon college rock, Keeps are a band you should hold on to. Some words from Jackson and Escalante:
Brief Spirit was recorded over the course of a year and a half with songs we’d written our sophomore and junior years of college. As a whole, the record tackles the experiences we’ve had over the course of that year whether it was heartbreak, the loss of loved ones or just the pains of growing up. While it is by no means a concept album, there does seem to be an overarching idea that flows throughout the record. An idea that stems from the naivety of adolescence, the overbearing shadow of adulthood, and the seemingly never-ending question of what happens next. Taking over a year to write and record these songs helped form them into a consistent narrative that we feel truly captures this period of our lives.

Many things inspired this record. Yo La Tengo and Spiritualized were easily the two biggest musical inspirations along with The Cure, The Go-Betweens, Television and so many others. We spent so much of that year trying to discover new music and find inspiration in both film and art. From the start, we didn’t set out to create a record that reinvented indie rock, but instead wanted to write songs that felt the most natural with what we were listening to and experiencing. We feel that there is something special in an record that still holds a certain uniqueness but is no doubt informed by the many incredible songwriters who came long before it. That is what we tried to do with Brief Spirit.
We’ve already shared “Let It Fall (Keeping Time),” a song “wrapped within the perfect combination of reverb, distortion, and subtle twang”; Brief Spirit is full of songs that explore that sonic space, so check out the full album below. - Stereogum


"Song Premiere: Keeps - "Translucent Girl""

Nashville-based Keeps are releasing their newest track, “Translucent Girl,” off of their upcoming debut album Brief Spirit, out March 4 via Old Flame.

”’Translucent Girl’ was actually one of the first songs that came into fruition on the record,” said guitarist Robbie Jackson of the track. “It kind of marked a clear step in a different direction than our previous effort, Rift. We had been really inspired by 60’s psychedelic and jangly pop music at the time, and Robbie had just acquired a crappy Danelectro that could create similar sounds we’d been listening to. Originally ‘Translucent Girl’ started as two different songs, but we decided to combine both to fit this narrative Gusti had come up with lyrically. The lyrics themselves centered on fanaticism and the concept of loving the idea of something more then the reality of it. The playfulness of the verses speaks to that sentiment. The shift comes in the choruses when the problem of self-doubt and deprecation sets in and your expectations start to exceed reality. We think the idea of a ‘Translucent Girl’ really exemplifies that. It’s definitely not based on anyone in particular, okay? Please stop asking, mom.”

Listen to the exclusive premiere of “Translucent Girl” above - Paste Magazine


"KEEPS RELEASE ‘LET IT FALL’ FROM THEIR DEBUT ALBUM BRIEF SPIRIT [PREMIERE]"

Gusti Escalante and Robbie Jackson, known together as Keeps, met their first day of college and were immediately drawn together by a natural songwriting chemistry. After countless hours writing, recording and performing, the duo are finally preparing to release Brief Spirit on March 4, their first full length on Old Flame Records. Today, we’re immensely excited to share “Let it Fall”, the next single from the album. Brimming with beautifully layered guitar tones, clever melodies and Escalante’s smooth, confident vocals, the track feels impressively self-assured for a debut. “Let it Fall” is a boisterous but understated rock song, filled with the same ingredients, but constructed in a way that feels more mature and controlled. These results aren’t surprising given Robbie Jackson’s description below — the track did, in fact, come from a place of solemn, intense introspection:

I wrote the music for ‘Let it Fall’ shortly after the worst winter of my life. I’d just damaged a pretty long relationship and started spiraling down a road of self-depreciation and loneliness. I spent so much of that winter missing the past few years of my life and wondering how I could relive those memories or find a way to recreate those past feelings somehow in my current situation. I tried to write music that had that same intensity with a yearning for the past. Like somebody who was looking for something that had already been lost. I brought the song to Gusti who had coincidently been working on lyrics reflecting that exact feeling from a very similar situation he was going through. We discussed this idea of dwelling on the past and completely missing what’s going on around us. That idea eventually turned into the lyrics for ‘Let it Fall’.

TOUR DATES
2/16 – Pittsburgh, PA @Black Forge Coffee House
2/17 – New York, NY @ Cake Shop
2/18 – Washington, DC @Black Cat
2/19 – Harrisburg, PA @ The Millworks
2/20 – Red Bank, NJ @ 10th Avenue Burrito - The Wild Honey Pie


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy