Koshari
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Koshari

Falls Church, VA | Established. Jan 01, 2001 | SELF

Falls Church, VA | SELF
Established on Jan, 2001
Band Alternative Rock

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"Local Bands Rock the Fillmore as Thunder Rolls - review of live show"

SILVER SPRING – The Fillmore managed to keep the lights on and the amps blasting at the Local Rock Series concert on June 29, despite a severe thunderstorm raging outside that knocked out power to more than 1 million people around the D.C. Metro area.

The inclement weather may have lowered overall attendance, but those patrons that did show enjoyed the eclectic lineup of The Grey Area, Koshari, New Day Dawn and The Knolly Moles; all for less than the price of your average movie theater ticket.

"This was one of the best sound systems we’ve ever played,” said Koshari’s youngest member and bassist, David Gassmann, 25. He likened the band’s sound to “shoegaze” – a genre of rock featuring a lot of special effects and reverb – “but with some muscle, and not quite as drifty.”

Guitarist and Koshari co-founder Bryan Baxter said he likes to refer to the band’s music as “stadium indie,” although he said he’s also heard it called “nightmare pop.” Koshari, Baxter said, is the name of a Hopi Indian spirit known as a Kachina.

“We’re dark and heavy, but if you really broke it down, there’s pretty stuff in there. It’s sad, but hopeful,” he explained.

His wife, Barbara Western, sings for the band. The pair met at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. in 1996. Bryan was playing an eight-string bass back then and decided to pick up an old, hand-painted guitar that he found in the corner of Wester’s room and began testing out different tunings. He admitted, “if you asked me to play someone else’s songs, I couldn’t.”

Western, a former journalism major, handles most of the songwriting and said she tries to write in a “semi-poetic, impressionist-like style.” Bryan’s favorite song off their last album, “Light in Dark Places,” is titled “Blue” and refers to their three-year old daughter.

- Mocovox.com


"The Sound Project - Review - Light in Dark Places 6/12"

Koshari are a four-piece alternative rock band from Washington DC who have just released their third album 'Light in Dark Places'.

The album itself definitely has a bit of a shoegaze feel about it as much as it has of an indie-rock feel. Opener 'Same Today' has a PJ Harvey feel about it and not just in Barbara Western's vocals. The guitars are reminiscent of Harvey's earlier days. On 'Stay' Western's vocals draw similarities with those of a moody Chrissie Hynde.

The album's centre-piece is the seven-minute, 'Blue', which builds to an almost-thrashy end. There's moments when it's like early Yeah Yeah Yeahs, before they became watered down for the commercial market. At other its sounds like Low, building up for that huge finale. It's excellent stuff.

The excellent 'Ditty' is set around eerie vocals and simple guitars. It proves they can do the gentler elements of rock as well as the bolder ones. Guitars are a-plenty on both 'Ever After' and 'Easy Stumbling', as the album builds up for the magnificent 'The Dazzling Lies', where once again the band draw similarities with Low. But for all it's influences, some more obvious than others, this really is a record that stands out from the rest.

- The Sound Project


"PopMatters Review of Reappear 8/09"

On their second album, Reappear, Washington DC’s Koshari manages to simultaneously evoke the sound of the shoegazer movement of the early 1990’s and establish themselves as an original voice. There are a number of stylistically familiar elements present here – the reverb-heavy, droning guitar sound periodically enlivened by phasers or tremolos, or Barbara Western’s indecipherable vocals, mixed louder and performed more forcefully than one might expect, but still strangely elusive.

They are far from a simple nostalgia act, however. Koshari incorporates enough distinctive elements to distinguish themselves from some of the modern bands mining similar territory, like the trippily lo-fi and excruciatingly named The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, or the fuzzed-out grunge of Silversun Pickups. First is the presence of a number of songs performed in waltz time – a simple tactic that introduces some variety and reveals a greater degree of musicianship and forethought than one often finds in a subgenre noted for using effects and volume to mask technical ineptitude. In fact, the rhythmic component is one of the greatest strengths of Reappear. Even on songs in more conventional meters, the drumming has a lighter, jazzier touch than the dancefloor-inspired percussion commonly associated with this style of music. The overall effect of such a style gives what might ordinarily be the most stable element of these songs a freewheeling, unpredictable feel that complements the spacey guitars and vocals.

Unfortunately, Koshari does not avoid all of the problems endemic to shoegazing. Records in this tradition tends to get a little repetitive – even the masterful Loveless, the album that sold a thousand pedals, can engender fatigue in listeners reaching a saturation point for dense, distorted guitars and hallucinatory effects. Koshari are at their best when they push themselves away from a template sound, as on the tricky uptempo track “Etched in the Head”, or when they pursue a particular element to its logical extreme, like the unaccompanied feedback coda on “New Song (Barcelona Song)” or the slow, cough-syrup vibe of “Cloaked and Draped.” Of particular note is the penultimate track, the eight-and-a-half minute “Seep In”, which is characterized by a heavy and beguiling instrumental interlude that begins to evoke stoner metal bands like Kyuss. Koshari also recognizes the importance of melody; every track has at least one immediate hook that identifies it as an actual song rather than three to six minutes of vibe or atmosphere.

Koshari might not be the most innovative band ever to commit songs to tape – even at their most unique and interesting, they are clearly operating within the tradition established by bands like My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, and Ride. This is not necessarily a bad thing, though. A sense of tradition and reverence does not preclude the possibility of a band producing new, worthwhile songs in the same vein as its predecessors, and Koshari are as effective an example of this as anyone is likely to find. As long as My Bloody Valentine remains famous for never releasing any new material, fans would do well to check out Koshari. - PopMatters


"PopMatters Review of Reappear 8/09"

On their second album, Reappear, Washington DC’s Koshari manages to simultaneously evoke the sound of the shoegazer movement of the early 1990’s and establish themselves as an original voice. There are a number of stylistically familiar elements present here – the reverb-heavy, droning guitar sound periodically enlivened by phasers or tremolos, or Barbara Western’s indecipherable vocals, mixed louder and performed more forcefully than one might expect, but still strangely elusive.

They are far from a simple nostalgia act, however. Koshari incorporates enough distinctive elements to distinguish themselves from some of the modern bands mining similar territory, like the trippily lo-fi and excruciatingly named The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, or the fuzzed-out grunge of Silversun Pickups. First is the presence of a number of songs performed in waltz time – a simple tactic that introduces some variety and reveals a greater degree of musicianship and forethought than one often finds in a subgenre noted for using effects and volume to mask technical ineptitude. In fact, the rhythmic component is one of the greatest strengths of Reappear. Even on songs in more conventional meters, the drumming has a lighter, jazzier touch than the dancefloor-inspired percussion commonly associated with this style of music. The overall effect of such a style gives what might ordinarily be the most stable element of these songs a freewheeling, unpredictable feel that complements the spacey guitars and vocals.

Unfortunately, Koshari does not avoid all of the problems endemic to shoegazing. Records in this tradition tends to get a little repetitive – even the masterful Loveless, the album that sold a thousand pedals, can engender fatigue in listeners reaching a saturation point for dense, distorted guitars and hallucinatory effects. Koshari are at their best when they push themselves away from a template sound, as on the tricky uptempo track “Etched in the Head”, or when they pursue a particular element to its logical extreme, like the unaccompanied feedback coda on “New Song (Barcelona Song)” or the slow, cough-syrup vibe of “Cloaked and Draped.” Of particular note is the penultimate track, the eight-and-a-half minute “Seep In”, which is characterized by a heavy and beguiling instrumental interlude that begins to evoke stoner metal bands like Kyuss. Koshari also recognizes the importance of melody; every track has at least one immediate hook that identifies it as an actual song rather than three to six minutes of vibe or atmosphere.

Koshari might not be the most innovative band ever to commit songs to tape – even at their most unique and interesting, they are clearly operating within the tradition established by bands like My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, and Ride. This is not necessarily a bad thing, though. A sense of tradition and reverence does not preclude the possibility of a band producing new, worthwhile songs in the same vein as its predecessors, and Koshari are as effective an example of this as anyone is likely to find. As long as My Bloody Valentine remains famous for never releasing any new material, fans would do well to check out Koshari. - PopMatters


"Washington Post Nightlife Agenda"

Local trio Koshari probably isn't going to wow you with big hooks, but there are plenty of more subtle pleasures to enjoy on the group's most recent CD, "Unless," one of the best local releases of the past year. Koshari makes expert use of guitar effects and non-classic song structures, and singer Barbara Western's voice serves as simply another element in the overall sound instead of a focal point. - Washingtonpost.com - David Malitz


"Indie-music.com"

Quote: "They are taking the genre a step further in their smoother spin on industrial rock."

Floating away to dreamland and beyond, you usually imagine the soundtrack being something classical, not a band that lists Tool as one of their influences. Here we have Koshari’s take on that sort of industrial rock, which is soft enough to lull you away, yet edgy enough to be modern.

Music fans will hear something very different than the average “rock” album in Unless. Something that is almost soothing. Barbara Western’s soft voice slides effortlessly over the tracks. Although all members are from the US, Western’s voice has a hint of Sinead O’Connor’s sweet, powerful sound. She leads many of the tracks, stealing the focus away from the music.

The problem that I see is that they have taken the idea of creating something dreamlike and distorted it too far. The vocals begin to feel lost and distant.

Reading through the lyrics for Unless, I wish I could hear them better, because it would make it all come together more and make sense on a larger scale. The lyrics of “Waiting, Chasing, Tracing, Waiting” are so touching that they deserve to be heard. It’s great poetry to read, but would be elegant in music.

Still, Koshari are a group of talented musicians. While they have a number of influences listed in their biography, they don’t try to achieve something that has already been done 100 times over. They are taking the genre a step further in their smoother spin on industrial rock.

I hope that another Koshari album falls into my mailbox shortly, because this seems like the type of band who can go anywhere with their sound. They prove it with the softness of “Under A Mistake” and the heavy ripping guitars in “Pierce.” The rest of the musical world is just a short trip away. - Indie-music.com - Stephanie Joudrey


"Locals on Locals - Morrigan - Waking State"

Koshari's Unless hits like a wave; this is a CD that should be played loud -- the louder the better. From the first track, koshari takes back the label "alternative rock" and restores it to its rightful owner. Barbara Western's voice lilts effortlessly over Bryan Baxter's hauting guitars, and Dan Ralston's drums makes triplets and sextuplets sound like natural rhythms. The result is refreshingly raw and incredibly hypnotic. If you have Siouxsie and the Banshees or My Bloody Valentine in your CD collection, you need Unless. Favorite tracks: "Gracious Ones," "Under a Mistake." - On Tap


"Locals on Locals - Morrigan - Waking State"

Koshari's Unless hits like a wave; this is a CD that should be played loud -- the louder the better. From the first track, koshari takes back the label "alternative rock" and restores it to its rightful owner. Barbara Western's voice lilts effortlessly over Bryan Baxter's hauting guitars, and Dan Ralston's drums makes triplets and sextuplets sound like natural rhythms. The result is refreshingly raw and incredibly hypnotic. If you have Siouxsie and the Banshees or My Bloody Valentine in your CD collection, you need Unless. Favorite tracks: "Gracious Ones," "Under a Mistake." - On Tap


"Washington Post"

“Five tracks and nearly 25 minutes long, Koshari's debut CD "Disenchanted" serves as a calling card for a progressive rock band with considerable promise. The local quartet kicks things off with "Applaud the Fraud, a neo-psychedelic ballad that combines pin-wheeling imagery with a layered and languorous sound. Singer Barbara Western has a flair for seeming both scolding and empathetic in the same breath, especially when the recurring guitar gives way to a wash of overtones.” - Washington Post - Mike Joyce


"Washington Post"

“Five tracks and nearly 25 minutes long, Koshari's debut CD "Disenchanted" serves as a calling card for a progressive rock band with considerable promise. The local quartet kicks things off with "Applaud the Fraud, a neo-psychedelic ballad that combines pin-wheeling imagery with a layered and languorous sound. Singer Barbara Western has a flair for seeming both scolding and empathetic in the same breath, especially when the recurring guitar gives way to a wash of overtones.” - Washington Post - Mike Joyce


"On Tap"

“…Koshari creates an engaging and full sound on their debut five track album, Disenchanted. Echoing Velocity Girl and maybe Mary’s Danish-lite, the four person Arlington-based band layers its haunting-at-times lyrics over complex and interesting beats...” - On Tap - Molly Cannon


"On Tap"

“…Koshari creates an engaging and full sound on their debut five track album, Disenchanted. Echoing Velocity Girl and maybe Mary’s Danish-lite, the four person Arlington-based band layers its haunting-at-times lyrics over complex and interesting beats...” - On Tap - Molly Cannon


"Left of the Dial"

“…Overall, Disenchanted is a very strong effort for a young band like Koshari
and indicative of what this promising foursome is capable of delivering…”
- Left of the Dial - Andrea Caumont


"Left of the Dial"

“…Overall, Disenchanted is a very strong effort for a young band like Koshari
and indicative of what this promising foursome is capable of delivering…”
- Left of the Dial - Andrea Caumont


"Gods of Music"

“…this is a recording that sounds great, but leaves you wanting to see them perform
it live. Which, in my opinion is the way it should be...”
- Gods of Music - Steve Paro


"Gods of Music"

“…this is a recording that sounds great, but leaves you wanting to see them perform
it live. Which, in my opinion is the way it should be...”
- Gods of Music - Steve Paro


"E-music-ic.com"

“…There is a raw intensity in the lyrics and music that associate well with each other.
The sweetness of the music and bitterness of the word is what makes Disenchanted a delectable delight.”
- E-music-ic.com - Jason Perlman


"E-music-ic.com"

“…There is a raw intensity in the lyrics and music that associate well with each other.
The sweetness of the music and bitterness of the word is what makes Disenchanted a delectable delight.”
- E-music-ic.com - Jason Perlman


"Falls Church Couple’s Band Readies to Release an Album"

Falls Church couple Barbara Western and Bryan Baxter’s shoegaze rock band Koshari is set to release a new album, Embers, on Saturday, January 7, 2017 at a show at Iota Club and Cafe, located at 2832 Wilson Blvd., Arlington.

In Embers, the band takes fans on an emotional rollercoaster through the twists and turns of holding on to love. “While breakups and falling in love are easier to write about, you need to dig deeper to express the ambivalent or confining moments that indicate a change in relationships,” Western, the group’s vocalist and songwriter, said of the writing process.

“We really wear our hearts on our sleeves with this release.” This is the group’s fourth full-length release and their first concept record. For more information, kosharimusic.com. - Falls Church News-Press


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Washington DC's Koshari  - built around the sparkling voice of Barb Western and the signature guitar playing of Bryan Baxter - blends the spacey, effects-drenched swirl of bands like My Bloody Valentine and Beach House with a bit of aggression and heaviness. The result is a creative voice at once familiar yet without close analog, that has been described by Kim Kirkpatrick of online magazine C60 Crew as "packed with atmosphere, beauty [and] substance."

Of course, if you've been in the DC area for the past fifteen years or so, listening to the right people, hanging in the right places, you've had the chance to find out for yourself. The band's first EP, Disenchanted, came out in 2001, attracting attention for its "haunting" and "unearthly" qualities and overall promise from both the Washington Post and Left of the Dial. Their debut full-length, Unless, followed in 2005, garnering praise from the Washington Post for its "expert use of guitar effects and non-classic song structures" and earning the distinction of being "one of the best local releases of the past year." For 2008's Reappear, Koshari slimmed down to a trio, but Western, Baxter (doing double duty on bass), and founding drummer Danny Ralston soldiered on to deliver a record that PopMatters hailed as establishing them as a true heir to the shoegazer tradition.

Koshari then delivered Light in Dark Places. Recorded live in a crowded basement in Arlington, Virginia, this album presented an exciting new aspect to the band's sound - being among the most direct and accessible the band had created, as on the charging and melodic "Same Today" or "The Last Goodbye." The ambitious scope of earlier records is still present, though, in epics like "Blue" or the slowly unfolding "The Dazzling Lies."

In 2014, Koshari released an all-analog double-single vinyl (Just in Time/Into Shreds) recorded on 2 inch tape at The Brink. These two songs are part of a larger collection of material, Embers, that was released in 2017. Embers is their first concept record and all of songs are snapshots of turning points in a relationship. Harry Evans, drummer and good friend of the band, joined the ranks for that chapter.

Most recently (late October 2018) the band released "The Phoenix (Thinking of You)" which takes them leaps forward -- melding all of the precious musical elements into a driving, upbeat, thundering tune. This is the first single off a set of releases that is due out at the end of 2019. And, most recently Brian Moran has joined forces with the group take over drumming for Evans.

Look for them in the DC area and up and down the Eastern seaboard. And keep your ears open.

Band Members