Gig Seeker Pro


New York City, New York, United States

New York City, New York, United States
Band Hip Hop Alternative


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



"Heartache with Hardwork"

Regular readers know that I don't regularly talk about hip-hop. It's partly because I don't tend to be a particularly big fan, but also because it's so far outside the zone of what I feel confident discussing that I don't really know how much I could add. I don't know the history, I don't know what is original and what's derivative. But one thing I can tell is when a song absolutely blows me away. And in those situations I'm happy to post, even if I don't really know any of the context for the discussion.

Feel Alive - Metermaids

This song, off the new record from Brooklyn's Metermaids, easily passes that threshold. In part, this may be because they are a self-described "hip-hop (but not really hip-hop) group" which really just means they combine the power of rhythm in hip-hop with the harmonies of soul and the strong melodies and big choruses that always keep me coming back to pop music.

It's really a bit of an untapped market, I think. The hordes of indie rock fans who want to dabble in hip-hop but are turned off by a lot of the more unsavory aspects (in terms of the misogyny, homophobia, and general glorification of violence, sex, and hate - but also in the discomfort generated by the mass-marketing of this stuff).

There is a lot of progressive hip-hop to be sure. But in my experience at least, a lot of it misses out on one crucial fact. In order to attract a lot of the theoretically available audience, you're going to need a hook. Get their attention with keyboards that could slide right into a synthy dance track or a fusion jazz number. And then, once you're set there, open their eyes to a whole new way of getting sucked into the beat.

For a clear reference of how to get the job done, Metermaids are a great place to start. "Feel Alive" is the most clearly melodic track on Nightlife, but there are plenty more that work with the same material. "Come Home" is buoyed by punchy guitar riff and chorus. "No Matter What" has a distinctly choral feel. And "Fingertips" melds an 80s keyboard line with a jittery, funk-infused beat. Elsewhere, tracks like "Never Far" and "Life is Easy" are seriously in debt to classic R&B and soul singers. And "Funk Terrorist" sounds exactly like name suggests.

Life is Easy - Metermaids

There's a thin line between dabblers and those who can successfully mine a wide range of genres. Metermaids clearly fall in the latter category. This is a group constantly seeking new ways of expressing old ideas, both lyrically and musically - looking for ways to channel the complicated and conflicted feelings of anger, love, depression, solidarity, and community into a form of music that builds up rather than tears down.

Given that, it should be no surprise that Nightlife is a record that screams New York, with people of all colors, from all walks of life live side by side. Not always in harmony, but with a common identity that transcends any single group. It's the sound the subway at 3 AM, of kids in Central Park, of hipsters on the Lower East Side, of the afternoon in Harlem. Most of all its an expression of joy, tempered by the recognition of hard times and tough places, but still resplendent in spite of it all. -


From the "If it worked for Danger Mouse, then it should work for me" department comes Nightlife in Illinoise, a mash-up helmed by NYC hip-hop duo Metermaids that combines their recent album, Nightlife, with Sufjan Stevens' 2005 epic, Illinois.

But will it launch Metermaids out of obscurity like Danger Mouse's Beatles/Jay-Z mash-up The Black & White Album did for DM? Maybe, although the argument can be made that a lot more people are versed in, you know, the Beatles than in Stevens, the ambitious but bashful auteur of Midwestern chamber pop.

Fans of Stevens will, however, recognize the harmony vocals, wind-instrument flourishes, and other hallmark Sufjan elements among the seven mashed up Illinois tracks on the album: "Come on! Feel the Illinoise!," "Chicago," "Jacksonville," "John Wayne Gacy, Jr.," "They Are Night Zombies...," "The Black Hawk War...," and "The Avalanche," which, technically, is from Stevens' collection of Illinois outtakes.

Also taking a page from Danger Mouse's book, Metermaids are offering the Nightlife in Illinoise album as a free download via their official site. For a taste of what these dudes sound like when they're not appropriating someone else's canon, download one of Metermaids' original, non-mash-up tracks below. - Spin.Com


Following in the footsteps of Danger Mouse's The Grey Album and Girl Talk's slap-happy sampling, New York hip-hop duo Metermaids has grafted material from its recent effort Nightlife onto Sufjan Stevens' winsome, weird Illinoise to create the free EP Nightlife in Illinoise.

It's a kick-snare dose of expansive rap set to ethereal soundscapes perfectly built for the holidaze.

Metermaids' main men Sentence and Swell lifted beats and a capella vocals from Nightlife and matched them to remixes of Stevens' clever sonic exploration of Abraham Lincoln's great state. It was a labor of love.

"Illinoise is one of a handful of albums that changed the way I think about music," confessed Swell in a press release.

The Nightlife in Illinoise EP is available as a free download from Metermaids' site, but the throwback hip-hop duo sent Wired the freebie below. Check it out and let us know if the mash is your kind of musical stash. - Wired.Com

"OkayPlayer.Com NIGHTLIFE 80/100"

Where has all the fun hip-hop gone? And I do not mean the club bangers or booty-shakin' anthems. I'm talking about borderline-cheesy rap that makes you want to smile just as much as it pushes you onto the dance floor. It seems like too many emcees and producers are either too serious or too focused on sex, which leaves the middle ground for underground acts, like Metermaids, to traverse. And on their debut, Nightlife, they do more than just walk through that middle ground. They make their mark on that parcel of land, even if that mark can be a little corny.

The air of Nightlife is one similar to that heard on albums by Gym Class Heroes. Metermaids rely on live instrumentation on many, if not most, of their tracks, similar to the Heroes, and they also focus on that feel-good concept I discussed before. The key differences, however, are that emcees Sentence and Swell can't really compete with the likes of GCHs' Travis McCoy. And Metermaids will probably never get teenage females swooning in the way GCHs do.

Also, a preliminary caution to the more narrow-minded hip-hop heads: Sentence and Swell aren't exactly the most engrossing rappers on the planet and, for some, might be too heavy on that aforementioned corn. Their punchlines and metaphors aren't exactly mind-blowing, but there is more to their music than that. These emcees try their damnedest and mostly succeed in keeping you entertained throughout the 14 tracks. And you have to hand it to Sentence and Swell. They never reach too far or sound contrived. They are just two real, honest guys hoping to make it, and maybe make some people dance, too.

But, luckily for Metermaids, all of that doesn't really matter. For one, these two New Yorkers have a much more mature focus. They are able to recreate and capture a late '80s vibe just by the virtue of having two emcees who are both playful and competent. If by chance you have heard of and listen to Domer, who is definitely worth a look, Metermaids fit right in with his gruff style - like on the fantastic "The Love Is Back," which is driven by a great riff and drumbeat, and the finger-snapping, heartbroken "Never Far."

The laundry list of comparisons aside, though, Metermaids deliver the goods when they are entirely original. In particular, "Funk Terrorist" and the title-track might be the strongest showing. "Funk Terrorist," an ode to Bootsy Collins, who is named as "the most high," is silly, lighthearted, and, most importantly, fun. On "Nightlife," it's the exact opposite as Swell and Sentence spit confidently over John Carpenter synths that rise and fall with the drums. Even the slightly cliché-ridden "Life Is Easy" is musically solid enough to keep you interested. Other standout efforts include the bouncy "Breakdown," the over-the-top "Come Home" that is pop defined, and the funky-as-hell "Good Times."

Nightlife's pace is slowed, however, by a foursome of average cuts: "Risk You Run," "Feel Alive," "No Matter What," and "Fingertips." The latter of those stands as the greatest threat of taking the album down a notch simply based on its repetitive chorus and the fact that it sounds like a watered-down version of a previous track, "The Inside." And "Risk You Run" and "No Matter What" are equally marred by weak hooks. But, to the benefit of Metermaids and music lovers alike, those cuts aren't enough to spoil Nightlife. And for a debut, it is a strong first showing. Even if its best tracks aren't what one would typically call "great," to dismiss them would be a sin. And if you happen to be in the market for a catchy, feel-good, and funky cocktail of rock and hip-hop, then this is the album for you. - OkayPlayer.Com

"Planet Urban NIGHTLIFE 9/10"

The indie rock scene has made a rapid impact all over the world – Europe, USA, Australia, NZ; you name it, indie rock is there. Now let’s jump into a time machine and go back to a time in Hip Hop when you could drop knowledge and make a whole lot of noise without sacrificing one for the other. Blend these two elements, and like a new-age Beastie Boys, you have Metermaids - an extremely talented underground duo out of New York who have released their debut album Nightlife.

Swell and Sentence are the two MCs that form the Metermaids and serve up a whole collection of musical cocktails and at the same time grit to their work. Put your ear to their songs and you can hear essences of funk, fusion, rock and soul, yet not at the expense of keeping it raw and keeping it real, the way it ought to be in Hip Hop. Exemplary of this is Funk Terrorist, their ode to the life force that is funk music and the legends of it. With an aptly funky beat consisting of horns, bass guitar, wah-wah guitar (which also blesses their track Breakdown) and real drums, this jam has the potential to make a hermit to funk the next Bootsy Collins!

The beauty of this album is that while they could very easily be used, samples are a no-show here. Though you may hear melodies reminiscent of popular ones (like Marvin Gaye’s You’re All I Need on Good Times), everything is original here. And the subject matter comes in a wide range too – soldiers at war on Come Home, soul satisfaction on Feel Alive, the general dynamics of life on Risk You Run (“I walk the line between fiction and fact/Trying to dig up the loose change that slipped through the cracks”), and especially storytelling of irony in a troubled life on Life Is Easy – a song which is arranged as wonderful musically with piano loops as it is lyrically with the imagery it puts into your mind – “And in the light of the flames on the street/You can see where she stitched herself up with booze and LSD); these are more than lyrics – this is vibrant poetry.

Any fallacies with Nightlife are by no means the tracks themselves – every cut is beautifully crafted as a piece of music, not just something to rhyme over. And though it is generally not a big deal, the only thing which sees some fault is occasionally their flow becomes a bit questionable, at times sounding pretty basic. Other than that, the Metermaids have put together a work of genius of a debut album, which taps into your mind and your heart...and your feet. -

"CMJ Staff Blog"

(Full story, including photos, here:

It’s been a while since I went to a hip-hop show here in the city that gave birth to the genre, but every single time I am blown away. Last night the Metermaids made a truly impressive mark on stage at Arlene’s Grocery.

The two emcees, Swell and Sentence, created a magical energy. While this was clearly due to having these songs well-rehearsed, a few moments of impressive freestyle sounded evident as well, including a rhyme about the venue and the local subway line. The room was quite full (quite a feat for an early evening performance), and though the group seemed a little frustrated that they couldn’t get the entire audience to get their hands up, there certainly wasn’t a shortage of people putting their hands in the air either! - - Jason Glastetter

"Urb Next 1000"

As caucasian rappers, these kids are automatically setting themselves up for scrutiny. Now, add to that the fact that they're taking the name of one of the most hated professions around. Therefore, expect the haters to flow like niagra falls. However, expect MCs Swell and Sentence (collectively called The Metermaids) to keep on keeping on. And, fortunately, this duo has the ability to unwrap the gift of gab, which they're manifesting throughout New York and perhaps beyond. Their debut album Nightlife sees the pair dropping knowledge over jazzed-up beats. URB has the upbeat head-nodder with the same name. Wack MCs, your meter has expired. -

"Hero Hill"

"It's Hip Hop, it's Rock, It's funk, it's fun." Reading such a description about an album I've been sent to review elicits two words from me "Uh oh". It's nothing to do with the specific album or artist, it's just these days lots of people are trying to make the avant garde hip hop/rock mix, and often things don't turn out well. So it was with a bit of trepidation that I listened to the album from the group about which that quote refers: Nightlife by NYC's Metermaids.

Well, a few songs in to the album, it's clear that Metermaids have the recipe to combat my golden-age hip hop reviewer guy cynicism: fun, energetic songs with shout-along choruses and solid production that leans heavily on live instrumentation. This isn't the kind of hip hop I would seek out, but that certainly doesn't mean I can't recognize the fact that it's well made and ridiculously catchy. MC's Swell and Sentence are each pretty solid in their own right, but I think they really shine when they trade lines back and forth and play off each other in a throwback manner that you don't see much anymore.

If you were forcing me to come up with a comparison for the Metermaids' sound, I might say they sound like the Fort Minor songs that feature Styles Of Beyond, mixed with some of the Stereo MC's production elements. I think the Fort Minor comparison is a good one, because that's another example of an album I was fairly skeptical about, but enjoyed once I heard it. Skepticism on the whole is pretty hard to find in the Metermaids songs, as they certainly acknowledge that life can certainly serve up the turd sandwich platter at times, but you might as well meet it head on and try and have a good time.

And meet it head on they do with the addictive, call and response chorus on album opener The Inside. Big drums and guitar licks provide a rock backdrop for the forgiveness ode Come Home, but it still manages to sound like a hip hop song. Guitar licks play a major role on one of the albums real standouts, Feel Alive, which has a vivacity and optimism that modern hip hop is often lacking. Funk Terrorist is not only funky and catchy, but it references Bootsy and slap bass, so it's already solid by default. The 80's keyboards on Fingertips do their part to make a catchy song even more-so, and the title track shows the 'Maids have a gritty side with a look at how they view NYC at night.

The Metermaids aren't likely hip hop for the BET/hip-pop set, in fact Swell said this in his email to us "Most recently we opened for Fabolous. That didn't go so well. Haha.", but that only made want to hear their album more. It is certainly music that I think a lot of people might relate to and enjoy if they heard it, so we're happy to help spread the word. -

"CMJ Essential Hip Hop Pick"

Though they named their album NIGHTLIFE, this New York City duo's strong suit isn't so much party-starting anthems (the less said about "Funk Terrorist" the better, except to note that for some reason they brag about having keytars). But detailing the day-to-day moments of life that lead up to the need for late night relief -- such as "Breakdown," which might be one of the most upbeat songs about bouncing a rent check ever - is. Though Swell and Sentence are not the most fluid MCs on the market, they bounce off each other well, and have a knack for creating vivid, lived-in scenes like "Fingertips," an amusing run down of all the different day jobs they have had, or the phone call to a loved one from a cold, crowded van in "Far Away." - CMJ Music Monthly - MT

"Village Voice"

NYC rappers find themselves by sampling Sufjan
By Matt Thomas
Tuesday, February 3rd 2009 at 2:25pm

Loyal fans of Sufjan Stevens salivate to the string melody that drives "Chicago," the most affecting track off his 2005 twee-pop opus Come on Feel the Illinoise. Some of those acolytes might cringe, though, at the idea of that sweet sentiment being seized and looped by enterprising emo-rappers. Risking possible resentment, two NYC emcees named Sentence and Swell—known collectively as the Metermaids—have commandeered "Chicago" and other beloved Stevens tracks for the free Web mixtape Nightlife in Illinoise, using vocals from their more funk-driven debut album, Nightlife.

It's a bizarre fit, but actually a better one. Sentence and Swell—whose nearly identical voices betray the influences of Atmosphere, Sage Francis, and Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda—favor couplets like, "I'm just trying to keep the dream how I found it/But guarding it so close destroyed everything around it/So crumble what's left and assemble the bed/Like this night could last forever if that sun couldn't set." Naturally, such exaggerated torment sounds better when offset by Sufjan's angelic choirs and banjo reveries. "It truly started out as more of an artistic experiment," explains Sentence, who migrated here after enlivening Denver's indie-rap scene (!) in the late '90s. "We always had a rock influence, and wondered, 'What's a great album that most of our audience listens to, and has elements we can mash up?' "

Swell, a suburban New Jersey native who hooked up with his Metermaids cohort two years ago, helped provide the answer: "Illinoise is honestly one of my favorite albums. I always thought there were some amazing samples on it."

That synergy has resulted in tracks with names like "John Wayne Gacy, Jr. Is Never Far From John Wayne in a Clown Suit" and "A Breakdown in Chicago, or, How to Sabotage Your Own Happiness in Two Easy Steps." (They've also inherited Sufjan's taste in laborious song titles.) The latter, with its autobiographical mix of poverty and pathos, serves as the project's highlight: Swell and Sentence shout, "Bounce the rent check/Set the mood/Head's been a mess/Haven't slept since June" over those familiar swooning orchestral flourishes, jolting their recycled lyrics with a newfound energy. This twee-pop/emo-rap clash isn't a long-term strategy, plucking some heartstrings and badly missing others, but it successfully bolsters two talented but inconsistent emcees as they search for their own identity and, for the moment at least, greatly benefit from the presence of someone else's. - Village Voice


2008 - NIGHTLIFE IN ILLINOISE - Free mash-up of Metermaids album NIGHTLIFE and Sufjan Stevens classic ILLINOISE, mentioned on Spin.Com and Wired.Com, Village Voice and Playboy
2008 - NIGHTLIFE (27 Sound) - Reached #9 on CMJ Hip Hop Charts
2006 - Metermaids EP (27 Sound). Single "Don't Sleep" reached number 11 on the CMJ Hip Hop Chart.
2005 - "New Jersey and California" (independent release)



In 2008, Metermaids received glowing reviews in print magazines like Playboy Magazine, The Village Voice, and YRB, as well as influential websites like Spin.Com, Wired.Com, and countless other influential blogs across the internet.

Their mash-up of Sufjan Stevens' album "Illinoise" with their own album "Nightlife" was downloaded over 10,000 times in a matter of months, to go with the over 50,000 downloads of their music over the course of the year.

Metermaids has shared the stage with some of the biggest names in hip hop, including Fabolous, Styles P, Brand Nubian, Sage Francis, Buck65, and Pharoahe Monche.

Their live shows in one of the most exciting in the hip hop world.

2009 will see the release of three EP's on New York City label 27Sound. The first EP, entitled "Smash Smash Bang," is scheduled for release in late July.