Modern Inventors
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Modern Inventors

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Alternative Rock




"August 20th, 2014 | 2:39PM | By Julie Miller Modern Inventors | photo by Ryan Farber | Inventors | photo by Ryan Farber | Local indie pop / rockers Modern Inventors have"

Local indie pop / rockers Modern Inventors have released a new single called “Selfish Generation,” the first studio follow-up to last year’s debut LP Trains and Aeroplanes. We first heard the track in the band’s 2013 Key Studio Session, and you can download both versions below.

With the catchiest hook you’ll hear this month, “Selfish Generation” is a sing-along song that is sonically lighthearted but lyrically touches on something deeper. It’s cathartic for the listener and will certainly get the crowd moving, with straight to the gut lyrics like “Rock and roll is made to make you suffer.” Bringing the sentimental, inquisitive nature of singer-songwriters and the we-know-how-to-party attitude of rockers to common ground, Modern Inventors are cross-breeding elements of Wilco and Ryan Adams for a darker power pop vibe with just enough city grit.

Check out both versions below and hear more unreleased tracks from the band in the Key Session here. - WXPN - The Key

"SXSW performers got Paul McCartney's attention with song cover"

March 10, 2014
Matt Kass, who is one-half of the Modern Inventors with musical partner Josh Benus and who are performing at this year's SXSW on March 13, revealed the group's very modern electro dub pop version of Paul McCartney's “Every Night” got a compliment from the Beatle. You can hear their version on Soundcloud.

The cover was created for Philadelphia deejay Helen Leicht to play on WXPN-FM as a tribute to Paul McCartney's 70th birthday and became popular on the station. Their version eventually made it to McCartney, who emailed the group and said he was “chuffed” by their cover, Kass says. They'll be performing at 8 p.m. March 13 at the Tap Room. Their latest album, “Trains & Aeroplanes,” is available on and iTunes. - The Examiner

"Modern Inventors Are Something Fresh - Feature"

Modern Inventors are something fresh and real. Just give “Goodbye North Brook Drive” a listen and you’ll grab what I mean. I sat down with Josh Benus and Matt Kass, Modern Inventor’s two leads, after their show in early August at XPN.

What strikes me as different with these artists – and not saying other artists don’t – is that Josh and Matt take full pride in all aspects of production of their music, from writing, arranging, to producing and mastering. When you’ve got a musician in the booth and the mixing room and every step along the way, the music just has this extra kick, an extra oomph of style and caress, pulling you in. And they’ve got that connection between them, and with the other musicians in the group, of a band that’s been together for quite some time – yet they’ve been around for much less than a year.

Photo courtesy Alicia Brown.

Regardless of being self taught or professional training, what I love most about the opportunity to do show and album reviews is to have those musical discussions and debates and conversations with the people creating such great music, and these two float to the top of the conversations I’ve had.

You can hear elements of The Brakes (Matt) and the voices and musicality similar to the Traveling Wilburys and Alexi Murdoch. Adding musicality borrowed from fingerpicked guitars to the tight experimental drumming of Matt Scarano (also of Philly’s Son Step) to bass hooks from jazz and funk and some layers of Keys, Modern Inventors really pull dynamics from around the world of music to provide a breath of fresh air. But what I couldn’t put my finger on during the show was Josh’s great voice, and hinting similarities to that of Jackson Browne’s melodic swoons in “Looking East” – someone he said I wasn’t the first to draw similarities to.

Both bring their professional love to the Philly music scene, which is great to see and hear some artists putting out this type of music talk about what bar down the street they’re meeting up at afterward, with some old friends and new ones from the crowd. Coming from NYC, “It’s culture shock,” Josh said, “but I’ve really come to love this city. Being ‘knocked down’ by the music industry, the pair really wanted to work hard and be completely devoted to this new project. They’ve networked and ‘ensembled’ a network of musician over the last year, and much from the World Café group of people, providing an impressive background spread giving you a great show and music quality.

Modern Inventor’s tight sound on stage reminds me of a group with the ebb and flow of a seasoned touring band. “Yeah, we definitely work songs and arrangements out but not in rehearsal. Before we get out there and put it out for people to listen to, we go for the writing, engineering producing, finding that sound that we’re envisioning” they said. “We find that good idea – and put together, together.” They come from some similar place musically, and don’t need to bring more together to “make” it.

And you can hear it throughout their music, with multiple key changes and beautiful harmonics in the contemplative “Anna” to the driving rhythms in “Goodbye North Brook Drive” and the welcoming almost poppy “Hello”. How would you describe it, I asked? “Jazz

Photo courtesy Alicia Brown.

sensibility but not esoteric,” they replied. And I’d fully comply. You’ll be drawn into the music and even without a musical background, you’ll pick out those nuances that they work into every piece they write.

With less than 20 shows under their belt, they’ve got what it takes, and seating attention from all the right places. They attribute much of their traction to John (The Key) and Helen (XPN), but attention is coming from more than just the local scene, too. In two days they cranked out a tribute to Paul McCartney with a cover of his own “Every Night”, and got attention back from him – talk about validation. Pretty sweet rendition – be sure to give it a listen below.

We can look for their Trains and Aeroplanes by 2013, with Philadelphia and New York City release and promotion. Seek them out here in Philly or in the Mid Atlantic. - Tri State Indie Blog

"My Morning Download: “Goodbye Northbrook Drive” by Modern Inventors"

Modern Inventors is a collaboration between Josh Benus of South Mountain Pass and Matt Kass of The Brakes. Kass and Benus started their virtual New York-to-Philly musical relationship a couple years ago and it has since flourished in real time as Benus moved to Philadelphia earlier this year. Modern Inventors were recently on the Leicht Lunch with Helen Leicht; you can listen to it here. Below, download a new song, “Goodbye Northbrook Drive.” Modern Inventors play Underground Arts tonight with The Lowlands, opening for headliners The Fractals. Go here for tickets and more information about the show. - WXPN - The Key Blog

"Listen to Modern Inventors recorded live on the Leicht Lunch"

Emerging Philly rock group Modern Inventors paid a visit to the Leicht Lunch today to play a couple of acoustic songs for XPN’s Helen Leicht. The new band is a collaboration between Matt Kass, formerly of The Brakes, and Josh Benus, and they play World Cafe Live on Aug. 1 opening for Cliff Hills, and then World Cafe Live at The Queen on Aug. 4 with Suzie Brown. Below, you can download the two songs they played on the air – the poppy greeting “Hello” and the contemplative “Anna.” - WXPN - The Key Blog

"Download Modern Inventors’ new single “Hello” (playing The TLA on Wednesday)"

Gearing up for their show at The TLA on Wednesday, local song-crafters Modern Inventors have released the single to their upcoming debut album Trains & Aeroplanes as a free download on Soundcloud. “Hello” is a catchy, well-built rock song with hints of Wilco and The Hold Steady woven throughout the guitar riffs and punchy drum line. The band also recorded an acoustic version of the song when it appeared on the Leicht Lunch this summer, and you can stream and download both versions below. Trains & Aeroplanes will be released in December. Go here for tickets and more information about Modern Inventors’ show with Ben Sollee at The TLA. - WXPN - The Key Blog


You gotta have guts to serenade a Beatle. This is particularly so if you choose to serenade him a) with his own song and b) the day he becomes a septuagenarian. And still, the band Modern Inventors bravely gambled their dignity, and it paid off with their masterful cover of Sir Paul McCartney's "Every Night," first released on his 1970 McCartney album. Paul originally penned the tune on a Grecian vacation, back when the Beatles were Getting It Back, Letting It Be, and giving fresh hell to British reporters.

As he wrote "Every Night," McCartney may have had the world at his feet and practically every news camera in Europe flashing outside his hotel room, but he didn't have the synthesizers and mixing technology of the aptly named Modern Inventors. The group combined their tech-savvy and Josh Benus's too-cool-for-school voice to create a dreamy, modern twist on McCartney's classic. The song will be played by Helen Leicht today on WXPN for McCartney's 70th Birthday. Hey, how awful can growing old be with a soundtrack this good?

- Baeble Music


Selfish Generation (single) - 2014

Trains & Aeroplanes - 2013



"Rock & Roll was made to make you suffer" professes singer Josh Benus on "Selfish Generation," the towering new single from Modern Inventors. The evocative alt-rock anthem is not so much a damning take on modern music from the Philadelphia-based outfit, but rather, an honest look at the sacrifice required to discover one’s unique artistic voice. That’s just what Modern Inventors have accomplished with their new batch of material, as Benus and Matt Kass have expanded upon the carefully rendered arrangements and heartbreaking harmonies of their 2013 debut album "Trains & Aeroplanes" to capture a more vibrant, muscular sound. They’ve impressed Paul McCartney and have worked with a Grammy-winning engineer — now, Modern Inventors are primed for their breakout moment.

"We took time after the first record to re-examine how we wanted the band to sound, and pushed ourselves out of our comfort zone," says Kass of "Selfish Generation," the first in a series of new singles set for release in summer 2014. While "Trains & Aeroplanes" featured a rustic rock focus that earned the young group comparisons to Wilco, and multiple performances at this year’s South By Southwest, the group’s upcoming material is richer, catchier and altogether bigger. "There was a turning point where we decided to look outside of ourselves," says Benus, "and from there, we found our voice."

Much of the following year was spent in studios in Philadelphia, New York, and Nashville, writing songs, experimenting with the band’s sound, and collaborating on different projects, including the film score for critically acclaimed HBO documentary “First Comes Love.”

With the help of Grammy-winning engineer Neal Cappellino (Alison Krauss, Brad Paisley, John Fogerty), who mixed the group’s new singles; Modern Inventors have moved beyond the confines of a singer-songwriter duo, developing a talent for creating lyrically engaging rock anthems whose layers unfold upon repeated listens.

Since the beginning, Modern Inventors’ ascent has been rapid — shortly after playing their first show together, the band quickly found support from Philadelphia’s WXPN-FM, and the radio station asked them to record a Paul McCartney cover in honor of the music legend’s 70th birthday. After the group’s take on “Every Night” became popular on WXPN, the version eventually made it to the former Beatle himself, who tipped his cap at the tribute in an email to the group. “He said he was ‘chuffed,’ which is a British phrase meaning ‘moved,” says Kass.

Modern Inventors will be delivering their imaginative live performances across the country with tour dates coming later this year. Discover the blossoming new group’s music now, before their mainstream moment arrives.

Band Members