Needers & Givers
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Needers & Givers


Band Pop Rock


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"NPR Featured Artist - Needers & Givers: 'Holy Rollers'"

", March 21, 2008 - Formed by three brothers, Needers & Givers creates a cohesive mix of '60s pop music with a progressive psychedelic flair and slight garage twist. Brotherly harmonies characterize the trio's sunny charm similar to The Beatles and The Kinks. The Other is the band's first effort....

[Ian] Hoffman says, "I wanted to bring my brothers together. We had all worked together in various bands and recordings and wanted the chance to work together exclusively.""

- NPR's Second Stage

"Robin Hilton on NPR"

March 21, 2008 - ....Very solid melodies and some tightly knit harmonies, that's prob the part they got from the Zombies but there is also a bit of noise rock that keeps it all very fresh" - NPR's Second Stage Podcast

"Illinois Entertainer"

"Three Hoffman Brothers comprise Needers & Givers, and on "The Other" they expertly meld their influences giving the album a classic sound, without coming off like a retro revival exercise. While there's a strong Beatles strain running through "The Last Time I Saw You" and "Change Her," they temper the mimicry with original flashes of sweeping keys and graceful vocal harmonies. From the acoustic fold of "Who Did I Wait For" to the damaged, blistering crack-up in "Teams & Colors," there's a compelling aura to this promising debut. - Patrick Conlan

"Pioneer Press - Sun Times News Group"

Based in Chicago, Needers & Givers make an impressive debut by filling this eight-song EP with multilayered power pop. Soft-edged vocals and sweet melodies are at the core of each song, with cello, glockenspiel, organ, guitar and assorted sounds creating a somewhat psychedelic wall of sound. Needers & Givers (three brothers from the Lombard/Villa Park area named Ian, Christopher and Dylan Hoffman) are clearly influenced by '60s rock, as well as '70s acts like Big Star and Badfinger and the '90s bands that revived psychedelia, especially Olivia Tremor Control. The Hoffman brothers have learned their lessons well, and there isn't a bad track on this CD. - Robert Loerzel

"Chicago Innerview"

Not only did the Hoffman brothers show an interest in music from a young age, they seemingly did so with the sort of relish most children today reserve for gamin systems. Amongst the trio who signed with Loose Tooth Records in January 2008 then conspired and collaborated to produce The Other, there exists several projects and instrumental abilities in cello, French horn, guitar, trumpet, bass, drums, violin, piano and name a few. The Hoffman brothers' lifelong musicianship comes to fruition in an eclectic debut album. The Other consists of eight tracks that showcase the depth and breadth of Needers & Givers' talent, versatility and impressive work ethic. Even when it rocks the hardest, there is a pretty quality to The Other. In songs like "Holy Rollers," strings provide a voice of reason against edgy rock. A catchy, carefree tone weaves its way through most every other track. - Jen Fischer

"Amplifier Feature Artist"

The Needers & Givers album release "The Other" was featured as the "Album of the Week" in April 2008. -

"Beep - Daily Herald"

Band relationships are tumultuous enough. Throw a few siblings into the mix, and it’s no wonder why Oasis’ Gallagher brothers famously fought so much. But with Needers & Givers, an indie-rock trio of siblings who grew up in Lombard, the part about how well they “get along” feels cliche, an inquiry they expect to hear often and for which they’ve already developed an agreed-upon response: “We all leave our weapons at the door.”

Ian Hoffman, singer and principle songwriter for Needers & Givers, laughs when his brother, cellist/bassist Christopher delivers the line. He cracks a joke about the hard-fought battles they’ve waged over which brother receives the best Christmas presents and then he gets to the meat of his own serious response: “We’re really close,” Ian says, running through the reasons why it’s better to play music with brothers than anyone else. He closes his argument, and there’s a pause.

“I totally disagree with you, Ian,” Chris announces in his best tone of diplomatic sarcasm. Ian busts out laughing.

It’s after 9 p.m., and Ian is sharing a conference call with Chris, who lives and teaches music in New York. Chris just returned from South By Southwest (“He’s the rock-star of the group,” Ian says. “Much cooler than us.”), and Needers & Givers are only a few weeks away from releasing their first eight-song offering, called “The Other.” Despite the hundreds of miles separating them from Lombard and New York City, they sound like they’re chatting from adjoining rooms. When I confess to them that I mistook their album’s first song, “Digging,” as a Shins track, they cheer.

“That’s what’s great about Chris and Dylan!” Ian says. Turns out the song, one of the album’s standout tracks, was a late add that sort of broke a “no extra songs” rule, put in place to prevent any last-minute changes to the track list once recording began. Turns out keeping it was a bang-up decision. (And yes, I really did clamber around for two days trying to figure out when The Shins recorded this delicately sung, start-stop drum/cello intro that I couldn’t get out of my head, and which, of course, turned out to be from Needers & Givers.) “Ian is always, always writing new music,” Chris says, “and it’s always good.”

In fact, Ian likely had the whole of “The Other” either written or hummed out when he called Chris almost a year ago to propose starting a band. Maybe even material for a sophomore effort too. To say that Ian is song-writing machine is no understatement. One day, when a student didn’t show up for Ian’s private lessons, he sat down at the piano, penned “track 5” on the album and called his brother Dylan immediately to get it scratch-recorded. “I’m trying to take a break right now,” he laughs.

The Hoffman brothers (Ian, Chris and drummer Dylan) all have experience playing in bands together at one time or another, usually in pairs. They inherited their own expertise, though, which they each transformed into personal niches, i.e. Ian and Chris teach lessons, Ian and Dylan played in a local group called Plaid Penmanship and Chris, a former sound engineer at Chicago Recording Company, has played with and engineers for an illustrious resume of musicians. (“Again, much cooler,” Ian chimes in.) Chris’ online profile lists Ryan Adams, Teddy Thompson and Umphrey’s McGee among his engineering credits.

Upcoming CD release show:
April 3: Darkroom, Chicago, with Brighton, MA and Cameron McGill. $8 at the door.
They grew up in a musical family where cello was introduced to Chris by age 5. Ian began writing songs and piano- led movie scores by age 7, and Dylan also picked up an instrument – the violin – early on, only to transition into drums in his 20s. It makes sense. The Hoffman brothers’ dad, who makes a cameo on “The Other,” is a jazz drummer, and their uncle played trumpet in the Baltimore Symphony. Their older brother Bill, who plays percussion, helped out on the album as well, perhaps making Needers &Givers more of a family effort than any of the brothers anticipated at the outset.

The distance between Chris’s NY residence and Ian and Dylan, who still call suburbia their home, presents an interesting touring scenario. Though the brothers’ primary intent when they started Needers & Givers was to record an album together, shows indeed have become part of the equation. In Chris’ absence, a rotating band of friends perform in his place, and so far – during a recent Empty Bottle show with the Roaring Twenties and Unique Chique, for example – it does the job. They plan to release their album together on April 3 at the Darkroom in Chicago with Brighton, MA, and Cameron McGill.

Even more exciting for the trio is a music video they plan to record soon for “Digging.” To be shot and directed by local up-and-coming band photographer Lenny Gilmore, Ian says they hope to release it to fans by the summer. Curt Swank, Needers & Givers’ label rep, who signed the band earlier this year in January, alr - Lisa Balde

"Obscure Sound"

Most of those who grow up with a brother or sister within the same age range regard sibling rivalries as just another aspect of growing up, an aspect that brings back enjoyable nostalgia and eventually ends up teaching life lessons when an adult reflects on it. This so-called “rivalry” can often be most prevalent among brothers, which is mainly due to the competitive streak that testosterone expectedly ignites. They tend to be more physically demonstrative in their thoughts and actions, failing to emotionalize before making rash decisions. But as most of us know, regardless of whether the brothers tend to be more emotionally or physically effusive, the relationship that close-knit brothers have is too intricate to describe in mere words. They are able to support each other through thick and thin, regardless of event or occupation. For example, major league baseball has hosted dozens of successful brothers in the majors, and it is easy to understand how difficult it is to even make it into the league. Jose, Yadier, and Bengie Molina are three brotherly catchers in the bigs, and all have won a world championship. Sure, their athleticism is prevalent, but all three brothers would also certainly tell you that a friendly sibling rivalry of sorts has attributed to their success. When applied to music and the arts in general, this form of subtle sibling affection is also prevalent…

I have written somewhat recent features regarding sisterly duos like Ghost Bees and groups consisting of brothers like Spiral Beach, but I had yet to feature an artist consisting of three siblings until now. The Chicago-based Needers & Givers consists of Christopher, Ian, and Dylan Hoffman. Like many brothers, one could say that their childhood was filled with a sense of rivalry that allowed each of the brothers to look out for one another, each in their creative and physical endeavors. Appropriately enough, all three of them consider music to be their biggest hobby. Ian, middle in age between the elder Christopher and younger Dylan, was the youngest to exhibit the form of musical potential that he has utilized today. He was fascinated with film scores, orchestral arrangements, and various instruments at the young age of 7, leading to adulthood where he is now a skilled multi-instrumentalist specializing in piano, guitar, trumpet, French horn, and voice. Christopher had been playing cello since age 5, but it was not until junior high that he became as interested as his younger brother. He began playing in a variety of jazz and rock bands after learning drums and bass, later studying cello and recording arts at the University of Wisconsin. Dylan played violin all throughout his childhood but it was not until he reached his 20’s that he decided to pursue another instrument. Following in the footsteps of his musically inclined father, he quickly mastered the drums.

Apart from their early musical studies, the Hoffman brothers have kept busy by performing in a variety of acts during the past decade. Ian’s first band was Kameelian and his other projects include Plaid Penmanship, Mr. Tumnis, and Little Electrode. Although Christopher currently has a teaching position in New York, he has managed to maintain gigging and recording with the likes of Ryan Adams, John Zorn, and Teddy Thompson. In addition to providing drum work on a variety of his brother Ian’s projects, Dylan has worked with Sleepy Sleepy Octopus and Surgeon General. And though all three brothers have seen their share of marginal success, it looks as if the project in which they are all together will be the most successful. Indeed, Needers & Givers capitalizes on the brothers’ varying and eclectic approaches, fusing a focus of indie-rock with degrees of jazz, electronica, and even classical music inherently contained as influences. Their debut album, The Other, will be released tomorrow. Recorded with Manny Sanchez (Zwan, Cameron McGill, Unphrey McGee) during last summer, it consists of 8 excitable tracks that serve as an enjoyable summation of the trio’s genetically capable talent. Though it barely stretches over 20 minutes long, there is plenty of material to express the sheer potential of Needers & Givers.

Even upon first listen of The Other, it is heavily prevalent that the trio exhibits a sentiment that their parents preached to them when they were younger; they share. All of the tracks on the album prove to be a group effort, with the brothers’ varying instrumental and vocal abilities providing for an diversifying and inimitably pleasurable experience. The album’s opening track, “Digging”, is a fantastic example of such allocated ideals. Like the rest of the tracks, Ian serves as the main vocalist and his vocals tremble and quiver in intentional form, subtly allowing hooks to emerge from his shivering ardency. The track’s verse transitions back and forth between a minimal acoustical progression and a rhythmically supplemented display of electric guitar. The chorus, h - Mike Mineo


2008: Debut Album, The Other

Available at, iTunes,, rhapsody



Needers & Givers is a Chicago, IL based pop/rock band that melds the musical backgrounds and experiences of three brothers. Introduced to music at a very young age, the brothers quickly developed their own musical styles. The Hoffman bothers' have successfully woven together influences from orchestral, jazz, pop, avante garde, electronic, and rock music. The melding of the brothers' influences coupled with their open mindedness has paved the way for original songs with a familiar sound and a matchless quality.

Initially, Needers & Givers was just a side project, a way for Ian to collaborate with his younger brother Dylan in the basement of his house. Inspired by the enjoyment of practicing with his younger brother and having wanted to join forces with both his younger brother Dylan and older brother Christopher, Ian disbanded his main project, officially forming the Needers & Givers in early 2007.

The brothers immediately began sifting through over 50 original songs written by Ian. Armed with 8 of them the brothers entered a Chicago recording studio, I.V. Lab Studio, in July 2007 for 5 grueling days of recording and tracking.

Assisting them in their arduous task was engineer and producer Manny Sanchez, owner of the studio. Manny, having previouly worked with The Hush Sound, Zwan, Cameron McGill, and Umphrey's McGee was ready for the intense task of completing the album in the short time allotted. Manny was again called upon to mix the album. He was able to mix the entire album in two 14-hour days at Smart Studio in Madison, WI with the aid of Christopher and Ian.

Joining the Needers & Givers in the studio was actor and musician Michael Pitt. Pitt offered Ian priceless feedback, and he contributed background vocals and a guitar solor for Teams & Colors. Recording artist Ryan Scott of Velour Records helped round out Digging and Holy Rollers with his innovative guitar leads and expert playing.

The Needers & Givers offer dynamic songs expertly written by Ian Hoffman and superbly produced by brothers Ian and Christopher. Live performances offer reworked, rocked out versions of the LP songs interlaced with exciting new songs sure to be on the second album. The vibrant energy and upbeat attitude between the brothers is infectious, and their live shows offer proof of their musicianship and love of music.

Collectively, the brothers have experience playing at popular Chicago venues such as the Empty Bottle, Schuba's Tavern, House of Blues, Martyrs' as well as venues across the country and in Europe.

Joining the Needers & Givers for some live performances are Zak Anderson on keys/guitar and Devin Swearingin-Ross on bass.

For a live video of Michael Pitt performing his guitar solo please visit

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