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Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE
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This band has not uploaded any videos




Later this month, Chicago psych-pop project Netherfriends will digitally release their debut album Barry and Sherry. You can watch the kaleidoscopic time-lapse video for "Lead You Through the Misty Fog of Milwaukee Avenue" here, and catch Netherfriends at our own Pitchfork Music Festival. - Pitchfork

"Album Review- Barry and Sherry"

For probably the 100th time on CoS, I will say “2010 is the last year it’s okay to cop Animal Collective’s sound.” Netherfriends are in with months to spare, but the AC footprint is right smack in the middle of Barry and Sherry. They’re not the only influence, however, as The Flaming Lips can also be heard, as can Paul Simon via Vampire Weekend. But that’s what Netherfriends have going for them: they are current. Or, better yet, they’re relevant. Because, for one, most people won’t complain that “It’s Too Early/If It’s Gone..It’s Gone” sounds like Vampire Weekend and Animal Collective mashed up (Animal Weekend? Vampire Collective?). And the ones who do get it and hear the styles for what they are, well, they’ll probably like it, too. Because, seriously, everyone likes Animal Collective and Vampire Weekend. I swear I heard my mom playing Contra the other day.

The hyper-melodic (or hyper-catchy) elements that Netherfriends borrows from indie’s elite aren’t that far from eachother in that they are both globally influenced, with sounds that originate in Spain, the African continent, and the Caribbean. AC and VW are still fresh enough in the pop consciousness that it doesn’t become immediately apparent when you start Barry and Sherry that this is a second wave album, just when you hear the vocals. And it’s in these vocals that most of the borrowing takes place, the product of hard work from a fellow named Shawn Rosenblatt, the core band member and only consistent touring part. The backing music, also primarily the work of Rosenblatt, varies greatly from track to track, but there’s a clear drop in fidelity from the influences to the influenced. In fact, the iTunes category for this release has Netherfriends listed as mid-fi pop, a term I only have heard used by Chuck Klosterman in his description of Pavement. And though Netherfriends does use what we usually deem lo-fi, their abandonment of this term leads one to believe that they identify less with DIY as an aesthetic and more as just the only option. From the harmonies in “More Than Friends Who Like Good Music” to the guitar in “Steal This Hook”, the details all act as support to the songwriting, and rarely provide more than their role of rhythm. And while it’s very listenable, it would be pretty unfulfilling if not for one attribute. Rosenblatt has something that Noah Lennox and Ezra Koenegg wish they had and that is a razor sharp wit and lyrical insight, which allows him to avoid being the Diet Coke of indie.

Take the album opener, “Bret Easton Ellis Novel”. Mentioning Bret Easton Ellis will not be lost on most hipsters, but I’d imagine about half the listeners will have to Wikipedia that shit. I’ve got three novels under my belt, and I can imagine being in a hipster band would be a lot like the scenester characters Ellis uses in his satires. And, the inclusion of “everyone is talking shit” made me laugh, as do other lines throughout the collection. And I don’t like funny music. Clever I can dig, but music that is trying to be funny generally isn’t. On Barry and Sherry, for every musing about the amount of people that die for the spices no one uses, there are lines like “no one cares about the songs I write and sing today.” That’s not funny. In fact, the humor serves as a foil, using the lightness of the material and sneaking in lines like this. When the punches hit, they sting hard. It plays like the artist has to share a part of himself but is trying to lull the listener with seemingly inane tales, and, surprisingly, it kind of works.

If it accomplishes anything, Barry and Sherry reaffirms that you can’t underestimate the value of lyrics that are interesting without being unintelligible. In fact, that line is from “It’s Too Early/If It’s Gone…It’s Gone”, a song that comes across equally silly and heartfelt as the voice worries about premature baldness with directness and insecurity that is, well, brutal. But, he’s also writing a song about premature baldness, which makes it comedic by default.
Speaking of underestimation, you also can’t underestimate the value of damn catchy music. Sure it can seem manipulative to get you hooked, then disappoints by not maintaining the infectiousness through repeat listens, but writing eight catchy songs, and not sensitive ballads but material that is fun and engaging… well, that is an accomplishment in itself.

But, I keep coming back to the words. To see a young songwriter play with hiding through humor, lulling the audience to sleep and revealing relatable and seemingly personal details is remarkable in how smart it is. I think of a band like Pavement and Stephen Malkmus, who often sings goofy stories like this. You remember the one-liners, like “Irish folk tales scare the shit out of me”, but this makes the profound moments that much more special and what resonates years after the song is conceived, like “You’ve got to pay your dues before you pay ther rent.” They always say the best comedians are the most depressed, the idea of the sad clown, which Malkmus never seemed to be but Rosenblatt can probably identify as. But his personal, revealing moments are sadly relating, ambitious, and deep. Hopefully, he will eventually find his own method for which to express these thoughts. He has six months to do so. - consequence of sound

"How the Netherfriends' "50 songs for 50 states" tour can benefit from its predecessors"

After his "farewell Chicago" show Thursday at Empty Bottle, Netherfriends mastermind Shawn Rosenblatt will forfeit his apartment and day job to embark on a one-year, cross-country tour. The goal: write and record at least one song in every U.S. state. If the idea sounds vaguely familiar, it's because he’s not the first artist to take on a project that encompasses all 50 states. Many have tried; most have failed. To help Netherfriends learn from these projects' failures, The A.V. Club inspected a handful, pinpointed where they went wrong, and asked Rosenblatt why his attempt will succeed where others have faltered. - A.V. Club (The Onion)

"Best of SXSW"

"Banging out sweetly distorted sing-along melodies on guitar, keyboard
and drums, Chicago trio Netherfriends delivered the thrill of the
unknown." - Blender Magazine


"Netherfriends make some of the most likeable music this kid has heard in quite some time." - RCRDLBL

"Any of the Netherfriends can be pals of Rockness anytime."

Chicago's Netherfriends are a young trio that plays catchy synth-pop with perhaps a dash of psych (if psych weren't so serious all the time) and a little bit of hazy laid-back dreaming (like the Animal Collective/Panda Bear thing).

This is pretty optimistic stuff for sure (the chorus of the inspirationally titled song, "Stop Smoking Asshole Cigarettes," goes something like "ba-ba-da-ba-bop"). And someone always seems to be tinkering with strange toys in the background of these playful-yet-substantial songs. But they're not toys, they're just pots and pans, glockenspiels, melodicas and happy samples.

Netherfriends have a bunch of toe-tappers in their repertoire, and I definitely wouldn't mind this band leading my crew in a round of campfire songs (if campfires weren't so creepy when you and all your friends are 30-something).

Netherfriends have recently played shows with Maps & Atlases, Wye Oak, and Pattern Is Movement. Considering all the buzz dream-pop is getting these days, it seems only natural Netherfriends will be able to ride that wave. They've got the "skillz" to pay the "billz." - Oh My Rockness


7inch- Feathers and Dots (Black and Green Records)
EP- Calling You Out EP (Emergency Umbrella)
LP-Barry and Sherry (Lateral Records)
Digital only EP-Alap
7inch- Angry East Coast (Cellar Hits)



Netherfriends (Shawn Rosenblatt,) has turned the mythology of touring on its head since his latest months of touring, making his trip around the country into a productive affair. Starting in April 2010, Shawn gave up his apartment and hit the road for one year with the goal to write and record a song and perform in all 50 states. He accomplished his goal in April 2011 in Hawaii (the last state.) Netherfriends began as a musical offering of Shawn Rosenblatt in 2007, while he was still a student at Columbia College in Chicago. During the 50 Songs Project, Netherfriends has released his debut LP Barry and Sherry as well as played the Pitchfork Music Festival. After releasing Barry and Sherry last September, Netherfriends wasted no time in releasing the free flowing EP Alap to ring in the New Year. Netherfriends bends traditional colors of pop touching upon psychedelic, dream, and synth to create a new musical spectrum. According to Daytrotter, Shawn Rosenblatt "is some kind of a mastermind" that "has an expert way with indie rock arrangement and with the tricky business of sounding both unfamiliar and like something that we've been intimate with time and again." The next few months will see Netherfriends on the road for a return to the SXSW Music Festival and the completion of the 50 Songs in 50 States Project. Netherfriends plans to begin releasing the 50 songs as a series of EPs/LPs within the next couple years.