Skidmore Fountain
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Skidmore Fountain

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
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Brooklyn’s Skidmore Fountain is a
collection of eclectic musicians, Randy
Bergida (vocals/guitar), Topu Lyo
(cello/vocals), and Steven Cohen
(guitar/vocals) who produce alternative
pop that has plenty of soundscapes with
orchestral touches. If The Flaming Lips
and Coldplay teamed up with Jeff Lynne
adding a rare flourish, you'd get close to
this band's sound. Opening with a
combination of violins and guitars,
"Asylum" boasts an impressive array of instrumentation and driving
beat to Bergida's vocal. The highlight early on for me was "Drive By
Reflection" where the simple guitar rhythms merge from a Cure-like
narrative to a rich orchestral tapestry. The ghostly harmonies,
handclaps and guitar breaks of "When The Sun Comes" is a loose series
of sketches, rather than a structured song. It's almost like a pop
version of free form jazz. Too often, despite the musicianship, we are
missing the hooks here on long winding tracks. Sometimes this doesn't
hurt a song like "Cloudless" or "Whole World" where the melodies and
musical textures hold everything together fine. The gorgeous
harmonies are upfront on "Sun In The Sky" with a vivid image of beach
heat making this my favorite track. Other tracks like "Anyone Around"
get too loose, and it almost becomes an extended reggae jam - some
listeners will appreciate all the sonic details, but if you're looking for
quick pop songs under three minutes look elsewhere. I have to admit
the songs have a soothing quality I don't find in most pop music. - Powerpopaholic


Compare to the likes of ELO, Flaming Lips, and the Yeah Yeah
Yeahs. Based out of Brooklyn, NY, Skidmore Fountain’s indie rock
sound is made unique with the use of the electric cello. Lead singer,
Randy Bergida, uses his clear, earnest vocals to contribute to the
bands own pop sound that is coated with some tasty harmonies like
that of the Fleet Foxes. - Off The Record


Another band featuring some cool cellos is Brooklyn's Skidmore
Fountain. But don't get the idea that's all this band plays as they
come equipped with all kinds of strings, guitars and lush
orchestrations that make their new release, Cloudless Blue as much of
an event to experience as an album to listen to. Cloudless Blue was
released last month and if you like ELO and the Flaming Lips, Skidmore
Fountain is for you. - Local Vertical


Our Take
Chamber rock has become a much bigger genres in recent years than some people might have expected. The
melding of orchestral arrangements with rock music may not be a new thing, but bands are constantly
finding new ways to make it sound fresh. This is true of Brooklyn based Skidmore Fountain, who have
chosen to create more of an “indie rock with soaring string arrangements” album rather than going for full
on chamber rock/pop. And with their newest release Cloudless Blue the group has proven that they have
some interesting ideas that separate them from everyone else.
Although the core of Skidmore Fountain’s sound is based around very traditional sounding indie rock riffs
that have modern day and retro influences, they use string instruments as a way to make their compositions
stand out from everyone else. If listeners pay close attention, they will likely hear the use of traditional
string instruments which help contribute to the melodic atmosphere that many of these songs provide. The
instrumentalists never make any of these songs full on chamber rock, and instead choose to go the melodic
indie rock route but the way that they subtly incorporate the strings into the mix works incredibly well.
Three of Skidmore Fountain’s members contribute vocals on Cloudless Blue and they often sing
simultaneously in order to create some great harmonies. As one might expect from more melodically
oriented indie rock, the vocals are fairly laid back and soft in style. What most people are sure to enjoy
about this group is the way in which Skidmore Fountain splits up their vocal duties, as it seems as though
they never give any one particular member the spotlight and are constantly switching things up. This gives
the album a bit more variety than one might expect, and proves to be a good direction for the group to be
going in.
Skidmore Fountain seems content to be a fringe band that doesn’t want to conform to either traditional
chamber rock or indie rock style, and this does help them to stand out as a fairly unique entity. Cloudless
Blue has catchy hooks and very atmospheric arrangements that are enhanced by the various string
instruments, and although it wouldn’t hurt them to venture a little further into orchestral territory in the
future these guys still have what it takes to win over listeners.
http://www.youngloverecords.com/
Chris Dahlberg
June 11, 2009 - Chris Dahlberg "Cosmos Gaming"


"Great feel, great sound, I love this record!" - Shawn Pelton


"On their sophomore record, Brooklyn's Skidmore Fountain sprays out poppy streams of alt-rock with surprising dexterity. Although they stamp their '90s forbearer's logo on their album's blueprint, the quartet builds on that with an eclectic architecture. Jagged, reggae-inflected guitars coverage with contemporary jazz chord changes in, "Get Away?" while "Dance Political" finds the band channeling a King-Tubby-produced B-52s. Electric cellist Topu Lyo lends orchestral bombasts to "And It Matters" and ambient whimsy to "Lost and Lonely." Randy Bergida belts out sleek vocal melodies with breathy confidence, and the loungey "Lost and Lonely" will inspire countless make-out sessions and the gobs of catchy choruses seem destined for crowd shout-alongs."
- CMJ New Music Report


Brooklyn’s Skidmore Fountain plays Duck Room Friday
By Matt Fernandes
Thursday, Sep. 20 2007
Skidmore Fountain plays engaging, multi-layered rock
with some jazz stylings here and there. The five-string
electric cello work by Topu Lyo gives the music a
sedated, noir feel.
The group, together for eight years now, will be making
its second visit to St. Louis after playing Blueberry Hill
in May. They are on a mini tour, also stopping in Lead
singer Randy Bergida’s hometown Indianapolis.
Their latest record, “Break,” was released in June.
Grammy award-winning producer Ken Lewis (David
Byrne, Beastie Boys) produced the 11-track follow-up
to their 2004 debut, “Songs On The Book Of
Departure.”
How is Brooklyn treating you?
“We live in Greenpoint and it’s pretty amazing right
now. So much is happening musically. All of my friends
are in bands and all of the friends of those friends are in bands, and not just one band, but five bands each
(laughing). We’ve really enjoyed the Luna Lounge, it’s an awesome venue we started playing a while back.”
How did the band come together?
“We met in Tucson, Arizona as a trio and decided to move to Portland. We were there for two years and
decided to move again, so I guess you can call us a ‘traveling band.’ We were called the Wind-Up Birds, but
got a call from another band with the same name insisting that ‘they had it first.’ So we picked Skidmore
Fountain – a landmark in Portland – to honor the city when we moved to New York.”
For those who haven’t seen you, can you describe your sound?
“We’re definitely in the vein of indie rock. We happen to have a string player in the group (cellist Lyo) so that
is one way we stand out. We probably have more complex orchestrations than the average band as well. I
grew up listening to a lot of jazz and classical music, but also liked Blind Melon (with members from Indiana)
a lot.”
*
Skidmore Fountain will appear tomorrow night (Friday) at Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room from 7:45-8:20
Website: skidmorefountain.com
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/skidmorefountain
PLAY:stl Festival: http://www.playbackstl.com/content/view/6413/62/ - STL Today


Skidmore Fountain is one of those bands that is too modern to be considered classic rock and too classic to be considered modern rock. They fall somewhere in between, like the Killers. They don’t offer as many catchy hooks as the Killers, but they offer straight-ahead rock with some added depth.

Hailing from Brooklyn by way of Tucson, Ariz., and Portland, Ore., the band contains two classically trained instrumentalists, including Topu Lyo on five-string electric cello. Producer Ken Lewis, who has produced John Legend and the Beastie Boys, adds a certain amount of polish to the band’s sophomore release. Randy Bergida has a great rock and roll voice—ranging from a Johnny Rotten snarl to a David Bowie falsetto. Plus this is a band that is not afraid to ask the important questions, such as: “If you could get up from lightning/Would you get off from lightning?” (“Lightning”). I don’t know what it means either, but it sure is fun imagining possibilities. - Up Against the Wall Magazine


Skidmore Fountain - 3 song EP
Triple R Records

Three songs are all it takes to let you know that this Brooklyn foursome has something special happening. With slight influences as diverse as U2, the B-52s and Billy Bragg, it is hard not to call this retro except that these guys do enough fresh things with the songwriting that it nails you. “Audio Broken Glass” has a near epic song quality, as the intensity creeps up on you. “Virginia” starts out moody and then tromps on the accelerator. Look out for these guys when they get a full CD out there.
- Serge Entertainment Group


Skidmore Fountain is a local band by way of first Tucson Ariz, and then Portland, Ore. The quartet made the move east a little over a year ago and is settling into the local scene nicely.

With a guitar-drums-cello setup, Skidmore Fountain is not your average rock band. In fact, when lead singer Randy Bergida teamed up with guitarist Steve Cohen and cellist Topu Lyo, Cohen and Lyo definitely had a more classical bent.

"I was kind of curious where the band was, but that was it," Bergida told amNewYork about his first meeting with the duo. "I was interested to see where they were going, so I stuck around."

Since then, they picked up drummer Dylan Wissing and developed their own rock sound, which incorporates their classical background as well as jazz, reggae, R&B and other influences. Their recently released CD, "Songs on the Book of Departure," is a cohesive example of how this mish-mash works.

The name comes from their time in Oregon. "In Portland, there's all these fountains constantly flowing, and we used to wonder, 'Is it safe to drink from these fountains?'" explained Bergida. "So our name is some kind of metaphor: 'Is it safe to listen to Skidmore Fountain?'" - amNewYork


Discography

"Cloudless Blue" (Young Love Records), national release April 29th, 2009.
"Break" CD (Triple R), national release May 15 2007. Produced and mixed by multiple Grammy-winner Ken Lewis (John Legend, David Byrne, Beastie Boys)
"Self-Titled" EP (Triple R), recorded 2006
"Songs on the Book of Departure" CD recorded in 2004 with legendary Tape Op founder Larry Crane

Photos

Bio

Think ELO and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Think Flaming Lips and Can. Think Terry Riley and Talking Heads. Channeling these musical influences, New York City based indie rock band Skidmore Fountain is a bit on the unconventional side with five-string electric cello (its fifth string acts as bass), guitar, drums, and vocals making up the group. Skidmore brings the recording studio to the stage, with live string arrangements and ambient soundscapes looping through an Echoplex, vocals intensified through analog delay pedals, and orchestrated guitar lines all sitting atop pounding old school R&B and dub rhythms.

It was in Tucson, Arizona where the three founders Randy Bergida (vocals/guitar), Topu Lyo (cello/vocals), and Steven Cohen (guitar/vocals) began performing together in avant-garde art house happenings. The group moved to Portland, Oregon to electrify and find their voice in the indie rock scene, recording their first album with Tape Op legend Larry Crane (Elliot Smith, Stephen Malkmus). The album was picked as CD Baby Staff Favorite for several months. Moving across the continent to New York City, the band joined forces with long time touring drummer Dylan Wissing (Johnny Socko, Novel), and as AM New York reported, "the quartet is settling into the local scene nicely".

Multi-Grammy award-winning producer Ken Lewis (David Byrne, Beastie Boys) produced the band’s 2007 11-track release, Break (Triple R Records). “A lot of innovative and enjoyable music here,” Music Morsels wrote of the disc. “Brooklyn’s Skidmore Fountain sprays out poppy streams of alt-rock with surprising dexterity,” proclaimed CMJ New Music Report. “The gobs of catchy choruses seem destined for crowd shout-alongs.” Break was recently picked as iTunes favorite albums, it charted on FMQB and the title track appeared on MTV. Skidmore won the 2008 AirPlay Direct "All Things Digital Alternative/AAA" contest, also on the strength of their album Break.

After winning AirPlay Direct's songwriting contest, the four spent the better part of the year writing and recording new material for their 2009 release Cloudless Blue (Young Love Records), sponsored by AirPlay Direct, Rotary Records, Planetary Group and Big Fat Cat. The record releases to radio on April 27th, with a national release date of April 29th. Both regional and national touring are planned, along with aggressive college radio and publicity campaigns.

Skidmore Fountain has appeared at the CMJ Music Marathon in NYC and the PLAY:stl Festival in St. Louis with headlining gigs at Mercury Lounge, Pianos, Arlene’s Grocery, Knitting Factory, The Bitter End and the legendary CBGB’s. They have toured throughout the Northwest, Midwest, and Northeast.