Song Sparrow Research
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Song Sparrow Research

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF
Band Rock Folk




"Up & Coming"

Song Sparrow Research isn't just some arbitrary indie-poo band name; it's LEGIT. Legit as in lead singer Hamilton Boyce actually researched sparrow songs while schooling away at UW! The particular whimsy involved with being the sort of person who studies sparrow songs translates nicely to Song Sparrow's soaring folkenspiel pop. Upright bass? Yes. Mellow orchestral tunes spiked with jazz? Absolutely. Sideburns? Of course.
- Emily Nokes - The Stranger

"MVRemix - Song Sparrow Research album review"

There’s a subdued pop sensibility that effortlessly and innately flows through their music. For example, their first single, “As Clouds Drift By,” is a dreamier version of a catchy Fleet Foxes song (if there is such a creature.) It isn’t all pastoral bliss and sunshine though. Lead singer Hamilton Boyce’s voice lends a sweet sort of gravitas to the entire affair. The emotion of these songs are caught somewhere between welcoming the dawning of a new spring and a new love and saying goodbye to a dear friend during the hardest months of a brutal winter.

Every so often, we catch an American version of Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan inflecting in Boyce’s vocals, immediately followed by the ever popular glockenspiel’s clinking, rhythmic bells, demonstrated dutifully on the aptly named “Ever Feel So Down” – a track that suddenly has a slight jazz breakdown. This album is a study in contrasts that plays to the band’s strengths and works well to Song Sparrow Research’s advantage now and in the immediate future. - MVRemix

"Seattle Music Blog: Artist Profile - Song Sparrow Research"

I hope to see these guys blow up.

Take technical Jazz, give it a Dirty Projectors album, take it to an Interpol concert, and raise it in Seattle by parents who loved The Beatles, and that’s what Song Sparrow Research is. All local artists making incredible music.

Their musicianship is not unnoticed. Their drummer is amazing, complete control of the kit, making sounds that I can only dream of. A bass/cello player that literally blew my mind. I mean, honestly, these guys are great. It’s no shock that they are playing KEXP tomorrow, Wednesday the 26th, at noon.

Their live show consisted of their album, Song Sparrow Research, available on Bandcamp. I would definitely go grab it if I were you, as these guys won’t have a $5 album for much longer, in my opinion. - Seattle Music Blog

"Alan Cross - I Like This: Song Sparrow Research"

The album is self-titled. It's out now. - Alan Cross

"Seattle Weekly Best of 2012: Best Side Project - Song Sparrow Research"

More in the vein of contemporary groups like Beach House and Beirut, Song Sparrow Research sounds dreamy, anthemic, and occasionally melancholy. The group takes its name from Boyce's undergraduate research at the University of Washington, where he worked in a lab that studied the function and development of bird song. He must have learned a thing or two, 'cause Mother Nature would be proud of these tunes.

- Keegan Hamilton, Seattle Weekly - Seattle Weekly

"Song Sparrow Research - Evolutionary Folk"

Song Sparrow Research are Seattle chamber pop rockers independently releasing their second (self titled) album this week.

Lead singer Hamilton Boyce is no stranger to recording songs, at his old alma mater Garfield High he played in the Jazz Band, while childhood friend and bass player David Balatero contributed to the schools Orchestral Choir. While attending U-dub Hamilton studied evolutionary biology, making field recordings of Song Sparrows for a year straight. The goal was to track the interactions and sounds made between birds, and all this experience certainly influences his latest work.

Song Sparrow Research's quintet of musicians reaches orchestral proportions through the interplay of multiple instruments to include some plucky electric bass work, cello backing, synthesizer sounds, Boyce’s own moody vocals, and a ton of glockenspiel (oh the glockenspiel) for an atmospheric tone. You’d think a bunch of symphonic arrangements by a birdwatcher from the Northwest would cloud up and grey over like the Seattle sky, but Boyce must also possess some knowledge of the miracle of flight, because this album soars the whole way through.

- Sean Jewell, the Stranger - The Stranger

"Band of the Week: Song Sparrow Research"

“...there is a moody Neil Young/'70s folk vibe...” - The Stranger

"Tonight in Music: Song Sparrow Research, Ravenna Woods, GBH, & more"

Charming audiences with guitar, multi-layer vocals, glockenspiel, cello, and other various instruments, Song Sparrow Research give us their hearts wrapped in folk/Americana. Be sure to check them out for some fun music that is guaranteed to make you swoon. - SSG Music

"KEXP Album Review: Song Sparrow Research"

This Seattle band’s second album is an often-gorgeous set of folk-tinged chamber-pop, with a lush, beautifully crafted sound combining warm harmonies, jangly guitars, cello, glockenspiel and more on songs ranging from propulsive pop-rockers to wistful, atmospheric ballads.

7/20/2012 -Don Yates - KEXP

"Show Review: Hooves and Beak, Song Sparrow Research, and Zambri, At The Tractor Tavern"

Song Sparrow Research took to the stage and upped the strings ante by seeing the cello, and raising one stand-up bass to accompany bandleader Hamilton Boyce on electric guitar and vocals. I've waxed before about the way the moody arrangements of these jazz and orchestral trained musicians brand of hushed rock manages to stay plucky enough to take flight on harmonies, and they do not disappoint live. While Boyce's voice rarely rises above an indoor speaking tone, the music is deeply and delicately atmospheric. Evan Woodle flailed and head bobbed at twice the typical ¾ beat like you'd expect a jazz drummer to, keyboard player Ryan Batie could hardly be contained in his playpen of glockenspiel and laptop, David Balatero sat plucking and pulling every available sound from cello (and later the biggest goddamn electric bass I've ever seen), and Kendall Becker kept her eyes shut and felt out the beat on stand up bass with an intensity rarely heard this side of music. Song Sparrow Research moved efficiently through some cuts from their recently released self-titled and some new material under the crowds watchful eye. Their passion for their individual instruments made them a pleasure to watch as well as hear. In a time where big noise has become synonymous with interesting, what little noise they made was attention getting and well orchestrated without being stale. - The Stranger

"Great New Tunes from Song Sparrow Research"

Man, the guitar line from the new single from Song Sparrow Research immediately drew me in, but then the vocals gave me an entirely different feeling. Suddenly, guitars were ringing in my ears, only to be brought down to Earth by the elegant voice. It’s a pretty strong statement being made by the band, fusing elements of folk, baroque and dream pop all together, creating a supremely listenable tune, and it’s just one of many. You’ll find ten more such tracks on the group’s debut self-titled album, which you can purchase now from the group; it’s a limited press, so if you love what you hear, get on it quick. - Austin Town Hall

"Song Sparrow Research Sound Sweet and Dreamy"

Loose, dreamy pop and lush, sweeping melodies mark the debut release from this local five-piece, recalling the delicate arrangements of Beirut and Travis, and sometimes, the driving indie anthems of The Strokes. - Seattle Weekly

"Song Sparrow Research – Welcome to the Potato Famine"

Music just lands in my lap. God damn I’m a lucky man. And while there’s a lot of crap out there, some of the stuff that makes it to my ears is just amazing. The most recent present has been a debut record from a Seattle band called Song Sparrow Research... - Dyson Sound

""Song Sparrow Research embody the confusion of self awareness...""

“…their full band, Song Sparrow Research, are even more impressive. It starts with the drums which throb with jazzy intensity—you can see the cymbals jitter violently, commanded by a tight snare. Hamilton Boyce’s baritone wanderings are infectious, his guitar flourishes are electrified and their combination recalls the urgent humanity beneath Neutral Milk Hotel…This empathy is the band’s strongest asset; Song Sparrow Research embody the confusion of self awareness.” – Music Nerd, Publicola, - Publicola

""I can't wait to see where they go from here...""

“I often think what makes a band successful at their start is if they can create their own vocabulary with their sound and then build up from there. From my first listens of Song Sparrow Research's ‘Welcome to the Potato Famine,’ I thought this band has done exactly that: crafting a new set of sounds that doesn't sound like anyone else. I can't wait to see where they go from here...” - Charles McEnerney, Host + Producer - Well-Rounded Radio


• "Song Sparrow Research" (LP, 2012)

Tracks from this album are currently being digitally streamed, Rdio, Spotify, and on the radio nationally at the following stations: CHMR (St John’s, NF), WUNH (Durham, NH), KVRX (Austin, TX), KWCR (Ogden, UT ), KMNR (Rolla, MO), Aggie Radio (Logan, UT), WLUR (Lexington, VA), WUTK (Knoxville, TN), WWUH (West Hartford, CT), KCSU (Fort Collins, CO), KRNU (Lincoln, NE), Graffiti Radio (Wilmington, DE), WMUA (Amherst, MA), WSOU (South Orange, NJ), WWVU (Morgantown, WV), KEXP (Seattle, WA), Radio UTD - Dallas (Richardson, TX), WHUS (Storrs, CT), WKDU (Philadelphia, PA), WRKC (Wilkes-Barre, PA), WRUW (Cleveland, OH), WSBU (St. Bonaventure, NY), WUSB (Stony Brook, NY), WSUR / WSCW (Worcester , MA), KCSS (Turlock, CA), KUMD (Duluth, MN), KWTS (Canyon, TX), WBNY (Buffalo, NY), WPGU (Champaign, IL), KGAR (Lemoore, CA), WGLS (Glassboro, NJ)

• "Welcome to the Potato Famine" (LP, 2009)

• "The New Ragtime Revolution ep" (EP, 2007)



Song Sparrow Research incorporates elements of rock, jazz, classical, folk, and experimental with guitar, cello, upright bass, electric bass, glockenspiel, drums, synth, percussion and assorted instrumentation.

In their self-produced recording sessions they’ve utilized unconventional spaces to achieve specific natural sounds, ranging from enormous metal-working shops for spatial echo to local wood-lined cafes for a warm intimate feel.

Many of the members met at Garfield High School while playing music together in various forms. Continuing to collaborate in later years, they formed Song Sparrow Research in 2006.

The band takes its name from a research project that lead singer and guitarist Hamilton Boyce was involved in while studying for his degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Washington.

Song Sparrow Research has self-produced and independently released two full-length albums and one EP.