the Halfnelsons
Gig Seeker Pro

the Halfnelsons

Band Rock Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"The Halfnelsons: Basement Rock"

So how could I not like this band? They share my name, or at least half of it. What makes the name really work is the fact that half the band has the last name of Nelson and yes, they are brothers. Like a certain 80s rock band of brothers with the last name Nelson (somehow the children of Ricky Nelson), this set of Nelson brothers chose to use Nelson in their band name. Even though they have humbled themselves to being just the Halfnelsons, they bring twice as much rock (actually more then twice the amount, but it works better with the half analogy). By the way, in case you where curious, none of them have ever professionally wrestled.

The Basement Rock EP consists of four rocked out numbers somewhere trapped in grunge rock, alt rock and modern rock. The recordings sound good, but not too good. The performances are tight, but not too tight. Basically, the Halfnelsons bring to the table a solid little indie rock EP worthy of any rock fans listen. While nothing flies off the disc as over-spectacular, I definitely have no problem listening to the songs two or three times before I switch to the next disc. There are a lot of breaks, riff changes, loose guitars and almost off-key vocals (think Neil Young or Daniel Johnston) that somehow always find their place in the music.

My favorite track is probably Telepathetic. With tons of fun changes and straining vocals, it probably best displays the bands sense of humor: Telepathetic on the afternoon shift/ Climbing on the bar and dancing for tips/ Full on lips and full on tits/ Just cant help thinking that theres something that you missed. The song is full of very Neil Young-esqe riffs, snotty lyrics and the sound of a band having a good time. I have a feeling The Halfnelsons best move is yet to come. - Left Off The Dial - Nelson Heise

"The Halfnelsons - Do You Feel Alright?"

The Halfnelsons (cool name!) grapple with full-tilt fuzz laden tunes that rock with the intensity of an earthquake on their new six song sampler Do You Feel Alright? E.R. Nelson does most of the singing while thrashing out the rhythm on his guitar. Meanwhile, brother B.C. Nelson spits out fiery fretboard solos that dot the band's songs like a colorful swatch of graffiti. Punch in R.B. Stone's subterranean bass lines and N.B. Binkowski's explosive drumming and you've got one energized act indeed.

Eclipsing the typical din of modern day rock bands, The Halfnelsons exhibit a command of timing and songwriting inqenuity on Do You Feel Alright? that will definitely get them noticed on the local scene and beyond. Best tracks: "You Know It's the Truth," "Don't Hold Your Breath," and "Let It Out." Good stuff paralleling the best of the Beastie Boys. - Metronome Magazine - May 2006

"The Halfnelsons - Do You Feel Alright?"

Good raucous rock n roll with hickish vocals but a loud and fun delivery. They're not fantastic but they rock, and that's all I ask for. Well, that and a lesbian threesome. - READ Magazine

"The Halfnelsons - Do You Feel Alright?"

The Halfnelsons don’t pull any punches on Do You Feel Alright?. Right from the first track, “Air Siren,” the band is rocking out and unapologetic. Expect straight ahead, distorted guitar lines, driving bass and drums, and vocals that tread the line between yelling and whining, without the worst of either. The whole creates an impression of something thrown out with little effort or thought, as if to say, “There, what do you think of that?!” That is not to say that the tunes sound unfinished or poorly written, but that the prevailing attitude seems to be that the Halfnelsons are just doing their thing in their way, and if you like it, great, but if you don’t get it, they probably don’t care. There is definitely a rough edge to the music, but it is clearly intentional. It would be out of character for these guys to polish up their sound.

The opening tracks of this EP have plenty of infectious melodies and lyrics that are easy to sing along with, creating a sound that is reminiscent in some ways of Pavement. Whether calculated or not, the Halfnelsons have definitely front-loaded the album with the hookiest material, which pulls the listener in effortlessly. “Air Siren” is the perfect opening cut, showcasing everything that is best about the Halfnelsons in a catchy, accessible package. The following two songs, “You Know It’s the Truth” and “Standing Still,” continue in much the same vein, though with a slightly relaxed energy from the opening. “Over the Hill” follows, recapturing some of the energy from the opening, but it loses momentum with the stop time chorus. The latter tracks, “Don’t Hold Your Breath” and “Let It Out,” tend towards a darker sound that is less devil may care and has more angst. They are not necessarily bad, but the band is definitely better when presenting the carefree indie rock attitude of the first half of the CD.

Overall, Do You Feel Alright? is a solid effort from the Halfnelsons. They don’t break any new ground, and this lack of originality may prove an obstacle eventually, but they do what they do well, and, for fans of this sound, originality is certainly not required. For a good rocking time, the Halfnelsons more than satisfy. (Heavy Hint Records)

-Brian McGrath - Northeast Performer

"Band of brothers - The Halfnelsons do it wholeheartedly"

The Halfnelsons make their mission clear on “Air Siren,” the opening
salvo from their new sixsong EP, “Do You Feel Alright?” (Heavy Hint).

“Me, my brother and my band gonna take on the world,” Erik Nelson sings.

The tunes on “Alright?” are like bread in a toaster —
starting off light and gradually
getting darker. The first few are beery singalong fun in the spirit of
the first two Pavement albums, with whoo’s and yelling that by the last few songs drift into the Afghan
angst of Greg Dulli with harder guitars.

Brotherly love

When Erik Nelson talks about his brother, it’s not in the hippie sense. The Halfnelsons are named as such because Erik and his
brother Brett are the guitarists.
Bassist Blake Stone and drummer
Brian Binkowski are the un-Nelson half.

The band thrives on love and strain documented in similar sibling pairs from Cain and Abel to the Kinks.

“A lot of the changes just come naturally,” 24-year old Erik says about writing songs with his bro, three years his junior. “Brett and
I have that internalized.”

As for the strain, every six months or so one of them “threatens to leave the band...And then it’s a
week of tension, which when we get over it it’s better than it’s ever been.”

Influences schminfluences

On the band’s MySpace page, under the category of “influences,” the Halfnelsons list “schminfluences,”
but Erik nods to a few of the
best-known brother bands.

“The Kinks, the Black Crowes — those are bands that if we were willing to list them would be on our
influences list,” he says.

And what about that other band of brothers named Nelson?

“They’re terrible,” Erik laughs when considering Matthew and Gunnar. “But it’s like in ‘Office Space’ where the guy’s name is
Michael Bolton and he says
something like, ‘Why should I change my name, when he’s the one that sucks?’” - Boston Metro - 04.28.06

"The Halfnelsons - Do You Feel Alright?"

The Half Nelsons’ debut walks a fine line. On one hand, there’s something very classy about their approach; their packing is sleek and their riffs are tight and traditional, powerful, but traditional. On the other hand, vocalist Erik Nelson screams and slurs his words like that old guy at the bar talking to himself. This dynamic of spastic accusatory chants and rants over steady pounding chords works. The Half Nelsons are the perfect bar band; it would almost be insulting to the music if you weren’t smoking and drinking to it. Songs like “You Know it’s the Truth” showcase the band’s strength of multi vocalists. There’s something undeniably powerful about an entire band belting out the same chorus, especially when it’s rocking. I think the Half Nelsons would be above describing themselves as “real rock and roll” so I’ll do it for them. (Fillmore Slim) - The Noise (Boston) - May 2006

"The Halfnelsons - Basement Rock"

While this does indeed sound like a rough demo, there is some mighty fine pop music here. The Halfnelsons have a knack for clever hooks and an ear for a good vocal melody, evoking the sounds of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Rolling Stones and the “good” bits of Collective Soul. It is a shame that this demo is the first impression I have of these songs, as I am sure that the full band versions of this, are much more impressive. The layers presented by these two guys, Erik and Brett Nelson show a lot of promise and every listen gets even more interesting, as long as you can get past the incomplete rawness of this demo. The vocals are somewhat subdued and rough, the drums aren’t always very tight and someone really needs to invest in a guitar tuner! This band would sound really good with a little studio polish. I hope their next recording kicks as much ass as this recording implies they might! (Joel Simches) - The Noise (Boston) - May 2006

"The Halfnelsons"

The Halfnelsons have produced a full onslaught of in-your-face, straight out rock and with their latest release, Do You Feel Alright? From the first song, “Air Siren,” to the last, “Let it Out,” the album is resplendent with lyrics that speak directly to the listener, coupled with a live feel that pushed the bounds of studio confinement into their dynamic and explosive stage shows, and making it available through whatever sound system setup you have. I’d say, go with 3000 watts.

From forerunners like The Who and The Kinks in their infancy to comtemporary peers such as Pavement and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, with plenty of raw punk influence, The Halfnelsons are one of those up and coming Boston bands that used to put Boston on the rock and roll roadmap. The Halfnelsons are comprised of brothers Erik (vocals, guitar) and Brett Nelson (guitar) along with Blake Stone on bass and Brian Binkowski on drums. As their bio states: the stop-on-a-dime breaks, timely hesitations, and spirited backing vocals truly set The Halfnelsons apart.

METRONOME: What were your influences? You have a raw aggressive feel, mixed with dynamic interplay and an obvious presence that makes me think of The Who and The Kinks in the early years, as well as The Clash and The Ramones.

That’s definitely what we’re going for. It’s rock and roll

METRONOME: The bass on the entire album especially “Air Siren,” is very prominent with a unique sound and a bass solo. Tell me a little bit about how you approached that in the studio. Do you play with a pick or your fingers or do you alternate?

Blake Stone: I almost always play with my fingers, and on that song particularly, as well as most of the album, we didn’t write the parts in the studio or work them out there. We had written them and worked out all the parts, so we came to the studio with the songs ready to go. Brett and I just came with different parts. He actually wrote the bass solo on “Air Siren” and I play it.

METRONOME: You talk about working it out ina live format, and the album is so well done in terms of when instruments come to the forefront and when everything mixes together into a wall of sound. Especially the kind of over-the-top peaking I’m hearing on a lot of the songs with a heavy guitar riff and cymbal crashes, where you almost feel like it’s going to start distorting in the speakers. Was that a conscious thought or did you work on that in the studio?

Brett: I think it’s sort of a tendency of ours, Erik and I in particular, in terms of writing. Once we realize that it works, we tend to consciously go for it more.

Erik: Also, we probably told the guy who was mixing it to keep turning every part up so much, that the sound is peaking.

METRONOME: Did you have any kind of clash with the engineer mixing the album or was he t~tally going for it? Did you get the right kind of guy for the job? Sometimes there's a clash over the technically correct way that the sound should be mixed so that It sounds right on a stereo system or on the radio and how the creative artist wants it to be expressed.

The Halfnelsons: When we got to the mixing process, the kid who did it, produced good mix, but we had to go back and kind of lean over his shoulder and ask him to turn things up a bit. He did something that would probably be seen as more polished and not as raw. He probably had a lot of people coming through his studio that were into that, but he was still a great person to work with because he was able to work with us to get the sound we wanted to hear.

METRONOME: Well, that's what you should be doing. That's what creates unique music rather than whitt we have in the upper echelon that's making it on TV and into heavy radio airplay rotation, which begins to sound like the same thing over and over again because it's so polished and cookie-cutter. The music can be great and they're great musicians, but they lose that raw live feel or the live show has to be retooled to fit with the smoother sounds on the album. It all begins to blend together and sound the same.

Brett: I think in a lot of ways our approach is that we have these shows, and especially in the age of downloading, which is fine - we want to be able to spread our music through that medium - it's better for us if people come out to the shows and maybe buy our CD there, after hearing a couple of the tunes online. So, when we recorded the album, we wanted to be faithful to what people were going to hear live.

Brian: It actually was recorded live. We only did about five or six overdubs on the whole album. We recorded about 90% of the album - drums, rhythm guitar, lead guitar, and bass were all recorded live on one take. We played each song a couple of times and picked the best single take. Then Erik would do the vocals, but other than that I think we had one or two punches. Brett went in and did three or four solo parts and that was it. We recorded all the instruments in virtually two days.

ME - Metronome Magazine - Cover Story


EP - Do You Feel Alright? (2006)
Demo - Basement Rock (2004)

Tracks from both discs are available for purchase and download on and streaming on


Feeling a bit camera shy


“a knack for clever hooks and an ear for a good vocal melody…” – The Noise (Boston)

“Eclipsing the typical din of modern day rock bands, The Halfnelsons exhibit a command of timing and songwriting inqenuity on 'Do You Feel Alright?'…” – Metronome Magazine

... snotty lyrics and the sound of a band having a good time. I have a feeling The Halfnelsons best move is yet to come.

Brothers Erik and Brett Nelson craft intelligent rock songs, which exhibit their vocal and guitar interplay, compelling bass lines, and unrelenting drumming. The sound of The Halfnelsons is powerful, yet has many subtle undertones, and seemingly connects the dots between The Rolling Stones, Pavement, and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Their debut EP, 'Do You Feel Alright?', recorded live in the studio, captures the rough-edged sound that defines the band.

Erik (vocals, guitar) and Brett (guitar) have been playing together for as long as they can (and sometimes longer than they'd like to) remember. As kids, they taught each other to play guitar and drums—with plenty of help from their parents’ record collection. After Erik finally convinced Brett to quit his gig in a high school cover band, they spent the summer writing songs together in a dank cellar. Weeks later they brought those tunes to Moontower Studios, where they played all the instruments themselves and left with their demo CD, aptly titled 'Basement Rock'.

These days, they're still writing and practicing in basements but now have a full band to complete the equation. Blake Stone (bass) and Brian Binkowski (drums) form a rhythm section that dominates the stop-on-a-dime breaks, timely hestitations and spirited backing vocals that truly set the The Halfnelsons apart. You can expect to leave a Halfnelsons show humming a vocal melody, guitar lick and a bass line.

Early press on the EP has been overwhelmingly positive, including a cover story for the June issue of Metronome Magazine, a feature in the Boston Metro, and rave reviews from The Noise and other Boston-area and online music publications. The Halfnelsons will spend 2006 touring throughout New England and the Northeast. 'Do You Feel Alright?' is currently available at Newbury Comics, on iTunes, and on the web at

The Halfnelsons have received airplay on WBCN, WFNX and XM Radio. They have played with acts such as Voxtrot, The Churchills, Furvis, The Upwelling, and The Motion Sick.