The Hudson Branch
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The Hudson Branch

Chicago, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2007 | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2007
Band Alternative Pop




"Chicago's Hudson Branch Branches Out"

I’ve been a fan of the two sets of two brothers who make music as the Hudson Branch since early in their career. “Building on roots in sensitive folk-rock (think: Nick Drake), genteel early ’60s pop (echoes of Burt Bacharach) and polite indie-rock (a la the Sea and Cake), the Hudson Branch is a polished quintet comprised of guitarist-vocalist Cobey and drummer Corey Bienert and guitarist-keyboardist Jake Boll and bassist Matt Boll,” I wrote in 2009. But the group has expanded beyond even that wide-ranging mix on its fourth and strongest album, the new Kina Ze Swah, crafted with their longtime collaborator, producer, and engineer Neil Strauch, who’s also worked with Iron and Wine and Andrew Bird. The band sprang from the brothers’ experiences performing music in church, but their Christian faith doesn’t cross that annoying line into proselytizing in the lyrics, while the sonic palette on the new set ranges from the poignant, minimal, and acoustic “One Hand,” to the ambient/electronic “Where Were You,” to the positively fonky “Do You Want to Dance?” Don’t ask me what that odd title means, though; maybe the band can explain when it performs its record release party at Schuba’s at 9 p.m. Saturday. - Jim DeRogatis, WBEZ

"Premiere: The Hudson Branch – “New Vision of the Sun” Kina Ze Swah is Out May 6"

“New Vision of the Sun,” the new track from Chicago’s The Hudson Branch, starts with a R&B swagger, before morphing into a rock stomper complete with a string section. In other words, there’s something for everyone—which is exactly how the band likes it.

“New Vision is about letting go of what you think you know,” says the band. “Both the lyrics and music were experiments that took place during the writing process of Kina Ze Swah. There were vastly different ideas floating around that culminated into this cohesive piece.”

Take a listen to the new track below. Kina Ze Swah streets May 6. - Under The Radar

"What's so good?"

The Hudson Branch are a Chicago-based quintet who, for the past six years, have been staking their claim in the music scene. From collaborations with NPR's Radiolab to sharing the stage with New Order and producing three vaulting albums, The Hudson Branch are becoming a well-tuned machine.

Premiering here on Indie Shuffle is a brand new track called "Korea vs Canada." The single is smooth, soulful, and full of emotion; demanding your attention with its gentle builds and folky flavor.

When you're done consuming their new track, you can check out past collections on the bands website here. And if you're feeling social, follow them on Facebook and Twitter. - Indie Shuffle (Aaron Blum)

"DOWNLOAD: The Hudson Branch - Periodic Table Of Elegance"

Maybe I leapt a little too far into an elusive spring, but I'm still going to ride for The Hudson Branch. They have all the sunny strumming and knotty island guitar you could ask for, plus a call to arms that's all about opening your eyes. The composition here stays interesting as there is multiple tempos, big hooks, jammy portions and a strong rhythm section that keeps everything appropriately knocking. - RCRD LBL

"Chicago's The Hudson Branch Defies Musical Categories"

The Hudson Branch is an inventive five-piece Chicago rock and experimental group whose creative voice is being heard on media outlets like NPR, as well as opening for world-renowned bands such as New Order.

Defying Categories

The inventiveness of The Hudson Branch is what makes the band's music so listenable and yet so hard to categorize. "That's what makes it tough, in a way," said lead guitarist Jacob Boll, who could easily pass for a younger version of heartthrob Matthew McConaughey. "We just don't fall into a category that easily."

The Hudson Branch consists of two sets of brothers. Matthew and Jacob Boll both typically play guitar and bass, yet each can pick up other instruments when the spirit moves them. Lead singer Cobey Bienert plays guitar, while brother Corey Bienert plays drums. The multitalented Enoch Kim handles most of the keyboard work but also jumps on guitar and other instruments as needed. "He's our secret weapon," the band members all laughed.

Plying Versatility

Because they don't behave musically like anyone else, the band's niche has needed to be created, rather than occupied. They've really just begun to take hold and make their mark, five years into making music and more. Their work has been featured on NPR and Radiolab.

The Hudson Branch was invited in late 2012 to open a concert for the world-renowned group New Order at the Aragon in Chicago. Over 4,000 people attended the concert, a good-sized crowd that Matthew Boll characterized as "a little old for our typical audience." But the band performed to applause and cheers. "Only one guy yelled that we sucked," noted Corey Bienert with a smile. "We figure that was pretty good."

New EP in January 2013

As the band is breaking through, they keep an eye out for new opportunities with regular planning sessions, looking forward to that next level. Their new EP comes out in January 2013, and their music can be found on Spotify and other music sites.

Fan Perspective

Sean Patrick McAdams, a Chicago suburban musician, recording engineer, and professional youth leader said of The Hudson Branch, "[They're] the most all-encompassingly creative band to come out of Chicago in a while. Their instrumentation is a big part of that. It's original stuff."

The Hudson Branch takes the collaborative approach to creating all the music they play. "We usually start with a couple chords and some lyrics I've written," Cobey Bienert explained. "Then, we develop everything from there. We really all take part in the process of building out our songs."

It's a non-formula that works. The Hudson Branch will play at the Tomorrow Never Knows festival in Chicago on Sunday, January 20, 2013. - Yahoo News

"The Hudson Branch On This Week’s Anesthetic"

They’re a quintet with a true group sound. What’s that mean? Well, in this case it means the musicians and the music all seem to serve the song. Everybody is skilled at their craft but you don’t walk away thinking “hot damn, that was a fine guitar solo”. I’m not even sure there’s a guitar solo on here. Or keyboard. It’s all about the melody for The Hudson Branch and their release World Kid. Plus, there are two sets of brothers in the band which could be a first for Local Anesthetic. Tune in Sunday night at 7:30 for music and conversation with the band.

Lots of strong songs here with interesting musical undercurrents. John McEntire of Tortoise and The Sea and Cake was the recording engineer and the sonic textures he brings to both those bands is evident on, if not all, at least the tracks where that kind of shimmy and shake was called for. Inspired choice. What I also love about this disc is how it flows to what sounds like a logical musical conclusion. There is an overall thought process that permeates the tunes and it all comes to a fine finish on the final track. Nice to hear a disc where some obvious thought went in to maximizing it’s impact. Find out more when The Hudson Branch drop by for a chat and play some tunes from World Kid on Local Anesthetic, this Sunday night at 7:30 here on XRT. - 93XRT

"“Periodic Table Of Elegance” MP3 Premiere"

The Hudson Branch shares an engineer with Broken Social Scene and a producer with Andrew Bird. But at the end of the day, they’re just five friends, churning out some well-crafted, atmospheric pop. - Under The Radar

"The Hudson Branch Hoping To Kickstarter Second Album"

The Hudson Branch's first full-length, Tightrope Walker, was an excellent slow-burn of a record, hitting the sweet spots between Radiohead's emotional brit-pop era and the Americana-minded experimentalism of Wilco near the turn of the century. - the Chicagoist

"Demo2DeRo: The Hudson Branch"

Building on roots in sensitive folk-rock (think: Nick Drake), genteel early ’60s pop (echoes of Burt Bacharach) and polite indie-rock (a la the Sea and Cake), the Hudson Branch is a polished quintet. - Jim Derogatis, Chicago Sun Times


Kina Ze Swah LP
You Don't Know Me - Single
Yesterday EP
Kohn (featured on WNYC's Radiolab)
World Kid LP
Tightrope Walker LP 
The Hudson Branch EP



For the past six years four brothers from Chicago have been busy using their love of pop music to build a mini-empire under the name The Hudson Branch. They’ve collaborated with NPR’s popular and innovative podcast Radiolab, shared the stage with English new wave pioneers New Order, and performed experimental live shows alongside media giants Google and Disney. They’ve also recorded and produced three ambitious albums, leading The Chicago Sun-Times to declare them “a polished quintet, building on roots in sensitive folk-rock (think: Nick Drake), Genteel early ‘60s pop (echoes of Burt Bacharach) and polite indie-rock (a la the Sea and Cake.)”

In the midst of this evolution, they stumbled on a sound that reflected their willingness to evolve. A sound that includes the soul of 1960’s pop music, the experimentation of 1980’s electronic music and the restless energy of contemporary radio.

While hints of this sound can be heard emerging along the edges of their previous albums, the band’s latest work Kina Ze Swah (pronounced: ken-äh-zAy-swäh) is bolder, more self-confident, more daring. You can hear the brothers drawing on their lives spent singing and playing together. There is a drama in the expansive builds and a relief in the moments of minimalism that reveal a band demanding your attention. 

Kina Ze Swah is a kaleidoscope of layered sounds and emotions. It bounces between outlandish and familiar, faith and disbelief, a yearning to be heard and a willingness to just have a great time. It stands strong as a rare example of earnest pop music.

For Kina Ze Swah they enlisted the help of their longtime collaborator, producer and engineer Neil Strauch (Iron And Wine, Andrew Bird). The album was recorded at several locations around Chicago including Minbal Studios, James Bond’s Attic, and Chicago Recording Company.

Band Members