Umami is a semi-mathy, high-energy, low-end Brooklyn band. The instrumentation is simple: one drummer and two bass players, who pack a meaty punch. But the song constructions are intricate, with vocal harmonies and shimmering distortion rounding out the sound.


Two bassists and a drummer? How is that supposed to work? Three Brooklynites from North Carolina briefly worried about this, but in the end friendship and chemistry seemed more important than instrumentation, and so UMAMI was born. The odd line-up has proved to be a great asset, producing a gleefully thunderous sound - a high-energy, low-end feast.

Chris Carson (drums), Brian Licari and Brian Walsh (both on bass and vocals) were all schooled in the indie rock oasis of Chapel Hill NC, and met up again after independently transplanting themselves to another thriving music scene in Brooklyn NY. Since forming UMAMI in 2006 they have played many memorable, loud, and generally sweaty shows in the Northeast. They have released two EP's, "Confront the Light" and "Mechanically Separated," and are planning a full-length recording in fall 2007.

UMAMI's guitar-less spaces allow plenty of possibilities. Depending on the song, it could be a frenzied flurry of drumbeats, or complex, intertwining bass melodies. Perhaps some heart-vibrating bass distortion. The sparse vocals are reminiscent of Pinback, but the overall sound is certainly harder and more frenetic. It blends the quirky math constructions of Don Caballero with the stripped-down power pop of Flin Flon. It calls to mind the contagiously savage electricity (and similar instrumentation) of Death From Above 1979, and the mechanical grooves of Trans Am.

Recent UMAMI songs have even ventured beyond the deep end with the addition of a Fender Rhodes. The organ was an unexpected gift from a recording engineer, a random but welcome addition to the band (all three members play it).

And the name? Will anyone ever spell it correctly? The word Umami is a Japanese term describing the "fifth taste" (after the more commonly known sensations of salty, sour, bitter and sweet). It has many definitions: savory, pungent, meaty, emotionally flavorful. The band strives to serve up music that honors the name, that is complex, forceful, satisfying.


"Confront the Light" 6-song EP, July 2006.
"Mechanically Separated" 3-song EP, May 2007.

Set List

All the songs are original. About a third are instrumental. Song titles include:

Hyper Great Thing
Unicorns in Your Face
Mormon Porn
Tongue Bath
George Lazenby
Ancient Grains

Sets usually run under an hour. The energy Umami brings to the stage is intense and works best in a 30-40 minute surge.