Xylos
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Xylos

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE | AFM

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE | AFM
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"Music Review: Xylos at the Red Palace"

The beguiling harmonies are still there, and the seductively varied instrumentation remains intact, but Xylos wants to be utterly, absolutely, unequivocally clear on one point: There is no accordion in this band. Not anymore. Not onstage, anyway.

The Brooklyn five-piece group has been playing together since October 2008, and its full-length debut doesn't drop until next month, but already they've got a nice mythology going: major personnel changes and a complete album in the vault that they don't intend to release.

That other record, not their imminent self-titled release, got shelved because, founding songwriter/guitarist Eric Zeiler has said, it's unrepresentative of the band's icier, new-wavier current incarnation, which played a confident-if-businesslike 40-minute set at the Red Palace Saturday night as opener for the Parlotones. What was once a sun-burnished, folksy outfit with shared vocals and, yep, an accordion has hardened into a synthesizer-heavy ensemble that wants to party like it's 1982.

Or maybe study like it's 1982. The gig felt more like an open rehearsal than a celebration, not because of any tentativeness in the music, but because 80 percent of the band looked to be concentrating awfully hard. (To be fair, it was only the second date of the tour.)

One lineup change the gig more than validated was the elevation of Monika Heidemann, who joined Xylos as the bass player, to full-time lead singer. She has an actor's gift of being able to command our attention while appearing only half-present in the room; especially handy when the room is still filling up and some patrons are more interested in their conversations than the sometimes delicate music on offer.

Though Heidemann mostly left the task of introducing the group to the Lite-Brite set that displayed Xylos's arcade-game logo, her vocals were supple and sinewy, fusing wonderfully with those of keyboardist-singer Nikki Lancy. If they keep finding inventive ways to use those harmonies, I'll totally ballpoint that logo on my spiral notebook. - Washington Post


"Music Review: Xylos at the Red Palace"

The beguiling harmonies are still there, and the seductively varied instrumentation remains intact, but Xylos wants to be utterly, absolutely, unequivocally clear on one point: There is no accordion in this band. Not anymore. Not onstage, anyway.

The Brooklyn five-piece group has been playing together since October 2008, and its full-length debut doesn't drop until next month, but already they've got a nice mythology going: major personnel changes and a complete album in the vault that they don't intend to release.

That other record, not their imminent self-titled release, got shelved because, founding songwriter/guitarist Eric Zeiler has said, it's unrepresentative of the band's icier, new-wavier current incarnation, which played a confident-if-businesslike 40-minute set at the Red Palace Saturday night as opener for the Parlotones. What was once a sun-burnished, folksy outfit with shared vocals and, yep, an accordion has hardened into a synthesizer-heavy ensemble that wants to party like it's 1982.

Or maybe study like it's 1982. The gig felt more like an open rehearsal than a celebration, not because of any tentativeness in the music, but because 80 percent of the band looked to be concentrating awfully hard. (To be fair, it was only the second date of the tour.)

One lineup change the gig more than validated was the elevation of Monika Heidemann, who joined Xylos as the bass player, to full-time lead singer. She has an actor's gift of being able to command our attention while appearing only half-present in the room; especially handy when the room is still filling up and some patrons are more interested in their conversations than the sometimes delicate music on offer.

Though Heidemann mostly left the task of introducing the group to the Lite-Brite set that displayed Xylos's arcade-game logo, her vocals were supple and sinewy, fusing wonderfully with those of keyboardist-singer Nikki Lancy. If they keep finding inventive ways to use those harmonies, I'll totally ballpoint that logo on my spiral notebook. - Washington Post


"Brooklyn band Xylos' self-titled album 'Xylos' uses rhythms and catchy pop hooks to mask darker side"

4 stars (out of 5):
Her vocals envelop you in warmth. But the emotions they carry couldn't be cooler. Monika Heidemann, of the Brooklyn band Xylos, owns a dark and resounding alto, with a tone as shrouded as classic Celtic singers like Sandy Denny or June Tabor. Yet she uses it to express detachment from her true feelings.

The CD's opening song, "Darling Dearest," sounds loving on the surface, but it's about a romantic bargain, an acceptance of what a lover can't give her. "Blind Eye" finds Heidemann eager to "take myself out of it," giving herself over to the consolation of fantasy, while "Not Enough" chronicles a one-night stand that won't sate her but will have to do.

Small wonder Heidemann sings all these pieces in a voice of sweet resignation, a trait that can make her seem either terribly mature, vaguely masochistic or both.

Xylos' music provides just as intriguing a contrast. It trips back to vintage '80s synth-pop, spiced by lots of acoustic flourishes to heat things up. A song like "Wrapped in a Page" boasts a wash of synthetic textures after opening with the clear squeak of fingers up an acoustic guitar's fretboard. "Mission" flicks a snappy electric guitar riff against a flourish of electro effects. - New York Daily News


"Critics' Choice: Xylos"

XYLOS

(1000x)

Xylos, a five-piece band from Brooklyn, makes self-consciously stylish electro-pop, gesturing toward sensuality but also holding it at arm’s length for appraisal. That policy plays out clearly in “Not Enough,” the obvious single from the group’s self-titled full-length debut. With twinkling arpeggios fortified by bubbly rhythm, in the style perhaps best described as “iPad commercial,” the song presents what seems at first blush like a pickup anthem, an ode to blithe submission.

Of course it’s really a critique of blithe submission: reconsider that withering title, which anchors a deceptively breezy chorus. And notice the contempt woven through the plush fabric of Monika Heidemann’s lead vocal. “Tomorrow I’ve got no plans,” she sings. “It’s just a one-night stand/So let’s go, go, go.”

If this is a carnal invitation, it’s no less an embittered dare.

Ms. Heidemann has a warmly soothing voice, succulent even at its most ethereal. A transplant from jazz and experimental-rock circles — her relationship with Xylos began when she answered an ad on Craigslist — she sings with arresting projection, intense even in stages of repose. On the album’s inviting opener, “Darling Dearest,” her murmured reassurances suggest a riff on Sade. Attacking the brighter cadence of “Second Order,” she evokes a young Morrissey.

Those reference points probably aren’t arbitrary: Xylos, which began as a bedroom project for the guitarist Eric Zeiler, subscribes to various modes of 1980s pop, with forays into slightly more recent or obsolescent sounds. “Mission,” the slipperiest track on the album, begins with an Abba-like vocal pronouncement and eventually accommodates the warped-guitar effect of a shoegazer band. On that song and others there are background vocals from Mr. Zeiler and the keyboardist Nikki Lancy, and possibly the bassist Jordan Brooks. (Chris Berry, the drummer, is the only nonsinger.)

And despite all the synthetic elements here, you hear the rattle of hand percussion, the light scrape of fingers on a fret board. (The album was mixed and partly produced by Britt Myers, who has worked with Yeasayer and Chairlift.) For Xylos, which plays the Bowery Electric on April 15, sound is one more thing to adjust, just so. NATE CHINEN - New York Times


"10 Artists to Know in 2011"

Last year, we gave you the names of some of our favorite new sound makers in the music world and boy did 2010 gobble them up with love. From Sleigh Bells, Nicki & Rich and Savoir Adore, we were all over the elite and fresh upcoming sounds.

This year, we took more time, dove deeper, and we honestly believe the following ten artists are names you will see (and hear) everywhere in the coming year.

Xylos
A little bit ABBA, and a little bit Kate Bush, Xylos have developed a unique sound that paints the world like only they know how. The playful pianos and harmony spattered vocals of each Xylos song live like characters in a quirky fairytale.

The masterful power behind singer Monika Heidemann and guitarist Eric Zeiler are as playful as a cartoon prince and his oh-so-different princess in any Disney movie. Keyboardist Nikki Lancy and bassist Jordan Brooks plaster each moment of music with humorous harmony, like a quick-witted candle stick or a silly monkey with a vest (animals in clothes are hilarious). However the most important of the bunch is the drummer behind Xylos, Chris Berry, who keeps the gang on beat like an old raspy narrator who moves the story inside each track.

Working with Yeasayer and Chairlift producer Britt Myers in his NYC studio, they are frantically working on their first LP, which is out Valentine's Day 2011. The collection will include their debut single “Not Enough,” which basically had me at the very first playful piano pound. - NY Post


"The ever-changing sound of Xylos"

Looking at Xylos’ MySpace page—remember those?—I was surprised to discover that the band had been around since 2004. Going by the “page created date,” Xylos has been chugging along for almost six years.

“Quite the contrary,” Eric Zeiler, the band’s only constant member, says after we clink our pints of beer together at Daddy’s in Williamsburg. Joined by Monika Heidemann and Nikki Lancy, Zeiler explains the confusion behind the band’s history.

“The quick synopsis of the current band,” continues Zeiler, “is that we started in late 2008 with an EP and continued until spring of this year. The kind of music we were playing started to mutate but there was a point where the lineup changed and we took some time off and restarted.”

The truth behind the mysterious website is that it began as Zeiler’s personal page, where he uploaded some solo electronic recordings nearly six years ago. Even before the band mutated, Xylos began to take on different forms.

Now completely solidified, the band consists of five Brooklyn-dwelling members: Heidemann on vocals and bass, Zeiler on guitar and synth, Lancy on keyboards and vocals, Jordan Brooks on bass and vocals and Chris Berry on drums and electronics. The band isn’t (to my knowledge) hot boxing a Monster Island practice space and fucking around on noise jams, however. Xylos’ sound and look is that of a clean-cut, well-produced electro-pop outfit, existing way outside of the chummy and insular Williamsburg scene.

Confusing to the group’s current output is the video from MTV Iggy (the network’s global music channel) that the band has uploaded, where the foursome looks like a Brooklyn bluegrass band— believe me, they exist—replete with acoustic guitars, banjo and an accordion.

“That’s not really a prime example of our band,” Heidemann chimes in. “They wanted us to record an acoustic set in Monika’s house, so that’s what we did,” says Zeiler.

So what is Xylos, then—a folk-pop band or a danceable electronic band? Does it have to be just one?

“There are certainly more synthesizers than there used to be,” says Zeiler. “But then, the song ‘Darling Dearest’ needed an acoustic guitar for the intro. It just made sense. [Before], a banjo might have fit into a song, and less so now.”

The song Zeiler refers to, from the upcoming, still-untitled record, is a perfect example of Xylos’ synthesis of twee pop and hard electronic rhythms. It’s like a female-fronted Hot Chip song mashed up with a Field Mice song.

The untitled record is currently being finished and will showcase the new-ish, improved and, yes, fully formed Xylos finding its stride. Don’t think that Xylos is content with staying this way forever, though. Just because the band has finished transforming this time doesn’t mean it won’t happen again.

“We’re in the trenches of recording this record, and there is a stylistic continuity there, production-wise,” Zeiler explains. “But I was thinking, our next record might be completely different. A lot of what’s colored this album now is we’ve been working with a friend of mine who has a very unique set of electronics that we’ve been using. I could see for our next record we go upstate and do something completely different. It’ll still sound like us, but it could be a completely different style of music.”

The accordion-laden days of Xylos are over. Kind of.

“Anything like that that you will hear from us from now on will just be ‘production sounds,’” says Heidemann. “We don’t have an accordion player,” continues Zeiler, just to make sure the band’s sound doesn’t get pigeonholed by one lone video on an archaic social networking site.

“Now we’re a death metal band,” he says, jokingly. “When the band started, we operated under the idea of having three lead singers, kind of like a Fleetwood Mac kind of thing. Now Monika is the one lead singer and Nikki and Jordan still harmonize, but it’s not based around that three lead singers idea anymore.”

That’s not to say that Xylos doesn’t still sound like Fleetwood Mac sometimes.

“Our influences are more mainstream, which is something I like,” says Lancy. “I think it’s the fact that we have three writers in the band that makes it like that,” Heidemann chimes in. “Nothing is untouchable,” says Zeiler, barely missing a beat. “We are truly collaborative in that way.” - The New York Press


"FILTER Magazine - Q+A: XYLOS"

Q&A: XYLOS
By Spencer Flanagan on November 18, 2010

Q&A: XYLOS

New York City-based band XYLOS plays beautiful, eclectic music, combing vocal melodies and electronic sounds with guitar, drums, bass, keyboards and other instruments, creating upbeat, happy music set to dark, mysterious lyrics.

After playing music together for two years, the band will finally release its debut album on March 7, after going through some changes in its lineup and sound a few months back.

We Skyped with Monika Heidemann, Eric Zeiler and Nikki Lancy—three of XYLOS’ five members—and talked about the band’s success in New York City, touring with Danish indie-pop band Efterklang, “emotional revelations,” comparisons to Willy Wonka and finding singer Monika on Craigslist.

What are you listening to right now?

Eric: Yesterday in the studio we took a little break and watched some Cyndi Lauper YouTube videos. We were recording a synth patch that was reminiscent and Monika thought of a Cyndi Lauper song. We wanted to find it so we ended up just watching some live footage of her. She’s amazing. It was inspiring.

Monika: It’s kind of mid-crunch time trying to finish our album, so seriously I think all I’ve been listening to is XYLOS music. [Laughs] Well that’s not completely true. I was listening to a band we opened up for called Buke and Gass. I’ve been listening to their CD recently. That’s kind of the newest thing on my iPod. They’re a New York band and we did a show with them a few weeks ago and I got their CD. They’re really great.

Nikki: I started relistening to my friend Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, his first album that he put out a couple years ago. It’s like kind of dark and folky.

What are some of your influences as a band?

Eric: The music we’re making now is pretty electronic. Working on this new record, we’re using a lot of synthesizers and drum machines and stuff so I’ve been going back and listening to a lot of stuff I listened to like 10 years ago, electronic music-wise like Aphex Twin and Boards of Canada—a lot of that beat-oriented electronic stuff I haven’t listened to in years—so I’m kind of going full-circle and listening to stuff that I loved in high school.

Nikki: Old-school dance stuff. Monika has referenced ABBA.

Monika: That was my favorite band when I was five so… I don’t listen to them so much anymore, but I think it’s kind of ingrained in my brain. To me, it’s a mix of a lot of different vocalists… Kate Bush and Cyndi Lauper definitely are big influences. Aretha Franklin, a little bit. Some soulful stuff as well.

I’ve heard four songs off the album—“Not Enough,” “Second Order,” “Mission” and “Suburbia”—and they all sound pretty diverse one from another. Is that the direction the album is taking as well?

Eric: Those four songs we did a while back. We did a full session for a record that we’re not actually putting out, but those four songs were from the last session and then the album is going to be filled out with a bunch of new songs that we’re recording now. So I guess in terms of scope of the album, those songs represent some of the different styles.

Nikki: I think in every song there is a little bit of all the elements you probably heard in those four songs, so we’ve been in the process of sort of meshing all of those things together to form cohesive songs.

Are you guys almost done recording the album?

Eric: The whole album is going to be done by December 1, so it’s like we’re in the final stretch for the next couple weeks, finishing recording and mixing and getting it mastered. We’re excited. It’s been a long time coming.

This will be your debut album. What kind of things are you feeling right now?

Nikki: I’m super excited. I feel like, because it’s been such a long time coming, we’ve all been writing so many songs. I’m excited to get this out so that we can keep writing and keep moving forward stylistically and just have these songs we’ve been playing for so long finally be released. So I’m excited about that.

Eric: We’ve been a band without an album for a while, so it’ll be really nice to have something tangible that represents us and that we’re psyched for. I’m really excited.

Monika: It’s been a while. We made some major changes with the band a few months ago, so we don’t really have an album that represents the band as it is now and this one has been in the works now for like a year so it’s definitely time.

You mentioned earlier that you recorded an album but won’t release it? Can you explain that a little more?

Eric: We did a full album, late last year/early this year, and as we were finishing that we sort of underwent a lot of changes in the band, lineup wise. We got a new drummer, one of the main singers in the band was no longer in the band and Monika became the full-on lead singer. We got a new bass player. So there were a lot of changes and by the time all the changes happened, we realized we were sort of a different band playing different music. There are some songs from that session that sound nothing like the band we are today.

Monika: We don’t even play half of those songs anymore.

Eric: It actually worked out well. The songs that Monika sang on that album are the ones that are consistent with who we are now stylistically. The songs Aaron [singer who is no longer in the band] sang are folkier and they definitely don’t go with who we are now. So we kept the four songs that you heard that still represent us; we still play those live and we’re filling it out with a bunch more songs that we’ve written since, really just over the last six months. Our first show with the new lineup was in August.


How long has XYLOS been playing music together?

Eric: XYLOS has been playing for almost two years now. Our first show was in October 2008. If you listen to the stuff we did in the beginning, it’s almost not recognizable as the same band.

How did the band form?

Eric: Nikki and I met through a common friend. Nikki was dating a friend of mine from high school so when I started putting together the songs for the first EP Nikki was the first person I approached to sing on it. And we found Monika on Craigslist, actually—the most amazing thing ever.

Monika: I was originally just going to play bass in this band actually because I had a different band that I was in. I was trying to get more serious about playing bass and I wanted to find a band to do that with, not really thinking it was going to be a main thing for me and then it really clicked and I played bass for the first year until August pretty much. I was the bass player in this band and then started singing more and more and now I’m pretty much just the singer. I still play bass a little bit, but we have another full time bass player.

Eric: One day we’re going to donate a lot of money to Craig Newmark and Craigslist. [laughs]

How do you feel you have been received and established in New York?

Eric: Great. New York has been the thing that’s really kept us going: the shows, the positive feedback, good crowds. Even from our very first show we had an amazing crowd. Great friends and fans that come out to every show. A friend of Nikki’s... We’ll play two or three nights in a row and she’ll come to like every single show. There are people like that. New York has been so supportive. If it wasn’t for our New York thing, I don’t know where we’d be. That’s been the best thing we have going for us right now—our fan base in New York City. We play with amazing bands because there are so many fantastic bands in New York. Every time we play a show, there’s other bands in the building we’re psyched to play with and become friends with.

What things inspire you, in your life or in your songwriting?

Nikki: For me, the things that inspire me are stories. A lot of times when I write a song I have an image in my head of characters that are on the verge of something… I’m a very visual person so I imagine scenes from like a movie. I’m very character- and scene-driven when I write songs.

Eric: I get inspired when I’m on the subway or when I’m walking somewhere. I walk a lot. Sometimes melodies come into my head. Usually it’s the melody first and then I’ll go home and I’ll try and develop that. Sometimes it’ll be over a week before I even pick up an instrument to see if it sticks. But it just appears and I usually try and draw inspiration just from not thinking about music.

Monika: For me, lately I think it’s non-musical things that inspire me more. Usually when I go to a live show that I’m really into I’ll be super inspired and want to go home and write something, but it’s usually normally just my mind wandering right before I fall asleep or right before I wake up—dreams and images and mostly when I’m not trying. But like what Eric said, doing other things like walking around and letting things come in.

Nikki: For some reason public transportation is a big thing. I don’t know if all New York bands or songwriters have the same thing but being on trains and in the subway and walking around is key… There’s something about that meditative space.

Do you have a name for the album?

Eric: That’s one of the things we talked about a while back but haven’t really revisited yet. We have a release date though. That’s something and took us a while to get to.

Monika: I’m kind of voting for the self-titled first album route myself. We’re probably going to have a really big fight about it [laughs].

Eric: We don’t fight. We actually tend to agree on everything. It’s really weird. We all just think the same things, which is nice. No, I’m just kidding. We don’t [laughs].

Is there any significance behind the name XYLOS?

Eric: I used to make ambient electronic music and I thought [XYLOS] was a very appropriate-sounding name for that kind of stuff, like instrumental music. And when I started this project, I just sort of kept the name. I had a little bit of notoriety in the name and just went with it and then it became a band. It never was even supposed to be a band but it just sort of happened that it became a band and we stuck with the name.

Nikki: It’s a Greek god. I’ve heard that one before

Eric: Yes, people think it’s a Greek something.

Monika: We’re a Greek party band.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: There was a review of our show in D.C. where the journalist came out and tried to guess what our music would sound like based on our name and they thought we were going to be like a Greek Isles party band.

Nikki: I love it!

Eric: And they weren’t actually that far off.

What kind of effect do you hope your music has on listeners? Have you ever thought about that?

Nikki: Yeah. I think when people come of a live show, I want them to have fun. I like when people are dancing and get into it on the dance floor and also at the same time have an emotional connection. Have some sort of catharsis. For me, that’s what I like in a show or music I listen to. Even if it’s just a cool dance outlet. I like things to just bring me somewhere, to a place of emotional revelation. That’s probably bigger than it needs to sound, but…

Monika: We hope to bring emotional revelation.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: I just want people listening to our music. That’s my only goal. To listen to it during emotional revelation moments.

At what point did you realize OK, we could do this for a living?

Eric: When the band recently changed and we got into this lineup where we’re really excited about and confident and our shows have gone a lot better. The feeling after our shows is different than it used to be. It feels real. It feels cohesive and exciting and to me that only really came into focus in the last couple of months. So that’s when I really believed it I think.

Nikki: Yeah, I think for me it’s the same thing. The energy of the last few months, the new lineup, the new songs we’ve been writing which I think are amazing and the album coming out, it’s just a really good. It feels like a really good time for us with all these things coming together.

XYLOS recently toured with Danish band Efterklang. How was that?

Eric: Awesome. They’re a great band. If you haven’t checked them out, you should. They’re from Denmark and they’re really great. And really great people.

Monika: They’re so friendly. The smiliest band you’ll ever see.

Eric: Ten people just constantly smiling for like an hour and 45 minutes every night. It was great.

Nikki: And then they put that into the music. The music made you so happy.

Eric: I would tour again with them in a second. I would love to go to Europe and tour with them or something.

How long was the tour?

Eric: Just a short little run around the Northeast. It ended with two nights in New York and it was great. And they really liked us and we really liked them. It was good. Sometimes you go on tour with a band and the music’s too different or it feels very professional, but with them it felt like we all enjoyed each other’s bands and the third band, Buke and Gass who Monika was talking about at the beginning, they’re also amazing. It was great to promote the shows and know that the other bands were so good that we wanted to tell our friends to come and stay the whole night, because that’s not always the case.

If you had one sentence to describe your music to people who have never heard XYLOS or to convince them to listen to your music, what would it be?

Nikki: OK. If you could capture Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory in a band and all the excitement and revelation and new candy flavors and rooms filled with little people you could have, this would be the band for you.

Eric: We’ll have to put that in our bio. Can you type that up and send it back to us? [Laughs] The color imagery, I really like that, with Willy Wonka. I think that does resonate with our music. I think there’s a really fun element to our music, but there’s also a sort of deeper, more serious element. Even from the beginning—and we all kind of do this—the music tends to be major key, happy sounding and some of our lyrics tend to be darker and I think that’s a disparity that we all really like. I enjoy that about us so I think that’s one of the things people really like about us.

Nikki: Slash Willy Wonka.

[Everyone laughs]

What are some long-term goals of the band?

Monika: Right now, touring is a big thing. I know all bands probably say that, but it’s kind of true. I think most bands have the same goals.

Nikki: Travel, play music, make a living at it.

Eric: For me it’s to make an album that really moves people. I think that’s the path we’re on right now. In the near future—over the next two or three weeks—finish up this record. I think the goal is to make a really great album and put it out in 2011 and see what happens.

Nikki: And after that to make another album that’s even greater.

Eric: Keep making great albums and keep writing songs. That’s the best part, writing great songs.

Anything else you think we should know?

Eric: We’re all nudists. [Everyone laughs] We just wore clothes because we thought it would be more appropriate. But we’re not being ourselves right now.

Monika: So if we seemed a little awkward, it’s because of the clothes.

Eric: We bought these today actually for this purpose. - Filter Magazine


"Xylos on WFUV / the Alternate Side"

In-studio with Xylos

Xylos, locals from Brooklyn, perform "Yellow Flip-flop" in The Alternate Side's Studio A. - WFUV / the Alternate Side


"Xylos on the AV Club"

Noisemakers of Brooklyn have, over the past couple of years, separated into two distinct camps. On one side sit upward of a million loft-dwellers playing lo-fi, fuzzed-out garage-rock, with just enough melody to mask an oft-alarming lack of musical proficiency. On the other side rest bands like Xylos, which trades in sing-along songs with a minimum of noise and a surfeit of jangling bells. That means audible lyrics, chirpy keyboards, the occasional string section, and high harmonies that wouldn’t be out of place on some particularly winsome Belle & Sebastian single. - The A.V. Club


"Xylos: Critics' Pick"

Xylos Critics' Pick
Buzzy Brooklyn band Xylos play this sweet sunset show. They're buddies with Yeasayer (who produced their debut EP, Bedrooms, in 2008) and while they lean toward a folksier sound than that band, Xylos's combination of stripped-down melodies and intricate song structures is just as intriguing.
- Time Out


"An interview with Eric Zeiler and Monica Heidemann of Xylos"

Eric Zeiler had every reason not to start a band. After being accepted into Columbia University's MBA program, he had four months to contemplate whether or not a world filled with meetings, brief-cases and cubicles would suit him. So he dusted off his instruments, sat down in front of Pro Tools and set to work on a five song EP.

Initially, the collection was distributed solely to friends who told Zeiler the music was good. . . really good. Encouraged, he walked away from Columbia and committed himself to the Xylos movement by recruiting a guitarist, bassist, keyboardist and drummer. Fueled by unprecedented buzz, and focused on the release of their debut album, this group of twenty-something rockers are hoping to put the Xylos brand into the national spotlight.

Zeiler and the group's bass-plucking frontwoman, Monika Heidemann, recently took a few minutes before their set at the Mercury Lounge to eat some grilled cheese, drink some funky matzo-ball soup and talk about where this whole music thing is going.



Matt Thomas:Your MTV appearance features an acoustic rendering of "Not Enough", which is drastically different from the studio version of the track. Is Xylos an acoustic band?

Eric Zeiler: No, we're not an acoustic band. That was solely for the [TV] spot. We wanted to do something comfortable, where they could see us in more of a rehearsal space. So we decided to do an acoustic set to show more of our folk side. "Not Enough" shows the folk element, and that pop side, our two halves. It was the first time we ever did anything like that.

Monika Heidemann: It wasn't anything too serious. We honestly did it in my apartment. We just thought we'd tone it down, and wanted to see if we could do it.

MT: Eric, right now you're finishing up the first Xylos LP with the other four members after self-producing the EP Bedrooms. Is it challenging to have so many different voices producing one song or do different members take the lead on different tracks?

EZ: Well, we're definitely not a jam-band, although I think jamming could be a great way to record. The studio is where I'm most comfortable. I'll record all the demos on my own using Pro Tools. Then I'll start bringing in band-members one by one to work on specific parts or whole songs. Pro Tools creates a very different dynamic. With the rest of the band there I get to humanize those songs, and then it becomes something completely different. Sometimes the songs I write are really developed, other times really raw.

MT: Recently in The New Yorker, published a feature on Vampire Weekend. While the band was shooting an upcoming documentary, they interviewed blink-182 and Angels and Airwaves guitarist Tom DeLonge, who tried to sell Vampire Weekend on his ModLife venture. Knowing that half of the music world today is based on marketability, what would you say to Tom DeLonge if he asked you to buy into ModLife?

EZ: I would hear him out. I'm definitely into making a career out of music. I don't know if the ModLife thing is the way to go. It seems kind of gimmicky. I'd rather make money licensing my music. What better way than making a score for a movie or something?

MH: Definitely what Eric said. [ModLife] wouldn't support my reasons for being a musician. I didn't get into this so people could, like, I don't know, buy a T-shirt with my name on it. To sustain the creation of music is the reason for being here, and I want to constantly learn about different ways to do that.


MT: Can you explain how the current line-up came together?From left: Chris, Aaron, Eric and Monika at the Mercury Lounge (photo by A. Romeo)

EZ: Aaron and Mike [our original drummer] were friends of mine, and they brought Nikki aboard. But we still wanted to have both male and female lead singers, so I put an ad out on Craig's List. Monika responded; we held an audition; loved her voice; thought she was a great bassist, and invited her to join the band. After that, Mike had to leave since he was commuting in from Philadelphia, and it was just difficult to work out rehearsals and shows. Since Chris replaced him, things have really moved to the next level. He constantly pushes us, forces us to go faster, heavier. Everything changed when he joined.

MH: Before Xylos I was really into jazz, and in a rock band called the Monika H. Band, which was more prog.-jazz-rock. I really wanted more of a collaborative experience. I never had that before, and [with Xylos] we collaborate on all of our songs, and work them out together. I came into the band thinking I wouldn't be singing, but I got tricked. I'm not sure if I enjoy it or dislike it as I move into more of a frontman role, I guess that's what you'd call it, but I definitely love being up there performing.

MT: Is Xylos ready for a national tour?

EZ: The chemistry within the group developed organically, so there's really no tension. The small tours and handful of shows we've done so far have gone bizarrely smooth, which is surprising because we're not a laid back band at all. We're a little tense, and I can be control freak. I'm constantly trying to tone it down. You never would have thought that five kids in a rock band could be so boring.

As far as a larger tour goes, we definitely have some things being planned, just a northeast one for right now, though. We're still a new band. We've done about 20 shows to date.

MH: Yeah, we're looking forward to it. We really didn't have any problems on the other tour we did. I mean, I went on longer tours before, and as long as you have food and a place to stay you can't really complain. None of us have ever been on a long tour though, and I know always being on the road can get tiring, but I think we'll be OK.

You can listen to some great Xylos tracks by visiting their My Space page.
- the Examiner


"new Xylos- "Not Enough""

new Xylos- "Not Enough"

This Brooklyn 5 piece made waves in '08 with their blissful debut EP, Bedrooms, which featured guest vocals by Ira Wolf Tuton and Anand Wilder of Yeasayer. The EP was well received for the groups pop sensibility, varied orchestrations and flashes of electronics, led by the title track, "Bedrooms", and the band are now ready for the next step with their first full length. They just wrapped recording their debut LP with producer Britt Myers (Chairlift, Yeasayer), which will be released later in 2010. In the meantime the band is offering up a free MP3 of the track "Not Enough," the first single, which is said to be' an appropriately inappropriate account of love and sexual innuendo'.

Xylos also announced a new five date tour dates which includes a headlining show at NYC’s Mercury Lounge, and also a date with Atlas Sound in New Jersey.

Xylos- "Not Enough"
- Burn the Bowery


"Chris Pureka, Xylos & Peasant (4/12/10, Music Hall of Williamsburg, NYC)"

On this night, Peasant had the task of opening not only for an upbeat pop-electro quintet who tore my face off, Xylos. The New York-based crew crafted some delicious “bubblelectro” that got the huddled masses up off the floor. Those that had staked out a spot right at the front of the stage remained on the ground, oddly enough, but even they were over-taken by the beat. Great act, great three part harmonies with two cute lady vocalists. - Radio Exile


"8 NYC Bands You Need to Hear"

During the song “Wrapped in a Page” from Bedrooms, the debut EP by Brooklyn band Xylos, Eric Zeller sings the line “You said you found me aloof/But I never had claimed to be anything else.” And aside from it being a pretty good line in a song that sounds like it could have been a collaboration between Andrew Bird and the Shins, it’s also a bit strange. Zeller, and Xylos as a whole, really, comes off as anything but aloof. The songs on the EP (which they’re giving away for free on their website, xylosmusic.net) are marked by nothing if not an overwhelming feeling of warmth and comforting familiarity. The arrangements, which lean as heavily on electronics as they do on xylophone and lightly strummed acoustic guitars, are consistently surprising, and with the stellar boy-girl vocal melodies that pop up all over the place, the general vibe is relaxed — not boring, mind you, but relaxed, as in, “I’m going to listen to this while I sit outside on my porch this morning, the summer sun shining on my face as I close my eyes and realize that everything is just lovely.” - L Magazine


"My Morning Download - Xylos"

Thanks to one of Philly's local music bloggers Evan over at Together In Digital Dreams for turning us on to Xylos, a five piece from Brooklyn who play a sort of sensitive and charming kind of indie-pop. They've got a sweet five song EP available for free here; all worth checking out. - wxpn.org


"Xylos - Live on KEXP from Cutting Room Studios"

Xylos

"Xylos is a co-ed, aurally adventurous five-piece orgy of pop from New York, their music characterized by four-part vocal harmonies, complex orchestration, and a large variety of instruments and electronics. The music of Xylos has been compared to that of the Shins, Paul Simon, and Fleetwood Mac (though one suspects the latter is due partially to the gender breakdown of the band). The band is Eric Zeiler, Nikki Lancy, Aaron Mendelsohn, Monika Heidemann, and Mike Greenfield. Their debut EP, Bedrooms, was composed and performed primarily by Eric Zeiler and features guest vocals by Ira Wolf Tuton and Anand Wilder of the Brooklyn band Yeasayer." - xylosmusic.net - kexp.org


"Song of the Day: Xylos ? In the Bedroom"

Xylos – In the Bedroom (MP3)

With the coming of Labor Day, we mark the beginning of the end of summer. Days spent picnicking, hiking, or exploring downtown in the oft mild air will soon be replaced with gray skies, the smell of rain, and increasing cold — also romantic in its own, yet demure way. So as you prepare to greet the end of moderate sunshine and unabated mountain views, crack open your summer beverage of choice, put on your favorite color-tinted sunglasses, wear your lightest clothing, and enjoy “In the Bedroom” by Xylos. The quintet deliver our last piece of summertime fun with their breezy torch song — whether they are reminiscing about lost love or the end of the heat, it is done so with a heartfelt lament and an island melody, if the island was some sort of mechanical Paradise Island. “In the Bedroom” taps into the synergy of warmth — the smells and images that we associate with comfort. Right now, those senses are dominated by our fading summer and Xylos reflect that loss but soon warmth will turn to the cozy and intimate; the bonds of winter. But have no fear because “In the Bedroom” will not lose its appeal as summer melodies turn to winter dirges. We all need a pick me up when the weather and the gloom presses upon us and Xylos will be here every time we need them, like a jar full of sunshine. - KEXP.org


"Xylos on East Village Radio"

Xylos performs "Second Order" on Two For Tennis for CMJ 2010
Visit EVR.com for music, interviews & exclusives! - East Village Radio


"CMJ 2010, Day 2: Better late than never"

Back at the Bowery Electric, Xylos took the stage. This Brooklyn based power pop quintet filled the basement with eager fans ready for the band’s Abba-esque sound with the perfectly matched vocals of keyboardist Nikki Lancy and lead singer Monika Heidemann and the tight beats of drummer Chris Berry. Heidemann captivated the audience with her stage presence as the five members churned out their lush, poppy sound. Afterwards, DFA’s Holy Ghost! and the Knocks played the Bowery Ballroom, the room abuzz with fierce electronic beats and the energy emanating from the stage. Given the amount of great music heard yesterday, expectations are high for what day 3 will bring.
- Venus Zine


"Xylos live studio session"

Just last week, Brooklyn band, Xylos, invited us to their studio in Park Slope to film a live session. With a rented Canon 7D in hand, and our audio coming straight from the bands soundboard (later mixed by the band), this is one of the highest quality sessions we’ve ever produced. You’ll be able to find both tracks on the band’s upcoming LP which should hit shelves this winter.

The previously unreleased live audio from both videos, “Darling Dearest” and “Blind Eye”, can be downloaded above. - the Wild Honey Pie


"Xylos “Not Enough”"

Talk about a band that’s about to break. Xylos, out of Brooklyn, NY, has already put out a great EP, and their first full-length album is due to drop soon. ”Not Enough” is a catchy indie pop song that evokes both the nostalgia and angst of love in the big city. With female vocals that remind me of The Sounds, only more soulful, I would be surprised if Xylos is not a college radio staple in the near future. They have also been gigging around the East Coast and put on a fantastic show, if any of you are so inclined. - Old Man Quackenbush


"Exclusive: The 28 Best Bands of CMJ, Gallery & Interviews"

Xylos (Brooklyn, New York)
“We played a CMJ showcase on Tuesday night at Spike Hill in Williamsburg. This awesome band Yost also played and we share a bass player with them. So he got twice as many drink tickets as everybody else. That means two.” – Eric Zeiler of Xylos - Black Book Magazine


"Xylos live performance and interview on MTV"

Interview

Added Thursday, December 3rd

Meet Xylos, a charming NYC indie-pop group. With their sweet sounds and romantic boy-girl vocal harmonies, they hearken back to classic vocal pop groups like Abba and Fleetwood Mac. Xylos was featured as one of L Magazine's '8 NYC Bands You Need to Hear' in 2009.
- MTV.com


"Summer on the Hudson - free music & movies in NYC"

« Patrick Watson & Doveman played 92YTribeca (pics) | The Joy Formidable & She Keeps Bees @ Mercury Lounge in NYC - pics & video »
Posted in music | tour dates on May 11, 2010
Summer on the Hudson - free music & movies in NYC

Summer On the Hudson

"Summer On the Hudson", which takes place in Riverside Park South (W 59th St to W 72nd St at the Hudson River), is in its 10th year. Their events include Acoustic Sundays on Sunday nights (July 11-August 15) and Movies Under the Stars (July 7-August 11). Bands include the indie-pop Xylos, reggae-funk Meta and The Cornerstones and Slavic Soul Party. Put em on your almost-full-and-still-growing calendar of free NYC summer shows.

More details and the schedule below...

Aug 1- Xylos / charming NYC indie-pop
Xylos is a co-ed, aurally adventurous five-piece orgy of pop from New York, their music characterized by four-part vocal harmonies, complex orchestration, and a large variety of instruments and electronics. The music of Xylos has been compared to that of the Shins, Paul Simon, and Fleetwood Mac - Brooklyn Vegan


"Efterklang with Buke and Gass, Xylos and ArpLine at Santos Party House, 10.01.10"

Efterklang wrapped up their North American tour with a couple of shows in New York this weekend, and the band’s stunning performance at Santos Party House in Manhattan on Friday left the audience completely enthralled. Lead singer Casper Clausen commented, “It’s great to be ending our tour in New York,” later toasting the audience with a beer.

The band’s songs vary from indie-electronica to experimental folk, always with complex song structures, a multitude of instruments and beautiful vocal harmonies, and it all translates seamlessly to the stage. In addition to Clausen, Efterklang includes bassist Rasmus Stolberg, drummer/trumpeter Thomas Kirirath Husmer and programmer/keyboardist Mads Brauer. For this tour, the band, from Copenhagen, Denmark, has been performing as a 7-piece, with Heather Woods Broderick on additional keyboards and flute, Peter Broderick on violin and Daniel James (Canon Blue) on guitars.

Kicking off with “Full Moon,” from the recent Magic Chairs (4AD), they followed up with “Alike” and “I Was Playing Drums,” the latter ending with a lovely violin solo. Much to the delight of earlier fans, Efterklang then played an old crowd pleaser, “Step Aside,” from the 2004 debut, Tripper and then went full throttle on “Caravan,” from the second album Parades (Leaf), rocking out with a swell of vocals and horns (trumpet and flute) and a wicked violin part. That segued nicely into a much softer and slower “The Soft Beating,” on which much of the audience was inspired to sing along. In the middle of it, Stolberg briefly walked off stage and into the crowd with a tambourine. And Clausen, when not playing additional percussion, often veered to the edge of the stage to engage with the audience.

Later on, Buke and Gass joined Efterklang onstage and were given presents – a pair of funky sunglasses — for “being the coolest band in the world,” as Clausen exclaimed, before the duo sang along with them on “Raincoats.”

Also in the set were the recent hit “Modern Drift” and “Cutting Ice to Snow.” For the encore, Efterklang closed with another crowd favorite, “Chapter 6,” from Tripper, and again went all out, this time with special effect lighting as Peter Broderick climbed on a high stool to play drumsticks on one of the stage’s support beams. It was quite a show.

On the bill as well were three very different Brooklyn-based bands.

Buke and Gass, the charming duo of Arone Dyer and Aron Sanchez, who supported Efterklang on the entire tour, were captivating. The band’s name comes from their instruments – a baritone ukulele (Buke) and a homemade guitar-bass hybrid (Gass), which Dyer and Sanchez supplemented with various foot-controlled percussion (bells, tambourine and drums), displaying excellent coordination skills while creating quite a big sound with all acoustic instruments. With her distinctive voice, Dyer sang lead on most of the edgy and at times twangy songs, which included “Bundletuck,” “Outt!” and the single “Medulla Oblongata,” while Sanchez chimed in with vocal harmonies.

The second band, Xylos, also blend guitars and synthesizers but tend more on the indie-pop side of things. The band has revamped its sound since the first EP was released in 2008. Fronted by lead singer Monika Heidemann and guitarist Eric Zeiler, the band’s songs had some catchy melodies and hooks as well as nice vocal harmonies. The set included the single “Not Enough,” “Mission,” “Blind Eye,” all from the forthcoming album.

The night started out with an excellent performance from ArpLine. Lead by singer/keyboardist/guitarist Sam Tyndall, the quintet’s psychedelic, electronics-driven songs fuse elements of glam, industrial and synth-pop. The set included the awesomely trippy “Parts Unknown” and “Weekend in the Colonies.” –Teresa Sampson, - Sentimentalist Magazine


"Watch: Brand new video from Xylos – “Second Order” (CoS Premiere)"

Watch: Brand new video from Xylos – “Second Order” (CoS Premiere)

By Derek Staples on October 18th, 2010 in CoS Premiere, News, Watch
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You know the week is off to a positive start when 1) you wake up with enough time to shower away the evening’s excess, 2) you’ve planned a nice lunch with a new friend, and 3) you have the opportunity to check out a new track and video from Brooklyn’s bright and bubbly Xylos. But hey, you don’t have to thank us too much, that’s what friends are for.

Since debuting “When Summer Comes” back in February, fans have patiently awaited the five-piece’s debut LP. After a lineup retooling — Monika Heidemann took over lead vocals and Jordan Brooks stepped in as bassist– the outfit is once again making some (super-catchy) noise with the new single, “Second Order”. While the track’s lyrics urge the listener to “stay in bed all day”, the harmonies naturally compel you jump up and throw open the curtains.

And if you’re in the mood for an ’70s video flashback, watch the debut of the Robert Capria directed music video. According to Capria, “the video is inspired by the French film When The Cat is Away, but when lead singer Monika Heidemann wanted something edgier, darker, and more humorous, we hit the Internet to do research and hit the road.” The trek brought the crew, shooting in Super 8 film, to numerous retro-stops in Pennsylvania, like Trivet Diner, Bandit’s Truck Stop and the abandoned Bethlehem Steel Factory which can also be seen in Transformers. After watching the video you make recognize the carousel from the final scene — it resides in Coney Island.

And we have one more little surprise; lead-singer Eric Zeiler has revealed to CoS that his outfit’s long-awaited LP will be hitting shelves around Valentine’s Day 2011. So while it may be a little too early to consider whom that special someone may be, at least you know what to gift. And I promise, the LP comes will extra special benefits when given around February 14th. - Consequence of Sound


"MMN Exclusive Video (And Audio): Watch Xylos’ “Not Enough” and Then Download an Infernal Devices Remix"

Is there anything worse than spurned love? It’d probably be wise to wait until after you watch the video for “Not Enough” by Brooklyn pop darlings Xylos. “Enough” is the lead single from their upcoming, to-be-titled debut full-length (listen to their 2008 EP here), which is pegged for fall release (stay tuned to MMN for more info as it’s revealed).

The song gets at one of those strange sensations that comes with a relationship, the feeling that you’ll never quite be what your significant other needs in the end. Don’t get too down, though. Fortunately, the music itself is far too upbeat to stay bummed, with a slew of lush orchestral touches. This carries over to the Keith Hopkin-directed clip, one that reminisces on the joys of summertime love while hovering over with a slight hint of darkness.

As if that weren’t, well, enough, we’ve got a remix of the song by fellow Brooklynites Infernal Devices to offer for exclusive download as well….

The Devices mix transforms its source into synth-pop that skews closer to some of the band’s more recent demos, which you can expect to hear in their fully polished state on the LP.

Check out MMN’s premiere of the video for “Not Enough,” download the Infernal Devices remix, and check out upcoming Xylos tour dates below: - MOG Music Network


"CONCERT REVIEW: Xylos @ Johnny Brenda’s in Philadelphia"

It’s another shadowy Saturday night at Johnny Brenda’s. Coming from West Philadelphia and an hour-plus character building test of patience at the hands of SEPTA, things suddenly started getting really hip.

A forest of scraggle-beards, glasses (both wine-filled and horn rimmed) and all the other accoutrements cropped up in anticipation of Brooklyn’s very own Xylos. “What do you call zis crowd?” asked a French girl, Janelle, who joined me for the set. After trying to explain, her next question inevitably was, “what is ‘flannelle’?” Luckily, French class was always a strength of mine, and I manage to pull “C’est ne pas tres chic!” out of my bag of tricks. After a bit of a slow start, Xylos’ exceptional drumming, tasteful guitar-work and a smoky-eyed keyboardist righted the ship. Their bread and butter is having a good time, and while it can’t easily be compressed into an mp3 and tossed on a MySpace, they clearly enjoy playing with one another. Musically, Xylos’ sound isn’t exactly my cup of tea. But, like many around me, I found myself taken back to parties on the shores of Lake Erie, box-wine socials and distant summers past whose memory beamed in the playful melodies of stand-outs like “In the Bedroom” and “Mission.” Their evocative set exceeded my expectations for the group, and impressed on me their intangible qualities that are best appreciated in person.

Thinking that SEPTA might turn me into a pumpkin if I stayed in the Fishtown much longer, I split while the headliner, Buried Beds, took to the stage. But, Eric from Xylos told me that they played Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” right after I left, so that definitely gets an honorable mention.

Xylos’ Set

1. Seven Years Old
2. In the Bedroom
3. Mission
4. Summer
5. Not Enough
6. This House We Built
7. Suburbia
8. Sunday
9. Second Order


- City Paper


"Xylos release new video for their single "Not Enough""

You hear people say that since MTV has become a regular TV channel, music videos aren't that important anymore. We respectfully disagree... if properly done, for music blogs like ours, they are a MUCH better way to present music than streaming mp3s. Check out this one by Xylos for the "Not Enough" - a beautiful pop song that may warm up your day.
- The Deli


""In the Bedroom" Song of the Day"

Xylos

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s featured selection, chosen by Morning Show host John Richards, is “In the Bedroom” by Xylos from their EP Bedrooms.

With the coming of Labor Day, we mark the beginning of the end of summer. Days spent picnicking, hiking, or exploring downtown in the oft mild air will soon be replaced with gray skies, the smell of rain, and increasing cold — also romantic in its own, yet demure way. So as you prepare to greet the end of moderate sunshine and unabated mountain views, crack open your summer beverage of choice, put on your favorite color-tinted sunglasses, wear your lightest clothing, and enjoy “In the Bedroom” by Xylos. The quintet deliver our last piece of summertime fun with their breezy torch song — whether they are reminiscing about lost love or the end of the heat, it is done so with a heartfelt lament and an island melody, if the island was some sort of mechanical Paradise Island. “In the Bedroom” taps into the synergy of warmth — the smells and images that we associate with comfort. Right now, those senses are dominated by our fading summer and Xylos reflect that loss but soon warmth will turn to the cozy and intimate; the bonds of winter. But have no fear because “In the Bedroom” will not lose its appeal as summer melodies turn to winter dirges. We all need a pick me up when the weather and the gloom presses upon us and Xylos will be here every time we need them, like a jar full of sunshine.

Xylos is playing a KEXP in-studio session, which will take place at the Cutting Room Studios NYC to be broadcast on the Morning Show with John on September 16th. But if you head over to their website now, you can download the Bedrooms EP for free! - KEXP


"Xylos - Bedrooms"

Allowing me to be a bit brash for a moment, consider yourself lucky you’re hearing about this band now, well ahead of all your other friends who “remembers when” this and that band was hand printing stickers. Xylos will be your new favorite band. Xylos, a group that is composed of East Coast darlings, and who recently hit the “Bands To Know” L Magazine list, introduces themselves with a five song EP. And if you don’t pick it up immediately, you should be ashamed of yourselves.xylos

They call it Bedrooms, but the album art features a skinny little thing in a bikini standing shy alone on a beach. As one giant 24 minute feast, it plays beautifully and can keep up with your musical A.D.D.

In fact, there are so many different sounds and influences—Spanish guitar, electronic, world beats, Jenny Lewis-like swooning, shakers, auto-tune, heavy and soft acoustic—that it should be all wrong. Except the approach is so slight and tender, that even those slow songs come out romantic and whole.

“In The Bedroom” opens with a sticky sweet rhythm and electronic accoutrement, a little like a good Discovery—in fact, if Discovery hadn’t overkilled it with such ridiculous vocal manipulation, they would sound as damn good as this Xylos tune. It’s not a boring first impression, even though the track carries much of the same sound, it’s a good sound, and the end hints at drummer Mike Greenfield’s talent.

If the opener was beachy, “Wrapped In A Page” is a foggy autumn evening on a porch in the mountains. Still lingering, still bringing about a newer noise with strings floating throughout. The xylophone and percussion do a quirky duet leading to an epic verse where dubbing and boy-girl proclamations give you goosebumps. And although “Yellow Flip Flops” sounds like a sunny one meant for a walk along Long Beach Island, we hear birds, some 70s folk, and that Jenny reference I mentioned (though singer Nikki Lancy has a better composition to work with). And once again, wait for the end. There’s an impressive solo bout that reminds me of a Bryan Adams riff. But pleasantly, not in that condescending, lame way. By the time “This House We Built” and “Testament” arrives, you’ll understand how the EP is mood-based, never pinned down with a certain theme or heartbreak.

The album was a basis for frontman Eric Zeiler’s haikus. And hell, if that’s what it takes, plus a group of childhood friends, a Craigslist post, and talented four (not one) songwriting minds entangling perfectly together, than expect more genius out of the English department.

I recently read that the band was so young (let’s hope they throw a killer one-year anniversary party this month) that they come across as amazing but raw; that they hadn’t found their sound yet. And I want to scream as loud as I can that if they change, I walk.

If you need more, like I did, there are some demos available on MySpace. They also drop their first full-length in the fall, to be followed with massive touring of the UK and our States. Pay attention—you’ll want to be front row, and those of you that are constantly awaiting the newest indie darlings, watch for who they bring to open.

Bedrooms is available now for free download on the band’s website. Get it here! - Popwreckoning


"Xylos"

Brooklyn buzzers Xylos released their EP, Bedrooms, last year with a little vocal help from Yeasayer. (You can download it for free at xylosmusic.net.) Xylos’s music is more straightforward folk than the neotribalism of Yeasayer, but its combination of stripped-down melodies and intricate song structures is just as intriguing. - Time Out New York


"Xylos Mercury Lounge show review"

A set by Marcy Playground alter-ego Zog Bogbean including the nostalgic ‘90s hit “Sex and Candy” and an out of place version of the Grateful Dead’s closing cover “And We Bid You Goodnight” may not have been what fans expected when they arrived at the Mercury Lounge. Fortunately, fledgling indie-pop quintet Xylos soon took the stage reassuring fans that the night was hardly over.

Xylos opened with a tambourine-laden power-pop number aptly titled “Summer,” and from the start, it was clear how much the band relied on and accentuated the use of multi-part harmonies—a strategy that when executed correctly, brought out the best from its originals.

“Wrapped in a Page” off the group’s Bedrooms EP (released in late 2008) followed and was held together by the steady beats of drummer Mike Greenfield and sliding bass lines from Monika Heidemann. Takes of “Not Enough” and “Sunday (Paint My Walls)” both featured counterpoint vocals from keyboardist Nikki Lancy and Heidemann who started off the former song with a patty-cake clapping combo which gave way to dual guitar riffs from Aaron Mendelsohn and Eric Zeiler.

Mid-set, “Yellow Flip-Flops” proved to be an energetic peak. With the band fully confident in its vocals and vamped on catchy licks, Zeiler was able to settle into a crowd-pleasing solo that segued back into the chorus. The band’s comfort zone favored the seasoned Bedrooms tracks versus the fresh material. Nonetheless, Xylos was never hesitant to strut its heavy rock influence.

The band put forth its strongest effort of the non-EP tracks with the melodic “Seven Years Old.” And the next two tunes, “Suburbia” and “Circumstances,” allowed for a little band shuffle: both Zeiler and Mendelsohn respectively took a turn to drop their primary instrument and pick up a drum to bolster the backbone of Greenfield’s playing, clearing the air for listeners to focus in on the now lone guitar.

The band bid fans goodnight (for real this time) and brought the set to a conclusion with “In the Bedroom.” - Relix


"Xylos - live show review"



There is really something to be said for gender equality in band. A certain balance exists in a lineup that includes both guys and girls, and Xylos' performance at the Mercury Lounge is a testament to this. The band is comprised of two guys on guitar, a guy on drums and girls on both bass and keyboards. Vocals are shared by the girls and the male guitarists.

While the songwriting and instrumentation was strong, what really grabbed me were the vocals. It's great to a band that has people who can really sing. The harmonies were all solid and in particular the bassist had a beautiful voice with just enough of an edge to it to make it work in a rock band. In addition to the vocals, the Brooklyn quintet's mix of tropical vibes and dreamy synths have garnered a lot of buzz over the past year, earning them a spot on L Magazine's annual "8 NYC Bands You Need to Hear" List.

Their songwriting is strong, with clever lyrics and interesting rhythms, and there is a good dynamic between the band's elements. A pleasant surprise was how the drummer stole the spotlight during the second half of the show with some seriously funky beats.

The enthusiastic home-crowd gobbled up the performance, which featured tracks from the Xylos' debut EP Bedrooms (available for free download on their website), as well as some new demo tracks like "Not Enough". For such a young band, their material was quite consistent, with these demo tracks being just as strong as their seasoned stuff.

Be sure to stay on the look out for further shows in the area by this great live band. - WNEW New York


"Xylos invite you into their 'Bedrooms'"

Less than a year old, Brooklyn’s Xylos have made an impressive impact on the New York City music scene. They’ve been recognized by L Magazine as one of the best bands you need to hear now, featured at their Northside Music Festival, and generating considerable buzz for their EP “Bedrooms.”

Soon, they might also be one step closer to being bona fide Brooklyn, as there are still a couple stragglers in joining the rest of the five-person band in Williamsburg.

“I might be over there real soon,” says Xylos founder and vocalist Eric Zeiler, who lives in the East Village and is currently looking for a new apartment. “I might find myself on that side of the river.”

Despite their Brooklyn majority, the band still can’t escape Manhattan, as they headline one of their favorite venues, Mercury Lounge, on July 28.

This is the band’s last show for a bit, as they’re in the studio working on their forthcoming full length with producer Britt Myers (Chairlift, Essex Green).

“Come the fall, we’ll be playing a lot again,” promises Zeiler. “Right now we’re so excited to do [the album] and just get it done. There are so many things to put our heads around. Dealing with labels and all that stuff – that’s enough for me right now.”


Good things can be expected of that album, after Xylos’s EP turned heads with their catchy four-part vocal harmonies, complex orchestrations and easy blend of instruments and electronics, all done by Zeiler, vocalist Aaron Mendelsohn, bassist and vocalist Monika Heidemann, drummer Mike Greenfield, and pianist Nikki Lancy.

“Most of my personal experience is me and a piano,” says Lancy, who’s a classically-trained pianist. “This is like my chance to rock out.”

Greenfield is known to rock out on the drums as well.“It sounds like he has eight limbs,” says Zeiler, whose been experimenting with a live sequencer to fully bring out all the layers of their infectious, familiar-sounding pop. “We’re giving him parts I don’t think anyone else can play.”

Their newer music finds the band expanding even more with their rhythm section, says Lancy.

“It’s a little bit more rhythm heavy, more interesting drum parts and melodies,” she says. “On the other hand, some of the songs are more poppy. We’re moving in both of those directions.”

When “Bedrooms” was first conceived, it was primarily Zeiler recording in his, well, bedroom, so working with a full band now will naturally inform their sound.

“It sounds bigger, more human,” says Zeiler. “Definitely the scope of emotion will be boarder.”

And though Xylos boasts four songwriters able to get into the mix, there hasn’t been too much headbutting in the studio among the band, which Zeiler formed by pulling from musician friends and hopeful ads placed on Craigslist, which they used when looking for a female singer/bassist (they were very specific) to complete the band last fall.

“The first person to contact us wasn’t female. We tried him out, but he wasn’t pretty enough” says Zeiler, laughing. “The second person was Monica. We got really lucky.”

Now if he could be just as lucky in his apartment search. - the Williamsburg Courier


"Xylos: Bedrooms EP is a pleasant surprise"

There is a new Brooklyn band called Xylos who are giving their Bedrooms EP away as a free download. Eric Zeiler wrote and recorded most of the five tracks, with Ira Wolf Tuton and Anand Wilder of Yeasayer offering guest vocals. Xylos is now a five-piece band poised to grab attention.

Bedrooms opens with In The Bedroom, a song about a girl whose life was “left in shambles,” after a stay with a guy she had met earlier that day. Eric Zeiler seems to pull from late `60s early `70s folk-rock (such as Crosby, Stills & Nash), with strong harmonies reflective of Simon and Garfunkel’s Bookends, occasional hints of The Beach Boys (the gentle “oohs” in Testament) mixed with a blend of The Shins. At times Xylos reminds us of Andrew Bird in his vocal delivery, song structures and acoustic guitar strumming.

Wrapped In A Page showcases Xylos’ eclectic instrumentation. Eric beautifully balances the use of banjo, wooden xylophone, cello and violin, acoustic, hand drums and slight use of analogue synth. The birds chirping in Yellow Flip-Flops add more than just an outdoor element, they help paint bright colors as the song eventually ends with a melody tinged in bluegrass. Testament adds Rhodes, piano, organ, and surprises you with a lead guitar.

Do yourself a favour and download Bedrooms by Xylos from their website or visit them on Myspace/Facebook. - Puddlegum


"NYC band on the rise: Xylos"

New York-based pop band Xylos (a variation of the founder’s last name) began as Eric Zeiler’s lyrics. The wordsmith then recruited vocalists Aaron Mendelsohn and Nikki Lancy to sing his songs for a five-track EP, Bedrooms. Originally a solo project, Zeiler decided to round things out, inviting two more musicians to join the group; drummer Mike Greenfield and bassist Monika Heidemann. The quintet captured the hearts – and ears – of the Mercury Lounge crowd at their first show a few weeks back. At times upbeat tropical, at other times methodic downtrodden (and always textured), their music spans a vast spectrum, perfect for multiple personality listeners – and lovers.

Lyrically, “In The Bedroom” proves frighteningly relatable with its cynical, albeit accurate, analysis of modern-day “dating.” Delivered via a buoyant beat, it leaves me not so much discouraged, but more so shoulder shrugging, as if to acquiesce, “eh, what else can be expected?” It encapsulates the human condition, in particular the female mentality, attitude and actions. That the poet calls Manhattan home is far from surprising.

Another favorite, “Testament” features Zeiler’s somber, beautiful keyboard, precise strumming (both acoustic and electric) and drumming. It offers something different from the aforementioned number and, at upwards of six minutes and the last track on the disc, leaves a lasting impression. Cue it to 3:45 and prepare to be pleasantly surprised.

A full-length album is currently in the works with a yet to be determined 2009 release date. In the meantime, check out their MySpace page or visit their official site, xylosmusic.com, to download their EP for free! - The Deli


"Xylos - Bedrooms"

Xylos - Bedrooms

[Xylos's] music isn’t easily pigeonholed, which is great for the listener but not so great for the blogger. Their debut EP, Bedrooms, is a fairly downbeat number. Gettin’ somewhere! Unlike most slow and meandering songs, though, these ones do not cause mind-numbing boredom.

The singer for Yeasayer, who I’ve written about before, does some guest vocals on Wrapped In A Page, and does them quite well. I was expecting something, well, weirder, and I’m glad what I received was different. It is indeed the most accessible song of the bunch; perhaps because it’s faster-paced, or perhaps due to its tropical influences. Yellow Flip-Flops also borrows Yeasayer’s singer and has tropical influences, and even adds some great female vocals, but it’s not as fast-paced or as accessible. Mystery solved! Since I haven’t mentioned any lyrics on here in a while, Testament has a cool lyric in “I left home to find myself a home.” Chew on that one for a while!

Also, if you like this music a whole lot, and you live in or near New York, they have a show on the 20th of this month and you should go see it. You can find the details and download the rest of their EP from their website. - Either/Or (Portland-based music blog)


Discography

Xylos (debut LP) (April 5, 2011)
Summerlong (7" single, including remixes by Yeasayer and DJ White Shadow) (Spring 2012)

Both have received significant radio airplay, including KCRW, KEXP, WXPN, WFUV, and SiriusXM radio

Photos

Bio

"Xylos, a five-piece band from Brooklyn, makes stylish electro-pop, gesturing toward sensuality but also holding it at arm’s length for appraisal. That policy plays out clearly in “Not Enough,” the first single from the group’s self-titled full-length debut. With twinkling arpeggios fortified by bubbly rhythm, the song presents what seems at first blush like a pickup anthem, an ode to blithe submission.

Monika Heidemann has a warmly soothing voice, succulent even at its most ethereal. A transplant from jazz and experimental-rock circles, she sings with arresting projection, intense even in stages of repose. On the album’s inviting opener, “Darling Dearest,” her murmured reassurances suggest a riff on Sade. Attacking the brighter cadence of “Second Order,” she evokes a young Morrissey.

Despite all the synthetic elements here, you hear the rattle of hand percussion, the light scrape of fingers on a fret board. For Xylos, sound is one more thing to adjust, just so."

-New York Times

UPCOMING DATES:
October 12, 2011 – Royale Nightclub, Boston, MA
October 13, 2011 – Theatre of the Living Arts, Philadelphia, PA
October 14, 2011 – Webster Hall, New York, NY
October 15, 2011 – Metropolis, Montreal, QC
October 16, 2011 – Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, ON
October 18, 2011 – Metro, Chicago, IL
October 19, 2011 – Liberty Hall, Lawrence, KS
October 21, 2011 – Ogden Theatre, Denver, CO
October 22, 2011 – The Complex, Salt Lake City, UT
October 25, 2011 – The Marquee, Tempe, AZ
October 26, 2011 – Belly Up Tavern, Solana Beach, CA
October 27, 2011 – The Music Box, Los Angeles, CA
October 29, 2011 – The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA
October 31, 2011 – Roseland Theater, Portland, OR
November 1, 2011 – Showbox at the Market, Seattle, WA
November 2, 2011 – Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, BC
November 30, 2011 – The Alternate Side on WFUV, New York, NY
December 1, 2011 – Neon Gold PopShop party @ Tammany Hall, New York, NY
December 8, 2011 – Neon Gold All Things Gold party @ U Street Music Hall, Washington, DC
December 9, 2011 - The Space, Hamden, CT (with Jukebox the Ghost)
December 30, 2011 - Glasslands, Brooklyn, NY
2012 - tour with VHS or Beta, headlining shows at Mercury Lounge, Bowery Ballroom and Music Hall of Williamsburg in NYC, and summer festivals