Sounds Local: And the Kids release new album; will perform at Shea Theater

  • Courtney Chavanell

  • Courtney Chavanell

Published: 6/1/2016 6:39:33 PM

Friendships can get complicated. No one knows this better than the members of the Northampton-based band And the Kids, whose members explore the topic on its new album, “Friends Share Lovers.”

The album — the band’s second for Northampton’s Signature Sounds label — will be released Friday, June 3. And the Kids will celebrate with a CD release party held at Shea Theater on Avenue A in Turners Falls on Saturday, June 4, at 8 p.m. The Snaz will open the show.

The four members of this Indie rock-pop group are all close friends.

Lead singer and guitarist Hannah Mohan and drummer Rebecca Lasaponaro met in a seventh-grade band class and soon after started making music together.

In 2012, while attending a summer rock camp at The Institute of Musical Arts (IMA) in Goshen, the pair became friends with keyboardist Megan Miller and they formed And the Kids.

Last year, And the Kids released the acclaimed, “Turn to Each Other,” but soon after its release Miller, who is a Canadian citizen, ran into problems with her visa and was deported from the United States.

However, Mohan and Lasaponaro remained committed to Miller remaining in the band. They toured for a while as a duo, then recruited another old friend and IMA alum, Taliana Katz, to come on board as the band’s bassist.

When it came time to record a follow up to “Turn to Each Other,” since Miller couldn’t come to the band, the band went to her and recorded the album in Montreal.

The album’s title track, written by Mohan and Miller, deals with the blurred lines that often occur in friendships and the difficulties that arise when trying to navigate shifting roles.

The song opens with a guitar sound reminiscent of the Cure, before evolving into a dreamy psychedelic pop tune with Mohan singing, “sometimes we like each other, and sometimes we wish we were with another,” over a delightful swirling synthesizer and fierce rolling drums.

“People are usually friends in groups, and maybe there will be couples in these friend groups, and you will sometimes see them splitting up and one of them leaving for another friend, and then it gets really hard for everyone in the group,” said Mohan in a recent interview about the song. “I just think it’s so interesting, and I think it happens a lot.”

Mohan, who is the primary lyricist for the group, added that she understands that people could view the lyrics differently and she is fine with that, too.

On the 10 songs that make up, “Friends Share Lovers,” Mohan words run the gamut of emotions — they are honest; heartbreaking, thought-provoking and even surreal. Her voice is an elastic, expressive instrument that swoops and soars to the darkest of lows and the highest of highs. Mohan's voice has always been a defining part of And the Kids’ sound and continues to be on, “When Friends Share Lovers.”

The new album is an ambitious one that reflects the growth the band experienced over the past year.

Some of the songs were written during the period when Mohan and Lasaponaro were forced to work as a duo after Miller’s deportation.

“We had booked the tour, then Megan had to leave, so we just had to do it and embrace it,” said Mohan. “It’s always good to practice with different lineups and we ended up writing some songs, just the two of us.”

What happened is, they reached out to old friend Taliana Katz and she was able to join the band as their bassist.

“Rebecca and Hannah were interns at IMA when I was a camper — this was about five years ago,” recalled Katz. “I’m from New York and they would stay at my house when they were on tour and joke with me about joining the band after I graduated high school, and now I have.”

Katz jumped right in with the band and her first appearance was with the group when they played on NPR’s Tiny Desk concert. She has proved a welcome addition to the band and has helped flesh out their music.

“Friends Share Lovers” was co-produced by Jace Lasek, who helped guide the band toward a bigger, more fully realized sound. The 10 tracks are more complex and layered than And the Kids’ past work. On this disc, they experiment with different guitar sounds, unusual percussion, and utilize their impressive harmonies to great effect. While the band sounds tighter than ever, each member gets a chance to show off their unique talents, especially Lasaponaro, whose impressive drumming is at the forefront of many of these tracks. On “Friends Share Lovers,” And The Kids manage to try out some new sounds without losing the hooky accessibility that made “Turn to Each Other” such a success.  

“We were really excited to be working with Jace, because he does this really dreamy sounding sonic stuff. We have always wanted to dive into more different sounds and get more pedals and just experiment,” said Mohan.

“We wanted to take away a wintery feel from this and just sort of embrace the fact that we were making this in Canada,” she added. “I get so much inspiration from Canadian Indie artists like Grimes. I think it’s really interesting how different places have different sounds.”

For Katz, it was an entirely new experience recording an album in its entirety, and she shares Mohan’s views on working with Lasek and feels he gave the band the time and space to take the songs in the direction they needed to go.

“I really hope it’s the type of album that people go back to and have a different experience every time they listen to it,” she said.

And that’s exactly the kind of album that “Friends Share Lovers” is.

With the release of “Friends Share Lovers,” And the Kids are poised to expand its growing national fan base.

On Friday, June 3, they will launch a 20-plus U.S. tour that will bring them to the Shea and then back to the area for a performance at the Green River Festival on July 9.

In the past, the band’s shows have built around a particular theme and members have performed with glitter on their faces — they aren’t letting on what they have planed for Saturday night.

Katz will only say that the band is working hard to incorporate Miller’s parts into the show so that they can capture the album’s sound in a live setting. But, both women didn’t hesitate to share their excitement for the event and for sharing the stage with the Snaz, a young band out of Brattleboro, Vt. that will also have a new album out soon.

So, don’t miss out on your chance to hear two of the area’s most exciting young bands performing together at this special CD release show. For more information, visit: www.andthekidsmusic.com

Tickets are $12 in advance, available at: signaturesoundspresents.com

Tickets are $15 at the door, which will open at 7:30 p.m. This is an all- ages show. Shea Theater is located at 71 Avenue A in Turners Falls.

Sheryl Hunter is a music writer who lives in Easthampton. Her work has appeared in various regional and national magazines. You can contact her at soundslocal@yahoo.com




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