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The Letter Yellow Reviews

RANDY BERGIDA, yellow letters home
by Wobblehouse
http://wobblehouse.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/randy-bergida-yellow-letters-home/


best thing about The Letter Yellow’s WALKING DOWN THE STREETS?
I really connect to these songs. They were extremely natural to write
and being that the majority of the songs were written one after the
next in a span of a few months, there is a continuity that weaves
throughout all the different feels and colors of Walking Down The
Streets. I also love the freshness of the songs on the record in that
we had never performed prior to recording tracking. The idea was that
the songs had a well rehearsed touch, but they hadn’t been
overanalyzed and over structured. If a section wanted to extend
through the live tracking portion of the record, we went with it. The
spirit is in the recording and beyond all the fancy things you can do
post production, it’s the spirit that lives in the performance that
I’ve always connected to on a record.

2.0 – Did you have a sound in mind when you starting recording it or did it evolve?
The sound of the record was largely inspired by the 8×8 studio we
rehearsed in. It’s hard to imagine 3 people and all our instruments
in this room, but it’s possible. The limiter on the iphones was also
something that evolved our sound. Hearing everything in a tiny room
with a big limiter compressing the music to the point that everything
sounds good gave us much hope. When we were tracking with Quinn
McCarthy at The Creamery, we went ahead and recorded all the vocals
through the voxac30 as we would rehearse. In the end, Joel Hamilton
at studio G took the clean mike and gave the essence of the amp with
his military grade compressors (no joke).

3.0 – Do you consider branding & image as part of the artistic process?

I think of it more as just letting your personalities come out.
Pretty much the same way I think with clothing. It’s superficial yes,
but at the same time it’s nice for people to have an idea of who you
are just by looking at you. All I want is for the music and the image
to be an honest representation of us. I would give credit to image
being a part of the artistic process much like when I write, I think
about how the songs will translate live.

4.0 – When did you start writing songs and what was your first?

My first! oh my, I try to forget those songs, hahaha. I started
writing when I started playing the guitar around 10 or 11. I wasn’t
writing the same way I do now. I was just trying to get better at
playing the guitar and I wasn’t so fond of playing other peoples songs
quite yet. Plus I was so curious about theory that I would write
something and then try to analyze it. So I wrote little things that
challenged me. I never performed them. I think my first official
song I wrote was called “One/People Get Ready”. Of course both Curtis
Mayfield and Bob Marley have a song with that title and I’m honestly
not quite sure if they are the same. That always confused me.

5.0 – Do you have a philosophy when it comes to writing?
Yes, when it comes grab it. I have these moments of creativity and I
just know that these are my good songs. But I have to be organized
and make sure to write things down and record ideas. I have to
complete the lyrics before I can move on as coming back to lyrics
never works for me. They are there in that moment and it’s my job to
write them down then and there.

6.0 – And what about the stage and playing live?

I love it. It has always fueled my well being I feel. And it’s addictive.

7.0 – How did you catch the roots bug originally?

I suppose growing up in Indianapolis, it was a bit stagnant, but
getting out into nature was always fun and always lifted my spirits (I
never knew something like NYC would have the same effect on me).

8.0 – id you have to work at it or does it come naturally, or both?

Overall music came naturally, but I certainly have and still do work
very hard.

9.0 – What’s your favorite record of all-time?

That’s the heavy question. As I’m playing through my music library on
shuffle, all these great songs are coming on “Side with the Seas” off
SKy Blue Sky by Wilco, Curtis Mayfield, Live at Bitter End…The Best
of the Wailers (which is not a compilation oddly enough)…And then
theres my Billie Holiday Collection on vinyl that just blows my mind.
Nonetheless, if you were going to leave me with only one of these
songs/albums with the trapped on an island metaphor, it would have to
take the The Best of The Wailers. I’ve known those songs my whole
life and I still get happy every time I hear them.

10.0 – What was the first concert you attended and how did it impact your
life if at all?

The first concert I ever saw was John Mellencamp…he’s Indiana born
and bred like me. It was actually pretty awesome. After all, it was
my first concert and the venue, Dear Creek, is a really special venue
as it’s outdoors and country all around. I think this year was the
year of my favorite concerts…I saw Radiohead which pretty much blew
my mind…I’m usually ready to let my ears rest at the end of a
concert, but after there 2 hour plus performance, I wanted more!

Wobblehouse
November 15th, 2012

 

NYC Band On Rise The Letter Yellow Plays Rock Shop On November 5th 2012

by The Deli Magazine
October 30th, 2012,

http://nyc.thedelimagazine.com/11614/nyc-band-on-rise-letter-yellow-plays-rock-shop-on-1105

After years of playing with Portland rockers Skidmore Fountain, guitarist and vocalist Randy Bergida broke off to form The Letter Yellow. The Brooklyn-based band started out of Bergida’s solo work, releasing the debut album “Walking Down The Streets” back in September with a full band rounded out by Mike Thies – met during his Skidmore days – and Abraham Pollack. “Walking Down The Streets” features a melodic, alt pop sound with thoughtful tinges at times reminiscent of The Smiths, and serene lyrics that detail Bergida’s life on both ends of the country, with stories of Brooklyn cafes and driving up the California coast. The band will perform at the Rock Shop on November 5.

 

Music Box Pete
by Peter Amara
October 2nd, 2012,

http://www.music-box-pete.net/2012/10/artist-spotlight-letter-yellow.html

An all new edition of Artist Spotlight awaits! Today, we have an emerging indie band based out of Brooklyn, NY by the name of The Letter Yellow. The band consists of Randy Bergida, Mike Thies, and Abraham Pollock. The band’s music has a diverse and eclectic mixture of Death Cab For Cutie with a little bit of The Pixies thrown in for good measure that offers up a little something for the diverse music listener, even some blues influences are omnipresent in their music as well. It’s refreshing to hear bands branching out beyond their capabilities and are able to the task of dabbling in other genres that sometimes other upstart bands are afraid to try, or are more adept to staying within their comfort zone of music they play in which is fine, but sometimes you’ll find that growth by doing the latter can be kind of stagnant at times so you’ll have a greater degree of success by branching out in different areas that will make you stand out from the casual music fan. A great up and coming band that has all the keys necessary to stand and deliver to the concert going crowd. Some recommended tracks for you to have a listen at include “Out on The Streets” and “14 Bar Blues”.
For more info on the band, head on over to their Facebook page at:www.facebook.com/theletteryellow While you’re there, click the ‘Music’ tab to stream their music via their BandCamp site directly from Facebook so that you don’t have to open another window. The band is able to be followed on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/theletteryellow and stay up to date with what the band have going on at this very minute. Check out the band’s website as well at:theletteryellow.net to stay up to date on the latest round of tour dates they have that may be coming to your area relatively soon!

 

Baby Sue
October 1st, 2012,

http://www.babysue.com/2012-Oct-LMNOP-Reviews.html#anchor296061

The debut album from Brooklyn’s The Letter Yellow. Rather than stay in one safe territory, these folks tread into several genres and styles on their first album. Some of the tracks are pop, some rock, some pensive, and some melancholy and beautiful. The band is the trio comprised of Randy Bergida (vocals, guitar, synth), Mike Thies (drums, percussion), and Abe Pollack (bass, lap steel, synth). Plenty of different moods here and the vocals can sometimes give you chills. Particularly incredible is the closing track “Southern Bound”…with a wonderful soft gliding melody that listeners won’t soon forget. Other standout cuts include “Changed,” “Hold Me Steady,” “I Got You,” and “In The Sun Making Waves.”

 

Classiques Modernesby
Loy Carlos
October 1st, 2012

An Interview and a Feature!

http://www.classiquesmodernes.com/#!the-arts/c1mws

 

The Deli Magazine
by Mike Levine
September 9, 2012,

The Letter Yellow releases debut album + plays Glasslands show 9.9

While most of us have some romantic notions about our beloved New York City, few of us go so far as to document our accolades in lyrical odyssey. Well, looks like you missed your chance. In twelve tracks of throwback rock n’ roll sentiment, The Letter Yellow has done exactly that in new record ‘Walking Down the Street.’ Coming across like a late night reflection with the Brooklyn Bridge as a backdrop, singer-songwriter Randy Bergida paints a landscape from ‘Hope Street’ to Harlem and back again. This is a heartfelt love letter to the greatest city in the world, from someone who’s made Greenpoint his hometown (and recording studio). Join the band when The Letter Yellow hosts their album release party this Sunday at Glasslands (9.9). – Mike Levine (@Goldnuggets)
The Deli Magazine Review

 

 

Skidmore Fountain Reviews

Powerpopaholic
Power pop music and an honest opinion.
“Cloudless Blue”

Brooklyn’s Skidmore Fountain is a collection of eclectic musicians, Randy Bergida (vocals/guitar), Topu Lyo (cello/vocals), and Steven Cohen (guitar/vocals) who produce alternative pop that has plenty of soundscapes with orchestral touches. If The Flaming Lips and Coldplay teamed up with Jeff Lynne adding a rare flourish, you’d get close to this band’s sound. Opening with a combination of violins and guitars, “Asylum” boasts an impressive array of instrumentation and driving beat to Bergida’s vocal. The highlight early on for me was “Drive By Reflection” where the simple guitar rhythms merge from a Cure-like narrative to a rich orchestral tapestry. The ghostly harmonies, handclaps and guitar breaks of “When The Sun Comes” is a loose series of sketches, rather than a structured song. It’s almost like a pop version of free form jazz. Too often, despite the musicianship, we are missing the hooks here on long winding tracks. Sometimes this doesn’t hurt a song like “Cloudless” or “Whole World” where the melodies and musical textures hold everything together fine. The gorgeous harmonies are upfront on “Sun In The Sky” with a vivid image of beach heat making this my favorite track. Other tracks like “Anyone Around” get too loose, and it almost becomes an extended reggae jam – some listeners will appreciate all the sonic details, but if you’re looking for quick pop songs under three minutes look elsewhere. I have to admit the songs have a soothing quality I don’t find in most pop music.

Cosmos Gaming

Chris Dahlberg

Music: Skidmore Fountain: Cloudless Blue – Our Take

Chamber rock has become a much bigger genres in recent years than some people might have expected. The melding of orchestral arrangements with rock music may not be a new thing, but bands are constantly finding new ways to make it sound fresh. This is true of Brooklyn based Skidmore Fountain, who have chosen to create more of an “indie rock with soaring string arrangements” album rather than going for full on chamber rock/pop. And with their newest release Cloudless Blue the group has proven that they have some interesting ideas that separate them from everyone else.

Although the core of Skidmore Fountain’s sound is based around very traditional sounding indie rock riffs that have modern day and retro influences, they use string instruments as a way to make their compositions stand out from everyone else. If listeners pay close attention, they will likely hear the use of traditional string instruments which help contribute to the melodic atmosphere that many of these songs provide. The instrumentalists never make any of these songs full on chamber rock, and instead choose to go the melodic indie rock route but the way that they subtly incorporate the strings into the mix works incredibly well.

Three of Skidmore Fountain’s members contribute vocals on Cloudless Blue and they often sing simultaneously in order to create some great harmonies. As one might expect from more melodically oriented indie rock, the vocals are fairly laid back and soft in style. What most people are sure to enjoy about this group is the way in which Skidmore Fountain splits up their vocal duties, as it seems as though they never give any one particular member the spotlight and are constantly switching things up. This gives the album a bit more variety than one might expect, and proves to be a good direction for the group to be going in.

Skidmore Fountain seems content to be a fringe band that doesn’t want to conform to either traditional chamber rock or indie rock style, and this does help them to stand out as a fairly unique entity. Cloudless Blue has catchy hooks and very atmospheric arrangements that are enhanced by the various string instruments, and although it wouldn’t hurt them to venture a little further into orchestral territory in the future these guys still have what it takes to win over listeners.

1. CMJ Review:

 

Skidmore Fountain   “Break”  (Triple R)

 

“On their sophomore record, Brooklyn’s Skidmore Fountain sprays out poppy streams of alt-rock with surprising dexterity.  Although they stamp their ’90s forbearer’s logo on their album’s blueprint, the quartet builds on that with an eclectic architecture.  Jagged, reggae-inflected guitars coverage with contemporary jazz chord changes in, “Get Away?” while “Dance Political” finds the band channeling a King-Tubby-produced B-52s.  Electric cellist Topu Lyo lends orchestral bombasts to “And It Matters” and ambient whimsy to “Lost and Lonely.”  Randy Bergida belts out sleek vocal melodies with breathy confidence, and the loungey “Lost and Lonely” will inspire countless make-out sessions and the gobs of catchy choruses seem destined for crowd shout-alongs.”

 

Webwww.skidmorefountain.com

RIYL: Counting Crows, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sublime

Key Tracks: ”Break,” “Blur,” “Lost and Lonely”

Of Note: Break’s producer Ken Lewis, has mixed Grammy-winning albums by Kanye, Usher and CeCe Wynans

 

 

2. UP AGAINST THE WALL

 

Skidmore Fountain is one of those bands that is too modern to be considered classic rock and too classic to be considered modern rock.  They fall somewhere in between, like the Killers. They don’t offer as many catchy hooks as the Killers, but they offer straight-ahead rock with some added depth.

 

Hailing from Brooklyn by way of Tucson, Ariz., and Portland, Ore., the band contains two classically trained instrumentalists, including Topu Lyo on five-string electric cello. Producer Ken Lewis, who has produced John Legend and the Beastie Boys, adds a certain amount of polish to the band’s sophomore release. Randy Bergida has a great rock and roll voice—ranging from a Johnny Rotten snarl to a David Bowie falsetto. Plus this is a band that is not afraid to ask the important questions, such as: “If you could get up from lightning/Would you get off from lightning?” (“Lightning”). I don’t know what it means either, but it sure is fun imagining possibilities.

Album Release – April 24th : www.skidmorefountain.com

 

 

3. PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS

 

Skidmore Fountain: Edgy indie rockers stretch the parameters with tremulous vocals,

off-kilter tunes and an interesting band set-up featuring five-string electric cello. In another age, these guys would be getting a major label push, but hey, times are tough. Grape Street Philadelphia, 4100 Main St., 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, $5, 215-483-7084,

grapestreet.com.

 

4. RADIO FREE DAVID BLOG

 

Notorious LIZ scours high and she scours low and all along the way she turns up

some real gems; today is another great pick from her: Skidmore Fountain.

Skidmore Fountain is not your typical “rock” band and their sound is a little difficult to describe, but “very good” goes a long way to that end. Skidmore Fountain is made up of Randy Bergida, Steven Cohen, and Dylan Wissing: being Brooklyn based, they’ve played at some awesome NYC venues (CBGBs, Knitting Factory, the Bitter End and Piano’s). Skidmore Fountain is really coming into their sound with Break, their second album. We’re happy to feature the title cut Break in our rotation.

 

5. MUSIC MORSELS JUNE 2007 EDITION
Brooklyn has some tough neighborhoods, and Skidmore Fountain reflects that with music that feels, not just sounds tough.  There is a kinder gentler side as well, but even those passages have a coarseness that grips you, and they are often sandwiched by grittier bridges.  Witness the highly creative “Blur” and you will get the picture.  The band stretches songwriting boundaries further on the twisted blues of “Lost and Lonely” and the rootsy punk of the title track.  A lot of inventive and enjoyable music here. URL: http://www.skidmorefountain.com