Brooklyn’s North Highlands run with a broad palette: piano, mandolin, violin, plus the requisite guitar, bass, and drums. But this doesn’t mean they get caught up in fuzzy atmospherics — all the songs on their recently self-released Sugar Lips EP are driven by hooks and melodies first, delicate charm second. They owe much of the latter to vocalist Brenda Malvini. Her voice is guileless and sweet, with a little twang and vibrato that creeps into the ends of her phrases. They’ve been playing around the city and Brooklyn, but this Big Ugly Yellow Couch session shows off her voice — as well as the band’s other attributes — well. The five-piece pile on to the couch to do a few songs from the EP, as well as newer track “Fresca.” If you dig BTW Freelance Whales you will probably like these kids as well. My friend tipped me to this band last summer (their drummer, Jasper Berg, is his roommate), but they’ve since developed a hardier, sweatier live show than these gentle videos suggest.
North Highlands – “Sugar Lips”
Their self-released Sugar Lips EP is out now. Listen to more via their MySpace.