Hospitality are a minimalist Brooklyn indie-pop trio fronted by Kansas City expatriate Amber Papini, who also handles guitar and piano. Her voice is immediate and unique, at times like a Mo Tucker but with stately Jesy Fortino/Tiny Viper intonations. Or Amelia Fletcher, fronting a super spare NY-based Heavenly or Talulah Gosh. She’s backed by drummer (and flautist and harmonica player) Nathan Michel and singing bassist Brian Betancourt. They’ve been together for a couple of years, but in Betancourt’s words “only recently started to get serious.” If you’re into electronic music, you may already know that Michel’s released idiosyncratic, enjoyable records on Tigerbeat 6, Tomlab, and Sonig. Makes sense: There’s a surprising (and refreshing), at times non-linearity to Hospitality’s compositions — it’s pop music that doesn’t take an easy way to a hook. Sometimes it feels like Michel is drumming to some jazz piece in his head. In many cases silence and space are as important as the sounds they make. On top of it all, Papini writes liyrics worth listening to and decoding. So far Hospitality’s just self-released a six-song EP, produced by Karl Blau. Betancourt explains how it happened.
We met Karl Blau at a show we both happened to be playing at the Cake Shop. He heard our soundcheck and asked if he could record us in exchange for being his backing band sometime in the future. Naturally, we agreed! He recorded a few of our songs on 4 track (which became the EP) and he wrote a few songs specifically for us to play live with him, which only happened once…
No worries, they sound plenty great on their own. Take a listen for yourself: We have “Betty Wang,” an instant and mysterious twee classic, and the fragile, flute-lined “Argonauts,” the first two tracks from the EP.
You weren’t hearing double: Amber’s sister Gia appears on the EP, but has since left the band. Their sound remains in tact, though; we first encountered Hospitality at a Brooklyn band party this past weekend, and were immediately hooked. For a group that’s only recently started to get serious, Hospitality has experienced big moments: Outside of Bau’s assistance, Frog Eyes asked them to open for them a ways back and Stereolab had them open for them at the Fillmore at Irving Plaza last October. We expect bigger things to come. If you want the EP, it’s only available from the band at this point, so stop by their MySpace or if you’re in the New York area, go see them play 3/11 at Zebulon.