There’s an up-and-coming band floating around the city that’s about to explode all over our local music scene. What began as elementary school friendships and backyard networking has, over the course of multiple one-off bands and reincarnations, developed into Indian City Weather- an eclectic group of six young men with a rich history in spoken word and hip hop, self-taught instrumentation, and wet-behind-the-ears enthusiasm. Next month they’ll release their debut EP, which comes after a number of recent high profile gigs including The Broad Ripple Music Fest and an all-day showcase at the famed Tibbs House.
HISTORY & MENTORSHIP
The band was born when drummer Tyler Bayne and spoken word artist Niq Askren merged their two-piece hip hop assemblage with a guitar duo comprised of Joe Cohen and Jonah Crouch. “I brought our little hip-hop project into their dueling acoustic guitar stuff and it started taking shape from there,” Bayne says as he details the band’s earliest manifestation. “We'd play really low volume acoustic stuff, and Niq would rap and do spoken word pieces over it. Eventually, we decided to start a full band and we brought in a friend of mine from high school, Danny Finch.” Finch, ICW’s eldest member at 24 years, brings the group’s only real source of previous band experience with past bouts in pop-punk bands Fat and The Midget Ticklers. Around that same time, Joshua Neese joined the band to handle singing responsibilities supplemental to Askren’s calm raps. Although guitarist Joe Cohen recorded the EP with Indian City Weather, he eventually quit to pursue other interests and was replaced by the band’s longtime friend Dillon Mitchell.
When Indian City Weather was ready to hit the studio earlier this spring, they reached out to Tyler Watkins, bassist for Margot and the Nuclear So and So's, who operates Queensize Studios in downtown Indianapolis. ICW’s time there (four days of tracking and two days of mixing, spread out over the course of two months) was a memorable experience for the six studio novices; the closing song on the EP, “State Avenue”, is even named for the street where the studio is located.
Bayne considers the band privileged to have worked with such a distinguished musician as Watkins. “He produced, mixed, and mastered our EP, so his hands are all over it,” Bayne explains. “He's continued to be kind of our designated Yoda, giving us advice regarding almost everything we're doing right now.” Watkins cites the skill level of the young music makers as a major deciding factor in working with them. “A group of talented musicians and an introverted poet approached me with open minds,” he says. “Also, I'm a sucker for polite weirdos.”
LEATHER LUNGS EP
The EP begins with “More Like Memphis”, a light-hearted foot tapper that introduces the listener to Indian City Weather’s standout quality- two dissimilar vocal styles that complement each other in an unlikely way. Askrin’s friendly raps meet Neese’s full-body wails on top of warm guitar lines and wispy percussion for a song that even the most casual listener can latch on to.
More Like Memphis
“Wilson and the Waves” is the band’s attempt to reflect the lo-fi quality of their early demo recordings as an all-acoustic/spoken word group. Rhythm is rationed as an angelic melody emerges. Neese’s unique voice is showcased here; his distressed cries suggest inspiration from Ugly Cassanova and Modest Mouse vocalist Isaac Brock.
Wilson and the Waves
“Dreamcatcher”, the middle track, is fantastically intense. Askrin performs a spoken word piece that plays with tempo and fluctuates in fury while the remaining band mates provide an eerie sound scape. “The background noise is just all of the guys inside the live room at the studio, making random noises and our vocalist (who doesn't play guitar) playing a weak, broken chord progression,” Bayne says as he describes the nontraditional methods used in the recording process.
“Galaxies” has a sound as big as the name suggests. Here, the band focuses on verse groove with “really sparse guitar noodling meandering around on top of it,” according to Bayne. The song’s highlight comes in the stately gang chorus at the end that leads into the closing track with majestic rejoice.
“State Avenue” is a longer, stripped down song that takes the listener on a jovial stroll with distant, echoing vocals layered in a rounding fashion. Again illustrating their unconventional recording techniques, Bayne states, “This song has a much slower build than the rest, and it's really sparse and entirely acoustic. Instead of playing on my drum kit, I taped socks to my sticks and played on top of my bass drum and a trash can.”
Leather Lungs officially debuts on Saturday November 13th at Luna Records in Broad Ripple. Indian City Weather will perform with support from local folk garage band Rugged Russian Bear.
In the meantime, catch Indian City Weather at Birdy’s on Halloween and watch for a recently-recorded music video to drop soon also.