Brooklyn-based psychedelic rock band Blackbells have quickly become known for their wall of sound approach, with soaring guitars, sneering vocals and a massive rhythm section. The New Yorkerdubbed the band’s debut self-titled EP, released in early 2010, “radio friendly indie-rock”, and the overwhelming amount of positive feedback the band has received since assures that Blackbells is no flash in the pan. The EP hit the #18 spot in CMJ’s Top 200, and ever since the band has found themselves playing to sold-out crowds across the US and Canada with the likes of Band of Skulls, Alberta Cross, Crash Kings, and The Greenhornes as well as appearances at both CMJ and SXSW in 2010 and 2011.
On the heels of playing in past bands such as Surefire, Reckless Sons, Burn Down the Mission, and Hymns, close friends and venerable veterans of NYC’s rock scene Ben Rice (vocals/guitar), Anthony Stella (guitar), Seth Bulkin (bass) and Austin Schumacher (drums), came together to form Blackbells in the winter of 2010. With influences ranging from Echo and the Bunnymen to Oasis and contemporaries Band of Skulls, Blackbells have worked to create a unique aesthetic that breaks new ground.
Their second EP, IxI, sees Blackbells structuring dense, layered guitars awash with reverb against heavy driving rhythms and cavalier vocals. Recorded and produced by Blackbells’ own Ben Rice in Brooklyn, IxIwas mastered by Louie Teran (Band of Skulls, Snow Patrol) with gorgeous cover art by renowned German artist Crash. “We’ve gotten to a point where we have a decent understanding of what we sound like and we wanted to push that as far as we could at this stage in our career and spend less time thinking about our influences” says Rice about the new songs. “When we recorded our first EP we had been playing together for about 2 weeks and wanted to get the songs down as quickly as possible so that we could get them out to people and start playing live. This time around we had a chance to see how people responded to the songs at shows and then gave ourselves a chance to labor over the recording process for half a year in between touring. We also took a lot more liberties in the studio to try parts and instruments out that we wouldn’t necessarily have had on the first EP.”
The album’s first single, “One By One” paints a lush sonic dreamscape complete with moody riffs and enormous drums that harken back to the glory days of bands like Oasis and The Verve. David Franklin, who is known for his work with bands such as Black Taxi and The Wicked Tomorrow, shot the accompanying video for “One By One.” This fall sees Blackbells planning for a string of appearances surrounding the release of IxI, including a record release show at New York’s Mercury Lounge and a performance at the DeLuna Music Festival in Pensacola, Florida.
“Revive the glory days of Britpoppers Oasis and Blur with Brooklyn quartet Blackbells, who’ve adopted the subgenre’s characteristic soaring vocals, wall of sound, and jousting guitars.”
-The Village Voice
“A consummate blend of rock ‘n roll and psychedelia with a touch of new wave and soul, Brooklyn-based Blackbells adopt the best of both classic and indie sounds to create a refreshing style of rock.”
-The Deli Magazine
“Blackbells are bringing back the outrageous, raw sounds from the years in which The Verve, Oasis and Blur topped the musical charts.”
“One of the next buzz bands to look out for.”
-The Wild Honey Pie
“Ben Rice sings with a delivery that straddles the biting sneer of Liam Gallagher of Oasis and the psychedelic soul of The Verve’s Richard Ashcroft.”
“Radio-friendly indie rock.”
-The New Yorker
“Blackbells have a sound that encompasses everything I love about music. The energy in the delivery of the music is vibrant, the guitars are definitely set to “rock” and “loud”, and the choruses are set to be this Summer’s new anthems.”
-A Track A Day (“This Is Home”)
“With a smooth British inspired bluesy sound, Blackbells use a blend of guitar melodies, driving rhythm, and passionate vocals reminicent of Oasis and The Verve with some NY edge.”