Posts Tagged ‘Kip Berman’

The Natvral is the new project of Kip Berman (formerly of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart). Look for new music coming in 2021. As the frontman of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Kip Berman wrote songs about the thrills and ills of young adult life with the care and concern of a cool older sibling. Enter Tethers, Berman’s first solo record as The Natvral, where Kip finds his new project more aligned with the sounds of Bob Dylan, Neil. Young, and his long time hero Leonard Cohen.

But in this time away from the life of a touring artist, Berman discovered an unvarnished, broken folk rock sound – a marked departure from his previous work. Recorded over 7 days with producer Andy Savours (My Bloody Valentine, Black Country New Road, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart), Tethers is as raw in sound as it is nuanced and empathetic in its lyricism. Without effect pedals, overdubs or even a metronome, the resulting album feels free and unpretentious, recalling the strident obliqueness of Bob Dylan and Neil Young’s sonic primitivism – but drawn from a set of vividly detailed experiences all Berman’s own. Throughout, he is supported by former The Pains of Being Pure at Heart collaborators Jacob Sloan (bass), Brian Alvarez (drums), Sarah Chihaya (backing vocals) and Crystal Stilts/Woods Kyle Forester (organ).

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Released April 2nd, 2021

Former Pains of Being Pure at Heart leader Kip Berman will release the album “Tethers”, his solo debut as The Natural, on April 2nd via Kanine Records. Warm and driven by Hammond organ, Kip says, “It’s a song about how you don’t always want what’s for the best– and neither do I.” 

As the frontman of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Kip Berman wrote songs about the thrills and ills of young adult life with the care and concern of a cool older sibling. The long-standing New York City indie-pop group disbanded soon after releasing their final record, The Echo of Pleasure (2017), and Berman found himself at a creative crossroads. He wanted to keep making music, but the themes and sounds he was interested in had shifted; it felt time for a course correction.

Enter Tethers, Berman’s first solo record as The Natvral, which finds him coming to terms with the changes in his own life by observing those transformations in the people he’s known – a self-portrait in relief. In the time between making his last record with his former band, Berman’s life and location have shifted dramatically, as he welcomed a daughter, then a son, and moved from Brooklyn to Princeton. With his new identity as a parent came a crucial shift in how he approached music. Gone were the months in a cramped tour van and late nights rehearsing with his band in a windowless warehouse space. In its place were amorphous, suburban afternoons playing whimsical songs to two young children, while writing music for himself after their bedtime.

But in this time away from the life of a touring artist, Berman discovered an unvarnished, broken folk rock sound– a marked departure from his previous work. The Natvral, the solo project that sprung up in the final years of Berman’s dearly departed Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, has thus far shared two singles from official debut album Tethers: “Why Don’t You Come Out Anymore?” and “New Moon.” Today he adds a third advance track.

As explained in promo materials for the album, “Sun Blisters” is about the freedom that comes with embracing your fate as a fuckup, and how that counterbalances with the emotional consequences of living in the margins. “In the end maybe I was wrong/ Laughing where only tears belong,” Berman sings. “But love to you’s just a pretty song/ And I’m a sour note.” It surges along with the energy of a Blonde On Blonde classic — not to raise your expectations too high, but think of something like “One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later).” It’s strengthening the case that Berman can write great songs in just about any historical rock milieu you throw at him.

Berman says of “Sun Blisters”: “It’s a song about how you don’t always want what’s for the best– and neither do I.” Stereogum says “I’m loving these Dylan-inspired bangers from Kip Berman!”

From The Natvral album “Tethers’

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Kip Berman, formerly of the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, has announced his full-length debut from his solo project as The Natvral. The album is called “Tethers” and it’s out April 2nd on Kanine Records. Berman has also shared the first song from the album, “Why Don’t You Come Out Anymore?” .

“Why Don’t You Come Out Anymore?” is taken from The Natvral’s forthcoming LP, “Tethers” on Kanine / Dirty Bingo Records.

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“Why Don’t You Come Out Anymore?” is taken from The Natvral’s forthcoming LP, “Tethers” on Kanine / Dirty Bingo Records.

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Tethers was produced by Andy Savours, whose catalogue includes records with Berman’s previous band and others such as My Bloody Valentine. The album also features Pains collaborators Jacob Sloan, Brian Alvarez, and Sarah Chihaya, plus Kyle Forester of Crystal Stilts and Woods.

Berman led the Pains of Being Pure at Heart for more than a decade, beginning in 2007. The band broke up in 2019, following the release of The Echo of Pleasure in 2017. Berman released Know Me More, his first EP as the Natvral, in 2018.

Kip Berman singer/songwriter of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart  has begun recording and performing as The Natvral. Drawing inspiration from the lyrical folk rock of icons like Richard and Linda Thompson, Leonard Cohen and Ted Leo, this EP finds Kip channeling his lyricism with newfound intimacy and emotional candor. This venture is neither solo project nor side project, but rather a chance for Berman to create new music that connects in sound and substance to his present life. Since the recording of the last Pains record in 2016, The Echo of Pleasure, Berman has become a father and traded his beloved Brooklyn for the collegiate charms of Princeton, NJ.

“Why Don’t You Come Out Anymore?” is taken from The Natvral’s forthcoming LP, “Tethers” on Kanine / Dirty Bingo Records.

May be an illustration of one or more people and text that says 'THE NATVRAL TETHERS 04.02.2021 LTD VINYL DIGITAL PRE-ORDER NOW'

“Why Don’t You Come Out Anymore?” is taken from The Natvral’s forthcoming LP, “Tethers” on Kanine / Dirty Bingo Records.

May be an illustration of one or more people and text that says 'THE NATVRAL TETHERS 04.02.2021 LTD VINYL DIGITAL PRE-ORDER NOW'

Tethers was produced by Andy Savours, whose catalogue includes records with Berman’s previous band and others such as My Bloody Valentine. The album also features Pains collaborators Jacob Sloan, Brian Alvarez, and Sarah Chihaya, plus Kyle Forester of Crystal Stilts and Woods.

Berman led the Pains of Being Pure at Heart for more than a decade, beginning in 2007. The band broke up in 2019, following the release of The Echo of Pleasure in 2017. Berman released Know Me More, his first EP as the Natvral, in 2018.

Kip Berman singer/songwriter of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart  has begun recording and performing as The Natvral. Drawing inspiration from the lyrical folk rock of icons like Richard and Linda Thompson, Leonard Cohen and Ted Leo, this EP finds Kip channeling his lyricism with newfound intimacy and emotional candor. This venture is neither solo project nor side project, but rather a chance for Berman to create new music that connects in sound and substance to his present life. Since the recording of the last Pains record in 2016, The Echo of Pleasure, Berman has become a father and traded his beloved Brooklyn for the collegiate charms of Princeton, NJ.

“Why Don’t You Come Out Anymore?” is taken from The Natvral’s forthcoming LP, “Tethers” on Kanine / Dirty Bingo Records.

May be an illustration of one or more people and text that says 'THE NATVRAL TETHERS 04.02.2021 LTD VINYL DIGITAL PRE-ORDER NOW'

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, which turns 10 years of age this week, The New York indie pop quartet built up a pretty rabid fan base in the indie pop community prior to the release of their self-titled debut record in early 2009. For this, they could thank a string of excellent singles and EPs that began in 2007 (songs from which appear on the album) but more than that they can put it down to the fact that their sound melds together the trademarked sounds of many beloved indie and noise pop bands into one shiny ball of sound and melancholy. Mixed in skillfully are the sonic assaults of early My Bloody Valentine, the hazy sweetness of Ride, the introspective and usually morose lyrical approach perfected by the Field Mice, the sensitive and tender vocals purveyed by most Sarah records bands, and the rhythmic drive of early-’90s Amer-Indie bands the likes of which more often than not found themselves on Slumberland (Lilys, the Ropers, Velocity Girl — whose Archie Moore ably mixes the album).

The awkward characters that populate the New York group’s brisk and clumsy first full-length are also lovesick misfits for whom the simple task of staying alive seems overwhelming. “It sounds like teen drama,” the band’s frontman Kip Berman explained once.

In the tradition of bands like Beat Happening and Belle And Sebastian, the members of the Pains Of Being Pure At Heart celebrate teenageness — nowhere towns, long wasted summers, lust at first sight — with a bit of hindsight. Before Pains, Berman toiled away in a call center and did some some marketing for a company called Drillteam. He also spent time stumbling around Portland, Oregon’s DIY scene, eventually moving to NYC and geeking out over Dear Nora songs with Pains’ founding keyboardist Peggy Wang, who worked full-time for a new startup called BuzzFeed. At the same time, bassist Alex Naidus edited for eMusic’s Canadian website and drummer Kurt Feldman taught music to kids. Their teenage years were in the rear view, but an adolescent-like desire to belong to something lingered — as did their appreciation for the messy mythology of being young and in love.

The record dropped in February 2009 via Slumberland, an act of kismet considering the band’s vibe was clearly informed by the iconic label’s roster of scrappy noise-makers. At first glance, Pains seemed doomed to be typecast as yet another fashionable group with fashionable influences and a retro looking album cover. And while it was true that nothing about the songs felt particularly contemporary, they definitely didn’t sound stale either. The album’s first track, “Contender,” which makes lyrical allusions to the Exploding Hearts and On The Waterfront, was the first song the group wrote together. It’s a mid tempo letter from Berman to his aimless younger self: “You saw the boys in white sing ‘I’m a pretender’ / But you never were / You never were a contender,” he sings, his mopey timbre layered atop Wang’s background melodies.

Things mostly get brighter and noisier from there: The sweet and thrashy “Come Saturday” posits a skipped party as the light at the end of the tunnel, while the Psychocandy-esque closer “Gentle Sons” is about mortality and Mondays: “You stumble down the diamond path / And every breath could be your last,” goes the latter’s hook. The relatively huge-sounding “Stay Alive” teases the kind of room-filling, Creation Records-indebted dream pop that the group turned to when making the album’s 2011 follow-up, Belong. (The Higher Than The Stars EP, which includes a drop-dead gorgeous Saint Etienne remix that is absolutely worth revisiting, came in between.) But the self-titled’s most eternal artifact is probably “Young Adult Friction,” an unselfconsciously twee chant-along about hooking up in a library. The innuendo-laced wordplay is top-notch (“I never thought I would come of age / Let alone on a moldy page”) and Berman and Wang’s call-and-response chorus is pure, jangly joy.

Best of all is the amazingly hooky “Everything with You,” which stands as the equal of anything the shoegaze poppers or pop losers cranked out back in the day. If you had gone out and bought the 7,” after one play you would have tacked the sleeve up on your wall and played the record until the grooves wore out. It’s that good. It lifts the album from pretty good to almost great.

But for all its nostalgic energy, the songs on Pains also reflect another classically teenage concern: uncertainty about the future. “You say you’ve been waiting … waiting since you were born / For a moment when everything’s alright,” Berman sings on the bouncy, distorted “Hey Paul.” It’s hard to look back at albums that came out at the end of the aughts without thinking about the financial crisis — especially ones made by 20-somethings who were attempting to find their place in a bottomed-out economy while simultaneously searching for footing in the shifting musical landscape. Maybe there is a tendency to drift off into an idealized version of the past when things seem really shitty. Listening to the album in 2019, when things are deeply fucked in a different way, it feels borderline magical to spend 35 minutes in a teenage world full of power pop bangers and dusty old books, a place where hearts break and dreams fade but there’s always another weekend on the horizon.

It remains a coming-of-age classic to many, an unflinching and hopelessly quotable tribute to the rollercoaster romance of youth. So far it seems like The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart is destined to be remembered fondly.

thanks a little to Stereogum,

Kip Berman on The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart’s fourth album, The Echo Of Pleasure.

As The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart’s primary singer and songwriter, Berman has always rendered aspects of his life into his music. From the fizzy allure and bittersweetness of his 20s to the creeping responsibility of adulthood, he sings with a sense of wistful honesty and, when bolstered by the band’s effervescent melodies, with joyful idealism. But as he was writing and recording new material, Berman was facing a major life change: He and his wife were expecting the birth of their first child. Berman has said he couldn’t help but let that uncertainty — such as worrying about providing for his burgeoning family, and wondering what it meant for his band — influence his songs. The resulting album represents his most mature and personally revealing yet — without losing any of the The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s trademark infectious charm and sincerity.

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart's new album is The Echo Of Pleasure.

That’s especially true of “When I Dance With You,” an ecstatic dance-ready song built from buoyant beats and glistening synths that imply a fleeting, lose-yourself-in-the-moment headspace, but actually exposes deeper meaning: Contentment derived from inseparable togetherness washes away, at least temporarily, fears of an unknowable future. “When I dance with you, everything else just slides out of view… when I dance with you, I feel OK,” Berman sings. And on the dynamic opener, “My Only,” Berman gives into his love and unwavering commitment, earnestly declaring “Now that you’re here, I don’t have a fear, you’re my only / So keep it together, I won’t find another love like I found you.”

Throughout its nine songs, The Echo Of Pleasure balances the complex shadings between lust and sensuality, blissful devotion and messy accumulation of regret. On “Anymore,” he exposes his own flaws, and ruminates on whether he can live up to others’ expectations: “Don’t need to be told what I’ll never be, anymore,” he asserts. Later, the glimmering “Falling Apart So Slow” charts a seasonal year wherein intimacy unravels in his absence; and “The Echo Of Pleasure” describes how dynamics can change and decay when feelings are left unreciprocated. “The echo of pleasure can’t return / Just fade into these silent days… I was young and sick with love / Now I’m sick with something else,” Berman concedes.

Mirroring Berman’s resonant themes, there’s maturation in the music, too. Across its previous records, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart toggled from the lo-fi shoegaze of its self-titled debut to the stormy distorted heft of Belong to the nimble indie pop the band is now best known for. With The Echo Of Pleasure, Pains reshapes its sonic palette once more. With bright, chest-swelling pop anthems such as “The Cure For Death” and “The Garrett,” the band absolutely sparkles, blending shimmering hooks, noisy guitar lines and snappy beats with swirling female vocal harmonies that crest into celebratory sing-alongs. Many of Pains‘ ever-widening net of friends pop up to flesh out Berman’s widescreen tapestry — including singer Jen Goma, who takes the spotlight on the retro dance track “So True.” “If you don’t lose some skin for the things you believe / How do you know that you really do,” she asks over fluttering keyboards and disco drum beats.

What makes The Echo Of Pleasure so powerful is the way The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart can address somber themes with such warm positivity. As he’s grown older and gained perspective as a songwriter, Kip Berman has settled on a beneficial, aspirational lesson: Healthy, enduring relationships require frequent compromise and reassessment over time, but if nurtured, the rewards can be limitless.

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The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart’s frontman Kip Berman says he wrote “My Only” a long time ago, but that it never felt finished. “I still don’t know if I’m old enough, but it’s finished. The song is the opposite of what a single should be — it’s sprawling and unconcerned with immediateness, because it’s about something that isn’t immediate. So many young bands sing idly of absolute devotion, and that’s cool. But I am not young anymore. There’s something about my life now that makes this song feel honest in a way it didn’t before.” The Echo Of Pleasure is out September. 1st on the band’s label Painbow.

 

Sincerity plays a key role in powerful pop music — candor is the catalyst for connecting an artist with their listenership. For indie-pop purists The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart , that’s never been a problem. From the band’s dreamiest shoegaze influences to its most lucid lyricism, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart the brainchild of Kip Berman, has found strength in heart-on-your-sleeve songwriting. Now, as the band gets ready to release its fourth full-length LP, The Echo Of Pleasure, that vulnerability has shifted away from its roots in the complexity of youth. Instead, Pains’ idealism is grounded in real adult love, expressed in its most ordinary and fantastic way on the band’s latest single, “When I Dance With You.”

The song opens with sweet harmonies courtesy of Jen Goma from A Sunny Day In Glasgow similar to those in Pains‘ 2014 single “Simple & Sure,” “When I Dance With You” tackles head-on. Berman repeats the line, “When I dance with you / I feel OK, feel OK,” in the song’s chorus — a pure, unassuming reflection of true love. The line has a sort of somber quality when placed next to the mature (and overtly practical) concerns later on: “I don’t know how I’ll make money / Just want enough so you never have to worry.” Love in pop music is often painted in grandiose gestures and massive moments, when sometimes it feels truest in just feeling “OK.” “It doesn’t look like a lot on paper,” Berman says of the song, “but the sentiment is the underpinning of what love is.”

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The Echo Of Pleasure is not available until September.1st via the band’s own Painbow Records.

The Band have played a second headlining appearance at Indietracks 2015 having previously topped the bill in 2010, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart are a welcome addition to any mouthwatering line-up. Founder member Kip Berman has earned a reputation as a songwriter of epic distinction, evidently highlighted by last year’s excellent third LP “Days Of Abandon”. Always a extra special live offering with a set packed with highlights from the band’s extensive back catalogue and maybe a few surprises too. A awesome live band..’Until The Sun Explodes’ – the latest single from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart from the album ‘Days of Abandon’

I’m hoping there will some shows this summer and maybe a new album .

Promotional Video for The Pains of Being Pure at Heart single “Hell”
Shot on 16mm by Sarah Halpern, Guest Starring The Catholic Education Crew: Jacqueline Caruso, Luis Pelanco and Leah Petrakis.Released 11.13.2015 on Painbow Records

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart frontman Kip Berman has been pretty forthcoming with both demos and covers lately. Back in August, he unearthed a bunch of demos recorded for last year’s album release “Days Of Abandon”, and the band ended up re-recording one of them along with a couple of covers for the new EP “Hell”, which was released earlier this month. Now Berman’s given us a twofer — a demo and a cover! — in the form of a “simple home demo” version of Tori Amos’ 1992 Little Earthquakes single “China” that he just uploaded to Soundcloud.

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