indie rock cafe

Brooklyn musician Brad Oberhofer (photo via

Continuing on with IRC's post-CMJ coverage, it is puzzling as much as it is refreshing that musician Brad Oberhofer isn't more well known within the arguably saturated indie rock genre.

At first examination of the huge, rhapsodic sound of his work, one would never guess Oberhofer records as a solo artist. A drummer and vocalist primarily, Oberhofer crafts a big sound all on his own, blending various instruments and electronic samples to pump out energy charged, erratically arranged, and somewhat danceable rhythms and melodies that feed off of experimental and traditional influences, making his music both accessible, and unclassifiable, at the same time.

In 2006, Oberhofer left his native Tacoma, Washington - where he studied classical music - and moved to Brooklyn. Since that time, he has been recording at home, and playing small venues in and around the New York City metro area. He was a featured artist at The Den last month during NYC's CMJ.

Oberhofer's music runs the gamut of indie sub-genres, from noise pop to dance punk, and even "freak folk." Take the song "Dead Girls Can Dance"; now, imagine Noah Lennox (Panda Bear) crashing into Wavves. And, "I Could Go," with its whistling, oohs and ahhs, vocal layering, smashing cymbals, and somehow catchy hooks, is, all at once, mysterious, engaging and strange.

The track "Away From You" is another example of Oberhofer's memorable, eccentric sound. If you're walking around the East Side one of these days, and you hear a distinctive howling, whistling and clashing of sounds, it might just be Oberhofer playing at a small bar, or even, a grocery store.

As we've seen with so many one-man bands featured on IRC, Oberhofer writes and records his music on his own, plays all of the instruments, and even distributes and promotes his work. When he performs live, he is often accompanied by Clyde Kurtis on drums and Andrew Heaton on guitar and keys.

"I view recorded music and live music as two completely separate art forms," Oberhofer told IRC, "so I try to make sure each have their own distinct advantages." His musical roots, he says, trace back to "competitive freestyle rapping in the 5th grade," his classical music training, and an appreciation for bands like The Unicorns, Hella, Clues and Okay.

In describing the Brooklyn 'indie scene,' Oberhofer said: "I think there are an insane amount of ridiculous bands that all have super good ideas to the point where I find myself questioning whether or not it is possible to innovate. They deserve to explode as they please. And by explode, I mean 'blow up'."

The songs included here are off of his self-titled, self-released EP, some of which were recently remastered. What do you think?

"I Could Go" - Brad Oberhofer

"Dead Girls Dance" - Brad Oberhofer

"Away From You" - Brad Oberhofer

Oberhofer on MySpace

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   November 8, 2009   


At 1:25 PM , Anonymous Karen said...

Hey IRC, thanks for this review! Excellent analysis. I really like this guys music - you guys always find great stuff i never know about before :)

At 12:20 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to term papers that indie rock is a genre of rock music that originated in the United States and the United Kingdom in the 1980s. The term is often used to describe the means of production and distribution of independent underground music, as well as the style of music that was first associated with this means of production.[1] Indie rock artists are known for placing a premium on maintaining complete control of their music and careers, releasing albums on independent record labels (sometimes self-owned and operated) and relying on touring, word-of-mouth, airplay on independent or college radio stations and, in recent years, the Internet for promotion. Musicians classified as indie rock are typically signed to independent record labels, rather than major record labels, although there are many examples of indie musicians switching to major labels mid-career. This practice blurs the lines between indie and mainstream music and is often the subject of debate amongst fans. Indeed, some bands that have spent most of their careers on major labels are still occasionally referred to by the press as indie rock because of their sound or aesthetic.


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