You might think of Long Beach, CA, from whence 4-piece rock band Bethpage Black came, as a haven for hip-hop, reggae-funk jam bands or quirky, jangly indie-folk-rock-electro-whatever-pop. But Bethpage Black are forging a musical path that’s decidedly different from the Snoop Doggs, Sublimes and Avi Buffaloes of the region.
“We call it ‘Sickle Pop,’” explains drummer/songwriter Steve Coy. “It’s pop-rock with a sharpened edge.”
The songs on the band’s new EP, titled Black Music, reflect this sensibility–and a variety of influences from Muse and The Used to Brahms and Bizet. The band’s quintessentially 21st-century roster is as diverse as the music they make. Coy and guitarist Davin Givhan (Saul Williams, Lauryn Hill) met in high school, reconnecting years later via a chance meeting and a shared love of Pantera. They later met singer Matt Carmichael fronting a wildly popular 80s cover band. Bassist Vivien Larena rounds out the all-world lineup, having come into the fold via the internet’s go-to musical marketplace, Craigslist.
From Carmichael’s powerhouse vocals and Givhan’s prodigious guitar shredding talents to Larena’s tasteful bass lines and Coy’s precise, aggressive drumming, it’s the band’s talent that sets Bethpage Black apart. Co-produced and mixed by Mark Needham (The Killers, My Chemical Romance, Neon Trees), Black Music proves that, in the words of Carmichael, “this band can play anything it wants to.”
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