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Band Crush: Lion Cub

June 22, 2011
Lion Cub: Chelsey Hahn, Chad Jewett, Trevor Johnson

Last weekend, I was delighted at the chance to grab a sneak peak of Lion Cub’s newest release, American Buffalo, featuring a generous 13 tracks of listening pleasure. The band’s bright and punchy sound is born of tweaked loops and innovative samples, building toward open, airy spaces throughout the album. Shortly after forming in 2010, the rural Massachusetts band released its first album, Seneca, followed by a charming Christmas album. Now, the long-awaited American Buffalo has arrived, and you will want to get your hands and ears all over this. It’s the kind of music you can listen to on a road trip, over and over, without realizing you’ve gotten back to track one. As they prepare to release American Buffalo with a show at the Democracy Center this Friday, we caught up with one of the cubs, Chad Jewett, for a closer look at this contagiously exhilarating group:


BBC: Who are your major influences in respect to your unique sound?

Lion Cub: Well, all three of us just really love pop music. We all like melody and energy in the music we listen to, so whether it’s Motown or New Order or Drake or Saves the Day, we’ll find a way to learn from the stuff we love. More specifically I’ve always been a fan of programmed drums; I think there is a lot of possibility for composing more interesting beats when you’re out of the comfort zone of a simple bass drum, snare drum, hi-hat and crash. Most of the drum parts on our records aren’t actual drums that exist in the real world, they’re congas or electric bass drums or hand-claps that have been compressed and distorted and manipulated so that they stand out as something novel. That being said, we all listened to a ton of bands like Modest Mouse, Rilo Kiley, Superchunk. So I’m sure you could find a lot of those bands in our DNA.

BBC: How has Lion Cub evolved up to your new release, American Buffalo?
Lion Cub: Well, we had a lovely time recording our first record Seneca, having a ball layering these really ornate, pretty folk songs, but “ornate” isn’t always as fun in the live setting, so we wanted a record with some energy and punch, so we sort of limited ourselves to a certain palate and aesthetic: big, bright, loud pop. The last record was dominated by acoustic guitar; on this album there isn’t a single acoustic guitar, haha.

BBC: How did you become connected with Topshelf Records?
Lion Cub: Well, we’ve been friends with Kevin, who co-manages Topshelf for at least a decade. We showed him the demos for ‘Seneca’, he liked them, and being a great guy, he agreed to put them out. The same story is roughly true for American Buffalo. We showed him the tracks and he
was excited enough to want to release them.

BBC: Past or present bands, who would complete your dream tour?
Lion Cub: Past bands: Sam Cooke (Live at the Harlem Square Club era), Rilo Kiley (More Adventurous era), Saves the Day (Stay What You Are era), Rites of Spring.

Current bands: Kanye West, as long as he just plays My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy from beginning to end every night. Superchunk (we saw them right around the release of Majesty Shredding, they were amazing).

BBC: What should fans look forward to in 2011 and beyond?
Lion Cub: Well, we are playing a release show for the new album at the Democracy Center in Cambridge on June 24th. Everyone gets a free copy of the album with $8 entry. That will be amazing, and will feature our threebest friends, The World Is A Beautiful Place, Aeroplane 1929 and Radio Control.

We will probably put out an EP or split, and hopefully a vinyl version of American Buffalo by Christmas.

<p><p><p><p><p><p><p><a href=”http://lioncub.bandcamp.com/track/paintings-of-hungry-people”>’Paintings of Hungry People’ by Lion Cub</a></p></p></p></p></p></p></p>

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