KaiserCartel: “Oh No”

Kaiser_cartel1 Can you guess which one’s which? Courtney Kaiser and Benjamin Cartel. Photo from arielpublicity.net.

KaiserCartel are an interesting case. The band, composed of Courtney Kaiser and Benjamin Cartel, hail from Brooklyn and create lovely folk melodies that will warm your heart. The duo is attempting to self-release its newest batch of songs, titled Secret Transit, DIY style through an interesting project I was previously unaware of called Pledge Music.

Basically, that group that catches your ear at a club one rainy evening where you weren’t even searching for a new musical love asks you and everyone else who was enamored with their set for help releasing an album. Also, in return for a donation, you can choose a thank-you gift from the band. Like a signed copy of the new album. Or specialized band underwear. It’s a pretty freakin cool concept, if you ask me. And judging by KaiserCartel’s progress on Pledge Music so far, there are plenty of devoted fans willing to fork over some dough to help them out.

Back to the music. Courtney Kaiser’s vocals here are commendable, and that’s where the power rests with this duo. She could carry you away on a whisper. And when she harmonizes with Cartel, that only makes the songs stronger. A fine example is the first song provided here, “Oh No.” The musical arrangements are pretty simple — strummed guitar, a drum beat that’s steady but not overpowering, some stray chimes here and there — and that’s why it works. The focus is on the vocals, as it should be.

KaiserCartel’s quieter numbers remind me somewhat of The Wooden Birds, who produced one of my favorite underrated albums of 2009. KC might mix well with Basia Bulat or Tyler Ramsey as well. They are worth checking out, and if you listen and feel like helping them out on Pledge Music, we’ll provide a link for that as well.

Pledge Music — You can also preview tracks from Secret Transit, the duo’s new DIY album here.



Oh No” By KaiserCartel (From March Forth, out now on bluhammock music)

Okay” By KaiserCartel (From March Forth, out now on bluhammock music)

Check out KaiserCartel’s Daytrotter session. Or their laundromatinee.com session.

One of the more unique videos I’ve seen, the official one for “Oh No.”

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