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Bear Hands
Webster Hall Studio
January 9, 2009

Written by Kristen Salem
Photographed by Misha Jenkins



Bear Hands (vocals: Dylan Rau, guitar: Ted Feldman, bass: Val Loper and drums: TJ Orscher) are Connecticut-bred, Brooklyn transplants, who proved that they have a lot more going on than the average indie-rock band ‘hipsters’ who have recently emerged from New York City’s coolest borough.

On the cusp of a second U.K. tour, “We’re psyched about it.” says Loper. Friday January 10th saw Brooklyn’s own Bear Hands headlining part of a live-recording series at Webster Hall’s infamous Studio. In good company (Elvis Pressley recorded ‘Hound Dog’ in the legendary basement), they played to a full house. One that grew bigger by the hour. And by the time they hit the stage it was a great task just making it to the bar.

“Pop Monsters…” cites NME, and they aren’t wrong. These guys played an adrenaline-fuelled set, cutting from tune to tune with momentum and zeal. Like any great artist should, they all melted away into the songs in their own ways, while somehow staying in perfect synch with each other.

Bear Hands play lean, muscular rock that is part hazy guitars and part aggressive rhythm, with a subtle dance element in Val Loper's stuttering bass lines. Dreamy, atmospheric keyboards in ‘What a Drag’ seemed at war with Dylan Rau’s subdued delivery of the chorus. Their songs are tightly spun and filled with sparks of rock, punk, pop and that little dose of psychedelic.

Having formed in 2006, they’re taking their rightful place alongside MGMT and Vampire Weekend (who they’ve played with) as fresh new genre-fusion coolness from the Big Apple.

Speaking to the quartet backstage afterwards made it clear that they are genuinely friends, all humble and genuinely excited about what they’re doing and where they’re going together. The buzz around this band has, no doubt, only just begun.

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