LPR Presents: Mike Mains & The Branches at Coney Island Baby: 169 Avenue A, New York NY 10009
Mike Mains & The Branches
Known for their catchy, free-associating, indie pop-rock melodies, Mike Mains & The Branches invites diverse comparisons to acts such as Foster The People, Young the Giant, The Killers, and Arcade Fire—each comparison act a genuine facet of the band’s energetic and often soul-searching music.
Mike Mains & The Branches first entered the national music scene with the release of their debut album Home, released in 2012. While touring Home and growing a loyal following opening shows for Relient K and Hellogoodbye, founding members Mike and Shannon fell in love, married, and in doing so, minted the focal experience of the band’s subsequent music and lyrics; not just love but the swirling highs and bruising challenges of life together.
The band began writing their second album aptly titled Calm Down, Everything Is Fine, which they crowdfunded without the support of a record label, in 2013. As the album progressed, the band spent time with Matt Hoopes, of Relient K, who produced the finished album, and with Zac Farro of Paramore, who played drums. The band’s star was rising.
But the art which the band selected for their second album cover, featuring kids tiptoeing to the edge of a diving board, cautiously eyeing the lake water beneath them, somehow felt like a more fitting summary of their position in the industry as they took their second album into the studio. As a band, they were perched on the edge of a much-anticipated, sophomore album, poised for an onrush of whatever would come next.
What was next was grueling. The band spent months of writing and recording and re-writing and re-recording the album, poring over an album they knew needed to make their fans proud. It wasn’t until they the finished Calm Down, Everything Is Fine and released the album in 2014, that they felt they had recovered from their plunge into the unknown waters of the so-called lake. The album hit the top 20 ranks on Billboard’s New Artist Albums Chart.
They’ve been on the road near-constantly since then, playing hundreds of shows, growing a family of loyal fans endeared to Mike’s introspective lyrics and spry stage energy, side lit by Shannon’s keyboards and assisting vocals, with a rotation of touring members by their side.
Their music is both a byproduct of and laboratory for their marriage. It’s a place Mike and Shannon sort out the pain and the memories of their lives before “I Do”, in addition to naming the new experiences they increasingly share together. “We went through a hard time in our marriage recently,” said Mike of the themes on their forthcoming album. “But we’re coming through. We hope the album conveys our belief that the door to love and hope is always open.”
The band will release their new album, When We Were In Love in Spring 2019.
OWEL is comprised of Jay Sakong (lead vocals, guitar, keys), Nunzio Moudatsos (vocals, bass), Seamus O’Connor (vocals, guitar, keys), Ryan Vargas (percussion), and Patti Kilroy (vocals, violin, keys).
The band will release their third full-length, Paris, on March 29, 2019, which was co-produced by Sakong and Gates vocalist, Kevin Dye. Paris is the follow-up to their breakout second album, dear me (2016), Every Good Boy (EP, 2015), and the band’s debut, self-titled full-length (2013). Featuring delicate, dreamy vocals, elegant string arrangements and a tasteful touch of electronic elements throughout, the band has created a truly stunning sound that is all their own and simultaneously feels classic and modern. On Paris, dramatic crescendos and dynamic soundscapes weave behind ethereal vocals, gracefully leading listeners on a phenomenal sonic journey of reflection, curiosity and contemplation.
“When we made these songs, the only true guidelines that we had in place were that we wanted them to sound bigger than anything we’ve done before, and that we wanted the overall palette to be super organic. While we dipped our toes into the world of synths and drum machines with the last record, this record was more about us diving back into a more lush, orchestral sound. Even if a song had lots of synths, we wanted those elements to sit and blend with the string section so that it felt like one big warm blanket pulled over the song. Anytime we would even think about using a synth to fill a space in a song, we would try to find a way to make something organic do the job instead. I don’t think I’ve even seen a French horn in person before making this record. It’s a funny looking thing.”
To date, OWEL has shared stages with the likes of Minus the Bear, Foxing, Mae, A Lot Like Birds, and Northern Faces, as well as having performed at festivals such as Firefly, Gentlemen of the Road, SXSW, CMJ, and Northside Festival. The band has also been noted as a band to watch by Pitchfork, NPR, Grantland, Noisey and more.