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Atmospheric US indie rock band mixes it up
By Nie Xin

AMERICAN indie rock band The Neighbourhood (NBHD) will deliver its China debut in Shanghai at the Mixing Room in the Mercedes-Benz Arena in early August.

The band started its massive headline US tour in April and continues on to the UK, France, Belgium, Poland, Russia, and the only stop in China — Shanghai.



The NBHD, formed in August 2011, is composed of lead singer Jesse James Rutherford, guitarists Jeremy Freedman and Zach Abels and bassist Michael Margott.

The quintet which is from California despite the British spelling of their name, mixes atmospheric indie rock, electronic and hip-hop beats with melodic R&B-inflected vocals.

They released the EP “I’m Sorry” in 2012, featuring such singles as “Sweater Weather” and “Female Robbery.” In 2013, they delivered the two-song EP “Thank You” as a prelude to their debut album “I Love You,” which was released the same year.

“Those warmly received works will be staged in Shanghai,” says Michael Craig Enoch, general manager of the Mercedes-Benz Arena. “Their songs are full of moody sensibility, which pairs brooding layers of instrumentals with Rutherford’s hip-hop-inspired croon. Their style, which the band has dubbed ‘black and white’ due to its confident inspirations, is based largely on rhythm.”



The NBHD appeared on the scene in early 2012 in a very mysterious manner: The group revealed no biographical information, no photos and no back-story online, offering its new audience only one brooding and atmospheric track titled “Female Robbery.”

Fans and the press were confounded, scouring the Internet for any information that might lead to the identity of these mysterious  musicians. Slowly, pieces of the puzzle, some reflecting reality and some not so much, began to emerge.

“I always have a strong vision before I go into anything,” says vocalist Rutherford, “I don’t know how to make music any other way. It was all in my head, and that vision for the music was to make hip-hop beats with guitars and I was going to sing and rap over them. We wanted to do that hip-hop aesthetic on an indie platform.”

This year is a big year for The NBHD. In April, they unveiled the new single “Honest,” which was featured in the end credits of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” and also on the movie’s original soundtrack. Last month, The NBHD ranked 17th in Spotify’s “25 Artists under 25” and is placed alongside big names such as One Direction, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber.

It seems that artists are never satisfied and can only get closer — not achieve — their goals, and so it is with The NBHD.

“That’s why we spent four years on an album I like,” Rutherford says. “Thank god the music we've put out has been able to be put out pretty much as we write it. We have been very lucky with that situation. And I’m so happy about it because now we’re able to write to our emotion, write to now.”

The band put out a mix tape in April and is about to release another one, with the song “Jealousy.” It features a couple of rappers, Casey Veggies and 100s, new West Coast guys who are up and coming, according to the band.

The mix tapes are being made available for free online, at www.livemixtapes.com, and the band invites anyone to use the music.

“It will be a free project. We are the first band in the world to put out a mix tape and all these other bands need to catch on to that part of it,” Rutherford says, proudly. “So we want to give music back to the people, back to how the dudes in hip-hop do it. They give it back to the streets. We know how to make music. It’s so fun.”

Date: August 8, 8pm

Venue: The Mixing Room, Mercedes-Benz Arena, 1200 Expo Ave, Pudong

Tickets: 280 yuan

Tel: 400-821-3624, 4006-228-228



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