Being a musician in a city with high rents, small apartments and expensive practice spaces can be tough, but fortunately, for Brooklyn-based song writer Noah Stitelman, those limitations have not slowed his creative process. In fact, Stitelman’s latest project could be called a homage to those on his street that don’t seem to mind living in close quarters with musicians.
“The band name is simple,” says Stitelman. “I have awesome neighbors.”
Formed in 2009, Neighbors came together following the break up of Stitelman’s former band, Jacksonknife. Joined by Evan Johnson, Brian Harney, Steph McParty and Anne Minor, Neighbors signifies a more focused vehicle for Stitelman’s song writing. “I’ve really been able to sit and work on parts for a long period of time. One song could take four months to write, but as long as I am actively working on writing, something will come out,” he says. And the change in process is clearly evident on Neighbors’ EP on Paper Brigade.
Recorded by Stitelman in his Brooklyn apartment, with mixing and additional production work done by Kyle “Slick” Johnson (Modest Mouse, The Hives, Rogue Wave), the EP features a smaller range of instrumentation than Stitelman’s past work, but with a bigger sound. “Really, the focus here was on trying to just make great songs with as little as possible. I just knew what I wanted to make” he says.
Neighbors’ lush, layered blend of synth and guitar, coupled with Stitelman’s stripped down delivery, channels subtle reminders of ’80s UK new wave and ’90s synth pop, but never drowns in a sea of obscure influences from another era. “I really wanted this record to be grounded in the present,” says Stitelman. And as a testament to Stitelman’s vision, the rigors of present day life are reflected: caustic daily relationships, deadpan advice, wrong turns. “The lyrics focus on relationships you have with friends and co-workers, and how to communicate,” says Stitelman.
And clearly, Stitelman and Neighbors are taking their own lyrical advice seriously: “Having been in a lot of bands, I know what the pitfalls are. We’re just trying to have a good time and make good music.
In a word, you couldn’t ask for nicer Neighbors.
— Visit Neighbors on MySpace