Boston’s Gem Club will be playing this Thursday at Bowery Ballroom with Agnes Obel.  The Ballroom is  a perfect venue for their brand moody, ambient music.  The classically orchestrated three-piece is comprised of lead singer and pianist Christopher Barnes, cellist Kristen Drymala, and vocalist Ieva Berberian. Barnes has said in the past that he attempts to recreate landscapes through music.  We caught up with Barnes—who once lived in a piano factory in Boston—to find out how the urban spaces in his hometown affect the music that he writes.

1.  How does your city influence your music? (more…)

Rad Band

This Seattle Quartet Plays At The MoMA July 31, 2014.  (LEFT TO RIGHT: Lena, Shana, Alice, & Marian) Photo by Zoe Rain

The Seattle indie band La Luz is playing at the MoMA  this Thursday at 6:30pm  as part of the museum’s summer series MoMA Nights (doors at 5:30).  We will be posting  a feature on the history of MoMA Nights tomorrow, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you about the music that you can go see right now.

La Luz is a four-piece band that epitomizes dreamy summertime surf rock with modern bass lines, graceful vocal melodies, jangly keyboards, and  taut drumming.  They’ve received accolades for their witty, and charming live performances and are truly not to be missed.  Untapped Cities asked them a few questions about how the urban spaces they inhabit affect their music and what the cities of New York and Seattle mean to them.


Amar Steward Notorious BIG and Tupac paintings NYC Untapped Cities

British artist Amar Stewart is the man behind the amazing paintings of NYC’s most important MC’s in the guise of 17th century Dutch royals and noblemen. Hailing from London, Stewart came to NYC to do a month-long residency at Cotton Candy Machine in Williamsburg. We met up with Stewart in Bushwick to chat about his inspiration, the New York vs. London art scene, and his upcoming show in San Francisco.

Can you tell us about your inspiration, first of all? We’ve obviously read that you’re inspired by Frans Hals’ portraits in the Met, but are there other artists or art forms that inspire you?

Yeah, definitely ‘cause I only discovered Frans Hals about two years ago, and it was my fiancée that introduced me to his work. I’d heard of it, I’d probably seen a little bit of it, but I never really paid much attention to it. I think because for so many years I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my art, so I was looking at graffiti artists, illustrators, designers, all sorts of creative people in different genres, which I don’t think was a bad thing. I was looking at them all, and I guess because of that I was inspired by so many people. A lot of the works were different mediums, even, like digital or illustrations to chalk works, to aerosol, murals and whatnot.  (more…)

Today, we profile Helen Post Curry, who runs the tours of the Woolworth Building we have been part of at Untapped Cities. She’s also the great-grand daughter of architect Cass Gilbert! We have 3 spots left for our April 12th Woolworth Building tour, and you can also get tickets to the ongoing Woolworth Tours (which have less access in the building than the Untapped-exclusive tour).


Untapped Cities talked to songwriter and guitarist Todd Goldstein, of New York’s indie rock band ARMS, about how place influences him, the airplane hangar he’d like to build, and how a burned-down bar in Brooklyn is his favorite place in the city.

UC: How does New York City influence your music?

TG: I’ve been living in New York for about ten years now (a fact which, no matter how many times I say it, still feels insane), but I think I’ve only recently been able to acknowledged the city’s influence on my music.  It’s less in the stylistic sense—I don’t think of my music as being particularly beholden to the storied lineage of “New York rock” (more…)

Darkside-Band-NYC-Dave Harrington-Nicholas JarrDarkside is a New York-based electronic music duo

Today, we’re excited to launch our new music series called “Listen.”  It focuses on bands whose music evokes a distinct sense of place—bands we think you should be listening to as well.  Throughout this series, we will be interviewing musicians and asking them our questions about their music and how it relates to their home city.

While mainly focusing on New York City based bands, we will also provide a variety of musicians from all over the country (and world!).  We will be previewing videos, creating exclusive content, and uncovering artists both big and small who will make your urban experience more enjoyable and thorough. Our first artist of the Listen Series is Darkside, a two-man electronic band based in New York, comprised of Dave Harrington and Nicholas Jaar.