Grandchildren, The Eastern Sea

Known for their cinematic orchestrations blending folk, pop and electronic music, Grandchildren have been steadily making a name for themselves since songwriter Aleks Martray founded the group in Philadelphia in 2008. Since then the band has evolved into a dynamic ensemble of musicians, lauded by critics and fans alike for their intricately layered arrangements and high-energy performances.

Martray attributes their eclectic sound to his nomadic upbringing across Europe, the US and Latin America and a reverence for music of the past. He explains, “I grew up on everything from Michael Jackson, to Fela Kuti, to Rachmaninoff, so music was both a form of time travel and the one constant that held everything together.” This sense of a sonic journey and musical omnivorousness is what defined Grandchildren’s first two albums – Everlasting (2010) and Golden Age (2013).

With their third album ZUNI, Grandchildren hone their distinctive ability to strike a poetic balance between the intimate and epic. Throughout the album, a joyful celebratory lightness is at battle with its lyrical darkness, washing over them like a baptism. The resulting feeling is an elixir of moods that can best be described as a kind of “dark pop” – a poetic tug of war between beauty and darkness, inspiration and despair, where simple heartfelt songs usher you through a landscape of complex rhythms and melodies. Martray describes the underlying creative process as something akin to lucid dreaming.

“Creating this record was about embracing the nightmarish feelings and surreal twilight zone moments that occur in real life. Not trying to wake up from them, but actually walking further into their landscape and exploring their narratives for deeper truths, no matter how inconvenient they may be. That’s where we find strength to take control of something that seemingly controlled us,” he explains.

The Eastern Sea

At times, it’s easy for The Eastern Sea to forget that Austin, Texas is home. While the band’s roots are firmly planted in the Texas Hill Country, their dynamic prose-pop travels from location to location, effortlessly moving between distant settings and their own, still somehow foreign, neighborhoods. Created in 2005 as the bedroom project of songwriter/vocalist Matthew Hines, The Eastern Sea quickly developed into a live band and released The Eastern Sea, a collection of two eponymous EPs, in 2008 and 2009 respectively. Songs such as “The Snow” and “The Name” attracted the band’s first national press and led to several festival appearances (SXSW, CMJ, FPH Summerfest) and a pair of national tours.

Starting in 2010, The Eastern Sea began work on their first official LP, Plague (WhiteLabBlackLab), which was recorded to tape by Matt Smith (Ola Podrida, Golden Bear) at HOTTRACKS!!! in Austin. The completed Plague, mastered by Jeff Lipton at Peerless Mastering (Bon Iver, Andrew Bird), represents The Eastern Sea’s most cohesive collection of songs to date. Musically, it combines the hypnotic rhythm of post-rock, the playful melodies of traditional American folk, and the dynamics of contemporary progressive indie-rock. While ornate percussion lies at the heart of Plague, the signature slow builds of poly-rhythm in songs such as “Wasn’t for Love” and “The Match” serve as a launch pad for melodic bass, shimmering keys, finger-picked electric guitar, and expressive trumpet. Lyrically, Hines’ boldly present vocals weave a revealing autobiographical narrative, developing themes of change, transition, and powerlessness over the course of twelve songs.


Ton-Taun was conceived in 2007 in Lancaster, PA. Over the years, the group has lost and gained several members and relocated to Philadelphia, PA. In 2009, the band's original roster released 'Circus Court,' their first record, and quickly followed it the next year with 2010's 'Exporter.'

After the (amicable) departure of original bassist and drummer Mario and Louis Borgatta, Ton-Taun recruited Philadelphia drummer Alex Ocko and Lancaster bassist Josh Wood as permanent members. The group worked closely with co-producer Nick Curran (Selah.Selah, Missing Pilots) to record their third album, 'Get Well,' which was self-released in November of 2012.

Ton-Taun has become a strong live act, especially since the recent addition of Philly native Aaron Binder (Housecats, Cozy Galaxies) on keyboard and guitar. Ton-Taun has played with Future Islands, Buke and Gase, No Age, Lavender Diamond, Ed Schrader's Music Beat, the Apache Relay, and Ra Ra Riot. Their live sound is based around Jordan Capizzi's commanding vocals, the tight rhythm section of Ocko and Wood, and experimental guitar textures and tones. Doug Hynes' guitar work, constantly shifting between controlled and chaotic, is one of the band's greatest assets as a performing unit.



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