The Drums

The Drums

The Drums are an American Post-punk/Indie-Pop band from Brooklyn, New York, founded 2008, with members originating from the shortlived band 'Elkland' formerly known as 'Goat Explosion'.

Adam Kessler, Guitar
Connor Hanwick, Drums
Jacob Graham, Guitar
Jonathan Pierce, Vocals

Hoops thrive in the in-between. The Indiana quartet craft hyper-melodic songs, built around power-pop

chords, deceptively complex drum patterns, and rock-anthem sentiments that hide some tellingly dark

thoughts. Their full-length debut, Routines, sound both warmly familiar and jarringly distinctive. A kernel of

ache lies at the heart of each verse and chorus: nothing cynical or pessimistic, just bittersweet and honest.

Not knowing the right way to do things, they came up with their own way—a solid DIY philosophy. “We

had an idea of how we wanted our music to sound, but we didn’t always know how to achieve it,” says

Drew Auscherman, who plays guitars and keyboards, writes and sings. “There was always some exploring

and figuring things out, so it took some time to get to what we wanted to sound like.”

Hoops are a self-taught band that started in Auscherman’s teenage bedroom, where he obsessed over

Oneohtrix Point Never’s landmark 2011 album Replica, to the extent that he started making his own beat-
driven music. He named the project Hoops after the hoop houses at the nursery where he worked (not for

his home state’s mania for basketball). Eventually he corralled a few of his friends to flesh out his songs,

and the music inevitably shifted toward something new: more melodic, more guitar-driven, more

extroverted. The high schoolers played basement shows for their friends, mostly cover songs with a few

originals thrown into the setlists. “We really sucked,” says Auscherman with a laugh.

“It was completely amateur, but so much fun,” adds Kevin Krauter, who plays bass and guitar and is one of

Hoops’ three songwriters and singers. “We were writing songs here and there, even though none of us

even knew how to write songs.” Crammed onto makeshift stages, memorizing others’ songs while

developing their own, the musicians developed a buzzy chemistry that would draw them inexorably

together even after they had grown up. “It was just a natural thing that we all ended up doing this

together,” says James Harris, who plays drums. “We’ve always been each others’ go-to’s for band


Hoops remained only a loosely defined band, with members coming and going—some lasting only one

show. Eventually the current line-up settled in: Auscherman and Krauter, Harris and Keagan Beresford.

(Jack Andrews, of the Bloomington band Daguerrotype, counts as an occasional touring member.) Three of

the four members write and sing, each a frontman and a sideman simultaneously. The setup isn’t

democratic so much as it is simply adaptable and committed: doing what the song demands, getting the

sound just right.

Their first releases—three cassettes and one EP—were recorded on four-track tape machines in living

rooms and basements (their own and their parents’), with the band piecing everything together with

determination and resourcefulness. Those tapes became popular well outside the Hoosier music scene,

even attracting the attention of Fat Possum Records, which signed the band in 2016. “There’s a lot of trial

and error and frustration,” says Beresford. “If there’s a song or even just a part of a song that you really

like, then pick a vibe and shoot for it. You try to get as close as you can to what you have in mind, but you

invariably fuck up along the way. But sometimes the fuck-ups are what make the songs.”

Routines marks the band’s first sessions in an actual studio—namely, Rear House Recording in Greenpoint,

Brooklyn. Working in that environment with Jarvis Taveniere—who co-founded the influential indie band

Woods and produced albums by Widowspeak and Quilt—was initially a rocky experience, but they quickly

adapted to the new environment, the new procedures and perspectives, and most of all the new


Those sessions, however, were just one step in the band’s careful creative process. After a few months of

touring, they returned to Indiana to set up their gear in Krauter’s parents’ basement and began

experimenting with the studio-recorded tracks. Some they only tinkered with, emphasizing different

sounds or recording different parts. Other songs they scrapped completely and rebuilt from the ground up.

They were determined to make a record that sounded like Hoops: to ensure the music sounds as rich and

nuanced on tape as it did in their heads and, as Auscherman explains, “to make sure everything catered to

the song rather than the song catering to the production.”

“We’re all in the same headspace,” says Krauter. “We all have a hand in devising a sound and arranging the

songs, whether we wrote them or not. First and foremost, we’re just trying to get a song to sound right,

because that’s how the emotional message is going to get through.” The curiosity and perfectionism

motivating those sessions in New York and especially in the Hoosier State make Routines the sharpest and

clearest delineation of the Hoops sound thus far, drawing from and emphasizing each members’ distinctive

influences and personal styles: four guys making music that is larger than themselves.

Soccer Mommy

“Passed you on a side street/Brushed across your wrist like a razorblade.” Those are the first lines from ‘Try,’ the second track off Soccer Mommy’s Fat Possum debut, Collection. It’s also a perfect encapsulation of the band itself: quietly catchy, surprisingly confrontational, the kind of music that sneaks up on you and makes a permanent first impression. Soccer Mommy is the project of Sophie Allison, a nineteen-year-old Nashville native and musical wunderkind. Sophie built her reputation as a DIY artist, recording her own songs and releasing them for free on Bandcamp over
the last few years. Collection compiles the best of Sophie’s Bandcamp work as well as a few new songs, written, mixed and produced herself.

The songs portray an artist fully-formed, mature far beyond her age. Sophie sings of toxic relationships, infatuations, and all the experiences of being a teenage girl. Or, as Sophie describes her subject matter, “crush stuff with a hint of bad to it.” There’s a playfulness to the music that belies the sophisticated nature of the songcraft. The songs can be sweet, they can be happily melancholic or melancholically happy, but they always cut deep. They belong on playlists and mixes, to be shared among friends and belted out during road trips. Collection is destined to be a favorite record. These perfect pop gems have power.

‘Allison,’ a gorgeous meditation on the bittersweet feeling of hurting someone you love while pursuing your own dreams, showcases Sophie’s talent for home recording, with multi-tracked vocals layered to perfection. On ‘Out Worn,’ a searing takedown of the desire for male validation, Sophie sings, “Not the girl that you thought I’d be/ My makeup stains all your white tees/ Bite my nails ‘til my fingers bleed/ And I can’t always hide.” The song is relatable and anthemic, striking the perfect balance between anger and sugary pop bliss.

There’s a freedom and a joy to this music, and Collection stands as an excellent to a powerful new voice. Critics may decry the end of guitar music, same as they have for over thirty years. The fact remains that as long as records like Collection exist, there will be no shortage of young artists bashing their hearts out on guitars for years to come. “You can’t say indie rock is dead,” says Sophie. “It’s just being taken over by women.”

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