useless beauty

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Useless Beauty started with two friends -- songwriter/pianist/producer Nam Choi and vocalist Katie Boone -- who met in NYU’s Music Technology program and began a journey that has led them through the streets of New York City and beyond. You may have discovered them performing at the Sidewalk Cafe, Bowery Poetry Club, the Bitter End, Fontana's, Matchless or Bar Thalia at Symphony Space, among other venues. Their creations defy categorization and explanation -- in fact, their music has been called everything from “quirky” “refreshing” and “cute”, to “complicated” “unexpected” and “inappropriate for children” -- and their influences range from pop/rock to folk to classical, down south to Brazil and up north to Ireland and Iceland.

Following their recognition as a Suggested Artist in the Song of the Year contest (songoftheyear.com) and receiving honorable mention in the 16th Annual Billboard World Song Contest, Useless Beauty recorded their debut EP Sugar Crush in 2009 at Mother West in Manhattan with Charles Newman (Erykah Badu, The Magnetic Fields) and at Plan 9 Studio with producer/engineer Paolo De Gregorio (We Are Scientists, editor-in-chief of The Deli magazine). In 2010, Useless Beauty started to work on their first full-length album Sisters (released May 2011), expanding their sound with new instruments (including didgeridoo and Native American flute) and experimenting with more genres including electronic, orchestral, jazz, klezmer, toy instrument and cathedral pipe organ sounds, creating a more dramatic and musically complex follow-up to represent their wide-ranging artistry. Sisters was mixed with the help of PJ Hanson (Elton John) and mastered by Fred Kevorkian (The White Stripes, Regina Spektor, Iggy Pop) at Avatar Studios, NYC.

The summer of 2013 found Useless Beauty recording their second full-length CD entitled We Know Someone, inspired by the generosity of the many kind and talented people they’ve met along the way. The majority of the album was recorded live at The Fort Brooklyn by the late Jim Bentley (a beloved fixture of the city’s indie rock scene), co-mixed by Carlos Fonseca and mastered by Alex Saltz at APS Mastering in NYC (Vampire Weekend, The Stooges, R.E.M., Moby, Andrew W.K.). With the addition of two core musicians -- drummer/percussionist Rob Knopper and bassist Katie Lopez -- this album delves into Useless Beauty’s louder rock side and lets them loose to be more fun, energetic and danceable than ever before. From the Motown-on-speed intro on opening track “Race Into Your World”, to the funky drum-and-bass exchange in “Praying Kind”, to the playful bounce of “Hey Bob” (inspired by a dream of a visit from an angel who looked like Bob Dylan), to the epic, heart-wrenching ballad “Not Love”, there is no doubt that Useless Beauty continues to evolve and grow in new and exciting ways.

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  1. Tyler Hurd