New York’s best local band with a UK sound (and following)

Courtesy of the band.
Lead singer Matt Stevenson close up. Credit: Provided.

For a group about a year-and-a-half old with just two recorded songs to their name, the psych rock five-piece called Spires has lots of accolades: a residency at Pianos, gigs at Irving Plaza and Bowery Ballroom, and an upcoming Eastern US support slot alongside English psych rock act TOY in January.

We first caught Spires at Pianos during CMJ, when the muted, glossy, drug-filled single “Candy Flip” caught our ears — and it hasn’t left for long since. Locally Amped recently caught up with lead singer Matt Stevenson on developing a band, the rock scene in New York and opening for Noah & the Whale in October.

Metro: How did Spires begin?
Matt Stevenson: I’ve been playing for about five years. I spent about two months prior [to starting Spires in '12] writing songs — but most we don’t play anymore. I wanted to take something further and so I put a band together on the fly through friends of friends.

Metro: And you’ve written most of the songs?
M.S.: Yes. The past year has been me learning to construct songs. It’s a learning process… I’m starting to be more collaborative. I know the kind of songs that I can write and I’d like to see what they’re like with other’s input.

Metro: Since then, you’ve played dozens upon dozens of shows in New York. What have you learned about the local scene in the past year?
M.S.: So, when I first started the project, I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted. And, I love to play shows. That’s my main motivation for doing this. But, I don’t want to be part of any scene — people don’t like us here. We don’t have a Brooklyn sound. And, it’s a weird time for music in New York.

Metro: Well, you’ve gotten some great opportunities. How did you guys end up opening for English indie folk act Noah & the Whale at Irving Plaza [in October]?
M.S.: Someone dropped out and our booking agent asked us. That felt like a big accomplishment: playing to 600 kids without any merch.

Metro: What are you looking forward to in 2014?
M.S.: The weeklong tour in January [with TOY]. Detroit’s going to be the highlight because we’re interested to see what’s there. We want to make a full-length, tour a lot and get to the UK as soon as possible. We get massive views from the UK and Facebook messages from kids in small English towns.

Spires open for TOY at Mercury Lounge on January 10 as part of a six-date mini-tour.

This column is part of a Metro Boston and Metro New York music feature called Locally Amped. Follow us on Twitter @Locally Amped and on Facebook at Locally Amped.


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