And the Kids, an indie band from Northhampton, Mass., is kind of difficult to describe — and that might be one of their biggest strengths.
While other bands fit into clearly demarcated genres and styles, And the Kids seems to defy easy categorization. When asked who their influences are, one member mentions indie stalwarts Modest Mouse while another chimes in with the ’70s prog-rock giants Yes. That combination of sounds is as good a place to start as any when talking about this band.
Vocalist and guitarist Hannah Mohan plays shimmering guitar lines that form bright and wiry shapes, while she sings in a powerful and melodious voice that transcendently yelps, yodels and wails. Drummer Rebecca Lasaponaro and percussionist/keyboardist Megan Miller follow Mohan’s lead with pounding rhythms and smatterings of glockenspiel and synthesizers.
The songs might start off folky and then take a sudden dramatic turn into tribal dance or triumphant bells.
And the Kids forged their friendship and honed their musicianship at the Institute of Musical Arts in Goshen, Mass., a sort of music camp for young girls.
“Once you go there once, you’re family for life,” Mohan says. “We still go up there and teach music at this new workshop for girls coming of age.”
The bonds of family and friends are rooted in And the Kids’ music. The title and themes of their debut album, “Turn to Each Other,” refers to the iron-clad relationship the bandmates have with each other.
Miller, a Canadian citizen, has ongoing issues with border control and isn’t allowed into America for another four years, but that hasn’t prevented the rest of the band from recording new material with her in Canada so she can remain a member. To help out on tours, the band has added Taliana Katz on bass. Katz has since become a full-fledged member and contributed to their upcoming sophomore album, “Friends Share Lovers.”
“It’s nice to have such a broad title because sometimes I think ‘Turn to Each Other’ is about countries,” explains Mohan. “Speaking of Canada and America, why can’t we ‘turn to each other’? It’s also about being supportive, which also refers to our scene.”
The scene in question is the huge Northhampton music scene that was covered last year on Pitchfork.com.
“It’s been super helpful and supportive, not only because the people have been supportive, but it’s also a great place geographically to be in and tour out of,” Mohan says. “We’re not in the middle of nowhere and there are a lot of cities nearby.”
She continues, “I sometimes think there are a bunch of scenes I don’t know about. I’ll go all over the country and people will say, ‘Oh Northhampton? Do you know this band?’ and I won’t. There are so many bands!”
And the Kids recently made a splash on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts (above).
“It was really exciting, a dream come true,” Mohan says. “It challenged us, too, because we started off playing on the streets so everything was pretty stripped down, and then we moved to playing venues and it got pretty electric for a while. Having done that and then stripping it down again is a challenge.”
Expect a challenging and exciting set when And the Kids perform at this year’s Savannah Stopover.