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March Forth

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Album Review

KaiserCartel, the duo of Courtney Kaiser and Benjamin Cartel, creates lovely atmospheres and gentle auras on March Forth. Minimalistic in style, but with a fullness of sound thanks to Matt Hales' rich production, the set showcases the pair's gentle simplicity to best advantage. Kaiser handles the bulk of the leads, her sweet, clear vocals featured on half a dozen songs within, while Cartel's warm baritone takes center stage on another four. His highlight is "The Flood," a moody song swept by melancholy strings and filled with foreboding. Hers are the yearning "Oh No" and the harmonic drenched "Good One." Best of all, though, are their duets, where their vocals intimately intertwine. Although KaiserCartel will probably find themselves lumped in with the new folk movement, in fact their roots lie in the indie rock scene. This is self-evident on both the delicate, pop riven "Inside Out" and the coursing, New Order inspired "Okay." Even so, R&B and C&W have also left a light imprimatur on their sound. Many of their songs are sung to each other, most laced with love and themed around acceptance of their differences. The bright and sunny "Season Song," in contrast, is a perky serenade to spring, while "Dog Star" revolves around lost dreams. This is a graceful set, lit with pretty melodies, subtle instrumentation, and lovely singing from both bandmembers. As introductions go, it's a charmer.


Formed: Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s

Courtney Kaiser and Benjamin Cartel create the homespun pop/rock of KaiserCartel, a Brooklyn-based duo that features the talents of both songwriters. Kaiser, the main vocalist of the group, launched her career singing backup for John Mellencamp and the Wallflowers. She issued a solo album in 2004. Meanwhile, Cartel began playing the saxophone as a young teenager before making the switch to drums. He, too, began pursuing a career in music performance and eventually crossed paths with Kaiser after...
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March Forth, KaiserCartel
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