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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.

Customer Reviews

Ex-Music Teacher Turned Star

Courtney was my music teacher last year at Brooklyn Heights Montessori School. (She listed us in the thanks section of her album booklet!) Courtney was always very nice and I think she is a great person. My personal bias aside, Courtney and her boyfriend Ben make incredibly great music together. Whether it's Courtney's amazing voice in Oh No, Ben's tenor in The Flood, or their amazing harmonies on The Same, this band rocks! Must Haves: Good Ones (Tough listen at first but it grows on you), Inside Out, Okay, The Same, Favorite Song Download these no matter WHAT!: Oh No, The Flood


This is as charming as music gets, in my opinion. Writing simple songs that are good is hard to do. These two are masters of that art. The cool thing about this record is how well it translates live, stripped down, with just guitar, drums and vocals. It's the sign of good songwriting. The best thing I can say about Kaiser Cartel is that every time I see them live they make me want to hole up in my room and write songs. Buy this, but see them live for sure! Their shows are so engaging emotionally. No artsy posturing or boring irony. Just beautiful songs, delivered as if they are singing them personally to you. They've played at my workplace 4 times in the last 2 years and after every show they leave everyone in the room giddy and affectionate. The whole crowd is just smiling and hugging each other. Very cool. We love you at Shugas, guys!

OMG, AMAZING!!! (good luck on ur tour)

This is really amazing and I will miss u guys a lot. good luck on your tour. Your music is very inspiring.


Formed: Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s, '10s

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...
Full Bio