Backwords blends modern psychedelics with folk-rock, 60s-pop and a myriad other sonic surprises. Like a bluebird fluttering through the prairie, Backwords delivers gentle, lazy melodies that stick to the tongue and cannot be forgotten. And like a vigilant hawk nesting atop a New York City skyscraper, there is a fury—a swooping darker underside that Backwords is not hesitant to embody – be it in lyrical cynicism, primal growl, or feedbacking improvisations. Freak-outs are welcomed.
Based out of Brooklyn, the band is a regular fixture of the New York City scene and has played countless gigs over the past six to seven years. It was recently discovered that Backwords has graced the stage of literally 60 unique venues in NYC alone (some of which have even faded into oblivion). They have played official showcases during New York’s CMJ Music Marathon 5 years running, Brooklyn’s Northside Festival 3 years running, have toured the country in rusty old vans several times over and were named a “Top 10 Emerging Artist” in the “Alt-Folk” category by The Deli Magazine NYC a few years back.
With over 300 shows under their belts, Backwords has shared bills with artists such as:
Donnie and Joe Emerson, Elf Power, Hiss Golden Messenger, Lucius, Yellowbirds, Beach Day, Laura Stevenson, Caged Animals, Dark Dark Dark, The Wooden Birds, Julian Lynch, Quilt, These United States, Le Loup, Jeremy Jay, Freelance Whales, Dinosaur Feathers, Gringo Star, Slowdance, Darwin Deez, Warpaint, The Spinto Band, Pepi Ginsberg, The Features, Fort Lean, Reptar, Country Mice, Shilpa Ray, North Highlands, The Suzan, Tony Castles, The Beets, Shark? Chris Stamey, The Deep Dark Woods, Ava Luna, Yukon Blonde, Craft Spells, Hosannas, Spirit Family Reunion, Heliotropes, Olivia Tremor Control, Hoop Dreams, Turbo Fruits, Pujol, Radical Dads, Starlight Girls, Forest Fire and omg the list goes on…
Their 2012 release, “By the Neck,” took new twists and psychedelic turns as the band explored fresh creative territory, mixing surf garage sounds with Pink Floyd spazz-outs, gentle Byrds-like vocal layers, 90s lo-fi and apocalyptic subject matter. “By the Neck” features boy-girl vocal interplay with textures both thick and breezy. It is an album that works cohesively as a whole yet can be picked apart for its catchy, finger-tapping individual tracks. It is both vintage and excitingly new at the same time.
Recorded in the dead of summer in a large open warehouse space in Sunset Park, Brooklyn – their latest release, Nest (2014), is an open reflection on growth, change, and an ever evolving New York City.
Brian Russ: Guitars, Vocals
Tim Pioppo: Bass, Vocals
John Sheldon: Drums, Vocals
Meredith Meyer: Keys, Vocals
Zac Meyer: Guitars
Chirping Birds: Inspirational Messages
“There’s ambition here, too, in the writing, arranging and production — Backwords have come a ways from their more simple, folkier beginnings.” – BROOKLYN VEGAN
“NYC scene pillars.” – THE DELI MAGAZINE
“Backwords present the tightness of their family band style bond in a free and endearing manner that only bands that have been through it all together can posses.” – IMPOSE
“With 60s girl group vocals that are cut with a harshness that recalls Pavement, this quartet isn’t afraid to push towards psychedelic edges.” – THE WILD HONEY PIE
“Backwords manages to sound classic and completely new at the same time” – NYCTAPER
“Retro guitar tones, and an indefinable freshness… like being serenaded by that older brother you don’t have, along with his sweet, hippie friends.” – MY OLD KENTUCKY BLOG
“Twangy Americana, 70s psych rock… The buffalo still do roam.” – THE L MAGAZINE
“They sure are doing something nobody else we are aware of is doing in NYC right now: unpretentious, mellow psych folk that speaks to the heart.” – THE DELI MAGAZINE
“Mellow folk pop.” – BROOKLYN VEGAN
“Their acidic folk-pop can be striking.” – POP MATTERS
“When pressed, they give a pretty convincing runaround before settling on something close to “psychedelic folk-rock.” Even that seems too restrictive though, what with vocals that sound like they were ripped from a Beach Boys track laying on top of instrumentals that have that charming, lo-fi quality that sounds like it was recorded in a friend’s basement. ” – NY PRESS
“Gritty, unwavering, raw guitar-shredding ability, mixed with gorgeous melodies and soothing vocals.” – INDIE SHUFFLE
“Sun, rain, snow – whatever the weather … backwords will strike in you the urge to go out and enjoy it.” – FENSEPOST
“Backwords are sewing harmonies with all the right patches of subtle instrumentation…Binding counterpane and cutaways, backwords are not forging fancy quilts. Instead, they bring a seam of comfort between the old and the new, the quiet and the loud, the ambiguous and the known.” –CRENELLATION
“Band of horsesy oohs, built to spilly melodies – do you really need something else from this world?” – BOLACHAS