Hospitality: “Friends of Friends”
Over the course of a year, KUT features 260 songs of the day from a wide range of artists, each one catching our collective ear. We’ll be highlighting the best songs of the day from 2012, featuring big names, new discoveries, Studio 1A exclusives, and some tunes that might have gotten lost in the shuffle in the past twelve months.
There is something really endearing about Brooklyn-based, minimalist pop trio Hospitality. It’s a sort of exasperated pathos. The songs speak to the scared, late-20-something in all of us: the kid that’s probably got too much (liberal arts) education, probably not a lot of opportunities (other than a string of unrewarding day-jobs) and trying to make it on their own.
Behind these quarter-life crisis songs is Hospitality’s singer and main songwriter Amber Papini. She grew up in Kasnsas City, and moved to New York almost seven years ago with Hospitality guitarist Nathan Michel. The two met when they were both grad students at Yale. Michel made electronic music for the Tigerbeat6 label, and Papini provided vocals for a few of his songs. Bassist Brian Betancourt joined Papini and Michel in 2006 (early incarnations of the band also included Papini’s sister Gia on vocals). The band labored in quasi-obscurity for a few years, ensconced in the warm embrace of the Brooklyn scene. They released a delightfully lo-fi EP in late 2008 to warm reviews. Venerable indie label Merge Records took notice of the band, and signed Hospitality in fall 2011.
In January 2012, Hospitality released their self-titled full-length for Merge. Produced by Michel and Shane Stoneback (Vampire Weekend, Sleigh Bells), the record is full of simple, charming pop tunes like fan-favorite “Betty Wang” and today’s song of the day “Friends of Friends.” The saxophone hook on “Friends of Friends” is instantly catchy. Papini, with a slight faux-British lilt, imbues the song with an wounded yearning that you can’t help but want to reach out, give her a hug and tell her, “It’s gonna be alright.”