Bent Denim

November 16, 2015 9:02 am

Another year, another CMJ. It’s no doubt that CMJ Music Marathon is one of the best music festivals held in NYC where you can discover both local and international bands. The city turned into a playground for bands and made millennials stay up all night dancing to some catchy tunes. Not only did CMJ offer great music to our city but also incorporated daytime programming where people could learn about music politics, attend Q&A sessions with radio promoters, and even have a cheeky breakfast with music industry individuals.


Here at ATYPICALSOUNDS, we’re all about celebrating indie music so we curated three killer showcases with the best bands you need to know right now. Our first showcase on Thursday featured artists like Stolen Jars, Weaves, Methyl Ethyl, and IDGY Dean who slammed drumbeats along her soulful voice. Our biggest day party was on Friday at The Delancey and we had a lineup to fill all three floors. We managed to squeeze in Bent Denim to our lineup who were perfect to start the day with their calm shoegaze tunes. The rooftop crowd was amazed by Avi Jacob who nailed “Cannonball.” Wolkoff and Caveboy were also astounding artists who added an extra umph to the show. Beverly played at our last showcase at Cameo Gallery and performed smoothly with her breathy vocals. Lena Fayre, who’d been in all three showcases, closed the night with her deep, dark, and emotional tones that gave chills throughout the room.

Throughout the week there were many more artists we discovered that blew our minds. Australian band Good Morning played the Cake Shop on a Tuesday night and talked about their favorite video games after the show. We headed to The oberjikjDelancey later that night to check out City of the Sun who never fails to leave us in amazement with their rhythmic skills. Birch was playing on a Wednesday night at the Bowery Electric and energized the room with Michelle’s electric blue hair and dancy beats. Cosmo Sheldrake was a pleasant change from the guitar and drums we’ve been used to listening to. A multi-talented instrumentalist who creates a piece by putting together different sounds especially wowed the crowd with his improvisation skills. We headed to see the Brooklynite Oberhofer own the stage at Mercury Lounge and had a chat about his album Chronovision after his show behind the merch table. Saturday at The Delancey were dedicated specifically to bands from Australia. Gordi caught my attention with her acoustic guitar folk tunes and calming voice.

The BEASTS are are pretty damn good at this whole “knowing where to find good music” thing. Last month’s CMJ was an obvious reminder of that, and there will be plenty more where that came from. Just wait for SXSW….

Bent Denim Romances You
September 16, 2015 4:29 pm

Bent Denim builds beautiful, narrative-driven songs by swapping tracks over email between their respective home bases of Nashville, New Orleans, and New York.  This is how the band describes themselves on their Facebook page. We were intrigued by the swapping tracks over email part and it turns out the story of this band and their process for creating is quite interesting.

Ben Littlejohn and Dennis Sager are the two creative forces behind Bent Denim.  The duo grew up together in Dallas and has since found shelter in New Orleans & Nashville and most recently NYC.  They describe their music as nightmare pop and while that gives us a chuckle, we have to disagree.  Their music is quite the opposite of a nightmare and more like a lucid dream where you are falling into a big comfy bed at dusk.

We really are digging the Romances You LP and it’s been on repeat all week in our office.  The band just released a video for the first track, “Good Night’s Sleep” that you can watch below.  The lyrics instantly got my attention when I heard the line, “I’m stuck in daydreams and sex dreams and reality I can’t keep straight”. That is some deep shit when you really process that.  I mean aren’t we all in some way?

I jokingly asked the bands publicist if the second track, “Caitlin” was written about her and she replied, “they like to keep me guessing”.

There are so many gems on this album that it’s hard to really choose my favorite but I can say that the words to “Off Chance” have been haunting me since first listen.  “I’ll protect you through the low lands and I’ll be right here, on the off chance that you still stop by, in my shadow and creek through door ways into picture frames.” What a beautifully sad sentiment.

Ben says that “This album was crafted in numerous spaces over a few years —two dorm rooms (a single and a double), a mansion’s foyer, my brother’s living room in New Orleans, my childhood bedroom, a back house, my friend Robbie’s extra bedroom, Dennis’ last three rented bedrooms in New Orleans, and a rented bedroom in Nashville. All of these spaces have imprinted a different sonic character on the parts of the songs. The reflections of these rooms combine to create an album without any real sense of place.”

A little geeky, a lot of lo-fi and some heavy emotional lyrics sprinkled on top.  What’s not to love about Bent Denim?  Having your heart broken never felt so good.


We got to chat with Dennis and find out some more about Bent Denim.

How did the band begin?

We all grew up in Dallas. Ben, in Nashville, and Dennis in New Orleans, started swapping/building up tracks via email in Spring 2013. Dennis just moved to NYC.

What was the inspiration for the Cavalcade song and video?

Our good pal Will Taylor made the video with some old family vacation footage from his uncle’s camera. My verse is a bit of snapshot of where I was at the time- burnt out from the road and wanting something new.

What is next for Bent Denim material wise?

We’re piecing together that whole second record thing. Anette Records in Berlin is putting out Romances You on vinyl in mid-November. We have a new video coming out soon, too.

Who are you looking forward to performing with or seeing  at CMJ?

Our pals Donovan Wolfington, Dent May, Car Seat Headrest (probably some others I am forgetting). I am very much looking forward to seeing some new bands though.

What do you do to pass the time while traveling / touring?

Reading, NPR, craigslist browsing of gear, eating foreign things, loitering at Chipotle, attempting to make friends, drinking beer and sometimes even playing/listening to music!

What do you think of the pizza in New York? How does it compare to other pizzas elsewhere?

I like my pizza dipped in ranch- a bit of a Texas thing. Grandma pizza, deep dish, thin crust- As long as its got cheese and bread I’m stoked.

What do you have in store for the future.

We’ve all been working very hard on our on-stage banter. Practice makes perfect!

Check out their video for “Good Night’s Sleep” below and to hear more of Ben Denim’s music listen here.

Be sure to catch the band at this years CMJ Music Marathon. Their debut album “Romances You” is out now!