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Geographer / Press

“The Treasure Island Music Festival went down over two days on a small island in the San Francisco Bay, juggling two stages and acts that ranged from Death From Above 1979 to Cut Copy to St Vincent. The bands and sets were staggered so that changeovers allowed for the audience to see all of each band which, on day 1, included appearances from Death From Above 1979, Geographer, Aloe Blacc, The Naked & The Famous, Shabazz Palaces, YACHT (who play NYC in December), Battles, Dizzee Rascal, Chromeo, Buraka Som Sistema, Flying Lotus, Cut Copy, and Empire of The Sun...”

“Saturday's show, which skewed more toward the electronic world, kicked off with a synthesizer and cello produced set of shimmering pop by local favorites, Geographer.”

“Do you hold your electronic music to high standards? If so, you should be listening to Geographer. Are you only happy when you’re listening to haunting beats and driving synth-chords? Then Geographer is definitely your bag. Is melody as important to you as rhythm? You guessed it: Geographer. They manage the rare feat of making music that is catchy without relying on earworm hooks to hold you hostage until you’ve formed a Stockholm Syndrome-esque attachment. These aren’t songs that get stuck in your head; they are invited guests that you gratefully allow to become part of you.”

“The band—comprised of Deni, who also plays synths and guitar, cellist Nathan Blaz, and drummer Brian Ostreicher—has charted a steady course in the Bay Area music scene by bridging the gap between the often-impersonal space of electronica and the lush realm of emotionally charged melodies. By layering Deni's mesmerizing falsetto over springy synths, pulsing drums, and the pull of an electric cello, Geographer produces hypnotic dance numbers that prove quite addictive. Since being named one of three "Undiscovered Bands You Need to Hear Now!" by Spin in 2008, Geographer has been gaining traction; its last show—during the Noise Pop Music Festival—sold out quickly. I caught up with Deni just before his band's departure to South by Southwest, and he sounded cheerful about the idea of performing far from his home turf. "We're ready to conquer the world," he joked, sheepishly adding, "but all in good time."”

“Geographer fully embraced technology, employing their typical array of laptops but also using an electronic cello, beat machines and a cowbell made of plastic. It was a short set, only four songs long, and closed with the band's 2009 single 'Kites' which sounded great live, Deni's vocals as true onstage as they are in the studio. "'Original Sin' is our favorite song to play live but our set got cut five minutes short and you gotta play 'Kites,'" Deni said after the show. He also elaborated on his injury, saying his friends were giving him a hard time about not getting out of the house so he went out to get lunch and got hit by a car only 10 blocks from his house.”

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“On February 23, 15 GRAMMY U members gathered at The Independent in San Francisco for a GRAMMY SoundChecks with the Bay Area based electro-pop/ independent band and Noise Pop headliner Geographer. Their combination of class rock band instruments of guitar, bass and drums is enhanced by synths, keys and electronics. Lastly, Nathan Blaz on cello invigorates the sound á la Arcade Fire and other more experimental acts gaining media attention currently in North America. After performing “Kites” and “Original Sin”—two songs off their new album Animal Shapes—the band finished their soundcheck with an older song “Rushing in, Rushing Out”. Lead singer Mike Deni, who also plays guitar, keys, synths and bass, sat on the edge of the stage with Brian Ostreicher (drums, vocals) and Blaz (cello, electronics) for a Q & A with GRAMMY U members once the were done playing their dance-ready tunes.”

“In 2010 many Bay Area bands including The Morning Benders, Girls, Man/Miracle and Moe Green put out records that I showed to my friends saying, “Listen to this great local band!” But of the mentioned above no matter which set of my friends, none of these albums were as well received as Geographer’s Animal Shapes. There’s something magical about the group’s dynamic combination of pop music with laden somber lyrics like “Original Sin.” Many praised their debut, Innocent Ghosts, and the group did not disappoint with songs like “Verona,” and “Kites.” I don’t listen to this album alone anymore because I hear it now at all my friends’ houses. It’s a strange phenomenon.”

“Sophia’s owner Kevin Wan introduced Geographer to the deck, saying, “I can’t think of a better band to close out our season.” The San Francisco trio showcased songs from their newest EP, Animal Shapes. They kicked off their set with the poignant ballad “Heaven Waits,” but steadily quickened into bold electric guitar strums that Band of Horses fans will find familiar. The intensity grew with tunes like “Verona” and “Original Sin,” and the weathered floorboards quaked as the audience danced to Brian Ostreicher’s throbbing drums and Deni’s infectious synth riffs. The crowd obviously craved more once Geographer finished their set, but the band had no room to exit and return to the deck. Not a problem: Deni facetiously asked the audience to applaud and chant “Encore!” before he dedicated the final song, the revelatory “Kites,” to Wan and Sophia’s glorious concert season.”

“Warped reverberations (“Original Sin”) open the wormhole to another dimension where synthpop, baroque rock, and pop-folk beautifully collide. With cosmic melodies, Geographer abandons the calculus of genres in Animal Shapes released on Tricycle Records. In “Kites,” the twinkling of a simple melody introduces the ethereal, folk-y vocals of front man Mike Deni. With a high-pitched synth beginning to a slow mournful bowing of the cello towards its ending, its intensity climaxes when Deni cries out in a drawn-out falsetto. This emotional zig-zag’ing makes this track brilliantly manic-depressive. While pieces of the introduction of “Paris” are reminiscent of Nintendo video game music and, at a point, rave music, this track is perfect to sway to at an indie club because of its mellow vibe. Similarly, “Verona” is seemingly just right for making-out.”

“Geographer's new EP, Animal Shapes, is a pop rock album with a mixture of synthetic and natural elements. The band consists of three members: Michael Deni (guitar, synth, vocals), Nathan Blaz (cello), and Brian Ostreicher (drums). Geographer often mixes an organic cello and airy vocals with synthetic beats, creating an interesting contrast. The melodies are simple and straight-forward, which can work for or against the songs. "Original Sin" is the most dance-heavy song on the album, while "Kites" sounds like a Nintendo game mixed with dirt and a crunch of an MGMT beat. Deni's vocals are spot-on here, adding an airy touch to the roughness in the beat. "Heaven Waits" is one of the more organic songs on the EP, focusing more on guitar, drums, and cello, abandoning most of the synth. ”

“At first listen, you wouldn't compare Geographer to Radiohead. The local trio consists of a skinny, long-haired dude playing one of those electronic cellos, a boxy-shaped baldie behind the drum kit, and a bearded New Jersey transplant with his fingers on stack upon stack of keyboards. But when the threesome launches into a tune like "Original Sin" from its recent Tricycle Records EP, Animal Shapes, the same undeniable wow factor is at work. Mike Deni's falsetto is as strikingly beautiful an instrument as Thom Yorke's, while the epic cello parts, the clubworthy programmed beats, and the otherworldly guitar riffs recall the best of Kid A. Picked by Spin as one of "Three Undiscovered Bands You Need to Hear Now," Geographer may just be San Francisco's next big thing. Radiohead, take note.”

"Kites" (the first of two singles off Geographer's new 7") is set to repeat in our office. It starts like the soundtrack to Nintendo's "Kid Icarus" (remember that game?)- playful electronic blips and beeps guide vocalist Mike Deni as he delicately jumps through a lullaby world before encountering a thunderstorm of drums and synthesizers. You'll want to play this one over and over. Do that here: "Kites"

“Like Andrew Bird, Geographer's music is more than just indie pop, though it's often been classified as such. The tunes on Innocent Ghosts are cloaked in synth and harmony, creating an intensely anthemic feel that spans the length of the album and comes to rest at the feet of "Atmosphere." All the loops and swells are stitched together by Nathan Blaz's cello, a subtle centerpiece that's largely integral to the album's melodic heart. Mike Deni's vocals (joined beautifully at times by former bandmate Kacey Johansing) wind perfectly together with Blaz's instrumentation, both equally infectious and smooth as silk.”

“Cellos plus synthesizers often equals wimpy drivel. But this Bay Area threesome deftly factor urgency into their equation with insistent beats that prop up shy, reverb-drenched vocals from Michael Deni. Tailor-made for your own personal late-night dance party.”

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