On their new EP, Southern California’s hyps delivers a measured dose of sparking, percolating pop with raised eyebrows and wry wit. A spoonful of paired-vocal harmonic sugar eases the delivery of Keena Batti and Molly Falck’s incisive meditations on life, love, and social media obsession. A study in contrasts, the band’s sweet-tart vocals and plucky mandolin glide over a bed of angular, crunchy guitars and propulsive drumming.
Immediately engaging, feed is infused with both an unreserved optimism and a tinge of creeping anxiety. “These songs feel liminal” says Falck. “They’re the product of that transition between our post-college years and young adulthood when nothing is quite settled and everything feels significant. There were break-ups, and new relationships, and jobs, and firings, and failures, and joys.”
While our heroines both grew up steeped in music (“For 8th grade graduation, my parents got me a purple Strat - that was the moment I knew I was going to be a guitar player forever,” says Batti. Falck got her start as a kid “performing in tons of musicals - my first role was in Kittens, a dumbed-down version of Cats.”), it wasn’t until their paths crossed during a summer program at Cambridge University that they found their musical soulmates. The two clicked instantly, and on their return to Berkeley they began practicing constantly; eventually working up the nerve to try busking on the aptly named College Ave. They made $40, and a dream was born.
After graduation they followed that dream back to Los Angeles and threw themselves into making it a reality. They landed a residency at The Old Palace in Malibu, and, as Steps of Doe, recorded their debut EP On Returning with bass player / producer Devon Geyer (Decorations). In 2017 they left The Old Place, changed their name, and began recording feed at Bedrock LA in Echo Park. Produced by hyps, the record features performances by Ricky Cruces (guitar), Edo Tancredi (drums), and Brian Narvy (bass).
Though they may be sonic soul sisters, Batti and Falck write the bulk of their music independently of one another. “We present them at rehearsal and do the arranging together,” explains Batti. “It allows each song to have its own identity, but arranging together gives it the hyps sound.” Lyrically, the songs on feed are tinged with nostalgia. “There’s always an undercurrent of yearning for things past in everything we write,” says Falck, “whether it’s a past love or a past version of ourselves.”
Moreover, their songs all come from a place of feeling like an outsider; whether it’s feeling alienated in your own relationship, your social circle, or your chosen profession. “We’ve always felt like we weren’t taken seriously as musicians. We play multiple instruments and write all our own music. We lead a band and produced these songs,” says Batti, “but as women, we’re constantly second-guessed by our peers. We want other women to see that they can do this shit too.”
“hyps mix tight vocal harmonies with elements of folk, bossa nova, and jangle pop. The instrumentation and harmonies are lush, the lyrics are impressively confessional - hyps are about more than vocals, they’re great songwriters.”
- Surviving the Golden Age