Anchor & Bear
By Kelly McCartney 11/14/2013
On a whim
Like Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs (aka Sid ’n’ Susie) before them, Brian Bringelson and Katy Pearson were solo artists who came together “on a whim” in a whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ sort of way. It was 2011, and the two — known as Paul Starling and Bearkat, respectively — fell into an easy musical rapport that had fine potential as a side project under the Anchor & Bear moniker. But then, “We recorded and debuted a six-song EP over the course of a month and a half (roughly a song a week). Unbeknownst to us, people started paying attention to what was thought of by the two of us as ‘just a side project.’ In the fall of 2012, management company Shanghai 30 Entertainment approached us and the ball really began to roll. Adding drummer Eric White and bassist Ed Kasper, the band is now a four-piece, nautical rock band playing shows all around L.A. and Ventura County.”
Anchors aside, what exactly is “nautical rock”? According to Starling, it is “folk rock with major ’60s influences mixed with a bit of gypsy jazz.” Baroque pop might be another fitting label for Anchor & Bear’s brand of music. To put that into practical terms, Bringelson and Pearson cite among their chief inspirations “The Beatles, Brian Wilson, Neko Case, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, Noel Gallagher, Lindsey Buckingham, Wings, The Black Keys, Jackie Wilson, Ricky Nelson and Teddy Thompson.” Mix all of those influences together and what begins to emerge would, indeed, sound something like Anchor & Bear, replete with lilting vocals, lush harmonies, catchy melodies and playful arrangements.
Off to the races
In addition to the aforementioned six-song EP, Anchor & Bear recently issued a two-song endeavor titled Bicycle Races, which is available on iTunes and Bandcamp. To spread its gospel across the Southland, the group has played gigs at Hotel Cafe, Genghis Cohen, the Pig ‘n Whistle, Basement Tavern, Zoey’s, Green Art People and the Deer Lodge. What’s next on the agenda? “We are recording our debut album with producer Kc Staples onto 16-track tape. We will be heading up north for some shows in San Luis Obispo, and more shows in Ventura and L.A. We are excited to see where our debut album takes us. We all feel a strong energy with one another and feel it translates well into the music.”
What’s in a name?
From Prince to Puff Daddy, artists donning nicknames has a long, sometimes troublesome history. So with branding potential and privacy concerns being what they are these days, how does someone get tagged with a name like Bearkat? “Once upon a time . . . best leave this question unanswered,” the singer teases.
Learn more about Anchor & Bear by visiting www.anchorandbear.bandcamp.com.