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Small Black

Noisy yet wistful electro-indie pop group Small Black started with a name and worked backwards: a housemate of singer/multi-instrumentalist Josh Kolenik came up with the moniker on a cold Portland, Oregon night. The name stuck when he returned to Long Island, New York and began collaborating with Ryan Heyner, an area musician who shared mutual friends with Kolenik. The pair holed up in Kolenik's uncle's attic to record songs with vintage keyboards and samplers, spending the winter of 2008-2009 recording as Uncle Matt made surfboards underneath them. Juan Pieczanski and Jeff Curtin from Kolenik's previous band, Slowlands, came into the mix early on, adding production and songwriting and filling out the band's live sounds. Small Black released their self-titled five-song EP on their own CassClub label in October 2009, and released the U.K. single "Despicable Dogs," as well as a video for that song featuring Uncle Matt, soon after. The band played several dates at that year’s CMJ Music Marathon. Small Black signed to Jagjaguwar Records, who reissued the band’s debut EP with two bonus tracks in 2010. That year, the band also released a split single with the like-minded Washed Out, with whom Small Black also went on tour. New Chain, the band's first full-length, boasted a slightly more polished sound and arrived in October 2010. In late 2011, the band offered up the Moon Killer mixtape as a free download from their website. The collection of new material was built on overt samples of sources varying from Pere Ubu to Nicki Minaj, and featured multiple drop-ins from Das Racist MC Heems, as well as remixes from Star Slinger and Phonetag. After relentless touring for the next two years, Small Black announced that they were attempting a more sophisticated, less ornamental sound with their follow-up, Limits of Desire, which was released in May of 2013. The band followed that record with an EP, Real People, in 2014 that aimed more for the dancefloor, with vocals from Frankie Rose and a cover of the Blue Nile's classic "Downtown Lights." Their next LP was recorded by the band in their Brooklyn home studio, then mixed by Nicholas Vernhes at the Rare Book Room Studio. Featuring contributions from trumpeter Darby Cicci of the Antlers and vocalist Kaede Ford, Best Blues was released in late 2015. ~ Heather Phares
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Stations Featuring
Small Black


    2 songs

    Relax Trax

    Relax Trax
    1 song

    Top Indie

    Top Indie
    1 song

    Indie Party

    Indie Party
    1 song

    Indie Rock Mix

    1 song

Albums by
Small Black

Top Songs by
Small Black

  1.   Song
  2.   No One Wants It to Happen to You
  3.   No Stranger
  4.   Boys Life
  5.   Photojournalist
  6.   Despicable Dogs
  7.   Search Party
  8.   Invisible Grid
  9.   Consequences
  10.   Shook Loves
  11.   Limits of Desire
  12.   Sophie
  13.   Canoe
  14.   Pleasant Experience
  15.   Free at Dawn
  16.   Between Leos
  17.   Baby Bird, Pt. 2
  18.   Checkpoints
  19.   Back at Belle's
  20.   Personal Best
  21.   Outskirts
  22.   Panthers
  23.   Light Curse
  24.   Camouflage
  25.   Weird Machines
  26.   Bad Lover
  27.   Kings of Animals
  28.   Goons
  29.   Breathless
  30.   Proper Spirit
  31.   Downtown Lights
  32.   Hydra
  33.   Sun Was High (So Was I)
  34.   New Chain
  35.   XX Century
  36.   Crisp 100s
  37.   Only a Shadow
  38.   The Closer I Look
  39.   Lines of Latitude
  40.   Smoke Around the Bend
  41.   Big Ideas, Pt. 2
  42.   Reconstruction
  43.   Real People
  44.   Lady in the Wires

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