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Whale Belly to Perform at Southpaw Sunday

By Annie Reuter

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Though they only formed a year ago, Brooklyn-based Whale Belly has made a name for themselves.

Still experimenting with their sound, frontman Todd Bogin explained what concertgoers can expect from their live show.

"We craft this soundscape. We think of classical music where you'd see 45 minutes [of music] straight," he said. "What we've been reaching towards is bringing that idea to indie music, that 45 minute musical piece that goes through different movements. Our movements are songs; 10 different movements within the 45 minute piece."

Hailed as a band that "would make Woody Guthrie proud," Bogin says part of the group's success is that they're all friends.

"We really are best friends. We're super close and trustworthy of each other and we all value each other's talents," he said. "We're not following any trend that's going on right now. We're not doing something because it's cool or following a sound that will be dated in a few years. There's something really heartfelt in us."

The group's first album, …the Smile at the End of the Slope, has garnered thousands of free downloads. A choice he was reprimanded for, Bogin thinks it's the best decision Whale Belly has made.

"No one knew who we were. By making it free we've been able to expand our band," he said.

By nurturing the free link on their website, Whale Belly centralize and control all the information about their band in one place. With a well received tour, and a second album in the works, Bogin says Whale Belly is just hitting their stride.

"I think touring has made us tighter and more adventurous and worked out the new songs to an extent that they would have never been before."

While Bogin's writing process varies, he says living in New York has had a major impact.

"It's made me be a much better musician in that the competition is intense and you have to be good. My band has a touch of New York to it, a grittier sound," he said. "All my songs are written differently [and] I learn about myself every time I write a song. The next album's topics are going to be reflective of what's been going on in my life over the last year."

Many of his songs are inspired by real life events, including "Nervous Breakdown at IKEA," a track on their upcoming record.

"I'm a very anxious person and I do really bad in crowded public spaces," he explained. "I had a freak-out in IKEA because I went there on a Saturday before Christmas and it was so insane. I got lost, I couldn't find who I was with, I couldn't find the exit and I literally ran home. It's a lighthearted song but if you listen to the lyrics and the music, it's a very stressful song. It's hard to listen to for me because it's so intense."

While Whale Belly has been labeled a folk band, Bogin says he thinks they're doing something different and can't be classified into one genre. Though their next album is still in the works, Bogin is looking optimistically toward the future and a 2012 release.

"The next album will have the aesthetic of Whale Belly itself but make a point of transitions in life and change. I'm really excited to see where we go next."

For more on Whale Belly, visit their Website and download a copy of their album. Catch them live on Sunday, January 29 at Southpaw in Brooklyn.

Annie Reuter is a freelance writer and the founder of

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