Chicago's The Hudson Branch Defies Musical Categories

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Chicago's The Hudson Branch Defies Musical Categories
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Matt Boll, Enoch Kim, Jacob Boll, Corey Bienart, and Cobey Bienart of The Hudson Branch. (Photo courtesy …

The Hudson Branch is an inventive five-piece Chicago rock and experimental group whose creative voice is being heard on media outlets like NPR, as well as opening for world-renowned bands such as New Order.

Defying Categories

The inventiveness of The Hudson Branch is what makes the band's music so listenable and yet so hard to categorize. "That's what makes it tough, in a way," said lead guitarist Jacob Boll, who could easily pass for a younger version of heartthrob Matthew McConaughey. "We just don't fall into a category that easily."

The Hudson Branch consists of two sets of brothers. Matthew and Jacob Boll both typically play guitar and bass, yet each can pick up other instruments when the spirit moves them. Lead singer Cobey Bienert plays guitar, while brother Corey Bienert plays drums. The multitalented Enoch Kim handles most of the keyboard work but also jumps on guitar and other instruments as needed. "He's our secret weapon," the band members all laughed.

Plying Versatility

Because they don't behave musically like anyone else, the band's niche has needed to be created, rather than occupied. They've really just begun to take hold and make their mark, five years into making music and more. Their work has been featured on NPR and Radiolab.

The Hudson Branch was invited in late 2012 to open a concert for the world-renowned group New Order at the Aragon in Chicago. Over 4,000 people attended the concert, a good-sized crowd that Matthew Boll characterized as "a little old for our typical audience." But the band performed to applause and cheers. "Only one guy yelled that we sucked," noted Corey Bienert with a smile. "We figure that was pretty good."

New EP in January 2013

As the band is breaking through, they keep an eye out for new opportunities with regular planning sessions, looking forward to that next level. Their new EP comes out in January 2013, and their music can be found on Spotify and other music sites.

Fan Perspective

Sean Patrick McAdams, a Chicago suburban musician, recording engineer, and professional youth leader said of The Hudson Branch, "[They're] the most all-encompassingly creative band to come out of Chicago in a while. Their instrumentation is a big part of that. It's original stuff."

The Hudson Branch takes the collaborative approach to creating all the music they play. "We usually start with a couple chords and some lyrics I've written," Cobey Bienert explained. "Then, we develop everything from there. We really all take part in the process of building out our songs."

It's a non-formula that works. The Hudson Branch will play at the Tomorrow Never Knows festival in Chicago on Sunday, January 20, 2013.

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