Nic Berlin describes his solo project, Doorbells as "whimsical jazz through the canyons," at least on his Facebook page. To me, I guess that translates into something like a light dream of surfing in and out of jangle guitars.
Listening through the Ohio/New York based band's Ambitions-ep and Soundcloud, it's interesting to see the vocal range on this musician. Songs like "Ambitions" sound like a cue from Future Islands while "Rivers Bend" could easily be on a Real Estate demo tape. "What If" crosses these boundaries, mixing together laid back and fuzzy guitars with powerful, subtly veiled vocals reminiscent of Velvet Underground.
Doorbells subtle versatility keeps you listening to the entirety of his work. Oh, also you can download all of it (for free) here.
Originally from Ohio, Berlin started making music at 16 and moved to NYC at 18. He's spent the last four years living in various parts of the Lower East Side and Brooklyn but now attends college as a pre-med student in Ohio.
"My time spent there shaped much of the recordings and sound heard on Ambitions EP and Afterlife both were recorded during major transition periods in my life." That transition can be felt in the lyrics of "Horrible Youth" and the gracefully confused melodies of "Generation Loss."
With recording help from Adam Korbesmeyers, Ambitions was recorded over seven days at White Out Audio and Berlin's home. "He's probably the best person I have worked with to date and was also the first person I ever recorded with," Berlin said about Korbesmeyers. A freak-folk project and full length Doorbells LP is in the works.
His favorite sandwich? "Pretty much anything off of the sandwich menu at this spot in Greenpoint called Lunchbox. They have never steered me wrong. So shout out to those dudes.