Brotherhood - that's what defines Brooklyn's Ambassadors, whose album Litost was just released digitally this January. Though the band officially started in 2006, three of the members, Sam Harris, his brother, Casey Harris, and middle school friend, Noah Feldshuh, had been playing together for years.
Ambassadors started as a college band. Sam, Adam and Noah were all attending the New School while Casey worked as a piano tuner. It wasn’t until 2010 that they were able to completely commit full time to the band, with Noah on lead guitar, Sam on vocals and back up guitar, Casey on keyboard and Adam on drums. “When we first started up, we were looking for a bass player, and nothing clicked. We rely on each other and weren’t going to give up the four- piece if it threatened the chemistry within the band.” They immediately started work on their debut album, but a couple of months before they were slated to record, disaster struck.
Due to a medical condition that had plagued Casey since childhood, he needed to have a kidney transplant. His mother volunteered and gave him her kidney. Two of Sam’s family members were in the hospital recovering. All members of the band had been hibernating in the winter, meditating over the experience. Casey was recuperating in a cabin upstate. While this was taking place, in an effort to deal with his surroundings, Sam started writing the songs for Ambassadors’ eventual debut record, Litost. Adam and Noah would often join him in the process and they would work with their sound. What resulted is a record filled with both darkness and hope, songs that are groove based ("Unconsolable") and some that are truly anthemic ("Bodybag").
Once Casey had fully recovered it was time for the band to record. What came out was a phenomenal genre bending rock album, influenced by everyone from the Stooges and Phil Spector, to George Harrison and Ginuwine.
"I wanted to go all out with this record. We had written all of these songs in this sort of lax environment, but I didn't want the record to mirror that,” according to Sam. "I wanted it to be big and bombastic, and right away you could connect to these songs, and I think that's what we achieved.”
Ambassadors will headline The Mercury Lounge in NYC on February 3rd, and they are about to hit the road for a month supporting Canadian electro-pop singer Lights. The tour will also hit SXSW.