Young Unknowns

In a little over a week, the music industry will descend upon New York City for the CMJ MUSIC MARATHON (October 16-20), sort of like Fashion Week for the music biz, where indie rockers play quick sets on packed bills all over town, at venues large and small in hopes of being discovered and quitting their day jobs forever.  It happened last year to Brittany Howard and ALABAMA SHAKES whose soulful singing and electrifying guitar playing wowed the folks at ATO Records, and they have been selling out venues all over the world ever since.

We’ve got our eye on another songstress and her band with a hot off the press debut EP release that is poised to take CMJ by storm this time around.  MEREDITH MEYER and her new band YOUNG UNKNOWNS have a fresh, autumnal indie sound that comes across beautifully on the exquisitely produced 5-song EP, You Are A Young Unknown, an infectious recording that is ripe for the season.  Meyer’s ethereal and haunting vocals are treated with reverence by veteran indie producer, BILL RACINE, who is best known for producing albums by ROGUE WAVE, HOPEWELL, and MATES OF STATE, among many others. 

The first single, "Target Practice," is an upbeat number tinged with a sense of yearning that strikes a chord reminiscent of the first time we heard Debbie Harry sing “Heart of Glass” in the late seventies on Blondie’s Parallel Lines. Racine, who has excellent taste in indie rock, has been cultivating Meyer’s sound since her solo EP, It’s Spooky to be Young, which he also produced.  Meyer’s songwriting, like her singing, is very honest and raw, introspective and moody, highly observational with perhaps more apprehension than optimism, but ultimately uplifting, which is quite a lot to ask for in a pop record.

Meredith Meyer Young Unknowns

Originally hailing from Oklahoma, Meyer recently settled in Brooklyn after making her mark on the Los Angeles music scene last year.  Her extremely tight Brooklyn based four-piece band has been playing shows pretty regularly around town, and they are now gearing up for the one that really counts on Thursday, October 18th at LEGION in Williamsburg in the prime time 9pm slot for their official CMJ show.  They may not realize it, but they are one of eight “Young” bands in this year’s CMJ Marathon, which will feature other bands entitled “Young Adults,” “Young Blood,” “Young Buffalo,” “Young Evils,” “Young Girls,” “Young Hines,” and “Young Magic.”  However, something tells us that YOUNG UNKNOWNS will ironically be the young band of the lot that will not remain unknown after CMJ.  If their short 30 minute set at LEGION leaves you yearning for more of Meyer’s sultry vocals, stick around for the following set by psychedelic folk-rock outfit, BACKWORDS, in which she also sings and plays keyboards in a completely different context.

If the CMJ madness is too much for you, there will be another opportunity to catch YOUNG UNKNOWNS’ official album release show on Monday, October 22nd at MERCURY LOUNGE at 10pm with DUST ENGINEERS.  In the wake of the post-CMJ buzz, expect this show to be packed, so get your tickets now through Bowery Presents.  The best thing about it, although the band may fear otherwise, is that the show coincides with the Presidential debate, giving us all the more reason to spare ourselves the misery and spend our time more wisely listening to great live music instead of sitting in front of the TV being lied to by barely conscious politicians.

Young Unknowns

(photo credit: Jake Remington)

One thing we learned about MEREDITH MEYER, is that in addition to making great music, she has become known for making an exceptional hot toddy, and given the fact that her music feels like it is infiltrated with the fall season, this should come as no surprise.  Being that THE BROOKLYN GLUTTON is never one to refuse a creative cocktail, she was kind enough to share her secret recipe for her fall concoction with our readers, with very specific instructions, right down to what should be playing on the stereo while preparing the drinks…

MEREDITH’S MAGICAL MYSTERY TODDIES                  (by Meredith Meyer of Young Unknowns)

You need…
  • A large pot of water and a stove, and preferably, to turn on your favorite toddy-making tunes. (I prefer Woody Guthrie sometimes, The Clientele’s Suburban Light is also a favorite, but sometimes I’ll go way out and make toddies to something like the Xanadu soundtrack too).
  • 2-3 tea bags of good tea. I like to use either regular plain black tea, or if I’m missing the California sunshine, I use jasmine tea for a lighter base. 
  • 1-2 lemons
  • 1-2 tangerines
  • 1 piece of ginger the size of your thumb (peel w/ potato peeler and slice it up into quarter-size slices)
  • 1/4 apple peeled in thin slices that float
  • Natural Pure Maple Syrup (to taste. I usually put in serving mugs instead of in the pot)
  • spices: any or all of these -cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves (or pumpkin pie spice), 
  • *****MYSTERY INGREDIENTS***** cardamom powder & 1.5 tsp (more or less) pure vanilla extract 
  • 1-2 pints Bourbon/ Whiskey - Evan Williams is fine if you’re on the cheap, something nicer if you are in the chips. 
  1. Bring the water to a slight boil with only the tea bags in it. Once it’s boiling, turn the water way low so it just simmers. 
  2. Cut the lemon and tangerines open sideways and cut a couple of thin O -shaped slices (for decoration) and squeeze the rest of the juice into the pot. 
  3. Put in the ginger and apples, both thinly sliced. 
  4. Eyeball the spices or try them out according to your taste. Start small depending on how big your pot is. maybe 1/4 teaspoon each to start with. You can always add more but you can’t take too much away! 
  5. Put in the MYSTERY INGREDIENTS.      ****(This is what makes it taste amazing! Don’t tell anyone you put these in. They are the secret ingredients! Everyone will think you are a genius.  Try to put these in when nobody is looking.  If it helps, carry them around in your pocket, announce there is something in the other room happening, then toss them in quickly!) 
  6. Take out the teabags and keep simmering everything on low for about 15-20 minutes. 
  7. Add the booze if you choose. This is according to taste. If you’re throwing a party with non-drinkers, you can always put one or two shots in each individual mug and leave the large pot non-alcoholic. 
  8. Line the bottom of each mug/cup with the maple syrup.  This will keep you from wasting it if you end up not using all the toddy mix, but I’ve never known it to have anything left in it at the end of the night! Also most people like to alter their sweetness individually. 
  9. It is preferable to have everyone drink them either around a piano, or while smelling fall leaves outside, listening to records, or sharing old photographs of themselves making goofy faces.  But you can also drink it alone while reading old handwritten letters, folding freshly laundered towels, or painting your toenails with sparkly glitter polish. 
  10. Keep the MYSTERY A MYSTERY and more mysteries will come to you!

Something tells us that these toddies will be finding a permanent place on our stovetop this fall and winter, while the You Are A Young Unknown EP will be finding a permanent place in our music rotation.  You can download it from their bandcamp site for just $4 or buy it on iTunes, where it was just ranked #70 in the top 100 new rock releases last week.  See the video for Target Practice below:

Target Practice (Official Video) by YOUNG UNKNOWNS