The NYC based Soda Shop began as the duo of Drew Driver and Maria Usbeck. “I had some demos and a band name, but I couldn’t find the right person to sing on them.” Drew recalls. “Fate led me to Maria. We met at a crowded Summer Air France DJ show and talked about music I was making. I invited her to listen to the demos and things immediately clicked!” Both NY transplants, Drew from Ohio and Maria from Ecuador, the two bonded over a shared experience of starting over in an exciting, transient city. When they discovered they lived a brisk ten minute walk from one another, their friendship solidified . They began writing songs immediately. Though neither of them is new to music–Maria fronted the buzz band Selebrities, while Drew had been moonlighting as the guitar player for The Drums–they were impassioned by the sounds they were creating together.
Soda Shop released a single which quickly appeared on UK’s BBC 6 and Sweden’s P3 Pop. Recently they began playing live shows, enlisting bassist Ed Chittenden and drummer Derek Lucci. They also began recording their first full length record at their home studio. An obsession with nostalgia-induced perfection is evident on the result: 8 tracks that push the limits of simplicity and minimalism. Mixed by Jorge Elbrecht (Ariel Pink), the record worships clean guitar tones, driving bass lines and uptempo beats, a la early Smiths records.
Maria’s voice adds an airy-ness to the melodies, furthering a early 4AD vibe. She sounds confident and playful which magnifies the breezy fluidity of the music and belies the melancholy feelings just underneath. Her honest delivery of such lines as “Please tell me you don’t love her” in “Fence” or “She seems to be the one who’s there, I’m not, I’m not, I’m not around” in “Longing” immediately make you feel for her. You want her to succeed in her love, but you also feel the desperation of knowing it will never work out. Luckily, the only thing that rivals Maria’s relatable love-sick struggles is the undeniable catchiness of the songs themselves. The only truly depressing thing about Soda Shop’s new record is when it ends.
Label: Velvet Blue Music | Press Photo 1 | Press Photo 2
Praise for SODA SHOP:
I believe in Soda Shop. They make brooding, melancholic guitar pop that sounds like it was unearthed from a vault in the late ’80s, but is somehow perennially applicable in 2015. – The Nerdist
“This Brooklyn boy-girl duo make shimmery pop songs that are the perfect wind-down of summer. Just don’t call them twee.” – Artist of the day via MySpace
“Soda Shop have demonstrated an impressive knack for crafting compelling songs in a style that is relatively unique. While they have established song structures that are solid..” – 1340 Mag
“Cool Off with Dreamy Guitar Pop Duo Soda Shop. The 8-tracks, mixed by Jorge Elbrecht (Ariel Pink), have a minimalist sound (including whistling, tambourines and finger snaps) that successfully melds surf rock with girl group and 80s dream pop. – Long Island Pulse
“This deceptively summery debut is simply drowning in the tormented tears of young love gone bad. But damn, ma’am, the SS do it with such vintage pop melody “dem blues” sound almost more desirable than the love they so dearly crave.” – POP MATTERS
“New York indie pop conjure west coast imagery with latest single.” – Single premiere via Consequence of Sound
“Maria Usbeck’s dreamy vocals lift the song’s warm, breezy melodies to combine NYC dream pop and west coast lo-fi surf rock. Clean and simple, “Keep Swimming” loosely piles together chromatic guitar hooks, hand-clap friendly rhythms, and up-beat bass riffs that sway as freely as a California coastal breeze.” – Dusty Organ
Farewell 7″ Single (Released via Shelflife Records)
Praise for the 7″ Single:
“Essentially, this 7″ presents two pretty, straight forward- and very near perfect, pop songs. They are immediately evocative throwbacks to that 60s girl group sound and conversely dreamy, ethereal and interesting. Exciting stuff, then. We can only look forward to what Soda Shop have in the shop-front for us next.” – God is in the TV zine
“Well, being a sucker for sentiment and a catchy 50s-sounding tune, this Brooklyn duo caught my attention rather quickly with their track Farewell, not too long ago; and ever since then, I have found myself taking swigs, gulps and guzzles of their delicious fizzy pop Soda Shop offerings…” – Relentless Noisemaker
“Good places to get drunk on sodas are still to be found, the kind we suggest privately to our friends… Sodas are so deliciously distilled, with the perfect proportions, a natural taste and with no extra sugar. The sparkling and poppy bubbles are quickly giving you lift and smile. This Soda Shop has only one recipe for the moment but I can’t help ordering it, again and again. To be recommended!” – Delicious Scopitone
“Soda Shop is the new project from Horse Shoes’ Drew Diver and Maria Usbeck from Selebrities. They will release their debut 7” on Shelflife Records in January 2011, and wow, it does sound good! The two songs “Farewell” and “When You’re Lonely” both have the classic pop-feeling of the 50s mixed with modern indiepop, lots of love and sweetness. Soda Shop’s music is not full of elements and effects. Only what’s needed is used in their arrangements. Their melodies are always in front, carefully coloured with clever twang-guitars, glockenspiel and packed in reverb, – lots of it.” – Eardrums
“As if ripping off the 80s wasn’t enough, Maria from Selebrities, along with Drew from fey indie-pop duo Horse Shoes, have taken on girl-group pop by moonlighting as the sugary sweet Soda Shop. It’s great and comparable to the likes of Tennis and even Spectrals if they weren’t so damn northern.” – Viceland Music
“When it’s responsible for adults dressing up in children’s clothing and bland, inoffensive music, the whole twee pop movement seems like it was one of the worst things that ever happened to music. When it’s adding flavour to the likes of Brooklyn’s Soda Shop, it almost makes even the worst crimes of the c86 generation forgiveable. The work of Horse shoes’ Drew Diver and Maria Usbeck, the duo have put together a song that aches with jangle, even fitting in some glockenspiel for posterity, but there’s a lot more to their noise than being fey. The echoes of the 1950’s in their name bleeds over into their sound, all windswept and distant, the soundtrack to some long forgotten matinee show.” – The Pigeon Post