Don’t Call It A Gimmick: He’s My Brother She’s My Sister bring their genre-defying sound to the High Watt

Cirque Rock, Glamabilly, Folkadelic, Cabaret-Country, or Vaudeville-Blues: call it what you will, just quit calling it a gimmick. Yes, He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, does feature real-life brother/sister duo Rachel/Robert Kolar AND an adorable tap-dancing drummer (Lauren Brown). And while some may call that kitschy, cutesy, or choked full of twee — whatever; that’s all incidental. Here’s what you need to know: their original compositions rock, their cover songs are creative re-imaginings of genre-spanning gems (we praised their Bowie cover last time they came through), and their live show is at once refreshingly participatory (even in Nashville, where we’re often “too cool” to play along) and damn near revelatory.

Oliver Newell on the upright bass and Aaron Robinson on lap steel round out the quintet, and with their 5 powers combined they push the boundaries of how much charisma one band can contain (and sometimes inadvertently summon Captain Planet).

If you missed their show this Saturday at the High Watt, buy their EP now (and full-length when it drops in 2013) and study-up so you can sing-along next time they come to town.

We were lucky enough to grab a few minutes with the band before their set on Saturday and get to know them a little bit better.

The highlights? Nashville connections: they’re friends with Fats Kaplin and Corey Younts (both recently seen backing Jack White) and they’re fans of JEFF The Brotherhood. Also, they like Nashville Pussy (the ATL-based cowpunk band, getyourmindouttathegutter), and they were stoked to end their tour in Music City, having felt like the South was really first to embrace their sound thanks to an endorsement from Grimey himself.

They confessed that while it’s flattering to be compared to recent tourmates Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, they’re also sorta’ over it — and after watching their live show, I totally get why. The Zeros have similar he said/she said vocals but it felt to me more like the bizarre mash-up of Delta Rae meets The Dresden Dolls, without actually sounding like either one because they’ve genuinely got a unique thing going on. Check out what they DO sound like below:

“Electric Love” from their forthcoming full-length…

And a favorite of mine, played live, “Tales That I Tell”
After the show they were headed back to home base, Los Angeles, to make some videos and then prepare for the next tour. They’ve enjoyed this stint on the road and it’s been fun for them to begin to see the crowd know the words to their songs and join in with them. Now if folks would just recognize that Aaron is in fact IN the band, they’d be on top of the world. (Apparently his dressing down in simple t-shirts by comparison to his bandmates’ relative flamboyance often has him mistaken for the merch guy!) Oh. And the band would like to shout out to Clea, Bear, Wolf, and Mansa Musa – their pets that don’t get nearly enough press. Thanks to HMBSMS for taking the time to chat with us! 

Have your say