Artist to Watch: Z by Z

Featured image courtesy of Ashley Gellman

They may be fairly new, but Z by Z is already on the up and up. Self described as “indie rock infused with groovy, Latin rhythms”, the Drexel-based six piece (Harrison Cohen on vocals/rhythm guitar, Sam Poll on drums, Cole Brightbill and Harrison Brietling on guitar, Austin Anderson on bass, and Craig VanRemoortel on trombone, trumpet, and saxophone) is a welcome new addition to the Philly music community. Z by Z’s powerfully confident debut EP Tease offers three songs of no-holds-barred pop music, which is quite the statement coming from a scene often overrun by punk sensibilities.

Z by Z’s frontman Cohen is absolutely no stranger to music and performing. As a then 17-year old, Cohen auditioned for the farewell season of American Idol with an original song (“No Time”, which has been reincarnated as Tease’s closing track) in front of a judge’s panel that included Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr., and Keith Urban, and ultimately earned himself a ticket to Idol’s Hollywood round. “Getting to play an original song on television in front of [the judges] was insane but having them enjoy my song was surreal”, says Cohen. “The show gave me instant exposure on a national level…it taught me how to get a crowd going and that it is very important to always have your audience wanting more.” These lessons certainly shine through on the aptly-titled Tease. Cohen has the innate ability to write lyrics that stick after only a spin or two, while the band as a whole creates musical backdrops complex enough to show their respective talents without having to sacrifice memorability. Tease marries pop intuition with alternative/indie rock spirit, a reasonable pairing considering Z by Z’s influences span from early Maroon 5 to Spoon to Paul Simon. Tease is a record that’s not to be missed.

Give Tease a listen via Spotify below, and be sure to catch Z by Z live this weekend at one of their Philly-area shows! This Friday, June 2, they will be at the season grand opening of Lot 323 in Woodbury, NJ; more info on that event can be found here. Z by Z will also be celebrating the release of Tease at The Sloop in West Philly on Saturday, June 3, along with Rent Party, TIOGA, and The Shines; RSVP to that event page here.

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