The Brooklyn-based duo Kaiser Cartel, made up of Courtney Kaiser and Benjamin Cartel, have been creating luscious harmonies and infectious melodies together since 2004. Both write, sing, and play multiple instruments on the albums and on-stage. Courtney a former member of John Mellencamp’s band and classically trained vocalist; Benjamin a DIY, self-taught musician. Each had their own solo projects well underway when they met, but the pairing was an unmistakable success.
Warming hearts and bones with their delicate and sensual but nonetheless punchy folk-pop, Kaiser Cartel has been going nearly non-stop since the release of their debut record March Forth in 2008. They left their day jobs and began touring the US in a silver Prius named Gertie. The duo’s national following quickly spread, aided by key performances at festivals and in support of Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s, aqualung and Carrie Rodriguez. They’ve enjoyed playing the Monolith Festival at Red Rocks, the 80-35 Festival in Des Moines, dozens of SXSW showcases and a Daytrotter Session recorded as the EP Rock Island. Critics have touted their charming and intimate live shows as “not to be missed.”
In an interview for the Brattleboro Reformer, Courtney said, “When we play live, we try to reach every person intimately through our music. We want something to change for them after the show has finished.”
On television and video Kaiser Cartel’s music has also met with great success. The band’s music was featured during the MTV show Exiled and the Discovery Channel’s Alter-Eco. Two songs from March Forth were chosen for episodes one and two of HBO’s Bored to Death and “Dog Stars” was on Private Practice. The band’s video for “Oh No” can be seen on Vh1.com, the video for “Okay” was shown at Slamdance and the “Blue Sky” video won “Best Music Video” at the Coney Island Film Fest.