Wax Poetics Records’ new Minneapolis-based duo Bones & Beeker is a band that combines hip-hop-production sensibilities with classic, harmony-focused singer-songwriter musicianship. Anthony Newes (vocals, guitar, keys, and other sounds) and Brendan Kelly (production, drum programming, keys, glockenspiel, kalimba)—known in hip-hop circles as BK-One—were introduced through their work with the developmentally disabled. Their first meeting was a five-minute conversation about Tom Waits. Their second was at a client’s deathbed.
BK-One is probably best known for his decade of work with rapper Brother Ali, yet early in his life he toured the country in a jazz band while studying piano and vibraphone alongside musical giants like Sonny Rollins, Milt Jackson, Yusef Lateef, and Wynton Marsalis. Anthony Newes—who studied audio engineering in Arizona and improvisation and music theory in Northern California, and worked at a homeless shelter in Seattle—formed a critically celebrated rock band while in Eureka, California, and earned a reputation playing folk music in the old Minneapolis haunts of Dylan and Guthrie.
When the two artists decided to work together, they faced many challenges, often arguing about how to properly balance two radically different musical sensibilities. Both were way out of their element, and each song was a strange new compromise. Flanked by bassist Chris Bierden (Poliça and Pony Trash) and guitarist Nate Collis (Atmosphere and Attracted to Gods), Bones & Beeker delivers an album full of surprises. Their self-titled long player will be released late 2015 on Wax Poetics Records, distributed by Sony RED.