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courtesytierHoly Hot Fire is the new, red-blooded EP from Brooklyn duo Courtesy Tier, released on December 15, 2011 at Pianos.

The EP starts out with a brand new song, “Falling Asleep,” whose dark, almost cynical lyrics—tinged with lead singer Omer’s characteristic blues-moan—are juxtaposed with an infectious energy from the acoustic guitar and sparse percussion, conveying a looming sense of peril.

The remaining four tracks are rerecorded, alternate versions of songs from Courtesy Tier’s first EP (Map and a Marker) and full-length (The Resolution) albums.

The mellow “Standing Near” features a palpable sense of longing that’s heightened by drummer Layton’s backing vocals. The EP changes gears with the third song, “Friend,” an unmitigated gritty blues track.

“Calling Out” is by far the most expansive track on the album, building in tension as a low tom thunders repeatedly. The album ends with the frenzied electric guitar and wild, cymbal-driven kit of “Cold.”

For a limited time you can download Holy Hot Fire for free from Courtesy Tier’s website.

Catch Courtesy Tier live at Brooklyn Bowl on January 10.

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Originally posted on June 14, 2011

The ethos of indie rock is, unsurprisingly, independence; independence from constrictive major record labels, independence from being confined by perceived genre norms. The Courtesy Tier have definitely embraced this ethos in their first full-length album, The Resolution, which they recorded at home and have preliminarily released themselves (the official release was May 26 at Pianos).

Each of the nine songs on the album are unmistakably rock, but with subtle influences from other styles that set them apart from standard rock songs. “Rescue,” with its jaunty repeating guitar riff, drone, and tricky vocal turn has an old-school country vibe, while “Just Like You” is more post-punk in style, with floating riffs and vocal harmonies that give it an ethereal feel. With its bluesy verses and straight-up rock choruses, “Hey Bee” is probably the most rock-sounding track on the album.

Resolution opens with “Standing Near,” which has a nice contrast between minor-key verses and major-key choruses, and “Preaches” also features this verse/chorus contrast, with a slower, laid-back feel that gives way to a more aggressive sound in the chorus. “Alright Mama” is a kind of sweet, lyrical ballad, while “Morning Run” is lonely and brooding, and “Calling Out” has the most powerful, driving chorus on the album. The album ends with the low-key “Home,” which steadily builds tension until the end.

Check out Courtesy Tier day after tomorrow, June 16, 8:15pm, as part of the Northside Festival at Spike Hill, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Originally posted on September 4, 2009

The sparse, reverberant texture of “Buddy Casey” starts off this year’s gritty, Cimmerian five song EP, Map and a Marker, from Brooklyn duo The Courtesy Tier. A fissure of light penetrates the dark sound of “Buddy Casey” during the bridge, which attempts to usher in a new, major-sounding key, but this attempt is quelled by the return of the original key.

“Cold” quickens the pace with a complex guitar lick and dexterously performed off-kilter drum beat.  The vehement “Set Things Right” and blues-drone infused “Friend” follow.  Map and a Marker ends on a plaintive note with the bashed-up ballad “While I’m Gone.”

Originally posted on October 5, 2008

“We’ll play better for you if you show that you like us,” promised the frontman of Brooklyn’s The Courtesy Tier last Sunday night, from the Showroom stage at Pianos.  He must have been satisfied by the audience’s response, as the cohesive guitar/drum duo gave their all throughout their vigorous eight-song set.  Loud and gritty, and sounding something along the lines of The Black Keys on overdrive, The Courtesy Tier’s music was bluesy-rock mixed with a dash of chaos.  The final song in particular seemed to form out of the turbulent ether, with an extended intro featuring soft mallets on cymbals and guitar din.  Live looping and a darker, sparser sound set the third song apart from the others, while the fourth song featured a rare repeating melodic pattern in the guitar, turning the song into a kind of indie ballad.

Frenetic and intense, The Courtesy Tier rise.