Busy as a Beulah

Brianna Riplinger

Beulah is busier than an indie band ever should be. Especially for guys that not only work “regular jobs,” but also craft and deliver sparkling, Sunday afternoon pop that rocks with trumpets, flutes and plenty of strings. With vivid lyrics, sugary harmonies and song titles like “A Good Man is Easy to Kill,” “Popular Mechanics for Lovers” and “I’ll Be Your Lampshade,” Beulah’s latest release, The Coast is Never Clear, is musically lush and charming.

The Berkley, Calif.-based band is busily promoting their new album by racing to radio interviews, from gig to gig and touring extensively. While gathering together clothes for laundry in his Philadelphia hotel room and recovering from the previous night’s D.C. show, Miles Kurosky of Beulah (the only “unemployed” one of the bunch) made some time to talk about Phil Spector production wonders, live shows and major record label money.

The Lens: For the band members’ biographies on your website (www.beulahmania.com), all you list are your “real” jobs (like “director of a learning center” and “works at a telephone company”). Who put them up there and why?

Miles Kurosky: I did. I thought it’s a nice way of letting people know that we have things that we do. I think people make assumptions, that because you’re an indie band that does moderately well, that you don’t have a job or whatever – which is obviously not the case.

TL: Would you say there’s a musical community or scene in the East Bay/Berkeley area right now?

MK: I don’t know. That’s really tough. If there is, I don’t know if we really belong to it much. To us, it’s just-we’re in a band, that’s what we do. But we don’t really play live on our hometown that often. I think we play other cities far more. A lot more, actually.

TL: In a past British magazine review, the critic likened your sound to a “seamless lo-fi Spector-esque soundtrack.” Are you a fan of Phil Spector and his music/production work?

MK: I think he’s phenomenal. He’s probably one of the greatest producers ever. If we had more money or the ability to get more musicians, I think would definitely have four pianos doing the same thing at once and things like that.

TL: How does your orchestral sound come across in your live shows?

MK: We do our best to replicate what we think is important. Certain string things, we have melotrons and chamberlains to do that. I think we just realized that [the record and the live show] are two different things and we don’t think it’s important to translate the record exactly. To us, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

TL: Do you guys have any desire to be on a major label or are you content staying indie?

MK: It doesn’t matter one way or another to me, really. If they give me a shitload of money, why not? If I’m gonna make the same record. If they’re gonna give me a great deal more money, and say ‘Oh, do whatever you want,’ I mean, why wouldn’t I? It’s not as if I’m going to be doing this the rest of my life. If I’m offered certain things it would just be naive and stupid not to except [them].

Beulah plays Saturday at the 400 Bar (400 Cedar Ave. S., Mpls. 612-32-2903). Mates of State open. 8 p.m. $10. 21+.