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Carrboro, North Carolina, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Carrboro, North Carolina, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Rock Progressive


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Carrboro band Henbrain goes hi-fi with producer Mitch Easter"

Posted by Bryan C. Reed
on Thu, Mar 28, 2013 at 5:06 PM

If there’s such a thing as a lucky break, this might count: In February, Fidelitorium Recordings, Mitch Easter’s Kernersville studio, offered a free weekend of recording with Easter at the helm to “somebody awesome.” That somebody had to respond to a Facebook post requesting a description of “who you are and what you want to do and an mp3 of your current idea or something you've done in the past.”

The winner is Carrboro’s Henbrain, a self-proclaimed “post-metal, psychedelic rock band with two basses and female vocals.”

“Their bass-heavy organ freak out prog rock demo just made our jaws drop when we hit play,” The Fidelitorium posted in its announcement. “We can't really explain what they sound like but if you imagine Yes in 1969 with Grace Slick on vocals that will get you pretty close.”

For a band whose recording catalog seems only to include a handful of raw demos, and whose layered, retro-leaning sound indeed favors lush production, this studio opportunity would seem especially fortuitous. “We sent in our songs, waited with our fingers crossed and screamed like little girls when we got the news,” singer Erika Libero told the Indy.

For the less-lucky, have hope; Fidelitorium has promised a second contest this Fall. - Indy Week

"Show review- Henbrain at Slim's Raleigh 10/17/2014"

As many good local bands as there are around here, it's impossible to keep up. I see a fair number of shows, but I had yet to get around to seeing Henbrain. I had the impression they were, well... off-beat? Weird? All good things in my book. But there were mentions of prog-rock, post-metal, gongs (yes, gongs). All fine and good, just not usually the first things go for in live music. Then there was the two-bass (no guitar) setup. Can be kinda limiting. So I maybe expected something likewise limited, a little retro and heavy, maybe with a novelty element.

Nope. Nope. Nope. While retro-influenced, and a bit prog, these guys are definitely forward-leaning. Maybe, like, outer space forward? "Weird" and "off-beat" are apropos, but not "limited". I'd place this band in the same local grouping with Whatever Brains and Waumiss, in approach and mindset if not musical style.

First, the basses (bassi?). "Jazz" bassist (as they called him) Zach Hargett keeps it heavy with the more typical prog-rock groove. But "Other" bassist Michelle Sontheimer takes her bass guitar into strange territory, basically playing lead guitar. A very creative, warped lead guitar. Then with added keys (Evan Ashworth) and great driving drums (Keith Cannon), you have something that, rather than being limited, pushes limits.

Oh yeah, then there's singer Erika Libero. She has a very strong voice, and fronts the band with a vengeance. She belts it out, running all around the stage (and crawling all over the floor, etc.). Her vocals remind me of New Town Drunks singer Diane Koistinen... they're both operatic, with Erika's being a little more melodramatic. And I remember Koistinen's voice... it stuck with me for a couple of decades since I used to play her Houston band De Schmog's CD all the time on college radio in Baton Rouge (and then, upon settling up here, was pleasantly surprised to recognize that same voice fronting a local band). Erika's voice is similarly memorable, and is about the only kind of voice that could front such a bombastic sound.

Bombasitc, yes. That's a good word for Henbrain. And unapologetically so. Henbrain plays a record release show for their new 7", Hang Glider, at the Cat's Cradle Backroom this Thursday (Nov. 6th). It was recorded with Mitch Easter at his Fidelitorium Studio in Kernersville, NC. It's some sexy looking red vinyl, so go and pick up a copy! Here's some photos of the bombast. - How Strange it is to be anything at all - NC Music Blog


Still working on that hot first release.



Henbrain is a five piece, bass-on-bass avant-garde acid rock band from Carrboro, NC formed in 2012 by Michelle Sontheimer on bass, Zack Hargett on bass, Evan Ashworth on keys, Erika Libero on vocals and Keith Cannon on drums. Henbrain's debut album was recorded released in September, 2013. A 7-inch vinyl record of material recorded with Mitch Easter at The Fidelitorium was released in November of 2014 at The Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, NC.  

Sontheimer developed her style of playing by transposing all of her favorite guitar riffs to bass while embracing the low tone.  In her own unique style she realized that the songs she had written would require a second bass and envisioned a band where two basses could weave together in harmony.  The resulting Henbrain is a heavy, grumbling rock explosion that explores deep tones and relentless rythmic chugs never achieved by typical guitar bands.  The brutal low end is complimented by Libero's bright soaring vocals that fall somewhere between Grace Slick of Jefferon Airplane and Karen O. of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs bringing a powerful and unforgiving femininity to the growl of the basses. Ashworth's keys range from gritty rock organ that races alongside the dual basslines to spacey soundscapes that bring the music to a psychedelic and other-worldly level.  Henbrain tours with accomplished VJ DeJaView who live mixes real time videos with effects, projection mapping, and crowd oriented feedback.  

Band Members