Photo by Leslie Bear

A lot of small bands these days use sites like Kickstarter or PledgeMusic to fund their albums, but for the members of Green Paper, raking leaves seemed like a much better option—or, at least the best option to subsidize an album while avoiding noise complaints from the neighbors. They released their first album, Fire, in 2010 as the first in a series of five concept albums, and the members have now begun releasing singles off of the second album, Water, most likely to drop next year.

The New Brunswick, NJ-based quartet formed in the latter half of 2009, and if you believe Green Paper’s Facebook page, they all met after guitarist “Michael Mendonez took his first job as an ice cream truck driver and decided one stormy day to snatch up all the pretty people he found with talented hands and vocal chords.” But the true (and slightly less imaginative) story is that they met through mutual acquaintances while attending college. Each musician was involved in different projects until Tomm Hart and Jeff Lane (both on vocals and guitar) began writing songs together. “From there, Natalie jumped on drums, and Mike was eager to pick up guitar duties,” says Lane.

Since their formation, the band has been working on a five-album concept piece based on the Daoist concept of Wu Xing, or five phases—fire, water, metal, wood and earth—their goal being to “create an auditory imprint of the psyche of each element.” Green Paper released the first single from Water, “Stream Dream,” last August and has now followed that up with the second track, “Rain.” The sound of these two new tracks clearly exhibits the theme of water, which is easily detectable in the fluid vocals, sprinkling guitars and keys, and languid, alliterative lyrics.

Heavily influenced by the catchy melodies and layered vocal harmonies of the Beatles and the Beach Boys, as well as the electric sound textures of My Bloody Valentine and Olivia Tremor Control, Green Paper is experimenting with all of those different techniques to make a sound that is distinctly its own. “We dig guitars that sound like radios, sparkly vocal harmonies and lush, home-grown sound textures,” they say, “and have our hearts and ears set on making music for anyone who will listen.”

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