Northern State — Can I Keep This Pen?

We are Northern State. We are pleased to announce that our new album “Can I Keep This Pen?” will be released on Ipecac Recordings this August ‘07.

We’ve been friends for a very long time. Our names are Spero, Hesta Prynn and Sprout. We grew up together in deep suburban Long Island and found ourselves living in NYC after college. We have always shared a love of music, and we especially loved hanging out and listening to hip hop off of Hesta Prynn’s computer (this was before ipods even).

One night at a party at Hesta Prynn’s apartment we had the idea to start a rap group. So we did.

We have now been a band for seven years. “Can I Keep This Pen?” is our third proper album, following “All City” (Columbia Records, 2004), “Dying in Stereo” (Northern State Records/Startime/Wichita UK, 2003), and our 2002 independent EP “Hip Hop You Haven’t Heard”, which was supposed to be our demo. We got our start playing gigs all over NYC, and in our seven years as a band we have had the good fortune of sharing the stage in the US and Europe with the Roots, Le Tigre, Talib Kweli, De La Soul, The Gossip, Gym Class Heroes, Tegan and Sara, and Cake.

After “All City” was released, we became increasingly frustrated with the Columbia/SONY machine and left the label. Finally free, we teamed up with producer Chuck Brody of Shitake Monkey (Wu Tang Clan, Yoko Ono etc.) and Adrock from the Beastie Boys. We wrote a bunch of new songs and did an unprecedented amount of singing. We were fortunate to have some talented friends like Mr. Murray Hill, Kaki King, and Katie Cassidy stop by and play on the album. And we are no longer allowed to hold “writing meetings” at the Rodeo bar.

One day we felt like our album was finished, and we named it “Can I Keep This Pen?”

“Can I Keep This Pen?” pushes the limits more than anything we’ve recorded before in terms of what a hip hop song might sound like, what a rock song might sound like, and what Northern State might sound like. The album includes songs about our friendship (“Better Already”), our president (“Cowboy Man”), the apathy that surrounds us (“Cold War”), as well as what may be the first Northern State love song (“Away Away”). Our classic old school hip hop sound runs through the album, weaving its way through a new electro-rock current.

Mike Patton and Greg at Ipecac heard the new record and loved it and we are thrilled to finally be working with a label that encourages us to be as weird as we are.

Oh, I’m sorry..Can I Keep This Pen? -


Cover forCan I Keep This Pen?
Can I Keep This Pen?