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Friends since college, guitarist and vocalist Israel Nebeker and drummer Ryan Dobrowski are the essence of Portland's Blind Pilot. From the beginning, their minimalist folk-rock sound has revolved around simple melodies, sparse drumming and warm vocals. Their lyrical bent often calls to mind folk-rock contemporaries such as Neutral Milk Hotel, Fleet Foxes, The Shins and Iron and Wine. In 2008, after a West Coast bicycle tour, the two wrote their breakout album, 3 Rounds and a Sound, and solidified their reputation for hauntingly beautiful music.
Since Blind Pilot's critically praised debut, it's toured with The Decemberists, Langhorne Slim and Gomez, and written more lovely, sturdy songs. This year, the band expanded to six members, bringing Blind Pilot a bigger sound full of layered vocals and instrumentals. The hooks are just as catchy and the guitar riffs are just as sweet, and the overall sound is bigger and better than ever. Blind Pilot's new album is titled We Are the Tide.