Two things keep Moselle Spiller, 31, and Franklin Hoier, 34, on the road; love and music. The husband and wife duo, originally formed in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick in 2010, are Crushed Out, a surf-inspired country/blues/rock-and-roll outfit.
“We’re an interesting case because we were together for a year-and-a-half before we had any idea Moselle could drum,” Hoier says. “I invited her to sit at a drum kit one time and she could absolutely, effortlessly play a simple boom-chick beat. I showed her the Chuck Berry rock-and-roll beat and she could just do it — literally, the very first time she ever sat at a drum kit.”
Playing under the band’s original name Boom Chick, Spiller (vocals/drums/percussion), who recently graduated from art school and had zero musical experience, and Hoier (vocals/guitar/bass/organ), an acoustic folksinger-songwriter from Southern California, self-released their 2010 EP, Show Pony.
Then they hit the road, bringing high-energy live performances to small venues peppered throughout the United States. When they returned home to the Northeast, legal trouble was brewing.
“In 2012, at the end of a really intense touring season, we were served a cease-and-desist from a lawyer that another band had trademarked the name without communicating with us at all,” Hoier explains.
The other band, an alt-punkabilly trio from Eugene, Oregon, named Boomchick, didn’t appreciate the fact that there was another band around named Boom Chick (albeit with a space and extra capitalized letter).
“It was pretty weird and kind of crushing at the time. It felt like we were getting a little bit of momentum going and then that happened. We had to completely rebrand the band and it was a lot of work,” says Hoier. “I think it turned out for the better and I like our new name much better, now. I think that it’s more imaginative and it has way more meaning.”
Armed with a new name, Crushed Out, which press material calls “both ’20s slang for busting free from a bad situation and ’80s slang for the weight of love when you fall for someone,” the duo set to work on their first full-length.
Want to Give was recorded partly at Bunker Studio in Brooklyn and partly at the band’s analog studio in a barn far from a city, in New Hampshire. It was released in November 2012 on Crushed Out’s imprint, Cool Clear Water Records, and earned the couple some touring time with groups like Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Band of Skulls, Shakey Graves and Social Distortion.
“Fortunately and unfortunately, we’re a total self-run band and booking agency and label,” says Hoier. “We tour in a Ford E-150 where we can sleep in the middle if we need to. It’s pretty compact for a two-person outfit and yeah, that’s kind of how we’ve been touring the past few years.”
Splitting their time between Brooklyn and New Hampshire, Crushed Out has been quasi-homeless for those years of travel. Admittedly, they’re on the road more than at home and have taken to shacking up with friends and family rather than paying rent.
This past September, Spiller and Hoier released their second full-length album, Teeth, which they again recorded in that bucolic setting north of New York City. This time the rustic studio was stocked with custom-built guitar effect pedals, tube amps from the 1960s, tube reverb units and tape echo machines.
Hoier engineered and produced the record, using a half-inch tape machine and some nifty vintage microphones.
The result is a nine-song, electrified, folk-infused surf rock disc that Paste Magazine called “forward-thinking, never adhering to genre lines and consistently reworking itself into something new.” Check out the album’s first tune, “To Sing True of Love.” Teeth is available in vinyl and CD; Want to Give in CD or cassette tape at crushedoutmusic.bandcamp.com.
“We started playing strictly for fun and then it got interesting,” Franklin Hoier says of Crushed Out’s genesis. “Our whole band energy is really, understandably, from that perspective. We’re not some concept or project. It’s not something we even thought of. It’s like we’ve been given this gift that we can play together and we’re riding on the joy of that discovery.”