Boytoy to Headline Cassette Store Day at Gramps

Boytoy has been getting a lot of attention lately. Its first recorded work, the band's 2014 self-titled EP, earned writeups and photo spreads in Nylon, Spin, and Rolling Stone. Saara Untracht-Oakner, the band's lead singer and guitarist, is grateful for the attention. "It's cool that people care. It's nice to know that people are interested, and it's cool to tell stories in interviews."

One of those stories she shared with us involved Boytoy's last tour with La Luz, which — at first — she was hesitant to speak about. "I'm trying to think of a good story that won't make anybody mad. There was an Airbnb in Virginia where we ended up in a swimming pool with a bunch of horses."

Though no more specific details about how the horses got in or out of the pool were forthcoming, she was ready to talk about the band's immediate future. 

"It's more of a party-vibe record than the one before," Untracht-Oakner says of new album Grackle, coming out on October 2. The Brooklyn trio, made up of Untracht-Oakner, guitarist Glenn Van Dyke, and drummer Matthew Gregory Aidala, made it a point on their first full-length to give every member a chance to write songs and sing. "It's neat to have three people coming with different ideas," Untracht-Oakner tells us over the phone. "We were listening to a lot of the Kinks, Velvet Underground, Brian Jonestown Massacre, and ambient rock from the '70s, but we're also influenced by our friends doing a lot of awesome rock ’n’ roll stuff."

Untracht-Oakner fell into music early, even if her first musical hero wasn't exactly the epitome of rock ’n’ roll. "I played Raffi tapes over and over," she says with no hint of shame. At the age of 6, her parents signed her up for piano lessons, followed by trumpet lessons and cello lessons. After nearly going through the whole orchestra, she found her instrument of choice in the guitar. Not long after that, she started writing her own songs in high school.

Moving to Boston for college, she formed the band You Can Be a Wesley, during which time she met a kindred spirit in Van Dyke, who was playing with the New York band Beast Make Bomb at the time. In 2012, when both groups imploded, the two women decided to join forces and form Boytoy. Their sound is often compared to 20th-century alternative bands like Veruca Salt and Throwing Muses.

The comparisons can get frustrating. "Sometimes people just name some band with a girl singer that they know," Untracht-Oakner says. Other times, they can be enlightening. "One time, someone was like you guys sound like the Breeders. At the time, I'd never heard the Breeders, but since then I listened, and they became one of my favorites."
Boytoy is going on tour this October, which will include the band's first Miami show on October 17, headlining Cassette Store Day at Gramps. The tour will end in California, where they plan to spend the winter recording another album.

"An album a year would be great. I try to be inspired by Ty Segall, who puts out so much music. We figure talent plus effort will get you something." And after recording in California, they plan to tour their way back to New York. No word on whether horses will be involved. 

Boytoy with Party Flag, Plastic Pinks, and more. 9 p.m. Saturday, October 17, at Gramps, 176 NW 24th St., Miami; 305-699-2669; Admission is $5.
KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
David Rolland is a freelance music writer for Miami New Times. His novels, The End of the Century and Yo-Yo, are available at many fine booksellers.
Contact: David Rolland