The Lemon Twigs Take Root

The Lemon Twigs
Hicksville natives Brian and Michael D’Addario of The Lemon Twigs have music in their blood. (Photo by Autumn de Wilde)

Suburban teenage boredom has been stifling to many, but it’s proved an ideal muse for brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario of Hicksville, also known as the breakout indie pop darlings The Lemon Twigs.

The acclaimed multi-talented duo, age 20 and 18, have made a name for themselves in the alternative music scene with an eccentric musical style that has an almost timeless feel to it.

“When were younger there wasn’t really anything else to do except for our music,” Michael said jokingly over lunch at the Empire Diner near where they grew up.

Their newest EP, “Brothers of Destruction,” released Sept. 22, features work originally written for their debut, “Do Hollywood,” which is coming close to the first anniversary of its release. Many of the songs featured on the new EP are ones that didn’t make the cut for “Hollywood” but circulated through their live sets.

The newer songs on the EP, such as “Why Didn’t You Say That?” and “The Night Song,” as well as songs from their debut album, “I Wanna Prove to You” and “These Words,” all of which were recorded in their home studio, have an unconventional, yet structured feel that integrate smooth harmonies and effortless guitar riffs that can connect to generations new and old.

Their work pulls the obvious influence from The Beatles and other staple rock acts like Big Star and Television. A huge influence on their style, Todd Rundrgen, came out at their Coachella set this year to play their cover of his hit song, “Couldn’t I Just Tell You.”

The multi-instrumentalists first gained the attention of Foxygen frontman and producer Johnathan Rado and were given the opportunity to open for the band at The Bowery Ballroom in October 2014.

The brothers have been submersed in music and arts since birth: Their father, Ronnie D’Addario, had a solo career in the 1970s and ’80s, while their mother is a former
vocalist and actress.

“They weren’t too pushy with it,” Brian said. “They’re pretty laid back when it comes to their ideas, so they wouldn’t have said, ‘You have to do this or you shouldn’t do that.’”

Although they set their minds to music early on, playing covers and posting them on YouTube and performing at places like the Hicksville Street Fair, they had to face the reality of what that meant.

Michael, still attending Hicksville High School when The Lemon Twigs began gaining traction, had to take day and night courses in order to graduate early. Brian deferred from Queens College for two weeks before an audition last year.

Setting their lives to music for the foreseeable future, they toured almost nonstop in early 2017, but are now scaling back a bit to record.

In the live setting, Michael and Brian trade positions between playing guitar and drums halfway through the sets, swapping out the lead on songs they wrote separately. Hoping to share the front of the stage on their next tour, and do more co-writing, they are currently looking for a drummer via YouTube video send-ins.

Nearing the end of the “Do Hollywood” era for The Lemon Twigs, they’ve been looking back on the music that has come from it. In some ways, they’re critical of the music they made when they were younger, but appreciate what it’s done and how they can learn from it.

“It’s kind of hard to look forward without criticizing our back catalog,” said Brian. “I know in the heart of hearts that I’m happy with it. I was definitely younger then.”

With touring slowing down, The Lemon Twigs are looking at recording not only their next release, but music for future albums as well.

“The newest songs are the ones we’re most into, and the newest songs are going to be old by the time we get to recording them, so we really want to get a lot recorded for these sessions,” said Brian. “We’re toying with the idea of doing this one and the one after that before going out on the road again.”