Schooner were formed in Raleigh, NC, from Reid Johnson's 4-track recordings.
Johnson recruited Tripp Cox, and later added Johnson's sister Kathryn Johnson on keyboards and vocals and Billy Alphin (The Ashley Stove, The Rosebuds) on drums in time for the band's first recordings, made in April 2004. These resulted in Schooner's first album, You Forget About Your Heart, released by the Pox World Empire label, which the group promoted by touring the East Coast, playing Pop Montreal, North by Northeast, and more. In 2006, they released the EPs 3x4 and Rocky P, and in early 2007, they signed to 54º 40' or Fight! Records, which released their second full-length, Hold on Too Tight.
After the release of Hold on Too Tight, the band nearly broke up, with Cox moving to Baton Rouge and playing with Generationals for a bit. In 2008, Maria Albani (Organos, See Gulls) came on board to play bass, and encouraged the remaining members to get back together. The band began recording again in 2009, and in 2010 released Duck Kee Sessions, recorded by NC institution Jerry Kee. The band began touring again, this time playing festivals from South by Southwest to Northside Festival in Brooklyn, NY.
In 2011 Kathryn and Alphin left the band, and Chris Badger (Hotel Lights) joined in on keys while Joshua Carpenter (Floating Action) added drums to new recordings. These sessions featured a collaboration with many members of the NC music community, and resulted in "Neighborhood Veins," released on September 24, 2013. The band has been touring and recording upcoming releases with Johnson, Carpenter, Albani, Nick Jaeger (Wild Fur) on bass, and Patrick O'Neil (The Wyrms, Some Army) on keys.
Schooner's intermittent touring has found the band playing festivals from South by Southwest to Pop Montreal to Hopscotch Music Festival, and they've played with friends Generationals, Floating Action, War on Drugs, The Rosebuds, Portastatic, Archers of Loaf, Lost in the Trees, The Love Language, Bowerbirds, as well as Jacco Gardner, Deerhunter, Camera Obscura, Bette Serveert, Joan Jett, and probably your band, too.
This gauzy, blown-out, beautiful pop record is the crowning achievement for Schooner and singer-songwriter Reid Johnson...Neighborhood Veins is an album that doesn’t ignore the past, doesn’t ignore the yesterdays good and bad that brought on today, but it also never falls into over-sentimentalizing loss and avoids the all-too-obvious trap of nostalgia. -Matt Fiander, Pop Matters (8 out of 10)
With its energetic songs and fuzzy guitars, Neighborhood Veins is sure to be an album you won’t stop listening to any time soon. -MAGNET Magazine
If there’s an upside to the outfit’s general instability, it’s the spontaneity and mobility lent to the music. Lead single “It Won’t Matter” is nothing if not flexible, switching back and forth from fuzzed-out folk-rock ballad to a tsunami of dissonant guitars and overblown harmonies with utter brevity.
-Consequence of Sound
There’s a Spector-ish vibe fully in play on the album, as evidenced on such numbers as echo-chamber country-rock gem “Flames,” thrashy thumper “Trap,” waltz-time ballad “Floodlights and Ghosts” and ‘50s pop pastiche “Still In Love” (check the falsetto!). That widescreen, cinematic element becomes a signature over the course of the 12-song record, and it’s telling that right from the get-go, on opening track “It Won’t Matter” one receives sonic images ranging from Roy Orbison to the Righteous Brothers to the Velvet Underground. -BLURT Magazine (4 out of 5)
Neighborhood Veins pulses with a thudding musical heartbeat that echoes in your ears long after the last notes have faded back into your speakers. -Beats Per Minute
Schooner sends you on a musical journey that traverses the territories of rock, country, folk, 50s doo-wop, and even throws in some chilled out trip-hop style ambience. -Deftune
...a deliciously loose stomp through clattering drums, whirring psych-ish guitars and a marvelously vivacious vocal delivery. It’s the kind of track that could only have come from America; the sound of great expanse, of stifled dreams and of the unending belief that anything is possible if we just sing loudly enough... -Gold Flake Paint (UK)
Schooner's delightfully experimental pop-rock earns the intimidating e-word not by going off on wild tangents but by augmenting perfectly intuitive song structures with unexpected, though balanced textures. -INDY Week (NC)
Blending sweet boy-girl vocals, some '50s doo-wop and '60s baroque pop influences (not heavy, but there) with the college rock skronk of their hometown in the '90s and some timeless power-pop hookery, the five-piece didn't disappoint...
-Frank Yang, Chromewaves (review of Pop Montreal show)
...stories of bruised women and cynical men around chugging, '60s-inspired hooks and melodies so beautiful that they are incongruous with the stark sadness of their lyrics... -CMJ