No Surf Music


The No Surf Review


The Lowdown:

Daphne Lee Martin

Based In:
New London, Connecticut



Interview Subjects:
Daphne Lee Martin (vocals/guitar) with Brad Bensko (bass/vocals), David Keith (drums), and Isaac Young(keys/organ)

Interview Date:
March 4, 2014

Interview Location:

Dig & Be Dug (2011, with Raise the Rent), Moxie (2013), Frost (2014)

Rock, pop, jazz rock, cabaret pop, indie rock



March 19, 2014



#27 Daphne Lee Martin with Brad Bensko, David Keith, and Isaac Young

by Jason D. 'Diesel' Hamad


Daphne Lee Martin performs at The Rumba Café in Columbus, Ohio following our interview. Bassist Brad Bensko is in the background.

Daphne Lee Martin is a walking contradiction. Or so she’d have you believe. As Kris Kristofferson intimated about many artists, that’s partially truth and partially fiction. But she professes to be ruled by her sign of Gemini, the twins. It’s all about the yin and the yang for her, the frost and the moxie. These opposing forces of her personality form the basis for the twin albums by those names, “Frost” being the “good girl” record and “Moxie” covering the “bad girl” side. Taken together, the albums are about the complications of (a) life, and just because life is complicated (and Daphne explains that in her chat), “Moxie” was released last year, while “Frost” made its debut earlier this month.

The albums are hard to pin down style-wise. Unlike the harshly cleft topical lines, the music is a hodgepodge of different styles, some songs tending more toward one side than the other. According to Daphne, some have called it cabaret pop, and I can see that. There is a sort of strutting, leg-baring theatricalism about it. But for me, the key element, besides the obvious rock base, is jazz. It’s the swing that holds it together, whether the pendulum has moved toward the shadowy side of Ms. Martin’s soul, or the bright.

If you’re looking for a musician who can not only examine herself in the harsh light of day, but also in the dank half-glow of night, and one who can make you do the same for yourself even as you get lost in the layered dreaminess of her music, then Daphne Lee Martin is the girl you’ve been looking for.

By way of full disclosure, I should note that I adore Daphne. She earned No Surf Friend status more quickly than anybody in history, at just around five minutes after our introduction, and did so by means of a pair of vinyl albums (the quickest way to my heart), as we describe in the course of the interview. She, it might be added, professes the same toward me, but pretty much everybody has that feeling, so that’s less noteworthy. The point is that even though the show at which we caught up with her and her band in Columbus was only the second time we’ve met in person, our parley in the Rumba Café green room was one of those sweet, relaxed affairs one wishes every interview could be. It was just a whole lot of fun for me and for Daphne and her band, and I hope you’ll agree. So, even as the last snows melt on this frosty winter and we move into the breeze of spring, pull up that chair, relax by the fire, and bask in the warm glow of the Diesel/Daphne lovefest that this Burning River Fireside Chat turned out to be. Who knows, maybe some of it’ll rub off on you.



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For a taste of Daphne Lee Martin, buy Frost on Amazon!
mp3 cd


No Pop. No Crap. No Surf.