Our Story

...riding fiercely in a no mans land where intimate vocals sneak into bed with wild guitar serenades and wrestle with beats from a by gone era....

Aka Belle are genre-crossing mavericks from Boise, Idaho; spotlighting sultry, intimate vocals over unhinged guitar solos, backed by a beatnik jazz/rock rhythm section featuring stand up bass. 


Aka Belle are known for their DIY shows, mixing their quirky, glittery onstage performances, and catchy songwriting with haunting, passionate calls for love, resistance, and equality for all - they make you want to dance, hug, cry, sing along, and raise your fists to fight - often simultaneously! 


Their influences cover a wide range - a near enough description might be Catherine Merrick (who has been compared to Neko Case and Jenny Lewis) singing to a mix of Crazy Horse (thanks to Aka Belle’s wild guitarist Sam Merrick), Arthur Lee (Love) and Os Mutantes, then throw some influences from definitive jazz artists like Charles Mingus (Aka Belle bassist Michael P. Waite and drummer John “Bongos” Townsend can swing, baby), with  a hint of natural, smoky voiced torch singer Julie London... and you’re getting somewhat close to the Aka Belle sound. They are a rock band unafraid to experiment, speak their minds and make full use of their individual talents.


Aka Belle are making plans to go into the studio to record new material in spring of 2020, hot on the back of their 2019 release, “Sagebrush Athenians,” which made the Top 50 Best Sellers of 2019 at the iconic Record Exchange, as well as making the Best of 2019 local albums list compiled by Boise Weekly.


They are also gearing up for their showcase set at Treefort Music Festival in March 2020 (the band proudly have been invited to play every Treefort event since its beginning).


2019 saw the release of two videos from the “Sagebrush Athenians” album - “War On Love,” the bands wondrous, anthemic often show closer; and “Wonders of the World,” a call to everyone in the world fighting for equality in these chaotic times. 


They have headlined Hyde Park Street Fair; shared the stage with both Portland’s Roselit Bone and Federale; international stars Ken Stringfellow and Jon Aur/The Posies (Catherine has consistently been their go-to backing vocalist when they perform in Boise); Sera Cahoone, Brett Netson (Caustic Resin, Built to Spill); Eilen Jewell; Jesse Dayton; John Doe & Exene Cervenka (X); Holly Golightly, Lydia Loveless, Lindi Ortega, and collaborated with some big names in music including Iggy Pop, Doug Martsch (Built to Spill), and even Curtis Stigers.


“I caught a few minutes of Boise's aka Belle, whose darkly jazzy country, augmented by bursts of loud guitar, would fit in great at Pickathon." -- Matthew Singer, Arts & Culture Editor, Willamette Weekly 


…”jazzy swing, raw guitar and sultry vocals have been a welcome part of the local scene. the release of a.k.a. Belle's new EP, I Hear It Now, which features guitar work by Brett Netson - should make for an exciting new chapter.”

Benjamin Schultz/Boise Weekly

For more press/quotes click here

For live reviews click here

To see the full Aka Belle discography and online store, click here


More History:

In March of 2017, the band released a new track, "Remembering the Sound," which was recorded at Tonic Room Recording Studio in Boise, Idaho.  The song features guest appearances from Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer from The Posies. "Remembering the Sound" is available as a digital download - available here on this very website.

In June 2016, the band brought a 4 track EP into the world, "I Hear It Now," their 3rd release to date.  "I Hear It Now" features guest guitarist Brett Netson (Caustic Resin, Built to Spill, Snakes) on "Crooked Path," an epic 7 minute song that has become one of the most exciting parts of their live shows. Michael Deeds of the Idaho Statesmen referred to it as having the "meteor shower  power of an old school Built to Spill jam."

"I Hear It Now" made it into Boise's independent record store The Record Exchange's Top Sellers of 2016, in a year when mega releases such as David Bowie's "Blackstar," Sturgill Simpson's "A Sailors Guide to Earth," and Leonard Cohen's "You Want it Darker" dominated the charts.

In March of 2016, they released "Mustangs," a track from "I Hear It Now," as a digital download, with proceeds benefitting Wild Love Preserve, a 501(C)3 non profit whose mission is to rescue, protect and preserve Idaho's wild horses.

The band have previously released two albums - "Disappearing Night"  (2012) was in the Top Ten Best Selling Local Albums at independent record store The Record Exchange, coming in a sweet #6; and "The Devil Loves You,' released in February 2014, entered the Top Ten Best Sellers at #3 and remained in the top twenty several weeks after it's release.  Tracks from "The Devil Loves You" are particular favorites of local radio stations KRBX and KBSU ("Mess You Up," "HG Wells is Alive and Well," and "Collecting Songbirds" being the most played). 

Please contact us for more information - we'd love to hear from you. Wander freely on our site, check out our tunes, join our mailing list.