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The Dartmouth
March 1, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Student Spotlight: Read Receipts energized by change

Bringing together musicians from diverse backgrounds, the student band has created a unique, joyful sound passed down with each new generation of members.

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Read Receipts — colloquially known as the “cieptz” — is among a handful of student bands that are a mainstay of Dartmouth’s live music scene. Its current iteration features Annie Politi ’23 on lead vocals, Liam Jamieson ’22 on drums, Carson Peck ’22 and Isaac Weber ’22 on guitar, Jason Wang ’23 on bass and Katie Hoover ’22 on keys. The band started in summer 2016 when a group of ’18s formed a fledgling band during their sophomore summer. Six years and one pandemic later, the band has persisted true to its original mix of talent and its diversity of musicality and individuality.

“The band is kind of bequested down each class,” Politi said. “When someone graduates from the band, they’ll find another musician on campus who they admire and pass their role down to [them].”

Jamieson, the longest playing member on the band’s current roster, said he thinks of Read Receipts’ sound “as eclectic,” with members bringing in different genres and songs they enjoy.  

Graham Rigby ’17, who played in the band years prior, echoed a similar sentiment.

“I don’t think ceiptz had a particular “band identity” necessarily — we were all into very different stuff for the most part,” Rigby said.

While older members of a band naturally tend to be leaders, band members said that Read Receipts has maintained a mutual level of equality and understanding among its members.

“I was afraid at first that there would be a strong hierarchy of people who had been there longer, and though there was a modicum of unspoken respect for tradition, I never felt like my opinion was worth less than anyone else’s,” former lead singer Daisy Harris ’21 said.

Current and former band members characterize Read Receipts’ style as loose, raw and intuitive. Politi and Hoover, both classically trained musicians, said that they initially struggled in overthinking their performances. But in playing to raucous crowds in dingy fraternity basements, they realized the energy and vibe of the performance is what matters most — nobody will care if you come in early as long as you play it off as if nothing happened, Politi said.

Tara Joshi ’18, the band’s first lead singer, attributes the band’s creation to the ambition of her close friend and drummer Charlotte Kamin ’18, who had been passionate about forming a new group. Sid Mehra ’18 joined the band by sheer coincidence — while he was moving into Chi Gamma Epsilon during the summer carrying his guitar, Joshi’s mom accosted him and mentioned that her daughter was looking for a guitarist for her new band, Joshi said.

Joshi, Kamin and Mehra were the pillars of this nascent band, originally known as Point of Contention, alongside Joe Finkelstein ’18 on keys, Max Fliegner ’18 on bass and James Detweiler ’18 on rhythm. The band’s first show was at Phi Delta Alpha, but the members ended up working their way up to playing at the 2017 spring Phi Delt block party and even opening the Green Key mainstage in 2018. 

Brendan Barth ’17, who joined the following spring, convinced the band to adopt the new name “Read Receipts.” Rigby joined the band for a short stint during his fifth year, and the lineage of the band continued with bassist Dom Repucci ’20 and a few other ’20s.

Read Receipts has consistently been one of the few bands with female musicians in Dartmouth’s predominantly male-dominated music scene. At its inception, the band had to jostle for recognition next to more established “frattier” bands, such as Shark, who were running the scene, Kamin said. As Politi and Kamin both pointed out, Greek houses naturally favor their own members.

“For me and Tara it was hard to start off since we weren’t one of the ‘boys,’” Kamin said. “And we wouldn’t get paid as much as all-male bands like Shark. It was a huge effort to make it, but it was one of the absolute highlights of my college career.”

Harris was the lead singer in the period after the original three graduated and the only woman in the band for a long period of time.

“I felt proud to be one of the only girls in the live music scene at Dartmouth at the time,” Harris said. “But thinking back, I wish I hadn’t been, because that kind of feeling just perpetuates the idea that there’s not room at the table for more than one or two women in male dominated spaces— like you have to be chosen. 

Harris added that she is “really glad” to see the live music scene become less male-dominated, and that she hopes to see Read Receipts add more women to the lineup — both as lead singers and instrumentalists. 

Dartmouth’s D-Plan has forced the Read Receipts to be flexible and adaptable, since it is difficult to maintain a consistent lineup. Many past members have been talented multi-instrumentalists, and the band’s composition has swayed over the years.

In reflecting on their performances, Kamin and other former members expressed disappointment over the exclusivity of the Dartmouth music scene and the emphasis on bands playing pop covers to the crowd rather than experimenting and creating new music.

“Finding a place to perform when you’re unaffiliated with a frat, which half of our group was, is very difficult,” Harris said. “There were houses we couldn’t really perform at for that reason, because we just didn’t have the social capital… it makes you think about how the exclusivity of Greek life creates entrenched barriers to perform.”

Politi said she feels that COVID-19 has broken down a lot of these barriers to perform since social groups have become less rigid and defined.

“These last couple terms, I’ve really enjoyed getting to play at a bunch of different houses,” Politi said “...It can be tough when you feel like a major reason people will come or not to your show is based on where the show is itself, but I think it’s all about making sure the music community moves in a direction towards making great art the foremost focus always.”

Six years later and with a different cast, the band is carrying strong on its original vision.

“Hopefully Read Receipts will still be playing when I’m long gone,” Jamieson said.