Landline performs at IceHouse, a performing arts theater in Bethlehem. The band, which performs both covers and original music, is scheduled to play five shows in April. (Courtesy of Kevin Federico)

The psychedelic symphony of student band Landline


Landline, a Lehigh-student-comprised electric folk and psychedelic band that’s two years in the making, is prepping for the release of their first EP, “Nobody’s Blues.” 

“It was never planned out, like let’s do a band and play shows, travel, record an album and stuff,” guitarist Mike Kaufman, ‘25, said. “It was always just that we were friends who liked the same music, and then we’d play that music together and it just kind of snowballed as more of us joined the crew.” 

When Kaufman was still living in his first-year dorm, he began playing guitar with two students who lived next door, who happened to have similar music tastes. 

“One day their friend Anna came over and we all just jammed together,” Kaufman said. “I guess that was the original start of Landline, or at least when we first started calling ourselves that.”

Currently, the band consists of Kaufman and Kevin Federico, ‘25, on guitar;  Anna Forebaugh, ‘25, on bass and vocals; and Ethan Perlman, ‘25, on drums. 

Landline performs covers as well as original music. Most of the initial songwriting is done by Federico or Kaufman.

“The philosophy we’re trying to do is we write everything as a folk song so it’s simple,” Federico said. “It doesn’t have a specific form or anything, and you come and bring it to the band and say, ‘Is this cool?’ What happens is that oftentimes, it sounds nothing like how I originally wrote it or what I had imagined, but I think it’s much better that way.” 

David King, ‘25, said when he saw Landline perform, he couldn’t tell the original songs and covers apart; they all sounded professional. 

Though the band members all have slightly varying tastes in music, Federico said they pull bits and pieces from Americana, folk, country and jazz. Collectively, they are heavily inspired by Grateful Dead and Neil Young. 

Landline has performed at Greek chapter houses, off-campus houses and Lamberton Hall, in addition to Bethlehem spots like The Flying V and the IceHouse. 

Kaufman said they’ve had the opportunity to meet many talented artists from the area. They’ve met people from Philadelphia who have come to the Lehigh Valley to perform shows, and the band once played a show in Reading with a band they met from Wisconsin.  

Federico said the members of Landline prefer writing and performing their own music over performing covers, although performing is fun no matter the material. He said when they are performing for a crowd that isn’t there for them, they feel the need to play covers and play for the people who want to hear them. 

To the band, this feels more practical than creative. 

“I think writing, like making a piece of art that is important and says something, that’s not trivial or generic,” Federico said. “I’d love to do something novel and have it have meaning.”

Landline will soon be releasing their EP “Nobody’s Blues” with four original songs that they wrote during the spring 2023 semester and then recorded in August. Kaufman said although their style in music has changed since they wrote and recorded the EP, it allows them to see their growth. 

“It’s very much a picture of what we once were, and from a memory standpoint, it’s super cool,” Kaufman said. “It helps with motivation too because we’re getting better, and it’s cool to see progress.” 

Although Landline is one of just a handful of student bands on campus, they’ve become part of an underground, but blossoming art scene, Kaufman said. With five shows scheduled in April, Landline is mobilizing. 

  • 4/7 at John and Peter’s, New Hope, PA
  • 4/18 at Cloud 10, Reading, PA
  • 4/19 at AC Club, Beverly, NJ
  • 4/21 at the Lehigh Valley Girls Rock benefit, Bethlehem, PA

Anna Forebaugh, ’25, performs as the lead singer of her band “Landline.” The band refers to themselves as “the oldest juveniles at Lehigh University.” (Lauren Slovensky/B&W Staff)

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