Central Plains

Brooklyn Indie Rock band

Who is Central Plains: An imaginative Indie rock band from Brooklyn led by Swedish/American singer/songwriter Nik Westman. Westman draws influences from a range of various, eccentric, songwriter bands like The Cure, Modest Mouse, The Shins, and The Doors. The songs are mostly written by Nik, by the window in the kitchen, with acoustic guitar and coffee in hand. The subtle details, all the icing so to speak, like guitar solos, keys, background vocals, song arrangements, textural elements and drums are hashed out by the band when a song is completed. 


Central Plains live shows have been described as having a chill, yet  energetic sound, sometimes rocking out in a psychedelic, groovy way, at other times easing into an alternative country vibe when a slide guitar solo appears. The band, founded in 2007, are Nik Westman, singer/songwriter, Paul Orbell on guitar, Sean Wiggins on lead guitar, Chris Weaber on bass, and Ryan O'Toole on drums and keyboard. 


Central Plains will release their third album, Commuter, in April 2018

Central Plains is an Indie/folk/ rock band from Brooklyn, New York Founded in 2006.

Fans of the band have said “they sound sort of like a mixture of early Modest Mouse, Neil young & Stephen Malkums & the Jicks.”

Central Plains live shows have been described as having a chill, yet  energetic sound, sometimes rocking out in a psychedelic, groovy way, at other times easing into an alternative country vibe when a slide guitar solo appears.

central Plains are:

Ryan o’toole - drums

sean wiggins - bass

paul orbell - lead guitar

nik westman - guitar & vocals

Anrfactory writes about our latest song “YOu & me”

“If you’re one of those people that keeps their Post-Punk playlists stagnant with sounds that were produced before the 00’s, you might want to check out Central Plain’s new single You & Me.  Not even ten seconds into the track you’re treated to the Peter Hook style rhythmic bass influence which is overwhelmingly palpable, then the track progresses to the haunting atmospherics from Post-Punk bands such as Echo & the Bunnymen, the Smiths and the Cure. Nik Westman’s vocals are the perfect outlet for the poignant lyrics that could rival bands such as the Chameleons when it comes to creating a bitter sweet narrative. Yet, Central Plains latest track You & Me is more than just a revival of a sound that I for one get so God damn nostalgic about. The Brooklyn based band create a haunting yet energetically spectacular soundscape through their ingenious use of psychedelic groove and Jangle Pop guitar renditions.”

Pittsburgh Post gAzette writes about our 2nd album “walk on beaches” : (released 2011)

Nik Westman is a straightforward guy, not one to embellish his credentials. But past press reports have misinterpreted some of his statements; notably that he was heavily influenced by Indian music, and that he wrote a book about the cuisine of the central plains of Pennsylvania. Neither is true.

“There’s so much misinformation,” Westman says with laugh.

What’s not at all questionable is Westman’s talent. His band, Nik and the Central Plains, will release its new CD, “Walk on Beaches,” with shows Friday and Saturday at the Thunderbird Cafe in Lawrenceville.

Westman describes the music as “straight-up, three-piece, garage folk rock.” That might be technically accurate, but mere words don’t do justice to the sweep of the music. Think Calexico by way of Camper Van Beethoven, with elements of Wilco, Crazy Horse and Steve Wynn and the Miracles, and you’ll start to approximate the band’s sound.

But only start.

Westman, 28, of Aspinwall, released an eponymously titled album with bandmates Kraig Decker (bass) and Colin Bronnenkant (drums) in 2010. “Nik and the Central Plains” was merely “a collection of songs,” he says. “This one is the band. This is the guys I’ve been playing with for three years. It’s more representative of the band. The last one wasn’t really what we sound like.”

Each song on “Walk on Beaches” is fleshed out with small touches. The spare, acoustic “Kickin’ Leaves” is augmented by slide guitar and chimes. “Arctic Dance” starts with a frenetic blare before segueing into a hypnotic maze of mellow guitar rock. “Paul and Jen,” the closest Westman gets to a pop song, is leavened by the accordion of Ross Raider. Other guest musicians, including vocalist and violinist Sara Siplak and guitarist Tom Demagall, add texture throughout.

Westman isn’t quite sure where his musical diversity comes from. Born in Sweden, he lived in Los Angeles until he graduated from high school and moved to Pittsburgh.

“I also lived in Hawaii for a year and I got into a lot of drumming,” he says. “I was around a lot of island jams. And I’m a skateboarder, so, watching a lot of skating videos, you get into a lot of different styles.”

If there’s a mood that best describes “Walk on Beaches,” it’s manic. Westman draws mostly from his own experiences for material, as in the semi-autobiographical title song, which is punctuated with flourishes of trumpet and vocals reminiscent of David Byrne’s.

“When I listen to (the album), there are a lot of suggestions that people are crazy,” Westman says. “It deals a lot with people’s emotions.”