Last April, Kip Berman was in Baltimore, playing his first-ever set without his indie-pop band The Pains of Being Pure at Heart behind him.
It had been two years since the release of “Belong,” Pains' scope-widening second album, and a nervous Berman was unsure how the solo set would go. To his surprise, that Baltimore performance returned Berman to his simpler songwriting roots.
“The best songs are the ones you can play by yourself on stage,” Berman said on the phone last week from his Brooklyn, N.Y., apartment. “I really feel like that experience confirmed the idea that this is the format [I] should be writing for, and then just build it out for larger places.”