photos x words: aditi
“you belong to me and all paris belongs to me and I belong to this notebook and pencil.” hemingway
i came to paris from bombay about a year ago. my first night, two men from a pizzeria near my soon-to-be apartment helped me find my way around the city, and almost immediately, i felt safe. our paris was at night, for that is when we saw the city. The bibliothéque françois mitterrand, on the banks of the seine, was a short walk from the apartment and we often walked there in search of food, alcohol and sometimes just to see the lights from the city dancing on the water. we befriended the algerian men who ran the pizzeria and saw them often, for the pizzeria was the only place in the neighbourhood that was open until 2am. they would correct our french and teach us arabic, while we would coach them in english. we became well verses in the closing times of all the essential shops and transport systems, and how to navigate the city intoxicated. parisian attractions are even more wonderful when you have a bottle of wine in your hand. i remember a recent summer night when i was at the notre dame after midnight. we sat on the floor in a circle and looked up at the cathedral. the square was empty. a man was playing guitar in the spanish style and the music resonated everywhere making it seem almost magical.paris has been my home for some time now and I have grown to love and hate it. the weather can be horrible and sometimes, its almost impossible to get things done because your french may not be so good, but nevertheless, the city is beautiful and filled with artists of every kind. and quite honestly, it becomes impossible to eat any other kind of bread after your palette has been refined by the fine taste of the baguette. you stop thinking of wine as alcohol and consume it like it was juice, and you even miss being constantly surrounded cigarette smoke. and soon, you begin to realize that you have a secret that connects you to millions of other parisians. a secret that you cannot know until you live here.
About Before They’re Famous, with Andy Reed
Down here in the District of Columbia, the atmosphere is a different beast all together. Although I still consider myself to be a Westerner (hailing from a little town in Colorado called Littleton nestled outside the big city), living in the house of a northerner’s while the whole world waits for something to happen with one, blank stare was not exactly enough for me.
And so I play drums for two bands: New Order of Existence is one. Rhett Repko is the other. In effect, I am bipolar–divided between progressive grunge and pop rock. What a weird place to be in. Just to add the element of surprise, I’m also a journalist, schooled in the ways of the new and old media and spending four years in Switzerland working on a communications and media studies degree.
It was only recently that my music career has started to take off, where I’m spending nearly every day per week doing something musical as a career. Making rehearsals is tough enough for one band, but try rehearsals, studio sessions and gigs out-of-state on a weekly basis for months on end. It’s a dizzy life but you learn to embrace it. When passions meet the right producers, I knew that what I’ve always dreamt of was slowly becoming a reality.
The friends that I make music with, the new friends I form in the process…write the story so you can look back and say “I knew them before they were famous.” That is the central idea behind my column, “Before They’re Famous” that excelled at pulling in interviews from bands and artists that were enrolled in any college around the world for their chance to get some promotion for their upcoming release, music video, tour–you get the idea.
Words by Andrew Mendosa
Charlotte, Virginia native, Inning, has released a wonderful little dream pop track with “She’s So Political”. It’s dejected vocals are shy, almost mumbly, with lyrics that are simple and emotive. Rich synths blanket the entire track in a sedative sort of hush, which is a dominant factor of the tune. Above this, light, angelic synth notes drift along the thick coat of those synths, along with some simple, lightly played electric guitar. Understated drumming tucked nicely below give the song a light momentum. The song is ostensibly simple and understated in it’s rhythm, but the harmonies are where the track shines in it’s emotion and musical complexity. Turn this track on when you’re looking to increase dissociation levels and decrease unease.
I have to admit, I’ve been spending a lot of time behind the scenes these days — my days are a mixture of working on a million different things all at once, and then being laser-focused for a few hours, taking a nap, walking my dog before he pees on the floor, ordering food, and then lasering in for another few hours. Last night I went to bed at 3 am, after doing some designing of newly-launched sites — one of which I’m about to mention — and was up again at 9am doing some freelance work. It’s been hell and also really rewarding, and after sharing an email exchange with one of my favorite artists, Banana Cream, and hiring a new columnist, I couldn’t be more thrilled to make a formal (albeit, late) announcement.
Left Bank College is here and I couldn’t be happier.
What started out as a drunk idea between me and my good friend/fellow Left Bank writer William, quickly turned into a deep passion project that. Left Bank Magazine is now the flagship if you will of the Left Bank Media brand, and Left Bank College has taken its place as my little baby. Many of you may not know this, but when I was in school I launched a site for college feminists, and spent a year after college building out the team, getting partnerships with some universities, and building a community of college (and recent alum) feminists. Working on and owning a magazine for college students means so much to me — I remember being in college like it was yesterday (hint, it was not lol) and I feel that a lot of growth happens during those years.
The idea of Left Bank College is to curate and share art (photography, music, poetry, choreography, film, etc.) that is being created at a collegiate level. But it’s more than just a little brother or sister site of Left Bank Magazine — it will have its own columns, its own unique content, and helpful resources on things like internships at art galleries and whether you need a band manager and how to land that job at name that music company (hint: Craigslist worked for me).
It’s a chance for me and my friends and former colleagues to share tips on being an artist, and a creative, after college, and help current and recently graduated students actualize their dreams. It took me about five years after college to do this whole Left Bank thing, what if there is someone out there wanting to start a profitable magazine that I can help guide now?
Feel free to reach out to me as I head up this new journey, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s one of my favorite pics from college. Some things don’t change.
Words by William
I’m back in my bedroom and up in my head with Banana Cream. This dreamy bedroom pop project by Will Gonzalez is the sound of standing in the cold far past when you said you’d be home. Trying to cover a new tattoo. Delete a text message. Cover the liquor on your breath. Practicing to lie away the fun that occupied your night.
Gentle harmony and a heavy beat keep you moving while you fumble for your keys. Your immediate future looks grim, but it was worth it. You were you for just a little while.
Hear it below:
It’s Good and I Like It: 5 Minutes with The Nude Party’s Patton Magee
Words by Luci Turner
You formed in 2012 at Appalachian State University, and — six years later — are touring with The Arctic Monkeys and Jack White, two of the biggest rock acts of our time. How do you even begin to describe that?
We are super fortunate to have a full team of badass women working behind the scenes with us, namely our booking agent Kiely Mosiman and our management duo Cara Merendino and Amanda Soltis. They are the ones that have gotten our videos and our record in front of people like Jack White, and in front of the Arctic Monkeys.
The Arctic Monkeys and Jack both liked us enough to bring us on to play some shows with them. We’re really lucky and grateful to them for having us. We all put a lot of work and sacrifice into the band, and it’s really validating to get to play before legends like them, and then to see them play. Sometimes I get to thinking we are pretty cool — pretty good — then I see Jack White just absolutely dominate the attention of 5,000 people, and the way he seamlessly runs the show without a set list. He and his band are amazing. There’s usually a pretty good reason that thousands of people will turn out to see a band like Jack’s or the Arctic Monkeys. It’s ‘cause they’re fucking good. Seeing people perform like that reminds me we’ve got a lot of work to do. It stokes the fire under my ass.
You’re part of a new wave of psychedelic, vintage-inspired rock that’s growing beyond the mainstream media, a new type of “outlaw music.” How have you taken that sound and made it your own, and how does it feel to know that you’re successfully making music outside the fringes of what’s commercially popular?
I think the idea of mainstream music has kind of frayed out in the last decade. It seems to me there isn’t really one main genre surrounded by tiny subcultures anymore. There’s a lot of genres now, all with their own fanbases and cultures surrounding them. There are bands you’ve never heard of that sell out tours in big rooms, then, on the flip-side, there are major artists that everyone’s heard of, but neither you or your friends ever listen to. So I don’t think that we’re making music outside of the fringes. I think we inhabit one of many overlapping “bubbles,” but, like any artist, I hope we eventually transcend that.
The Nude Party listens like a mixed drink of Southern music from the 60s and rock groups from Laurel Canyon and England; who would you say has had the greatest influence on you, when it comes to writing and performing? Who would you say is the most surprising influence?
It’s probably no surprise that we love the Velvet Underground, Bowie, the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, Animals, all that really good 60s and 70s stuff. The amount of classic country we listen to might be surprising, and maybe that will bubble to the surface and start to influence us more in the next album. We also have this really great “bad country” playlist that we play in the van a lot, really shit songs that are fun to listen to: country-rap about dipping, disingenuous patriotic shit like Blake Shelton. Hopefully the bad country doesn’t show up as an influence!
What’s the creative process like? How did it change from Hot Tub to The Nude Party?
We’ve gotten better at playing our instruments, for one. We acquired instruments at the same time that we started the band, so, skill-wise, we really started at the bottom. But I think our style and skills are just enhancing and becoming more interesting over time. At first, we were excited just to be able to play a riff together. Over the past five years, we naturally raised the bar for ourselves with every record and show. Our influences have diversified.
We live in a time where rock music rarely tops the charts, but that doesn’t keep fans from packing into rock clubs, buying vinyl, and being just as devoted to their favorite bands as fans were in the 60s and 70s. Why do you think rock is so important, and how are you carrying on the legacy? On the other hand, how are you blazing your own path?
Other genres die out, but rock ’n roll just adapts and keep pushing. I don’t know where it gets its magic permanence from, I just know it’s good and I like it.
What’s your ultimate bucket list concert? Any band, any era.
I’d love to see Neil Young in any capacity, with any of his backing bands, or solo with an acoustic guitar and piano. He’s my favorite songwriter of all time.
Photo by Mike Belleme
The wheels of our existence turn on thanks to your submissions, shout outs, ‘tip’ emails (“YOU’VE GOT TO CHECK OUT THIS BAND”), friends in PR, and well connected grunge//hipster socialites.
Get in where you can fit in and send your submissions, tips, and socialite friends to email@example.com.
Generally, we look for visual art, poetry and prose, music submissions, and artist//band interviews. But, we’ve been known to travel off the beaten path every now and again. All work must be original, because plagiarism isn’t fun for anyone. Extra points for weirdness.
I bake a lot of bread during the summer which inspired me to write a song about leisure, love, and baking.
Everyone and their mama knows that I have this major ear-crush on Inning. Their sound is a full-body experience, the vocals touch your soul, the instrumentals stroke your ears, and everything just feels pure but also sad at the same time; and also complete.
Does that make any sense? Sometimes I feel like I’m just writing an online diary or talking to one of those modern internet therapists.
I guess that’s what music is anyway.
Inning got its start last fall at The University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia (apparently it’s a really good school. fun fact: my uncle went there). The cool thing about Inning is that it sounds like a full band but it’s actually just the homie Evan Frolov, laying out his life and love and soul and everything from his Macbook Pro in his dorm to the internet waves. He’s deep and cool; understands complexities of life, but is able to make them feel so simple and soulful. Which is a fucking art.
I think that good lyrics come from the words spoken on the street. If I don’t say it in real life, I won’t sing it, unless I’m being ironic, but I haven’t smoked that much pot.
So the thing about this track is that unlike some other tracks of his that really hit home (Expensive Flights makes me cry), this track truly is just about his love of baking bread, and love, and leisure.
It’s a mix of what you get with Inning and that’s what I love about them. It’s accessible and fun; beautiful and sad; and leaves a little spot on your heart.
This review was not paid for, I just really like their music. Hopefully you will too …
Charlottesville, VA indie rock group Inning – featuring songwriter/vocalist Evan Frolov – made their debut on Left Bank a few weeks ago with the shoegaze dream track, “White Girls, Black Jackets.” The second release and title track from Inning’s debut EP, The D.C. Party Machine EP, “D.C. Party Machine” is an equally dreamy track chronicling a new era of Frolov’s life.
Inspired by a stint as an intern in Washington, D.C., “D.C. Party Machine” is a love song to the city and the changes Frolov experienced during his time there.
“I felt proud of my accomplishments and confident in myself,” Frolov says. “It was a departure from the indie rock, awkward, slightly self-deprecating persona I had somehow acquired. But while in D.C., I felt respected. I was making money doing something I loved, and I was going to fancy parties. This song is an ode to adulthood, and a love song for D.C. and myself.”
Adept at painting a scene with great detail (I left my car on Wall Street / And I look cool with my shades on / And every blonde girl thinks I’m so tight / I wanna be there / I even try), Frolov has a unique ability to draw me into the song until I’m there with him, walking into a party with a bottle of rum in a brown bag because “I’m no boring birthday card.” I can’t be sure, but I might even love D.C.
Watch the music video to “D.C. Party Machine” here:
Words by Kat Bula, Hearth Music
I’m delighted that Left Bank has invited me to introduce this playlist of a few of the amazing artists we at Hearth PR have had the honor of promoting this year. As the firm’s newest publicist, it’s been a great chance to catch up on the ones I missed before I started at Hearth…and what a catalog! From gritty fringe country to poignant craft songwriters, from roots traditionalism to lush indie shot through with Arctic throat singing, here’s a sampling of 2018’s best:
J.P. Harris – “JP’s Florida Blues #1”
Free Dirt Records had a big year this year, and fringe country artist JP Harris was kind of their flagship. A carpenter by day, JP’s lived a Woody Guthrie life, hopping trains and living in the mountains. But his new album taps into his wide Nashville network (and was produced by Morgan Jahnig of Old Crow Medicine Show).
Sunny War – “Gotta Live It”
One of our breakout artists this year, Sunny War came off the LA streets with a wildly inventive and virtuosic guitar style, and lyrics that were brutally honest views at life, love, and being black in America right now.
The Rails – “Hanging On”
The Rails are like if Nick Drake and Coldplay had a fashionable British baby, but without any of the sentimentalism. They’re perfect for an angry walk around town, the soundtrack for your morning commute, or seeing your lover in a more honest light.
Jonathan Byrd – “Taking It Back”
Byrd’s diamond-sharp songcraft is in turns slyly comedic, bittersweet, and vividly narrative. Expansive electric guitar and cello convey the vastness and grit of the American West, home to many of the ranch hands, roughnecks, and other contemporary cowboys that populate Byrd‘s songs.
Vivian Leva – “Bottom of the Glass”
We still can’t figure out how Appalachian-country songwriter Vivian Leva, not even old enough to drink, could write a song that so piercingly describes a marriage gone cold. “Bottom of the Glass” sounds like a tears-in-your-beer instant-classic but chills our bones with its hard observations.
The Jellyman’s Daughter – “Oh Boy”
With stunning duet vocals and sweeping string arrangements, this Edinburgh duo seamlessly blends roots music influences with a contemporary indie folk sensibility and loads of heart.
3hattrio – “Faith”
3hattrio’s American Desert music has a wild and otherworldly sound, the product of three very different musicians merging their work together with the arid, high-altitude soil and shifting shadows of the Utah wilderness. Mixing the routine with the unusual, they fuse American folk music with outsider elements like autotune, psychedelia, and minimalism.
Beatrice Deer – “Takugiursugit”
Beatrice Deer is wildly difficult to classify; not because she refuses to be, but because a cloud of mystery clings to each of her artistic endeavors (she is also a seamstress and educator). Her throat singing, in the vein of Tanya Tagaq, brings an eerie beauty to her releases that has earned her countless awards, such as the Canadian Aboriginal Music Award. Her latest record, My All To You, calls upon the strength of her native culture and womanhood.
Pharis & Jason Romero – “Sweet Old Religion”
Masters of acoustic tone; no other duo in roots music sounds like this. The songs on the new album tap into old world spirituality and the love of community.
Kevin Gordon – “Saint On A Chain”
Kevin Gordon is an anomaly as a storyteller. In Lucinda Williams’ words, “His songs are like short stories.” In the economy of words, Gordon is a savvy deal-maker, imbuing the final product with a value that is hard to come by in the broad landscape of contemporary music. Whether he has more in common with John Prine or Jim Jarmusch or Ovid or Walker Percy is a discussion that could be had over the course of a four-pint night in a muggy Nashville bar, but even then, it would be difficult to arrive at a conclusion. But in any case, as Buddy Miller says, “It reminds me why I love music.”
Leftover Salmon – “Show Me Something Higher”
Americana originals Leftover Salmon have been on the road for thirty years, but the music only grows brighter. Their new album features more contributions from each band member, taking them into new territory like horn-blasting R&B and reverb-drenched desert noir.
Vern Matz formed at Yale University, where the members are currently finishing up their undergraduate studies. The bandmates met at a college party and instantly connected over their mutual admiration for Radiohead—it was like love at first sight.
Got this adorable track in from this Yale University band, Vern Matz. According to their Facebook page, they are “the lovechild of a philosophy student, an investment banker, and a boy with a David Foster Wallace tattoo.” Can I be 10 years younger so we can be friends?
Vern Matz’s eponymous debut EP was born out of several road trips between New Haven and Philadelphia. In a lot of ways, the EP is about Vern Matz coming of age—as individuals and as a band. Faced with finding a place in the world, the band shies away from those looming decisions and instead embraces a wistful indifference.
The single from their EP, “Shelby Park” is this amazing, smooth-sailing track that is very reminiscent of Wilco; and even brings back some old nostalgia from my own college days with Yellowcard and Dashboard in that slow and sentimental, but also catchy kind of way.
“As a band, we call the song Shelby Park — “Shelby”. Perhaps we are on a first name basis with the song because of how close we have grown to it; Shelby’s a big part of our lives now. But this wasn’t always the case. Shelby Park didn’t have it’s identity until it was done. It was only until after the song was complete that it really grew on all of us.”
Listen to the track here xx