Sounds: Let Me Know x Banana Cream Boy

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:

Wm

Words x Interview: The Nude Party

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

Call for Submissions

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.

And socialists.

Get in where you can fit in and send your submissions, tips, and socialite friends to editor@leftbankcollege.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.

 

Sounds: Hearth Music’s Best of 2018 Playlist

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.