Royal Bangs

Royal Bangs

Royal Bangs has always been a band going in two directions at once. Over the course of three full-lengths, the Knoxville, Tennessee band has kept pace with the indie rock vanguard, maturing through leftfield guitar pop and MIDI dancefloor theatrics to 2011’s freedom-prog fuzzfest FLUX OUTSIDE, which found the band pared down to its creative core of Ryan Schaefer, Chris Rusk, and Sam Stratton. But the through-line of all these songs and sounds is a seemingly immovable youth: in Rusk’s playfully precise drum arrangements, in Stratton’s everywhere-at-once (and nowhere twice) guitar leads, and in Schaefer’s soulful, sky-eyed hooks lay an ebullience that hasn’t dulled since the trio first plugged in together as highschoolers. Call it a restless maturity: the songs take on the wisdom in boredom, misgivings and regret, but the sound is forever high hopes and thick skins.

It’s appropriate that the band’s fourth album BRASS (due out September 17 on Modern Art Records) finds new destinations along those same two paths. Following FLUX’s creative throat-clearing, Royal Bangs found an ideal collaborator in Knoxville multi-instrumentalist Dylan Dawkins and found their process evolving as they welcomed him. The resulting album – produced with the Black Keys’ Patrick Carney, whose Audio Eagle Records first introduced the band to national audiences – is the work of a group at home in its own songs and skills, trading sonic fussiness for an organic sound, nailing down who they are as a rock band without skimping on the adventure. BRASS still splits its time between barreling rave-ups and expansive pop suites, but more than ever, each song sounds most of all like Royal Bangs.

We Are The Wilderness

Electronic duo We Are The Wilderness corkscrewed roots in Texas but shot skyward against a Manhattan skyline. Shanda Woods (vocals) and Ryan Manchester (guitar, keys) met in high school but didn’t start working together on music until they linked back up in Brooklyn in 2011. WATW makes complex, emotive synth-rock that exhales with cold breath. Manchester’s swirling, glacial rhythms melt under the warmth of Woods’ strong lyrical literacy. The two swallow the stage whole when performing live, their evident passion propelling the songs and conquering the audience.

The Blue and Red

The Blue and Red is Brooklyn-based bedroom producer Rob Behnke. He plays hauntingly rich, organic electronic music live and augments his performances with projected 3D visual art. His latest album, released January 2013 is titled Adventures In My Head EP and features Thomas Pridgen of The Mars Volta & The Memorials on drums.


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