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The Nude Party
For The Nude Party, nearly a decade has flown by in the blink of an eye. In that time, the New York-based band has released a pair of well-received albums, an EP, and played countless shows. Prior to the pandemic, the band was really starting to hit its stride. They had a system in place and were spreading their brand of melodic rock to the masses. In fact, they could count Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, and Orville Peck as vocal supporters, which led to support slots for each. Soon, incredible live appearances at Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Newport Folk Festival, and Shaky Knees became the norm.
In late 2020, The Nude Party released its sophomore album, Midnight Manor, which debuted at #1 on the Alternative New Artists Album Chart. The sextet was unable to tour behind it and compared its release to skipping a stone over a raging river. A byproduct was that it showed the band that on their third album, they couldn’t lean on their tried-and-true method of testing out new material live and then hunker down to record.
Instead of sitting around, the band got busy. Setting up shop in their Upstate New York headquarters, the group used the funds they’d saved and spent a year building a studio space out of a barn. Tired of paying for studio time and being rushed, The Nude Party methodically worked at their own pace. Out were the sessions lasting a strict handful of days. In were impromptu writing moments and picking every sound as they went along.
When the band met the Tampa based engineer Matthew Horner, they discovered that they had the opposite problems: Matthew had a collection of incredible gear with no studio and The Nude Party had a great new studio with no gear. So they invited him to move his equipment up to the Catskills to record an album together. Such was the origin of the band’s third album, Rides On.
Unlike their first two albums, The Nude Party decided to produce Rides On themselves. With their new space and the help of Horner, The Nude Party had as much fun creating as they ever had at any other point in their career. The lack of pressure allowed them to record over 20 songs, including some that dabbled in electro-pop and stripped-down country before settling on the final 14 songs.
Rides On, the band confidently says, is their best record. It’s also the most homegrown and the most organic record The Nude Party has created to date. Working on the album themselves allowed for a democratic process where each band member could take a fuller role in producing the songs they wrote. There was some initial trepidation about there being too many cooks in the kitchen. But as is the benefit of owning your own studio space, time was not a factor. In turn, it allowed for the band’s ideas to blossom, everyone’s voice be taken into account and create an exciting, collaborative vibe.
The relaxed atmosphere of the sessions, and arriving with only loosely structured material, allowed the band to thrive in the studio. It also unleashed a diverse sonic texture compared to their previous releases, as best demonstrated by the title track, “Ride On.” Sonically, the song is reminiscent of Sticky Fingers-era Stones, but its lyrics are mini-vignettes where Magee sings about persevering through adversity. The twangy, blues-drenched licks of the title track, the breezy desert dust encapsulated by the ‘70s infused “Hard Times,” the Shaun Couture-led “Sold Out of Love,” the swinging ‘60s garage vibes of “Cherry Red Boots,” which captures the spirit of what The Nude Party are going for — and showcases their growth as a band. As does expanding the band’s sonic palate with a cover of Dr. John’s “Somebody Tryin’ To Hoodoo Me.” It would have been easy to stick to the New Orleans musician’s format, but the band showed off their prowess with their own darker, electric version of the deep cut.
The Nude Party coalesced and embraced the spirit of collaboration. They’re excited to begin the next chapter of their career.
At a time when it would have been easy to pack it in, the band continues to persevere.
Breanna Barbara’s second album Nothin’ But Time is a raw and immersive trip through the sounds of psychedelic rock and blues, anchored by her forceful vocals and unforgettable songwriting. Sporting a sound that feels classic and of-the-moment at the same time, Nothin’ But Time is the next chapter in Barbara’s exciting career, cementing her as an artist who’s committed to plumbing new emotional depths as she bursts through every sonic barrier put in her way.
The Minnesota-born and Florida-raised Barbara fell in love with old country and Delta blues while traveling as a teenager; eventually, she started writing songs and taught herself slide guitar while attending acting school. After her father passed away, she moved to Vermont for a spell and found a new creative spark amidst isolation and mourning. “Music was an emotional side of me that I would hide,” she explains. “I use music as a stream-of-consciousness exercise to get my feelings out.”
When Barbara migrated to New York to finish school, she got serious about pursuing music as a career, putting up songs on Bandcamp and gigging at legendary NYC venues. Hoping for the best, she eventually sent demos to producer Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes): “To my surprise, he said, ‘Let’s make a record,’” she remembers. Barbara decamped to Nashville’s Bomb Shelter studio with Tokic and assembled a crack backing band to record what would become her debut album, Mirage Dreams. “It was a magical lineup,” she recalls. “They became my best friends.”
After the release of Mirage Dreams, Barbara collaborated with legendary trip-hop vanguard Tricky; while on tour with her band and in her own downtime, Barbara also wrote the bulk of Nothin’ But Time, with some of its 11 songs dating back to 2017. Originally, Barbara recorded 17 songs for the album, several B-sides of which—including the brooding and expansive ”Big Bang Blues”—were selected to appear on the Netflix shows Sex/Life and In the Dark. “It was one of the first songs I ever wrote,” Barbara says about “Big Bang Blues,” “and as I dove more into spiritual and celestial realms, I wanted to say thank you to all those who inspired me to pick up a guitar and process my own mental health. It’s never easy, but it’s so needed.”
“I wanted each song to come from a genuine place,” she continues. “I’m very sensitive and emotional, and I’m at my best when I’m coming from a true place.” For the recording of Nothin’ But Time, Barbara hit the Bomb Shelter again with Tokic and her band in the months prior to the COVID-19 pandemic to put everything to tape: “I’d learned so much since the last time we were in the studio that I knew I could have a stronger voice getting back into the studio again.”
With contributions from musicians like Jack Lawrence (The Dead Weather), Tall Juan, Derry DeBorja (Jason Isbell), and Champagne Superchillin’s Ben Trimble and Charles Garmendia, Nothin’ But Time reflects Barbara’s headlong journey into the world of psychedelic rock and pop, mixing these heady styles with her already established hard-driving blues-rock approach with warped theremin tones as well as celestial vibes courtesy of DeBorja’s own synth wizardry, as Barbara and her band sought out to create mind-expanding music that’s also firmly rooted in the real.