Tag Archives: Banks

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Christopher Taylor Makes a Different Name for Himself as SOHN

May 12th, 2014

SOHN – Rough Trade NYC – May 10, 2014

SOHN – Rough Trade NYC – May 10, 2014
Hailing from South London but now calling Vienna home, Christopher Taylor, aka SOHN, immersed himself in the mountainous setting of Austria and its burgeoning electronic- music scene. Although his early training was on piano and guitar, Taylor has since traded in those classical instruments in favor of analog drum machines and synths. Having worked his production prowess for fellow countrymen Kwabs, Disclosure and BANKS, he has set aside time to foster his own songwriting.

With the recent release of his debut, Tremors, the Brit graced a sold-out Rough Trade NYC on Friday night to enamor the Brooklyn crowd with his latest. Hooded and cloaked in black, Taylor took his place behind his array of loops, pads and knobs as he tucked into “Ransom Notes.” Taylor didn’t waste any time before digging into his back catalog to unearth “Red Lines” from his EP, The Wheel. Appropriately, the forest of upright fluorescent lights glowed bright red for the tune. Lighting was a main fixture for the evening, as white lights drowned the producer-singer during his debut’s title track.

Following a pair of oldies, “Bloodflows” and “Oscillate,” the James Blake–like ethereal falsetto intro to “Tempest” entranced onlookers. Midway through the set, Taylor sincerely thanked everyone for coming and supporting his new album. And then pulsating illumination matched the beats of “Lights,” while his command for Brooklyn to move sent a sea of bodies into motion. A cadence of claps ensued for the set’s final song, “Lessons,” before an encore with fan-favorites “Artiface” and “The Wheel.” It’s clear that Taylor has eclipsed his behind-the-scenes role as a producer and that he should assume a position at the forefront as a bona fide talent in his own right. —Sharlene Chiu

Photos courtesy of Lina Shteyn | www.linashteyn.com

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Paul Banks Stands Alone

December 17th, 2012

Paul Banks – Webster Hall – December 14, 2012

A decade ago, New York City’s music scene wasn’t as clearly stamped as it is today. The Strokes symbolized the brash, carefree youth culture that liked to rock out and party, and the avant-garde art-rock movement that now permeates Brooklyn was just beginning, but the identity was undefined and low profile. No one stepped up to make a bold statement. Then came Interpol. Their music had a tense rawness and magnitude that made you take notice, vividly representing the after-hours lifestyle that’s contributed to so much of the city’s lore. It was dark, seductive and a little bit dangerous. But most of all, it was grand.

Interpol projected a sophisticated image of slick urban bravado, lending a mystique to complement their captivating sound with lead singer Paul Banks perfectly cast as frontman: the storyteller, crafting the script to Interpol’s film noir and delivering it with a haunting and almost menacing vocal narrative. You often got the feeling he inhabited the places others would only peer into and then quickly move past. But recently, Banks has stood apart from Interpol as a solo act, and he put his second full-length album on display at Webster Hall on Friday night. Banks’s presence was such a distinctive element of Interpol that his solo material sounds like a branch of the same tree. Still, he has distinguished his new work with varied and expanded songwriting, while managing to hold on to the badass urgency that made his band so attractive.

Of course, the Interpol faithful that were lured into their world by Banks’s voice and textured guitar chords, were in attendance, but their calls for classic material were barely acknowledged, as he stood poised to assert himself as a standalone talent. The core fans weren’t entirely ignored, though, as new songs “Paid for That” and “No Mistakes” were delivered in true Interpol form, but solo-artist Banks has shed the aura a bit. As ever, his voice commanded the room, yet he seemed less guarded and a little warmer than the dark figure that’s loomed onstage in the past, proved by songs like “Young Again” and “The Base,” which were more intimate and revealing. So while many—like I—came looking for that signature visceral Interpol experience, they were pleasantly greeted by the frontman stepping out a little from behind the curtain of red light and expanding his range. —Charles Steinberg

Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg | charlesolivierphoto.com

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Interpol Frontman Paul Banks Plays Webster Hall Tomorrow

December 13th, 2012

There’s a pretty good chance that you already know of Paul Banks’ work as the frontman of local post-punkers Interpol, for which he serves as singer, songwriter and guitarist. And despite the band’s success and four albums, Banks sometimes likes to go it alone: He released his first solo album, Julian Plenti Is … Skyscraper under the alter ego Julian Plenti. And now he’s back with a second individual effort—this time under his own name—the recently released Banks. “I suppose I wanted to simplify this time around,” he explains. “Julian Plenti was something that I had to do, but once it was done, I didn’t need to hold on to it. I didn’t want the burden of shtick for these songs. If anything, I’m trying to draw attention away from the notion of a persona this time. I’m just making music and hoping to let it speak for itself.” And as a matter of fact, it does speak for itself. Find out for yourself when Banks (above, doing “Young Again” on Late Show with David Letterman) plays Webster Hall tomorrow night. (This show was originally scheduled for 11/13. All tickets from that show date will be honored.)