Band of the Day

2014.11.30

Backwords

Modern psychedelics swirling in a flowery kaleidoscope of gentle pop melodies
Well I wave goodbye once before, my heart so young. And I still see the light fade away while sparks ignite.
lyrics from I'm Not Lying

Backwords blends modern psychedelics with folk-rock, 60s-pop and a myriad other sonic surprises. Like a bluebird fluttering through the prairie, Backwords delivers gentle, lazy melodies that stick to the tongue and cannot be forgotten. And like a vigilant hawk nesting atop a New York City skyscraper, there is a fury—a swooping darker underside that Backwords is not hesitant to embody – be it in lyrical cynicism, primal growl, or feedbacking improvisations. In between sun-drenched, flowery pop melodies, freak-outs are always welcomed.

Based out of Brooklyn, the band is a regular fixture of the New York City scene and has played countless gigs over the past six years. It was recently discovered that Backwords has graced the stage of over 55 unique venues in NYC alone (some of which have gone the way of development/gentrification and sadly faded into oblivion over the years). They have played official showcases during New York’s CMJ Music Marathon 5 years running, Brooklyn’s Northside Festival 3 years in a row, SXSW twice, have toured the country in rusty old vans several times over and not long ago were named a “Top 10 Emerging Artist” in the “Alt-Folk” category by The Deli Magazine NYC.

With well over 300 shows under their belts, Backwords has shared bills with artists such as:

Olivia Tremor Control, Donnie and Joe Emerson, Elf Power, Lucius, Turbo Fruits, Hiss Golden Messenger, Yellowbirds, Quilt, Julian Lynch, Warpaint, Pujol, The Spinto Band, Fort Lean, Ava Luna, Chris Stamey, Craft Spells, Forest Fire, Le Loup, Freelance Whales, The Wooden Birds, Reptar, Shilpa Ray, Dark Dark Dark, and OMG the list goes on…

Recorded in the dead of summer in a large open warehouse space in Sunset Park, Brooklyn – their up-coming release "Nest" is an album of growth, openness, and change. Pulling influence from the multi-songwriter, multi-lead-vocalist approach of Fleetwood Mac’s quintessential albums "Rumours" and "Tusk," "Nest" is an eclectic mix of songs, where different band members are in the spotlight at different times. Energized by the raw emotional outpouring and humanness of the Stones, "Exile on Main St.," songs like “Waiting for the Weekend” and “Gloria” burst forth with an undeniable honesty in everything from lyrical content, to vocal delivery, to the natural way in which band recorded each track - live, all at once, and all together with the 95 degree August heat sweltering through the warehouse. There are bits of Pop, Motown, Garage, Blues, Surf, Soul, Folk and Psychedelia scattered throughout "Nest." There is also a sense of experimentation - of shedding light on new forms of art. Horn sections of out sync with each other. Vocals recorded in reverse and used as atmospheric layers. And buried under synth textures, a looped field recording from an Occupy Wall St. protest in New York City serves as the backdrop and actual backbeat of the song “Notice Me.” Backwords never intends to stick to a formula, and that couldn’t be more evident here on "Nest."

Certain band members have entered their 30s. One recently had a kid. They no longer live in a communal house with a basement recording studio. Rents have skyrocketed and Brooklyn itself isn’t what it was 6 or 7 years ago when the concept of “Backwords” first entered this group’s collective mind. As the world around Backwords continues to change, the band couldn’t help but record a timestamp that does not necessarily feel like it belongs in the era it was created. Or does it?

Remember when you could buy a slice of pizza at any spot for $1? Remember when the Salvation Army was where you went to get your clothes and there were no J. Crews or Urban Outfitters in Brooklyn? Remember the original Freddy’s Bar before it got torn down and the Barclays center was erected? "Nest" calls upon these times. And there can be no better way to describe this album other than by thinking of it as “Rock & Roll.” All in all, Backwords is OK with accepting any connotations that come along with such a tag. And perhaps for the first time, this band created a Rock & Roll album in "Nest."