Tag Archives: BROODS

Album review: BANKS “The Altar”

We’re not going to lie, when we were told BANKS had just
released a new album, we didn’t know what to expect. Jillian Rose Banks,
28-year old American artist, stylized as BANKS is still a relatively new artist on the radar on
music—and so far, known mainly for her opening act with The Weeknd.

Yet listening to her latest album The Altar changed
mindsets for the better. This 13-track album starts off similar to the aesthetic of electropop contemporaries Tove Lo and. BANKS’ starts her album off
shaky, with the vibe switching every which way. Her tendency to overlay with
her own vocals with additional vocals occurs consistently throughout the album,
in tracks like “This is Not About You,” “Love Sick,” and “Mind Games.” It’s
BROODS and it’s Ellie Goulding but she’s not quite sure which yet. Her decision
to start the track with “Gemini” was a good one, and it’s the one of the solid
hit on her record, and introduces her vocal range quite nicely. The next solid
hit on the album hit on the album is “Mind Games,” for its simplicity in instrumental
and synth overlay on her vocals.

It gets rough in the middle of the album with some remnants
almost a bit too reminiscent of Britney Spears in her bad music days—too upbeat
in tempo, too shrill in vocals, and too busy in overall production.

But then we breathe a final sigh of relief because BANKS
remembers her roots.  A former opener on
the infamous artist The Weeknd, and a young artist who still cites Fiona Apple
and Lauren Hill as massive influences on her music, Jillian Banks knows her way
around R&B. She slows down the pop and pulls it in. In the eight track,
we finally hear the gravelly substance in BANKS’ voice—not quite pain or any
sort of emotion of passion, but rather the multitude of different experiences. BANKS
takes the synth off in “Mother Earth,” and truly takes the song raw, with a
violin, a guitar, and her vocals guttural and low—finally in the style of Fiona
Apple. As she continues with slower, simpler, and a lot more soulful tracks
like “Judas” and “To the Hilt,” the R&B influence comes out. The favorites
off the track remind us most of her time with The Weeknd, on tracks “Judas” and

Poltergeist” due to the stream of fluid vocals and Weeknd-esque background
instrumentals.

It’s no doubt these artists have had an influence on BANKS
and it shows—but with her own spin. Although BANKS is similar to this menagerie
of artists, she maintains her own signature trademark: her gravelly and
almost nasally vocal range. She uses it to her advantage. And maybe on this
album, she tried to use her range a bit too far in terms of genre, switching
from blue to indie to electropop to R&B, but the one thing we can say is
that the girl’s got guts.

We’re excited to see her tour and take those vocals out for
a spin. Grab a listen at her album The
Altar
now.

Ariana Rivera

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Jarryd James

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Jarryd James couldn’t possess a cocky ego if it slapped him right in the face.

 Holding a strong, humble, presence in the room, the tall Australian
artist sits will a still calmness about his body. He holds our hands tightly,
asking with an earnestness, “What’s your name, I missed that?”

Eagerly setting in, James is honest and random, as any other
person, laughing and talking about swimming lessons as kids, the summer heat,
and working with troubled kids. This is what pulls him in.

“I was making music for a long time and working with these
kids,” he says. “But then it all went to shit and I just worked for a while. I
had a temper tantrum and just said everything sucks and I don’t want this but
really, it affected me. I was so sad I couldn’t make music anymore, because it was
so impossible to keep making it. And for 2 years, I didn’t make music at all. I
didn’t even listen to the radio.”

James pauses and takes a breath.

“And coming back, I’ve realized how incredibly lucky I am. I
have a lot of friends who are so talented, to be honest, and better than I am.
I’m so fortunate I decided to do this again and that I get to be here and get
to do this.”

Reminiscent of fellow contemporaries, Jack Garratt and James
Vincent McMorrow
, James’ new album, High, swims with melodic vocals and textured
instrumentals.

“There’s an actual bit of me rustling pages of book on one
of tracks and me using an actual nutcracker on another!” James pipes in with a
smile.  With all the texture however,
tracks like “Claim My Love” and “How Do We Make It” echo with emotion, longing,
and nostalgia. The album shines as it varies in tempo and feel, ranging from
more upbeat R&B in tracks like “Sure Love,” to more pop love ballad sounding
tracks like “1000x,” featuring Georgia Nott of BROODS.

As James explains his music career to us, we soon understand
that it’s his underlying emotions that create the works of art he sings. Was
the work with kids influential to his album, we wondered?

“I dealt with a lot of kids who were high school age, and
were very hurt and had dealt with a lot of trauma. So I would say, yeah, it
affected my emotions and my mood. Because, when I’m writing, I go for a mood
rather than a theme. It just what feels like to me. Some people sit down and
say “I want this,” and try to write, and I can’t do this, it would feel forced.
I think in real vague terms, general things. I like to let my subconscious
through. I’m not trying to be innovative. I want my music to be as honest and
pure as possible.”

And we saw Jarryd James own the stage at Neptune Theater in
Seattle, singing soulfully with his eyes closed, we saw his was connected and
disconnected in his own way. He was with the audience yes, but also he was
somewhere else, wherever those underlying feelings lay.

“I needed that two year break not doing music,” he says
softly. “It was a reset, for me to come back to be where I am now.”

Be sure to follow Jarryd James’ tour with BROODS, and
check out his new album, High.

Ariana Rivera

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