MUZZ – ” Red Western Sky ” (Paul Banks, Josh Kaufman, Matt Barrick)

Posted: April 19, 2020 in CLASSIC ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Muzz, is the new project of Paul Banks (Interpol), Josh Kaufman (producer/multi-instrumentalist and one third of Bonny Light Horseman), and Matt Barrick (drummer of Jonathan Fire*Eater, The Walkmen, and Fleet Foxes’ touring band), have announced their self-titled, debut album, due out June 5th on Matador Records.

The phrase “Interpol side project” should rightly send a shiver down your spine, and yet somehow Muzz (the new band from Paul Banks plus producer Josh Kaufman and The Walkmen’s Matt Barrick) is something special. The trio went to high school together and that lived-in feel permeates the music they make together. “Bad Feeling” is their first release and combines a gorgeous guitar tone with jazz flourishes and heavenly backing vocals.

Muzz was born out of longstanding friendship and collaboration. Banks and Kaufman have known each other since childhood, attending high school together in Spain before separately moving to New York. There, they independently crossed paths with Barrick while running in similar music circles. They kept in touch in the following years: Barrick drummed in Banks + Steelz and on some of Kaufman’s production sessions; Kaufman helped on Banks’ early Julian Plenti solo endeavour; various demos were collaborated on, and a studio was co-bought. The self-titled debut album, written, arranged and performed by all three, is dark and gorgeous, expansive and soulful. No matter the sonic direction, Muzz goes there effortlessly and with maximum emotional charge.

This is a new band. Now they have announced their self-titled debut album and shared another song from it, “Red Western Sky,” via a video for the single Muzz is due out June 5th via Matador and features two previously shared singles, “Bad Feeling” and “Broken Tambourine.” Check out the “Red Western Sky” video tracks below.

Their first song, “Bad Feeling.” It was a little more lush and chill than the post-punk assault of Interpol and was one of our favourite songs. Then they shared another new song, “Broken Tambourine,” via a video for the track.

Banks and Kaufman have known each other since they were teenagers and both have also worked with Barrick before. Muzz’s earliest recordings date back to 2015. All three members wrote, arranged, and performed the album. And while Banks is usually the sole lyricist in Interpol, here all three members contributed to the lyrics.

Josh has more training as a theory musician while Paul comes from a different perspective,” Barrick says about the process in a press release. “You never know how Paul’s gonna approach a song, lyrically and melodically, so it’s always unusual and exciting. Everyone is open to everyone else’s ideas. I think three is a great number of people for a band. We all had a big hand in everything.”

Kaufman had this to say about the band’s sound: “The music has this weird, super removed vibe but is also personal and emotional at the same time. If something felt natural in a simple way, we left it. I’d never heard Paul’s voice framed like that—a string section, horns, guitars—we know none of that is visionary but it felt classic and kind of classy.”

The band’s name stems from the word Kaufman used to describe the band’s sound, or as the press release puts it, “the music’s subtle, analog quality and texture.”

Summing up the album Banks says: “Ultimately, the music speaks for itself. We have a genuine, organic artistic chemistry together. It’s partly a shared musical taste from youth, as with me and Josh, but then it’s also the souls of my friends that resonate with me when expressed through music. I think it’s cosmic.”

Interpol (which also features Daniel Kessler and Sam Fogarino) released a new EP, A Fine Mess last year also via Matador. It followed their 2018 album Marauder. Outside of Interpol, Banks has released two solo albums (2009’s Julian Plenti is... Skyscraper and 2012’s Banks and one album with RZA as Banks & Steelz (2016’s Anything But Words).

Muzz’ self-titled album out June 5th, 2020 on Matador Records.

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