July 4, 2018
The Nude Party, formed in Boone, North Carolina in 2013, leaves little mystery as to how they chose their band name. The group would get intoxicated in order to create the disinhibition needed to strip off their clothes and perform naked. Evenings full of debauchery allowed the band to develop as musicians and performers in a safe, comfortable, low-stakes college environment. Eventually word got out about the band, and they have seen a meteoric rise as of late.
At Appalachian State they were known for throwing wild shows at “The Nude Ranch,” the house the band lived in, but have since decamped to Livingston Manor in the Catskill Mountains of New York. Livingston Manor may have similar terrain to Boone, but adjusting hasn’t been so easy. “In Boone, we had so many friends around, people were over at the ranch hanging out almost every night. Livingston Manor (Catskills) is much more isolated and we don’t really have any local friends. The population here is less than a thousand, and mostly older folks,” said Patton Magee, guitarist and vocalist for the six-piece band.
The band recently signed to New West Records but they are far from “working musicians” yet. “Saying we are full-time musicians kind of implies we are paying our rent with music, which isn’t the case yet. We still pick up odd jobs and work little gigs when we can to scrape up some living dough. Last week, someone actually hired our entire band to paint their pop-up shop in Manhattan for four days. That was pretty fun,” said Magee.
It’s no secret that being a professional musician in 2018 involves leading a taxing and demanding lifestyle. A recently published study shows that musicians make less money, are more likely to have substance abuse and mental health difficulties, and face more discrimination based on race and gender than the average population. That’s the subject of their song “Chevrolet Van” off the new eponymous album. The song details advice given to the band by an older relative and a stranger in Manhattan, both stating that when they get older they will wish they’d gotten jobs.
“We’re having a great time, though. We’re making the music we want to make and people like it and come to see us play which is so amazing. I know it’s cliché to say, but it really is a dream come true. It’s what I always wanted,” Magee said. “We love each other, we get along, and we get to share the whole experience. On Sunday nights we grill out on the back deck and listen to Radio Truck Stop on the local radio… life is just good. It’s hard sometimes but it’s good.”
They have shared the stage (mostly clothed now) with artists like King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, The Growlers, Post Animal, Ty Segall, Ron Gallo, and Sunflower Bean. They recently opened for The Arctic Monkeys, which was another big stepping stone for the band. “The Arctic Monkeys shows were insane. Before that, the biggest crowd we’d ever played to was around 600 with The Growlers. With AM, we were standing backstage looking out on nearly 7,000 people each night. I thought I was gonna throw up before the first show in Raleigh. We were all pretty nervous,” Magee said.
The energy the band exudes seems to attract other like-minded vintage indie rock bands which is a promising sign for a young up-and-coming act. “We hung out with the Monkeys every night after the shows. We were afraid they might be big hot shot superstars but they really are such humble and nice guys. They were so good and helpful to us and we’re absolutely grateful for the opportunity to play with them. It was great,” Magee added.
Their upcoming self-titled album stays extremely true to their influences. The Nude Party has expressed their admiration for ‘60s and ‘70s psych rock acts like The Velvet Underground and The Kinks, and their sound fits in right alongside those legends. It certainly doesn’t sound modern, as it faithfully recreates the sonics, songwriting and mentality of those early albums. Slightly distorted guitar riffs, keyboard/organs filling in the empty spaces, and speak-singing permeate throughout the album. In typical classic rock style, many tracks feature guitar and/or keyboard solos during refrains. Even the subject matter across the tracks could have been from 40 years ago, from the actuality of getting a real job on “Chevrolet Van,” the anti-war protest chants on “War is Coming,” to finding comfort and therapy in music on “Records.”
Toward the end of the album, the band shows a little bit more versatility. “Wild Coyote” has a psychedelic surf-rock vibe, conjuring feelings of warm, sunny days soaking up the rays in a desert sun. “Astral Man,” as the name would suggest, takes on a spacey texture with a dark echo reminiscent of The Doors. Chorus vocals are soaked in reverb, and the song has a slow and wandering tone. Closing track “Charlie” takes an instrumental approach to the same surf-rock feelings as “Wild Coyote,” and contains plenty of room for the playfully noodling guitar solos.
Kicking off an international tour starting at Rough Trade in NYC with a handful of dates in the UK and ending at Austin City Limits Music Festival in Texas, The Nude Party is a vintage North Carolina indie rock band that is definitely on the rise.