Title - Now is the Time [EP]
Artist - Bandits on the Run
For those uninitiated, the origin story of Bandits on the Run reads like a New York tall tale — a young cellist catching the late train home happens upon a busker singing and playing on the subway platform, the two strike up a conversation about music that becomes an all-night Brooklyn adventure.
The meeting forms a bond that quickly leads to musical collaboration, then the cellists poet friend finds herself in New York and moves into an open room in the cellists apartment.
The three strike up an instant creative alchemy, they put on some bandanas, take to the subways, and the rest is history.
Six years later, Bandits on the Run has evolved into a staple of the New York music scene, both above and below ground. In those six years the Bandits have come of age together, their music evolving and expanding into a truly unique and revolutionary sound.
The guitarist, Adrian Blake Enscoe, now employs his feet as their percussion section, using a suitcase drum and foot tambourine. The cellist, Sydney Shepherd, now writes full-on string arrangements that summon the spirit of George Martin. The poet, Regina Strayhorn, is now an accordionist, melodica player, glockenspieler, and plays a mean shaky banana.
The year 2020 had Bandits on the Run poised to make their biggest moves yet; they appeared at the ASCAP Cafe Stage at Sundance, sharing a bill with the likes of Aaron Lee Tasjan, Rain Phoenix, and Matt Berninger of The National.
They had been selected for SXSW 2020 and built a tour that included an appearance at The Kennedy Center and an opening slot for Larkin Poe at NYCs famed Webster Hall, before the pandemic struck down the best-laid plans of every mouse and man around the globe.
But the SXSW cancellation proved fortuitous to Bandits on the Run — in all the promotion leading up to what would have been the festival, the Bandits had already caught the eye of producer Ryan Hadlock (The Lumineers, Vance Joy, Brandi Carlile, Johnny Flynn, and countless others) and in the immediate aftermath of the cancelation, he contacted them about the prospect of working together.
As tumult reigned and the list of canceled plans grew, things quickly fell into place for Bandits on the Run to head west that summer, safely road-tripping from the East Coast to Bear Creek Studios in Seattle in their trusty van Rip Van Winkle.
In the words of Adrian: The spirit of 2020 was beckoning! It was a bold pivot away from what we were looking forward to doing and towards something we did not even know we craved: traveling across the country by moonlight, singing to rocks and cactuses along the way, and at the end of it recording at a world-renowned studio with a world-renowned producer. What could be more Bandits than that?”
The resulting EP, fittingly titled Now is the Time (out June 25th. 2021), is hands-down Bandits on the Runs most daring, lush, and sophisticated work yet.
Seamlessly shifting from shades of The Beatles to Fleetwood Mac to David Byrne to Laurel Canyon, the Bandits musical influences are apparent in the EP while still carving out a distinctive voice all their own.
1. We Battle Giants
2. Now is the Time
5. Sing You to Sleep
6. Shes The Queen
This quite delightful new EP opens on the warmly spirited We Battle Giants (a track that champions the spirit of their friendship and overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles together) and the harmoniously luxuriant title track Now is the Time (a song aimed at inspiring people to action) and backs those up seamlessly with the brand new, never-before-heard, introspective track Hurricane.
Next up is the wonderfully witchy track Spellbound and that in turn is followed by the achingly heartfelt, almost ethereal Sing You to Sleep, with the EP coming to an all-too-soon close on the gently anthemic gossamer of Shes The Queen.
Everyone in the trio writes their own songs and takes turns singing lead, which means on this six song EP each member gets two songs to step into the spotlight and showcase their melodic, lyrical, and vocal prowess.
Very rarely does a band feature three voices equally matched in skill and power, each sounding so completely different from the others and yet still masterfully blending so well together.
That is the alchemy that has been there since Day 1, says Regina. You can practice all you want (and we do) but if that spark of magic is not there it will never sound quite right. We are so lucky we found that spark in each other.
Having Bandits on the Run out to Bear Creek Studio was a really wonderful experience, producer Ryan Hadlock says. Their songwriting and interwoven vocal harmonies are beautiful and inspiring.
Working with the Bandits on these songs during the pandemic this summer was definitely a bright spot in an otherwise difficult and dark year.
Bandits on the Run - Spellbound (Official Music Video)
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