Banjo or Freakout debut LP is out today (stream)

Banjo or Freakout
Memphis Industries/Rare Book Room

Alessio Natalizia has been releasing bedroom pop under the moniker Banjo or Freakout since 2009. In addition to singles and EPs, he also shared a whacky Christmas collection with us this past holiday season.

While the project’s moniker may lead one to assume a certain level of whimsy, Banjo or Freakout is actually filled with well-crafted and, often, quite earnest songs. Indeed, there are passages of beautiful melodic construction – witness the delicately sung and gauzily atmospheric “From Everyone Above,” the rousing mid-tempo “105,” and the reverb-tinged dream pop number “Go Ahead.”

“Bedroom pop” isn’t really about equipment anymore. Artists’ penchant for low fi today is often more about style than resources. Banjo or Freakout’s music-making is “bedroom pop” in the sense that it favors close-miked intimacy and a warm ambience over sonic sheen. But the arrangements certainly aren’t lacking in passages featuring intricate layering: Check out the spooky multi-tracking of synths, sound effects, and vocals on “Can’t be Mad for Nothing,” or the busily attired break on “Fully Enjoy.” Thus, Natalizia joins this particular genre in terms of spirit, but doesn’t let the low-fi limitations of yesteryear constrain his latter day DIY project, in terms of aesthetic or musical ambition.

Banjo or Freakout by Banjo or Freakout

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