Knoxville, Tenn., trio Royal Bangs forge an idiosyncratic blend of indie-rock bristle and indie-dance bustle, suggesting in some ways a 21st century Talking Heads. The band is currently supporting its third album, the somewhat more streamlined Flux Outside. Of course, this is a relative term, since the band has always been notable for its woolly, oft-expansive arrangements. Yet the music never feels very indulgent thanks to the propulsive rhythms and frontman Ryan Schaefer’s nimble, theatrical croon.
However, none of this may have existed were it not for Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney. It’s he who gave Royal Bangs its first big break, signing the band to his Audio Eagle label in one of those odd internet-age stories of musical advancement.
“[Royal Bangs drummer Chris Rusk] was in a lecture in class, and instead of paying attention, was on the internet. As I understand, he had seen the band Houseguest play Knoxville and didn’t actually know that [their label] was Patrick Carney’s label. He just sent the label a Myspace message,” Schaefer recalled. “It’s funny because—and I can’t remember the last time I used Myspace—but it seems like every time you’re on there, you’re just bombarded by all these messages by these other bands or whatever, and it’s a pretty high junk-to-real-message ratio. So to me, it’s really amazing that he would even open that.”
“He put out our first two records; we went on tour with the Black Keys, and he introduced us to our manager and a lot of other good people,” Schaefer continued. “So he’s been a really big help for us."
Just another reason to love the Black Keys.
For more on the Royal Bangs, read a full interview with the band in Wednesday, Nov. 16's issue of Boise Weekly. Royal Bangs will play with Bear Hands later that night at Neurolux.