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“Ain’t Nobody”, out August 12th, is the second single to be lifted from Youngblood Brass Band’s fourth album, ‘Pax Volumi’, which follows September 9th. This 12” vinyl and digital single release comes midway through a busy year of touring, with recent sold-out headlines across the UK, Europe and the USA, and return visits planned over the Summer and Autumn.
Youngblood Brass Band are a unique proposition; focused on creating consistently groundbreaking acoustic music, employing whatever sonic means necessary to do so, the 10-piece ensemble marks the point at which punk, brass band, hip hop and improv jazz collide. They assembled in the ‘90s and have been unleashing their energetic shows on worldwide audiences since 2000. Originally formed by high school friends in Wisconsin, the line-up now comprises players from all over America (Madison, New Orleans, New York, Nashville, Minneapolis, Chicago).
The band-leader, studio producer and chief vocalist is founder member David Henzie-Skogen – also a revered percussionist and drum-line coach - whose sharp, irreverent humour and fierce, energetic intelligence beam out of the speakers on the vocal numbers, and whose musical ideals inform the instrumental character of the records.
The first single from “Pax Volumi” was “20 Questions” (3rd June), an original track which announced the band’s comeback to their eager fanbase, and also pricked up many new ears, winning support from the likes of Craig Charles (BBC 6Music), Gilles Peterson (BBC 6Music) and Lefto among others.
Now, the eagerly anticipated release of “Ain't Nobody”, which has been going down a storm in live gigs, showcases the band's mastery of the popular brass cover version. The R 'n' B classic in their hands becomes a blistering instrumental workout that is already putting grins on faces this festival season, and which highlights Youngblood's chops as a traditional, hard-working, heart-and-soul American brass band, in thrall to the ways and the lessons of their spiritual home New Orleans.
The second track on the A-side, “Ê la ê”, is an original composition and another instrumental album cut that shows this tight unit is brimming with imaginative and emotive arrangements. “Ê la ê” also spotlights the unparalleled drumming skills at the core of the outfit, and brings in a new element with Henzie-Skogen's electronic studio-crafted beats and effects worked into the mix.
B-side “The Plank Will Nod and You Will Go” finds Henzie-Skogen on peak lyrical form – cutting, poetic, laconic and vulnerable in one - vocally alternating between low spoken verses and high intensity staccato chorus lines; the music following suit. The B-side also features the instrumental version.
Youngblood have been featured by the likes of XLR8R, Dazed, Urb and NPR; having headlined tours in over 20 countries, they have also played festivals including Roskilde, Glastonbury, Lowlands, Pukkelpop, SXSW, CMJ, North Sea Jazz & WOMAD. Their debut album ‘Unlearn’ was released independently in 2000, featuring collaborators including Talib Kweli (spawning the underground smash “Ya’ll Stay Up”). This led to a signing with Ozone Music NYC, the avant-hip hop label that introduced Company Flow (El-P), Antipop Consortium and Mr. Lif, and 2003’s ‘center:level:roar’ LP. Youngblood released two more albums on Layered Music – 2005’s ‘Live. Places.’ and 2007’s ‘Is That a Riot?’. They also continue to engage in frequent educational work, stopping at high schools and universities to offer workshops on New Orleans music history, jazz improvisation and hip hop culture, amassing a huge fanbase along the way.