Nervous Monks

Published on September 11th, 2019

Brady Newbill of Nervous Monks by Matthew Faciana

Music exists so overwhelmingly now in the borderless vacuum of the Web, it is bracing to have a reminder of geography — of place — as emphatic as the one that Pompano Beach’s Nervous Monks provide on their Facebook page, under the heading of “Influences.”

The list that follows is not the typical name-checking of famous bands that signify impeccable taste because, as frontman Brady Newbill tells PureHoney in an interview, “Anybody can go back and say they were influenced by New Order.”

Nervous Monks — Newbill, Vitek Benton (guitar), Adam Camarena (drums) and Timothy Hicks (bass) — instead credit the people in their backyard: friends, bandmates, collaborators, and hometown acts that provided inspiration and refuge. The list ranges from singer-songwriter-bandleaders including John Ralston, Lindsey Mills and Mr. Entertainment to the regional punk summit of Shark Valley Sisters and locally legendary sonic crushers Postface.

“We all know kind of each other from that world,” Newbill says. Indie mainstays Sweet Bronco, which Newbill played in, also appear on the list, and the connection is doubly meaningful because that band’s founder and frontman, Chris Horgan, recorded the Monks’ new six-track EP, “View From a Softer High.”

Newbill (who hosts PureHoney’s “Honey Talks” music podcast) produced the band’s four-song debut 2018 on his own. He let Horgan run the board this time out because, he said, “Most of what I know about producing an album and arranging songs, I picked up from playing in Chris’s band.”

The result is a bigger, more atmospheric record — wistful and reflective in places, as when Newbill sings, “We were both dreamers” on “Shadowflame.” But on balance it feels more immediate and uncontained, full of auditory layers and stereophonic twists and turns like the strange, sound-warping coda to the first single, “Ride The Sky.”

One could believably assign Nervous Monks non-local, “name” influences such as My Bloody Valentine and Echo & the Bunnymen. As Newbill sings on “Post Monk,” “Anything is music here that’s golden and divine.” But the beauty of “Softer High” also lies in hearing it as the product of its place.

Nervous Monks play a release party for “View From a Softer High” 9pm Saturday October 12 at Laser Wolf in Fort Lauderdale with special guests Haute Tension. ~ Sean Piccoli

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