Julian Plenti

Full Discography

  • Banks - ole-979 - 2009-08-04
  • Julian Plenti Is Skyscraper - ole-873 - 2009-08-04



ole-979 LP/CD/DA 

Street Date: Aug 4, 2009



Identity’s a tricky thing in the annals of rock music. Whether David Bowie’s chameleonic mindfucks in the ‘70s, Dylan going electric, or Lou Reed’s perpetual metamorphoses, rock thrives on persistent flux in self-presentation.

Where does Paul Banks fit into this equation? As Interpol’s frontman, he’s largely been a cipher. While certainly not lacking in charisma, albeit in a steely and often sardonic manner (his dry, wicked sense of humor is largely lost in interviews), he’s often polarized and confounded listeners and critics alike.

Banks’ first ostensibly solo album found him assuming the alter ego of Julian Plenti. He jettisoned the nom de plume for this semi-eponymous album, Banks, credited to Paul Banks (as was its preceding EP). And where 2009’s Julian Plenti Is…Skyscraper was culled largely from songs pre-dating Interpol (as far back as the mid-’90s), Banks – with all new material written in the past few years (with the exception of “Summertime Is Coming”) – is a vivid documentation of Banks in the here and now, and his most abjectly personal work to date.

“I suppose I wanted to simplify this time around,” he explains. “Julian Plenti was something that I had to do, but once it was done, I didn't need to hold on to it. I didn't want the burden of shtick for these songs. If anything, I'm trying to draw attention away from the notion of a persona this time. I'm just making music and hoping to let it speak for itself.”

But aside from the peripheral aspects germane to every artist, listening to Banks is a revelation, a catharsis. From the pulsating opener “The Base,” which finds Banks catatonically crooning, “Now and then I can see the truth above the lies/Now and then, oh, I feel those beauties this life belies.” It’s one of his most disarmingly direct lyrics to date, heartfelt in a barbed manner far removed from his often detached anomie with Interpol.

“I do think that in some sense there are more direct lyrics on this album, and there is some purging and venting happening,” says Banks. “I suppose it was therapeutic. ‘Over My Shoulder’ has earnest intimations as well as some spiritual mumbo-jumbo. All of which comes from an honest place with no snark. I haven't made much of an effort to be clever here. Just to be honest about my mood and perhaps to confess a little.”

The quixotic, wistful “Young Again” is a standout, a gorgeous number that kicks off with a delicate, deceptively simple yet transfixing guitar figure, before blooming into a dense, orchestrated chorus that finds Banks ambivalently bellowing, “Because I’m young again/Thanks a lot/I feel young again/Rah Rah.”

He explains, “The feeling there is one more of elation than melancholy. The lyrics depict an adolescent mind-set. Crazy absolutes that I used to feel when I was a teenager — ‘jobs are disgraceful’ — and as the lyrics came to me, I was reveling in feeling that headspace again. And in another way, it was perhaps a kind of epiphany, a sort of, ‘Wait a second, right now I truly give zero fucks what anyone has to say about me. I'm like Bender from The Breakfast Club’ which was how I felt when I was 18. That headspace doesn't last. But it felt good for those ten minutes when I was writing the song...and when I sing it, it always feels good.”

The two instrumental numbers are crucial ingredients to this gestalt puzzle. The elegiac “Lisbon,” which sounds like Mogwai in subdued mode, is a welcome come-down from the invective gravitas of “Young Again,” while “Another Chance” is a schizophrenic, near chamber-pop ditty, with a contrite monologue from Banks’ friend Sebastian Ischer’s film Black Out, as the protagonist pleads, “There’s something wrong with my brain” as if it’s simultaneously a plea for forgiveness and a scathing personal indictment.

This affinity for found sounds and borrowed dialogue is evident throughout Banks. He says, “I use found sounds in all my recordings. Inspired from hip hop. Using audio snippets from disparate sources instantly gives a song an eerie depth, transcendence. I can't sum it up, and I can't get enough.”

Perhaps the most visceral, invective and immediate song on Banks is “Paid for That,” with a sinewy guitar line recalling Folk Implosion’s “Natural One,” who are actually name-checked in the lyrics (“Changed by Folk Implosion/When I was 17”) until it metamorphoses into a full-blown cacophonous chorus redolent of Nirvana circa In Utero, as Banks biliously wails, “I paid for that/And now you’ll pay me back.”

“I referenced Folk Implosion because it's honest,” says Banks. “One song by the Boo Radleys, ‘Upon 9th and Fairchild,’ influenced me more than any band or genre that is ever mentioned in relation to my work. Shit, so did ‘Babe I'm Gonna Leave You’ or ‘Nights in White Satin’ or ‘Riders on the Storm.’ But I'm tired of caring what people think I actually consider an influence. And ‘Paid For That’ is my rage song, kinda my way of getting past all the frustration. I almost took that name-check out because of fear of people harping on it. But I left it in for the kids growing up today, and for the kid in me.”


Julian Plenti Is Skyscraper

Julian Plenti Is Skyscraper 
ole-873 LP/CD/DA 

Street Date: Aug 4, 2009



From 1998 to 2003, Julian Plenti performed in and around Manhattan as an acoustic solo artist. Venues that played host include Tobacco Road, Pete's Candy Store, The Knitting Factory, The Living Room, and "Lach's Antihoot" at Sidewalk Cafe.

In 2006 Plenti began to demo a selection of his music using Logic Pro. That selection took shape as "Skyscraper."

In the Fall of 2008 Mr. Plenti took the demoed album to the Seaside
Lounge in Brooklyn to be re-recorded with live instrumentation.

He hired session performers to play the string and horn arrangements, and also enlisted some friends. Mike Stroud of Ratatat and Charles Burst of The Occasion guest on "Skyscraper;"
Sam Fogarino of Interpol plays drums on "Games For Days;" and Striker Manley of Stiff Jesus appears on "No Chance Survival" and "Fun That We Have."

Plenti will be playing select shows in support of Julian Plenti is Skyscraper.


News From The Matablog

Coming October 23 : The New Paul Banks album, 'Banks'

(photo by Helena Christensen)

On October 23, Matador will release the 2nd solo album from Interpol vocalist/guitarist Paul Banks.  With 'Banks' (LP/CD/digital), Paul ditches the Julian Plenti alter-ego, and the resulting 10-song album is a tour-de- force of exhilarating minor-key intensity.

The Base (192 kbps MP3)

Banks was recorded in New York and Connecticut with producer Peter Katis (Interpol, The National, Shearwater, Jónsi...).  The album is  personal and epic, catchy and serpentine - much like your favorite Interpol albums - with Paul's wry humor, bare emotion, and varied influences all in full effect.

track listing :

1. The Base
2. Over My Shoulder
3. Arise, Awake
4. Young Again
5. Lisbon
6. I’ll Sue You
7. Paid For That
8. Another Chance
9. No Mistakes
10. Summertime Is Coming

preorder 'Banks' on LP or CD from The Matador Store.


Paul Banks on Twitter

PAUL BANKS “Julian Plenti Lives…” EP Out Today + MP3!

Paul Banks.

Photo by Helena Christensen

Paul Banks has an EP out TODAY, people.  Numbered and limited to 2300 vinyl and 1800 CD copies worldwide, “Julian Plenti Lives…” features two originals (one of them instrumental), and J Dilla, Frank Sinatra, and Harold Faltermeyer covers.

Click here to purchase

Track listing: 1. Perimeter Deactivated (Harold Faltermeyer) 2. Summertime Is Coming (Paul Banks) 3. Mythsysizer (J Dilla) 4. I’m A Fool To Want You (Frank Sinatra) 5. Cavern Worship (Paul Banks) Following its premiere last week on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic, Paul and Matador would like to gift you “Summertime Is Coming,” a brooding summer anthem that crescendos to a gorgeous left turn: “Summertime Is Coming” MP3 Paul Banks will have a full-length album out on Matador this fall. He will be performing at the upcoming FYF Fest, September 1-2 in Downtown LA.

Julian Plenti live - What It Looks Like From The Front Row

Ok, maybe the second row.  YooToob is chock full of footage from the first ever Julian Plenti U.S. tour, but with all due respect to the aspiring videographers out there, the above clip ---- "Only If You Run", from the November 18 show at SF's Great American Music Hall ---is one of the better looking/sounding from the pile.

('Julian Plenti Is Skyscraper' LP/CD/digital album available from the The Matador Store)

Julian Plenti Rocks The KEXP House Today At 3PM PST

The man, the myth, the legend, Julian Plenti, brings his live show extravaganza to the Seattle airwaves today with a performance for KEXP. You can catch the set live at 3PM PST (6PM EST) on the dial at 90.3FM and online at KEXP.org.

Plenti and his bandmates then will thrill and amaze at Chop Suey later this evening, before continuing their tour in Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, New York and Philadelphia through the rest of November. 

Julian Plenti US Tour Kickoff


Photo Credit: Gabi Porter / MetroMix.com

Tomorrow night, Julian Plenti kicks off his November US tour at the House of Blues, San Diego in support of his debut release, Julian Plenti...Is Skyscraper.  Earlier tomorrow, lucky San Diegans (San Diegers? San Diegists?) can catch Mr. Plenti at the excellent M-Theory Music where he'll be signing Skyscraper in all its various physical formats (3PM).

US dates...

Saturday, November 14 - San Diego, CA - House of Blues - Tickets

Monday, November 16 - Seattle, WA - Chop Suey - Tickets

Tuesday, November 17 - Portland, OR - Holocene - Tickets

Wednesday, November 18 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall - Tickets

Thursday, November 19 - Los Angeles, CA - El Rey Theater - Tickets

Saturday, November 21 - Chicago, IL - Metro - Tickets

Monday, November 23 - Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club - Tickets

Tuesday, November 24 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom - Tickets

Wednesday, November 25 - Brooklyn, NY - Brooklyn Bowl - Tickets

Friday, November 27 - Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church - Tickets

Music & Video

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