"One of the coolest pop/rock bands I’ve heard in years... I can’t stop smiling when their album is on. Tremendous." -Connect Savannah
"Quite an amazing arrangement accomplishment... Beware: This is one highly addictive record." -Music Row Magazine
The Nobility is a humble little rock band based in Nashville, TN. On new album The Mezzanine, The Nobility broadens their rock repertoire with a deeper exploration of narrative lyrics and less conventional arrangements, with orchestrations featuring cello, tuba, saxophone, flute, violin and French horn. The sessions were documented to magnetic 2-inch tape on classic 1970s analog gear at Brian Carter's Murfreesboro, Tennessee studio.
Legendary saxophonist Jim Hoke (Guster, Billy Joel, Bob Seger) makes an appearance, as do several soon-to-be legendary Middle Tennessee State University music students. While making The Mezzanine band members continued to listen to early Paul McCartney and Kinks records, as they have since they were chubby lads just out of diapers.
In between recording sessions and federal holidays, The Nobility squeezed in four (4) national tours in 2006 alone, performing nearly 80 concerts everywhere from bars and universities to libraries and schools. Following The Mezzanine's release on July 31, 2007, The Nobility performed nearly 40 dates across the US, added to rotation on tastemaker WOXY, and showcased at the 2007 CMJ Music Marathon and 2008 SXSW music festival.
Sean Williams is the lead singer, songwriter and guitarist, Stephen Jerkins dabbles in piano, organ, guitar and backing vocals, and Brian Fuzzell plays drums and percussion. For now a host of friends and enemies fill in bass duties.
Previously The Nobility was Jetpack, but another band had the copyright or at least a better lawyer and so a name change occurred. Despite the new name, the band has not alienated any fans or critics, who continue to love and cherish them.
aaron[at]theory8records[dot]com // theory8records.com/management
Sean Williams - vocals/guitar
Stephen Jerkins - vocals/keyboard/guitar
Brian Fuzzell - drums/percussion
Zarvox - vocals/bass
The Mezzanine - LP (7/31/07)
The Art of Building a Moat - EP (4/4/06 Heatstroke Records; former moniker Jetpack UK)
All Music Guide blog
[+ Show ]
October 2007 CMJ Crush Band: The Nobility October 18th, 2007 It’s all in the details for Nashvi...October 2007
CMJ Crush Band: The Nobility
October 18th, 2007
It’s all in the details for Nashville’s the Nobility. Exuberant Of Montreal-esque indie-pop/rock — though with more tender and organic moments than Kevin Barnes tends to indulge in. Alternately pretty and aggressively gritty, the Nobility’s teeter-tottering sound is always anchored in the fine vocals of lead noble Sean Williams. Going back through their catalog (starting with their work under the name Jetpack UK), you can see the influences move from surf to quirk… finally emerging as the smartly arranged fun-pop displayed on their latest offering, The Mezzanine.
When and where they’re scheduled to play: Friday, Oct. 19 at Pianos.
The Big Takeover
[+ Show ]
October 2007 Formerly Jetpack, the band’s former handle when critics dubbed them Weezer lite, the...October 2007
Formerly Jetpack, the band’s former handle when critics dubbed them Weezer lite, the newly-christened Nobility’s Sean Williams has ingested tons of mid-period Kinks and solo McCartney, regurgitating the best bits in a way that progresses rather than replicates — screaming rockers (“Skeleton Key”, “Riverboat”), ballads (“Angel’s Debut”), and power pop (“I Refuse”) sound familiar yet new. “Halleluiah Chorus”, the centerpiece and single-to-be, nicks the melodies of “Rocky Top” and “I Fought the Law”, morphing into the best crazed Viking anthem since Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”.
The Red and Black
[+ Show ]
October 2007 Nashville band boasts 'clever, quirky lyrics' Many bands boast Grammys, platinum ...October 2007
Nashville band boasts 'clever, quirky lyrics'
Many bands boast Grammys, platinum records and million-dollar endorsement deals - but what about immortalization in children's books?
"Smart pop" band The Nobility has that market covered.
The Nashville-based group may seem like an unlikely subject for third-grade non-fiction but is nonetheless featured in "Inside a Rock Band," part of a children's book series about unique professions.
"They have one about baby sitters, dolphin trainers and what it's like to be in a non-famous rock 'n' roll band," said Sean Williams, the band's lead singer and songwriter.
The author of the series happened to live in Nashville and contacted a local paper to find a band to feature. She was directed to The Nobility.
"It's one of the weirdest things that's ever happened to me," Williams said. "There's even a glossary that tells you what a 'gig' is."
The book inspired the band to kick off a five-week tour of libraries across the nation.
"We played the exact same show we play at clubs," Williams said. "We had a lot of people come to our shows who have never been in that type of environment."
The Nobility tirelessly has been promoting itself on the road, completing four national tours in 2006.
"We have the willingness to be poor and remain poor," Williams said. "We buckled down and thought that we got this music and we need to let people know about it somehow - even if we need to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for an entire month."
Luckily, the music has been worth the dietary sacrifice.
Fueled by Beatles-esque hooks and clever, quirky lyrics, the band hearkens to an earlier age of rock 'n' roll.
To achieve an "organic" sound, the band recorded its latest album, "The Mezzanine," on 1970s analog tape.
"We didn't want it too crisp - we want the sound to bleed," Williams said. "We want to make our music seem like its coming from us and not machines."
The end result is an infectious blend of head-bopping melodies and feel-good, contemplative lyrics.
"I wanted the album to have a positive vibe, to be about new perspectives and things starting anew," Williams said.
The crown jewel of the album is the title track, "The Mezzanine."
"It's a metaphor," he said. "If you were to go to a play, you would think that you'd want as close a seat as possible. But in actuality, if you go farther away into the mezzanine or what might be perceived as the worst seat, you actually have a better view."
For Williams, it's the perfect song to play on those days when you feel like the world is using you as a punching bag.
"It's about embracing the fact that you've been knocked back in life," he said. "It may not be ideal, but it's going to open your mind."
Music Row Magazine
[+ Show ]
And the Disc of the Day belongs not to one of our Big Names, but to the upstarts of The Nobility, wh...And the Disc of the Day belongs not to one of our Big Names, but to the upstarts of The Nobility, whose album drops July 31. Buy and believe.
The Nobility used to be Jetpack, "but another band had the copyright or at least a better lawyer and so a name change occurred," it says here. The new CD, The Nobility Are Moving Up to the Mezzanine, is quite an amazing arrangement accomplishment. These are brilliantly crafted tracks with orchestrations featuring tuba, sax, French horn, cello and other textures. Think Sgt. Pepper era Beatles or mid-period Kinks and you'll have the general idea. In addition to this jaunty CD opener, check out the yummy, layered, propulsive popster "Hallelujah Chorus" or the sputtering Queen-ish "Let Me Hang Around." Beware: This is one highly addictive record.
--Robert K. Oermann
You Set the Scene (music blog)
[+ Show ]
In general I try to focus on information that a music fan in Los Angeles can use. So usually in the ...In general I try to focus on information that a music fan in Los Angeles can use. So usually in the past I've always needed an LA-related excuse for a post. I tend to avoid the blogs that focus primarily on "breaking" new bands (you know the type... hey guys, check out [insert band name]. I've only heard these two songs, but I think they're great. And don't they look cool in their photo. Here are a couple of MP3s to download). But in the spirit of all those hyperbolic bloggers, here's a new band without any real LA connection.....
The Nobility [f/k/a Jetpack] are a Nashville based band with a new album, The Mezzanine, coming out on July 31st. When they were still Jetpack, they had a children's book written about them and toured libraries and grade schools across the US. Based on their photos, they look like they probably really enjoy Wes Anderson's films. I dug "Mathematics" from their first EP and thought they had a lot of potential. They realize that potential on their debut full length. The album's ambitious and nuanced, incorporating strings and horns on many of the tracks. The album starts off with two upbeat tracks "The Mezzanine" and "Halleluiah Chorus." At first you might wish all the tracks were as immediately catchy as "Halleluiah Chorus" but as you listen you begin to really appreciate the more subtle tracks. The lead singer's voice sounds a little bit like Eric Johnson from the Fruit Bats (which is another band I really like) while the band's energy reminds me a little bit of the Spinto Band.
All the Rage
[+ Show ]
Power pop has been an anomaly in the rock world over the years, being a style that actually rewards ...Power pop has been an anomaly in the rock world over the years, being a style that actually rewards imitation, celebrating the bands that can faithfully re-create the sounds of yesteryear.
A few months ago, when Nashville rock group The Nobility (formerly Jetpack UK) announced its stately new name and previewed Mezzanine track "Halleluiah Chorus" online, it suggested a band that was now fully versed in pop tradition and ready to make its own formal entry into the power-pop canon. While The Mezzanine is packed with tried-and-true rock hallmarks and a few tracks that could pass as tributes (like the Elvis Costello dead-ringer "I Refuse"), the band ironically carves its own bold identity on some of its most placid songs.
When the band bashes out tightly wound pop the results are inarguably catchy, but they also bring some of The Nobility's direct influences that much more into focus, like Costello on "Refuse" or Nashville's own The Features, whose aura hovers persistently over several of the trotting rock numbers. The hushed piano/acoustic guitar-driven "Angel's Debut," on the other hand, shows no cards, resting exclusively on the strength of leader Sean Williams' graceful melody and effortlessly swaying from piano ballad to a folk waltz as cello and French horn simmer just above the surface.
Still, even if tracks like "Angel" and plodding, cavernous closer "Worth Your While" are more distinct, that doesn't make more standard pop any less enjoyable — it's a craft the band has honed for years, and it shows. Nothing here is by the numbers. You'll hear inspired little hitches and quirks all over, and it's hard to think of another local indie rock release with either the amount or quality of brass and string arrangements found here.
All these promising pieces best find synergy in the opening title track, in which a foppish music hall intro (with tuba!) eventually meets a strutting beat and sprightly saxophones, as the band announces in tight harmonies that they're "moving up to the Mezzanine." There is, indeed, a definite sense of motion here — one of a band making big strides with a sound that appears increasingly unique as it becomes more "classic."
The Nobility celebrates the release of The Mezzanine with an in-store performance at 6 p.m. Tue., July 31, at Grimey's New and Preloved Music. Admission is free.
Your Standard Life (music blog)
[+ Show ]
July 2007 The Nobility, a humble little rock band based in Nashville, TN releases their full-leng...July 2007
The Nobility, a humble little rock band based in Nashville, TN releases their full-length album The Mezzanine July 31, 2007. These are some great tracks and i cannot wait to hear the full-length. Trust me, you'll be singing along to Halleluiah Chorus on your first listen.
The Nobility will make a stop in St. Louis at Lemmons on Aug. 18. Don't be lame, come out to the show. All the cool kids will be there eating pizza and rockin out.
[+ Show ]
Just Like Starting Over What’s in a name (change)? by Tracy Moore It’s tough to imagine the hon...Just Like Starting Over
What’s in a name (change)?
by Tracy Moore
It’s tough to imagine the honor of world’s first heavy metal band—you know, the one who gave us “Black Dog” and “Stairway to Heaven”—going to The New Yardbirds. And if it weren’t for the iron hand of the music industry, we might have suffered through 18 weeks in 1998 listening to the megahit “Iris” by a little band called The Sex Maggots. If it weren’t for pesky copyright issues, “Feel Good Hit of the Summer” would have come to us courtesy of the scuzzy stoner rock of Gamma Ray. And were it not for plain old artistic whimsy, the widely praised rock opera American Idiot would have been signed sealed and delivered to us by Sweet Children. Instead we have Led Zeppelin, Goo Goo Dolls, Queens of the Stone Age and Green Day, and as arbitrarily as those names were conceived, it’s difficult to imagine things any other way.
Tell it to Jetpack UK and Thornton, two local bands who’ve just taken on the risky proposition of changing their names—to The Nobility and Your Operator, respectively—some six years into their careers. But is it really such a risky proposition after all?
For the ’60s pop-rock leaning Jetpack UK, keeping the name was riskier. Three months after forming in 2001, they were made aware by their lawyer of the existence of another Jetpack, but were advised not to worry about it. Reps for the California surf-rock artist named Dan Standiford (who, like the local Jetpack, also assumes the band name as his first name) made contact soon after, with proof he’d been using the name since the ’80s. But it wasn’t until the local act decided to tour outside their hometown and release The Art of Building a Moat a few years later that things turned problematic. Soon both artists’ CDs began showing up under one name on sites such as Amazon and CD Baby.
“One time I was at Grimey’s,” singer and guitarist Sean Williams says. “And I asked Jonathan Rogers if they had the Jetpack album. And he was like, ‘Yeah is it called Planet Reverb?’ And I was like, ‘Oh, this isn’t good.’ ”
For Thornton—the Baptist hymnals-meets-cabaret-pop act whose ID is drawn from the surname of singer and pianist Kevin Thornton—the name change to Your Operator, also the band’s new single, was simply a reflection of their evolution from “sleepy art band” to a “bigger rock band sound.”
“We’ve toured our asses off under the name Thornton,” Thornton says. “We did an expensive radio campaign under that name. There are people in France with Thornton on their iPods…. But flash forward six years, and I’ve found myself with that dream chemistry/musical soul-mate/BFF stuff you read about in band biographies. Really, this has not been my solo project for a very long time.”
Meanwhile, Jetpack had just secured distribution through Heatstroke Records and were embarking on a library tour in support of a children’s book—Inside a Rock Band—written about their experience as young band, as legal pressures mounted. The addition of UK to the band’s moniker was a Band-Aid to buy them some time. But now, with the new album The Mezzanine set for release in July and a management deal with Aaron Hartley, who runs local indie label Theory 8, the band felt it was time to get rid of the legal hassles.
“We’ve played for a lot of kids—a lot of people everywhere from Massachusetts to Austin,” says Jetpack UK drummer Brian Fuzzell. “What if so-and-so in Connecticut liked our CD a lot and can’t find us?” “But this isn’t like Aerosmith changing their name,” adds Williams. “We’re not this money-making entity where everyone’s going to be devastated.”
For both acts, it’s an invigorating fresh start. Thornton says becoming Your Operator has made the band “feel like dreamers again.” “People seem to like the name and the new direction,” says Thornton. “Also, I think it might up T-shirt sales. Who wants to wear a T-shirt with my name on it? I’m an egomaniac and I thought it was a little weird.” For The Nobility, the name change also allows them to shed previous musical missteps. The new record finds the band using horns and flutes to flesh out their sound, with guitarist Stephen Jerkins playing keys rather than riffs. (Bassist David Dewese has departed amicably to pursue his own songwriting.)
But despite both bands’ hard work in establishing their prior monikers, thanks to the Internet age, getting the word out hasn’t been all that difficult. MySpace, for instance, allows you to simply switch the band name in the URL and keep all your hard-earned friends. A few bulletins and emails, and the past is band history. What’s more difficult is winning back old converts.
“What about ’em?” Williams says with a laugh when asked about former fans. “No, I think they’ll be understanding,” Jerkins interjects. “We have a lot of nice fans. Well, there might be some kindergartners out there who are upset about it.”
[+ Show ]
August 2007 One of the coolest pop/rock bands I’ve heard in years, this young Nashville quartet b...August 2007
One of the coolest pop/rock bands I’ve heard in years, this young Nashville quartet blissfully channels the twee optimism of Village Green-era Kinks and Magical Mystery-era Beatles. I can’t stop smiling when their album is on. Tremendous. Sat., 8 pm, The Sentient Bean - ALL-AGES.
[+ Show ]
August 2007 To say that Sean Williams and Stephen Jerkins started Jetpack with humble aspirations...August 2007
To say that Sean Williams and Stephen Jerkins started Jetpack with humble aspirations would be more than an understatement. “We didn't even expect to ever play anywhere with decent sound,” Williams, the band's lead singer and guitarist, said dryly in a recent phone interview.
Williams and Jerkins, who met as classmates at Harding University in Searcy (Williams is a Searcy native), had only messed around a little in living rooms and garages in Nashville when longtime friend Isaac Alexander asked them to come open up for Big Silver's CD release show in Little Rock in 2001. Thanks to Alexander's prodding, Jetpack was born onstage.
In the early days, when Jetpack was playing a steady string of gigs around Nashville, Williams says that the band knew about another act with the same name, a surf rock outfit out of California, but with Jetpack's limited ambitions they figured paths would never cross. Fast forward several years: The Nashville Scene named the pop-rockers the city's “Best Unsigned Band” in 2005; Red Eye distributed “The Art of Building a Moat,” Jetpack's 2006 EP, nationally; and the lead single off that EP, the endlessly catchy “Mathematics,” was made into a video.
Then last year, a local author asked The Nashville Scene to recommend a local rock band to profile in a children's book. The alt-weekly steered her to Jetpack. Wary of legal entanglements that might surface from that exposure, the band slapped a UK on the end of its name, a nod to its Brit-pop influences. To promote the book, the band embarked on a decidedly un-rock 'n' roll tour — five weeks of shows in public libraries across the country.
As the band readied its latest full-length, “The Mezzanine,” it decided to bite the bullet and deal with the name issue. Taken from a lyric in the new album's title track (“I was born into nobility, but I squandered my riches in champagne and wine”), Nobility replaced Jetpack UK.
The change could be at just the right time. The band usually plays to full houses in Nashville; it's easily one of the city's most popular acts, and, behind the strength of “The Mezzanine,” it seems poised to break nationally. The album rests firmly on a foundation of “Village Green”-era Kinks, early Paul McCartney solo material and Elvis Costello. But the band breaks some new ground, playing with tempo and adding orchestral touches — a stuttering tuba in the title track, violin, saxophone, flute and French horn elsewhere. Still, it's Williams' ability to craft a ridiculously infectious hook that truly sets the band apart. Try “Halleluiah Chorus,” the album's lead single, with its triumphant chorus of “ohs,” and it'll be stuck in your head for weeks.
30-45 min set, all original
Midst of the Park
Let Me Hang Around
This is What I've Wanted to Tell You
Worth Your While
There are no upcoming dates at this time.