Band Marino
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Band Marino

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The best kept secret in music



"BAND MARINO has been making steady buzz in reasonably educated circles, even to the point of selling out THE SOCIAL last Sunday. Forgive the moniker because this band was really something else. Possessing both the innocent sensibility of twee pop and the bucolic urgency of "Crackity Jones," they sound like they could've come out of the ELEPHANT 6 collective. Imagine the countrified side of BRIGHT EYES minus the bombast, curdle and twitch (i.e. everything that makes you want to strangle him) and you're close. The bottom line? They've got enough potential and momentum to be Orlando's next big thing and enough substance for us not to be ashamed of liking them. My, my, do we even dare? - Bao Le-Huu - Orlando City Beat Aug. 26, 2005


Jim Abbott | Sentinel Pop Music Critic
March 18, 2006

AUSTIN, Texas -- Transparent tape isn't a hot commodity among the bars and souvenir shops on Sixth Street, and that's not good news for Nathan Bond.
The lead singer of Orlando's Band Marino is racing around like a surgeon with a transplant patient, walking against the light on busy Congress Avenue in search of a convenience store.
"We're in a hurry here,'' he calls over his shoulder. When you want to get your band's name on every lamppost in town, dodging a few cars is a small sacrifice.
Band Marino's showcase tonight at the massive South by Southwest Music Conference is the group's first exposure outside of Florida. It's an experience that has yielded a mixture of nerves and optimism.
"We've been here four days,'' says the perpetually energetic singer. "Now I'm starting to feel the pressure.''
On the way, the group played shows in Pensacola, Tuscaloosa and Mobile, Ala., the latter on a bill with two metal bands that weren't a match for Band Marino's blend of guitars, atmospheric keyboards, tinkling banjo or mandolin.
"They were all dancing by the end of our set,'' Bond says. "We got an encore.''
Cheering the home team
Band Marino has charmed hometown audiences the same way -- but an Austin show hasn't been a career-defining moment for any Orlando band yet.
That hasn't dampened the optimism of veteran locals about the group's prospects.
"They appeal to my personal taste, which is the main reason I go see any band,'' says Steve Robertson, Orlando-based A&R representative for Atlantic Records. He doesn't have a professional relationship with the group but is a big fan.
"With Band Marino, it's that Radiohead-Neil Young-Bright Eyes-Bob Dylan-Modest Mouse thing they have going on -- that coupled with the fact that I've rarely seen an Orlando band gain the fan base they have as quickly as they have. I think that could spread outside Orlando and outside Florida.''
Band can work a crowd
In Austin, Bond and his band mates -- multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Nee, bassist Abraham Couch, guitarist Jesse Adams and drummer Dylon York -- also are gaining attention for soundtrack music to The Last Romantic, a narrative feature directed by Jonathan Nee's brothers, Aaron and Adam, that is screening at the SXSW film festival.
Musically, Band Marino has a modest mission.
"We know it will be hard work to get people to see us, to get them to our stage,'' Bond says. "It will be an insane pace.''
If the audience makes it, Band Marino will know what to do with it. The band's meager assortment of recorded music (at doesn't do justice to the exuberant energy of its live shows. A wiry, tightly wound bundle of energy, Bond is the kinetic centerpiece of a band that specializes in songs that range from loud to lovely.
It's a sound that's unique among guitar-driven indie-rockers, but Bond won't pontificate on Band Marino's genius. A member of Orlando's loosely configured Funbalaya collective, which includes club favorites Dodger and The Band of the Name, among others, Band Marino is just part of a creative crowd, he says.
"There are a lot of bands in Orlando that don't sound like any of the other bands in Orlando. I think it's creative and fun,'' he says of Band Marino's sound, "but I don't think it's the most ground-breaking.''
A sound with many parts
Not in a way that calls conspicuous attention to itself, but the band's sound is powerfully infectious. A recent show at Will's Pub yielded a typical response: a crowded room of sweaty fans, dancing and clapping along to songs that sound like lost Crazy Horse tracks at one moment, a runaway Gypsy caravan the next.
None of this music has been committed to disc, although the band is working on a full-length CD for summer release. At the band's myspace page, the music is more subdued and earthy, dating back to the days when Band Marino was a duo.
"When Nathan and I started the band, I didn't play anything,'' Nee confesses. Bond found a keyboard in the attic and taught him some things. Soon, Nee was tinkering with the banjo, an instrument that would define the band's sound.
"Banjo to me is way easier than guitar,'' he says. "It's an open tuning, so I don't have to do anything with my left hand to make the chord.''
The band's influences range from Bob Dylan and the Pixies to bluegrass, Hank Williams and Mice Parade.
"There are a few moments that sound very old and you could place it,'' Bond says. "For the most part, it goes into a blender and comes out in a different sort of way.''

Jim Abbott can be reached at 407-420-6213 or .

- Orlando Sentinel


Saturday • 11

We're about to say something that's going to make a lot of people mad, but it must be said: If you want to get a grip on the best local music in Orlando, you need to be at this show. Not that these three bands are the best bands in town, but they're all in the top 10. (Hell, they might all be in the top five.) This isn't one of those toss-off gigs that some other local venues throw to (generally awful) local bands as a way to say they support the scene. This is a full-on, Saturday-night, buy-tickets-early exposition of some fine, fine tuneage. Band Marino's indie-centric porch-pop has now been officially endorsed by Orlando Weekly (we're sponsoring their South by Southwest showcase), which, of course, means they're going to break up in five minutes. If you haven't seen Yip-Yip, we're surprised – they've allowed themselves to become the requisite "weird" band that gets booked on every single bill where the headliner doesn't fit the standard indie-rock mode – but that doesn't diminish the hallucinogenic futuro-fury created by their grinding synthesizer duets. The Slashers? Only the most powerful, stage-demolishing, in-your-face punk combo in town. (By punk, we mean punk rock, which means they're not hardcore, they're not metalcore, they're not screamo; they rock.) So: bouncy pop-twang, keyboard players in masks and a Supersuckers-style ass-kicking, all in one night, all from superior local bands, at an all-ages show for less than 10 bucks? You'd be an idiot not to be there. We will be, and we'll be taking names, looking out for all those people who constantly moan about how "nobody supports the Orlando music scene" to see if, you know, they support the scene. After all, it doesn't get much better than this. (7 p.m. at Will's Pub; $7; 407-898-5070)



This column is coming off like a fanzine screed and for that I apologize. But after living here for three and a half years, and listening to people complain about what this city has going on (or what they perceive it does not have going on), I was starting to believe it. I was beginning to think that my Pollyanna attitude toward Orlando was completely misguided.

But after witnessing the show that went down Saturday (Feb. 11) at Will's, I'll go ahead and say that the Orlando scene is doing quite well, and with no help from the complainers. A diverse and impressive bill of local talent – Band Marino, Yip-Yip, Country Slashers and Anna Becker – sold out the venue. What's this? A sold-out Will's Pub show? Surely the joint was filled with the scenesters who are working so hard to make this town a hip place to live. After all, with an indie band, some electro-freaks, a punk band and a singer-songwriter – all of whom are among the best local purveyors of said sounds – there was something cool enough for all of those discerning tastes, right?

Apparently not. The folks who sidle up to the bar at Bar-BQ-Bar or The Matador or Redlight Redlight on a regular basis to bitch about how nobody in Orlando cares about local music were nowhere to be found. "But," wonders the self-important scenester as he sips his PBR and flicks his $70 haircut out of his eyes, "how did the venue sell out?" That would be The Kids. The place was packed full of 'em. Whether they were 14 or 24, it was incredibly encouraging to see a venue filled with enthusiastic (if spazzy) music fans who still had excitement in their eyes, rather than the deadness of pessimism that pollutes the air when hipsters congregate.

The best part? They weren't digging bullshit. They were thriving on a clutch of artists who are good by any metric, and simply excellent by the soft expectations of local musicians. And they all have rejected the market-friendly approach that so many Orlando bands adopt, choosing instead to make music that's quirky, personal or (in the case of the Slashers) humorously abusive. And, again, this show sold out.

- ORLANDO WEEKLY (2-16-2006)


The Sea & The Beast (2007)


Feeling a bit camera shy


If a covey of wide-eyed indie kids reinterpreted your grandpappy’s record collection, it’d probably sound something like the incandescent Band Marino. A swirling carousel of guitars, banjos and mandolins, their whims come in an old-timey vernacular. But boring neo-traditionalists they’re not. The folk trimmings, melodic verve and rock energy culminate in an effusive sort of carnival pop. The music is atmospherically rich and emotionally generous, a tapestry crafted in adoring detail. Earthy, human and eternally fresh-faced.

Their energetic stage performances have turned Band Marino into a catapulting phenomenon in the on-the-cusp Orlando indie scene. Going from curtseying waltzes to dizzying freakouts, they tend to make even the dirtiest rock club feel like a rousing tent show on the verge of spilling over. And it’s this transporting quality that’s attracted a large, remarkably devout following in Florida, often selling out major hometown venues like The Social, BackBooth and Will’s Pub.

In addition to doing two national tours, Band Marino performed at the 2006 South By Southwest Music Festival. Also debuting at this year’s SXSW Film Festival was The Last Romantic, an independent film that the band scored whose cast included James Urbaniak (American Splendor, Henry Fool, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind), and Shalom Harlow (Vanilla Sky, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days). They’ve played with indie luminaries like Stars, Tilly and The Wall, Rainer Maria, Lovedrug, Switchfoot, The Ataris, As Tall As Lions, Head of Femur, Receiving End of Sirens, Cartel, Jason Mraz, and O.A.R.