The NRIs
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"NRIs - Seas - The Amateur Hour -- Red Palace - June 3 2011"

The NRIs - It is a CD release party for this local collective. I have enjoyed the band previously and they looked ready to kick it in tonight. They have a couple of guitars, rhythm section and two women on keyboards, violin and background vocals. The songs are pop, rock with some interesting hooks and flows. There is a maturity there, but the band also has the ability to cut loose a bit and not keep things overly formal. They rock and allow listeners to keep their minds working. The crowd was enjoying it plenty and even my glare worked to get a couple of people to move their conversation from 30 inches away from me far off to the side at the bar where it belonged (imagine Richard Burton in The Medusa Touch--actually don't, it's an awful movie). I had more notes on movie references, but only one per review allowed when the music is this good. And it was. The band looked like they were having fun playing which certainly affects the audience and so forth. It was a good night by a good local band who was happy that so many people were supporting local music. Preaching to the choir here. - DC Rock Live - Reviews


"Album review: The NRIs' 'Eight Forty Two"

Friday, July 16, 2010

THE NRIS

"Eight Forty Two AM"

Kindred spirits: Wilco, Shortstack, Gist

Show: With Bonjour, Ganesh!, Milk Machine and Ghost Light on Saturday at the Rock & Roll Hotel. Show starts at 9 p.m. 202-388-7625. http://www.rockandrollhoteldc.com.

Local singer-guitarist Nayan Bhula takes a musical furlough on "Eight Forty Two AM," the debut of his part-time band, the NRIs, which stands for "Non-Resident Indians." Bhula is of Indian descent, but the sextet's music doesn't venture anywhere near South Asia. The EP opens in "Music City" -- meaning Nashville, to judge from the tune's twang -- and ends with "Texas."

"Eight Forty Two AM" isn't simply a old-timey fling for Bhula, who takes a punkier path with his full-time band, Gist. The group features fiddler Melanie Papasian but, on several songs, it's supplemented by a three-piece horn section. And if the busted-romance lyrics that guitarist Gabriel Fry penned for "Gone" are pure country, the song's music is more than a little rock-and-roll.

The NRIs' bad-love and hard-drinking songs are simply well-executed genre exercises, but the disc's centerpiece is more personal: "Fairwell" is a heartfelt ode to a new child, apparently born at 8:42 a.m. The first half of the six-minute song has a honky-tonk vibe, but its coda mixes violin, sax and female backing vocals in a suitably rapturous tribute to the event Bhula's chant calls "a miracle."

-- Mark Jenkins


- The Washington Post


"The Moderate - The NRIs - The Beanstalk Library -- Black Cat - Aug 13 2010"

The NRIs - A fairly new band from what I gather is up next. They are lead by an Indian-from India-American on guitar and vocals with a full crew of rock band participants including keyboards and violin. The violin is a great touch as a few of the songs need the extra touch to bring something original to the mix. But most of the songs are really quite good and I was thinking of sort of a Port O'Brien brand of folk-rock with the emphasis on rock. Good use of female backing vocals. I liked the improvised song of "...what a good idea it was to throw down your guitar..." which was sung when the other guitarist ended up needing a timely tuning job after a rather rousing move. "Was he loaded?" was in my notes prior to that as he did show a wry sense of humor in his patter. No matter, this was a good set from a band to watch. So go watch them next time. - DC Rock Live - Reviews


Discography

8:42AM -- May 2010
*The track, "Music City," was played on DC101's Local Lix program.
*The track, "Texas," was played on DC101's Local Lix program.

Kings and Birds -- June 2011
*The track, "Your Moment," is the single from this EP.

The Charm -- May 2012
*The track, "You Never Understood," is the single from this EP.

Photos

Bio

A non-resident Indian, Nayan Bhula decided to use the moniker “The NRI” in 2007 when he released some of his lo-fi 4-track cassette recordings. That collection of songs, spanning more than 10 years, showed Nayan learning to play, sing, and write in a laid-back acoustic setting—a sharp contrast to the high-energy post punk feel of his band, GIST. After some positive reaction to those older songs, he decided to record full-band versions of some of them along with some new songs. During this phase, a few of his favorite musicians happened to be either leaving bands or moving into the DC-metro area. Hence, “The NRI” became “The NRIs”—adding Gabriel Fry (ex-The Alphabetical Order, We Were Pirates, etc.), Shawn Leonard (ex-Stefan Couture & The Campfire Orch.), Jesse Burgman, and Audrey White for a May 2009 live debut. After trying out violinists, The NRIs finally added their sixth and final member, Melanie Papasian, in late 2009.

The NRIs released their debut EP, 8:42AM, in May 2010. Their sophomore effort, Kings and Birds, was released in June 2011. The NRIs are finishing their third EP, The Charm.