Bandits On The Run
2020 had Bandits on the Run poised to make their biggest moves yet; they appeared at the ASCAP Cafe Stage at Sundance, they’d been selected for SXSW and built a tour that included an appearance at The Kennedy Center and an opening slot for Larkin Poe at NYC’s famed Webster Hall, before the pandemic struck down the best-laid plans of every mouse and man ‘round the globe.
But in the promo leading up SXSW Bandits on the Run caught the eye of producer Ryan Hadlock (The Lumineers, Vance Joy, Brandi Carlile) and he contacted them about the prospect of working together. Things quickly fell into place for them to head west that summer, safely road-tripping from the East Coast to Bear Creek Studios in Seattle in their trusty van Rip Van Winkle.
The resulting EP, titled Now is the Time, is hands-down Bandits on the Run’s most daring, lush, and sophisticated work yet. Seamlessly shifting from shades of The Beatles to Fleetwood Mac to David Byrne to Laurel Canyon, the Bandits’ influences are apparent in the EP while carving out a distinctive voice all their own. Everyone in the trio writes their own songs and takes turns singing lead, which means on this six song EP each member gets two songs to step into the spotlight and showcase their melodic, lyrical, and vocal prowess.
Their first single from that EP, the titular “Now is the Time,” was included in Rolling Stone’s weekly round-up of best new folk music during the week of the presidential election. The second single from the EP, We Battle Giants, caught the heart of KEXP’s Kevin Cole : “This song is how I want to wake up every single morning, I want to feel this way: uplifted, so enthusiastic, inspiring, empowering; it’s like a battle cry. Man, it’s better than a triple shot of espresso.”
In addition to Now Is The Time, 2020 saw Bandits on the Run write and perform in their first musical film, The Band at the End of the World. The musical showcases three brand new songs from the Bandits on the Run and is a promising sign of their ability to cross over into many different performance mediums. It should come as no surprise, the three are all trained actors and are known as forces of nature in their live concerts.
Dig further into the history of Bandits on the Run and take a peek at their proverbial trophy wall, and you’ll find an impressive array: two NPR Tiny Desk Contest Top Shelf placements, two placements on Spotify playlists from their first album The Criminal Record, the first place prize in the New York Coffee Festival Songwriting Contest, two tours through Europe, the EP Bandits Live at the Power Station, two songs landing on WFUV’s Current Favorite Songs list, music placement in the feature film Ben Is Back, the Deli-premiered release of their double-feature music video for “Love In The Underground”, a Paste Live Session, features in NPR Music, Billboard, and more. All of this without the help of a label — cementing Bandits on the Run’s status as a DIY force to be reckoned with. And looking forward into the horizon of 2021 — with the impending release of Now Is The Time and the prospect of live performance coming back, they just may be the band best equipped to bring us into the new decade with spirit, love, joy, a little mystery, and a big heaping spoonful of heart.