Annuals at Lollapalooza, 2007
|Origin||Raleigh, North Carolina, USA|
|Labels||Canvasback, Ace Fu, Terpsikhore|
|Associated acts||Manchester Orchestra, Minus the Bear, Arcade Fire, The Dear Hunter, The Flaming Lips|
|Past members||Mike Robinson
Annuals is the musical project of singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist, Adam Baker. Founded in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2002, Annuals first found success following its critically acclaimed 2006 release, Be He Me. As of September 2013, Annuals is based out of Los Angeles.
Born and raised in Apex, North Carolina, Adam Baker began playing drums at 10 years old. In 2000, Baker formed Timothy’s Weekend, a pop-punk band, with future Annuals members, Kenny Florence (lead vocals, guitar) and Mike Robinson (bass). As the band evolved musically, members were added, and Sedona was formed. Sedona (later, Sunfold) featured much of the same lineup as the original Annuals lineup. As in Timothy’s Weekend, Florence took the role of lead singer, songwriter and guitarist, with Robinson on bass, Baker on drums, and Zack Oden joining on guitar.
Over the next couple of years, as Baker learned to play other instruments and took up an interest in audio production, he began to write, record and distribute his own songs. These became the first recorded Annuals tracks.
Early demos and releases from both Annuals and Sunfold were initially put out by their own label, Terpsikhore, which was founded by JK Horne and bassist Mike Robinson.
Be He Me (2006-2008)
In the fall of 2005, Annuals signed with Ace Fu Records, and on October 17, 2006, they released their debut LP, Be He Me. The album exploded on the indie music scene and, thanks in large part to overwhelming coverage in the blogosphere, the band found itself mentioned on just about every "Next Big Thing" and "Bands To Watch" list across the internet in 2006 and 2007, earning them a reputation as a "blog band."
Sample from Be He Me
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Annuals appeared as the No. 25 entry in Pitchfork’s "Infinite Mixtape" series with their song "Brother" and received extensive coverage in such publications as Rolling Stone, Spin, Paste, Stereogum, Filter, NME, BrooklynVegan and AbsolutePunk, among many others.
Be He Me would go on to sell over 5,000 copies by years' end and has sold over 19,000 copies to date.
On June 17, 2007, Annuals released Frelen Mas, an 8-song collection of B-sides from Be He Me.
On the heels of the startling success of Be He Me, Annuals signed with Sony imprint, Canvasback Music, and on April 1, 2008, released Wet Zoo, a 5-song split-EP with sister band, Sunfold. The 5-song album featured 3 tracks by Annuals and 2 contributions from Sunfold.
Such Fun & Sweet Sister (2008-2011)
Annuals' second full-length album, Such Fun, was released on October 7, 2008 via Canvasback/Terpsikhore and was met with mostly positive reviews. A far more polished product than its predecessor, the album was co-produced by Grammy award winning producer Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Modest Mouse, Dawes) and features an original Bob Ross painting as the cover art.
While Such Fun did not achieve the same level of commercial success as Be He Me, the album saw Annuals take a giant step forward in their songwriting, production quality and overall musicianship. Such Fun's shimmering orchestration, clever lyrics and engaging melodies would set the standard for their future recordings.
On May 4, 2010, on the heels of their departure from Canvasback, Annuals released Sweet Sister on Banter Media. Written, recorded and produced entirely by Baker, the 5-song EP featured four original songs and one cover (Johnny Cash's "Flesh and Blood”), and showcased yet another evolution in the band's sound. Softer, more polished vocals and intricate, electronic Latin rhythms pushed the Annuals sound in yet another new direction.
Sample from Sweet Sister
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Time Stamp (2012-Present)
In January 2012, it was announced on the band's Facebook page that a forthcoming studio album, Born Raised, was nearing completion and would be released later that year. The album would be delayed, however, and by the time of its release, the title would be changed, due in part to the similarly titled album Born and Raised by John Mayer.
On April 23, 2013, after sitting in "near completed form for almost 18 months," Annuals self-released their long-awaited follow up to Such Fun, Time Stamp. A digital-only release, the album was initially released via Bandcamp and is now available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon, and various other music downloading sites.
Accompanying the release was the following note from the band:
Move to Los Angeles and new album
In September 2013, following what the band announced was their "last show for the foreseeable future", Adam Baker relocated to Los Angeles, where he began work on the band's fourth full-length release.
New band members Tim Casey (drums), Britt Rand (keys), Jordan Robins (guitar), Eric Notarnicola (bass) came on board to form the new lineup.
Music Style and Influences
Since their incarnation, Annuals have drawn comparisons to countless artists and combinations of genres from just about any publication that has attempted to categorize their sound. Rolling Stone once described Annuals as “the Tar Heel State’s version of the Arcade Fire”, and Pitchfork deemed them a “fantasy hybrid of Animal Collective, Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene". While NME has suggested that the band’s members may have been “cloned in a Petri-dish from the LSD-twisted DNA of Wayne Coyne”, Soundcheck magazine posited the term “neo-baroque pop” as a general description for the band’s aesthetic.
In a 2009 interview with LAist, Baker cited Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle), Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, Hank Williams Sr., Johnny Cash, Radiohead, Bjork, and Secret Chiefs 3 among his major influences. He credits his mother for his “beach” music influences and his father for his Motown and country influences.
Television and Licensing
Annuals made their national television debut on Late Night with Conan O'Brien performing the song "Carry Around", and came back in October 2008 for a second show, playing "Confessor", the opening track from their album, Such Fun.
- Adam Baker - Producer/Vocals/Guitar/Percussion (2002–Present)
- Tim Casey - Drums (2014–Present)
- Jordan Robins - Guitar/Vocals (2014–Present)
- Eric Notarnicola - Bass/Vocals (2014–Present)
- Britt Rand -Keyboard/Vocals (2015–Present)
- Kenny Florence - Lead Guitar/Vocals/Percussion (2003-2011)
- Mike Robinson - Bass (2003-2013)
- Zack Oden - Guitar/Drums (2003-2013)
- Nick Radford - Drums (2003-2012)
- Anna Spence - Keyboard/Vocals (2003-2010)
- Devin Downey - Keys/Percussion/Vocals (2010-2013)
- Matt Ramey - Guitar/Vocals (2012-2013)
- Josh Pope - Bass (2003)
- George Goodwin - Drums (2003)
- Lay Down Dry (Terpsikhore, 2005)
- Git' Got EP (Terpsikhore, 2006)
- Be He Me (Ace Fu, 2006)
- Big Zeus (Ace Fu, 2007) UK-Only EP
- Frelen Mas (Ace Fu, 2007) Digital-Only EP
- Wet Zoo (Canvasback/Terpsikhore, 2008) EP
- Such Fun (Canvasback, 2008)
- Sweet Sister (Banter, 2010) EP
- Count the Rings (Souterrain Transmissions, 2010)
- Time Stamp (self-released, 2013) Digital-Only
- Brother (Virgin Records Ltd., 2007)
- Fair (Ace Fu, 2007)
- Confessor (Canvasback, 2008)
- Official website
- Facebook page
- ReverbNation page
- Bandcamp page
- MySpace page
- Annuals live on Daytrotter.com, September 19, 2006
- Annuals live on WOXY.com, February 21, 2007
- Annuals interview on Prefix, January 25, 2008
- Wet Zoo EP Review
- Sunfold ToyTugboats Review
- Annuals photos from Johnny Brenda's in Philadelphia, 1.30.09