Comprised of Noelle Tannen (vocals, keys), Andrew Cowie (baritone sax, tenor sax), Ash Russell (trumpet), Zach Cohen (guitar), Derek Rusinek (bass) and Andrew Marshall (drums), New York-based act Noelle and the Filthy No-Nos have developed a reputation locally for a sound that draws from neo-soul, jazz, funk and the work of Hiatus Kaiyote and others — and in fact, as you’ll hear on “Skin,” the first single off the band’s forthcoming, self-titled, full-length debut, slated for an October 14 release consists of a complex, almost maximalist arrangement that includes key changes, a slow-burning psych jazz intro and coda and ethereal harmonies,followed by a sultry, jazz-leaning section a wild salsa-leaning bridge, complete with call and response vocals, and Cowie’s swaggering and strutting solo. And it’s held together by Tannen’s ridiculously expressive vocals — which manage to be jazzy, soulful, coquettish and mischievous within a turn of a phrase, and her dexterous keyboard work. As Tannen explained in an email “Harmonically, and arrangement wise, while writing this song I really didn’t want to settle for anything. It was all about finding and exploring every possibility. Lyrically the song is about femininity and life and death. Its kind of about how I feel like as a woman in our society everyone is constantly trying to protect you; we are often looked at as the vessel of life and in many ways we are. However, a lot of women live a life with this underlying tone of over protection (Some face it more than others.)”
As Tannen continued, the song and the accompanying video directed and produced by Matthew Speno are both about breaking free from that sense of over-protecting.
“Visually we wanted to tie this concept into different living parts of nature. That’s why we start on solid earth, move to water and the finish with fire. Earth and water are matter and fire is a release of the energy inside those elements,” Tannen explains. Interestingly, the video manages to suggest a primal return to nature as being completely freeing with its characters free of social restraint or concern about appearances.