Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Return of Pretty & Nice

Holden Lewis, a 24-year-old musician and alumnus of Boston University, has a band. The band’s name is Pretty & Nice and they’ve been upping the Boston music scene’s ante for a few years now. Since the 7th grade, Lewis has been cultivating his talents for his Boston-based group, a four-piece peppy pop band with true instrumental talent.

The makings of Pretty & Nice began when Lewis wanted to pursue a music group at the end of high school. At the time, the band was composed of four different members, all friends of Lewis’ from the northeast. Musicians shifted in and out of the band until Lewis found the perfect asset during his sophomore year in college, Jeremy Mendicino. Lewis describes Mendicino as “being born to do music.” It was that year that Lewis knew he was going to make music his priority in life.

His decision to do so was a wise one, considering the success Pretty & Nice has seen since then. The buzz started when they played their first shows in Boston and developed a strong fan base. They then organized their own tours; national music blogs like Pitchfork and Paper Thin Walls heard about them and latched on to their sound. The word continued to spread when a year ago, Sub Pop’s sister label, Hardly Art, asked them to sign.

The band has also been invited to perform at music festivals like South By Southwest, and has received acclaim from popular music publications (including a recent spotlight in SPIN). They have released two albums and an EP since 2006 and have toured just about everywhere in the U.S.

“If you have the drive to get on the road, you can get help by asking friends or other touring bands. The key is being able to communicate with people. You have to keep in touch with a lot of folks to book your own tours and figure out what the scenes are like in each town…you also need to be in a band worth booking,” explains Lewis.

Despite its aquired notoriety, Pretty & Nice keeps close to its Boston roots. Locally, the band has played shows in many established venues around town; Boston is indeed the city to hear them and they’re usually on the bill with other dance bands that promote a similar “fun” atmosphere.

The band’s “fun” atmosphere stems from the influences and creativity of Mendicino and Lewis. The two mix jagged guitar parts with synthesizers, drums, and teaming vocals. The lyrics are crafty and imaginative; they evoke a carefree feeling of youthful escapism from the audience—perhaps that’s why their latest album is titled Get Young.

Not only do they provide fans a fun night at a venue like a lot of other local gems, but they’re good, too. They pay attention to detail, and it’s clear within their perfect-pitched harmonies and elaborate guitar riffs.

“They add electronic sounds and record in analog, which most artists don’t bother with now. It makes them stand out—makes you remember them,” states Will Orman, a friend and fan of the band for two years.

They take their music seriously. Look into the animated eyes of Mendicino while he’s performing on stage and you’ll know what I’m talking about. The band makes a non-verbal promise to entertain you.

Catch them LIVE at Great Scott in Allston on Wednesday, July 29 at 9 PM with So Many Dynamos! The show is 18+ and $9 in advance/$10 at the door.

Listen to their single “Tora Tora Tora!” on their website.

-Jen Brown, Music Director

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