Computer Vs. Banjo: 'Magazine Queen'

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Computer Vs. Banjo's Johnny Mann. hide caption

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Computer Vs. Banjo 300 new self titled album

Computer Vs. Banjo's Johnny Mann.

The name of the Nashville band Computer Vs. Banjo says it all: Johnny Mann and Beau Stapleton blend folky banjos and acoustic guitars with synth-heavy electronica and experimental beats. The computer tends to win the battle on the group's self-titled debut, but countless computerized samples of more traditional instruments give the record an eclectic, genre-bending sound.

Computer Vs. Banjo was largely self-produced, and Stapleton explains that the freedom allowed the duo to explore musically. "We just went in and got lost in the creative environment," he says. "I knew enough to get us going, and our circle of studio friends were there to help out when we got in over our heads. It was an incredibly liberating experience. We had the time and gear to go after so many timbres and parts."

"Magazine Queen" sees Computer Vs. Banjo at its best. The varied instruments and sounds thrown in — be they ambient electronic blips, fingerpicked guitar lines, or atmospheric backing vocals — help create a huge soundscape. Even the track's most sedate moments are peppered with samples. And yet, despite everything going on musically, none of it is obtrusive, allowing the vocals to shine through beautifully.

The band is currently working on an EP of remixes it hopes to release soon. "We have both been in situations with labels, managers, publishers pushing you out the door and onto the road for a year or more when an album drops," Stapleton says. "We are trying to do things a bit differently. With the new music climate, there are more opportunities than ever to create music and distribute it. We want to stay closer to the studio, closer to our creative centers."

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