Online Exclusive: The Nancees

By Laura Bardsley

Between sorting cotton blend T-shirts and opening for the Dum Dum Girls, Jordan Kierstead, Alex Judge, Tyler Arndt and Marcel Vollet have come far. Since their respective stints in American Apparel’s stockroom, the four formed The Nancees on a chassis of simple influences: drinking, garage music, and most of all, girls.

Or, as Kierstead and Judge so eloquently put it, “getting drunk and listening to noisy stuff.”

“That’s where it started,” says Kierstead. “Now we’re more into mixing different genres and stuff.”

Vollet elaborates on that note, remarking that their sound is “the mix of rock ‘n’ roll, blues and rhythm,” reminiscent of The Mummies, The Zombies, and Thee Oh Sees. The four’s own special seasoning of noisy reverbed vocals, swingin’ beats and catchy riffs makes for a rich mix.

The four attribute their participation in Sled to a few factors: Judge claims their good looks, charms, riffs and “really technical guitar music” are the key to their recent success, while Vollet delves a little deeper.

“We got asked to play a show on CJSW, and this guy listened to us and reviewed our tape. He bought [it during the CJSW event Record Store Day], listened to it and gave us a really good review. I think both of those things really led to us playing Sled Island.”

Their experience playing the festival was positive, Kierstead explains.

“It was good, they treated us really well — free sandwiches and free beer, it was great,” he continued.

“All of the bands we played with were super rad, really nice guys from California and stuff, so it was awesome.”

The show brought in a new audience, which Vollet and his cohorts agreed was a positive thing.

“[There were] lots of people we hadn’t played in front of before, and it was good to see all the new faces,” he said.

“It drew out that sort of crowd that wouldn’t go to see us at a local show . . . I think that they were there to see the headliner,” he grins. “But we got into their ears and made a good impression.”

Other bands at Sled Island had a strong effect on The Nancees. Kierstead admits he was floored by Shannon and the Clams.

“I liked [them] a lot. I was surprised I’d never heard of them before and when I saw them at Broken City I was pretty blown away.”

Judge, nodding at Kierstead, gives his answer with complete certainty. “Thee Oh Sees at Broken City.”

Vollet gives his props to Demon’s Claws. “They were really good . . . pretty easy to swing to. They had that kind of western vibe going on. It was a new sound and I like it.”

After their Sled Island performance, everyone (including their new audiences) should wonder what’s next for The Nancees. Their tape is close to selling out, and they’re happy to announce that a 7-inch record on Oracle Records is in the works. They’re eager to go on tour and are looking at booking dates for August.

“We’ve got to start a tour out for sure,” says Judge. “We want to go out to [the] west coast and stuff.”

The four were then presented with the following scenario: If they were to curate a festival, who would they ask to play?

“Definitely the Rolling Stones, The King Khan & BBQ Show, Buddy Holly — dead or alive he’d have to make an appearance — Nina Simone, Bette Midler, The Wu-Tang Clan, Garth Brooks, April Wine and Townes van Zandt.”

Vollet, however, has his own potential festival favourite that’s truer to the feminine roots of the band’s own name: “The Rockettes!”

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