Beers cans crack open. The shuffling sounds of a room filled over capacity- the slightly-sweaty Baltimorean herd recently rescued from the heat. The slightest hum from the photography lighting that baths the room in a deep shimmering red. And then a hush, as the Nudie Suits take their positions on opposite sides of a makeshift noise table covered in effects pedals, vocal processors, volca synths, and one very hardworking keyboard. And then they begin.
Nudie Suits, the Baltimore based duo of Allison Clendaniel and Ruby Fulton, is well known in the Baltimore scene as an energetic and original act, a reputation that is certainly well-deserved. Both Peabody Conservatory veterans, Ruby and Allison have long been prominent members of the Baltimore scene, even playing together in a different and much, much larger band- The Barnyard Sharks. Ruby’s credits as a composer include Bang On A Can and Rhymes With Opera, and as a singer Ali has performed across the country, including singing on Dan Deacon’s 2012 release America.
On the stage, the two seem to oscillate between two states of being- sometimes isolated entities happening to make music in the same room, and sometimes a totally unified singular voice. The energy exchanged between the two at all times is electric, and a Nudie Suits performance is as magical to watch as it is to hear. They dance, they sway, they whisper and giggle into each other’s ears- though somehow seeming never to miss a bit. The magic of the Nudie Suits’ sound- a synthy wash of glam pop songwriting mixed with diy noise and experimentation- is that you’d never notice a missed beat anyways. They also do a momentous version of Future Islands “Little Dreamer” in their microshow set. The two spin sweet and strange together in a web that captivates so fully everything else seems to fade away.
Few personnel and a sparse instrumentation allow the smart, humorous wit and shy emotive power of great songwriting to shine through, and on top of this is layered the best vocal performance of any band around. The Nudie Suits is almost less of a band, and more of an experience- a cultural institution that Ali and Ruby just make up as they go along. Enjoy their microshow and join in. They’re wacky, they’re experimental and they’re exactly the band you’re looking for. [Matthew Sullivan]
Recorded on July 5, 2016 at Mobtown Studios
Violin and synth by Ruby Fulton
Synth and vocals by Allison Clendaniel