Chris Isom – Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar
Adrienne Isom – Guitar, Background Vocals
Annie Rothschild – Upright Bass, Background Vocals
Justin Smith - Drums
NOCONA is a raucous romp blending high energy, up-tempo songs with expansive scenes recalling the setting sun, surf and desert.
Nocona formed in the summer of 2012 as a side project from the Los Angeles based band Paladino. Husband and wife team Chris and Adrienne Isom and their friends Annie Rothschild, also from Paladino, and Justin Smith, of Old Californio, began working on songs that Chris had written over the previous year. The project quickly developed after Paladino took time off from a busy year of touring. “There were just a lot of things I was working out on my own,” Chris says of the new project, “and sometimes you just have to steamroll through this stuff. I thought it would be a fun project. Nocona is an area in Texas where my Mom’s family originally lived; it comes from the Comanche word for Wanderers or Travelers. That’s where my cousins first taught me how to play guitar, and I have a lot of special memories and musical inspirations from growing up in Texas.”
Nocona’s influences are wide ranging, at times suggesting Americana and Country/Western sources like Johnny Cash, Buck Owens, Roy Orbison or the Everly Brothers while also pulling from blues, punk or garage based sources like Love, The Sonics and the 13th Floor Elevators. Although the band does lean heavily on its Country and Americana roots, the underlying current of old school punk, hardcore and alternative music is clearly at work. “I grew up going to see bands like The Bad Brains and Minor Threat and the constellation of local bands they inspired in NYC at CBGB’s, The Pyramid Bar and ABC No Rio,” said Chris, “so I guess there is a level of energy and joy I get from playing fast paced songs with strange changes that is probably with me forever, and yeah, I do love The Ramones also. I still think the very early Bad Brains shows I saw there were some of the most inspiring and incredible performances I’ve seen. I’ve also always loved Folk, country, blues and psychedelia, and I’m not ashamed to admit being really into Slayer and death metal as a kid. I still love some thrash metal, but I’m an old fogy now who is into the early stuff,” he added.
The Isoms have always played music together at home, and occasionally in various art punk bands. They have lived in Austin, Toronto, NYC and LA through the years and strive to maintain a collaborative family style approach to writing. Although Chris Isom grew up in New York and played in Garage and Anti-Folk bands Mooney Suzuki and Adam Green, his family hails from Lubbock, Texas, where his Mom actually tutored Joe B. Mauldin of Buddy Holly and the Crickets to help him pass his classes while he was playing in the Crickets.
Adrienne Isom learned how to play guitar through osmosis, she said. “Chris never takes off his guitar, he is always playing, the music never stops, one day I just woke up and could play! We had played in some punk bands together in NYC, but I stopped playing as I started getting more work as a photographer, then we had our children. We weren’t sleeping anyway. I though this is the perfect time to start a new band!”
Justin Smith is the drummer from the accomplished LA band Old Californio and a veteran of many other well-known LA bands. He toured extensively with the Seeds in the mid 00’s. The charismatic Rothschild lends eclectic energy and pure Southern soul to the band. Her deep love for music comes naturally as her dad runs the Southern music label, Landslide Records. Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, Rothschild came to Los Angeles as a wardrobe stylist who has worked with both actors and musicians. Her love and knowledge of music, plus the fact that she was born for the spotlight, inspired her to pick up the bass and learn on her feet.
Nocona’s lush arrangements feature distinctive guitar work by the Isoms and several surprise special guest appearances by renowned Pedal Steel guitarist Greg Leisz. “I’ve been friends with Greg for awhile,” said Annie Rothschild “and it’s been a dream of mine to collaborate with him musically. When I played the material for him, I was overjoyed that he was excited to come into the studio and share his genius with us.” “I’m just honored that someone of his caliber and he, in particular, would want to play on our record,” said Chris. “I saw him play with Dave Alvin at The Bitter End in NYC when I was working at a bar back fresh out of high school. I was really depressed at the time, I couldn’t pay my rent, my band was falling apart, and his performance just inspired me beyond belief, lifted me out of my depression, and I’ve thought about it a lot throughout the years, so to have him play on this record is really like some crazy dream.”
Nocona recorded their first full-length album at Kevin Jarvis’s Sonic Boom Room studio in Venice, CA. They are releasing a few teaser tracks on Facebook and Soundcloud and will begin playing live shows in the fall of 2012. They plan a full release later in the year, followed by a West Coast tour and additional bookings to be announced.