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Banshee Tree’s Thom LaFond serves up audio smorgasbord with debut LP

The creative will celebrate the release of 'The Moon Leans In' with a concert at Boulder's Supermoon next week

Thom LaFond of Banshee Tree. (Mila Kasputina/Courtesy photo)
Thom LaFond of Banshee Tree. (Mila Kasputina/Courtesy photo)
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Banshee Tree member Thom LaFond isn’t a stranger to the recording studio.

Thom LaFond, of Banshee Tree, will release his debut full-length LP “The Moon Leans In” on Feb. 3 on all streaming platforms. An album release party is scheduled for Feb. 3, at 8 p.m. at Supermoon in Boulder. Tickets are on sale now. (Maiki Nope/Courtesy photo)

Laying down tracks with his band and collaborating with Andy Thorn (Leftover Salmon), Daniel Rodriguez (formerly of Elephant Revival) and a number of musicians throughout the Front Range, he’s lent his distinct vocals and nuanced guitar playing to a myriad of collabs.

“The Moon Leans In,” his debut full-length album, drops Feb. 3 on all streaming platforms and the skilled lyricist and multi-instrumentalist is celebrating with a concert bash at — where else — Supermoon in Boulder.

The Asian-inspired eatery, located at 909 Walnut St., is on trend with the album’s cosmic theme and offers an eclectic menu that’s far from typical venue fare.

Up for moon dust, anyone? This mysterious offering, in addition to green papaya and sweet chili, is available as a condiment on the restaurant’s chicken wings.

Thom LaFond of Banshee Tree. (Mila Kasputina/Courtesy photo)

Tickets for the Feb. 3, 8 p.m. show start at $15 and are available at a variety of tiers depending on how you want to experience the evening of song.

Singer-songwriter Dan Hochman will open.

On LaFond’s upcoming release, fans can expect to hear an audio smorgasbord of tracks. The genre-jumping compilation, at times, is reminiscent of The Oh Hellos and, at others, it dives into Devendra Banhart territory.

While the mood may change from tune to tune, one thing that doesn’t waver is the strength of musicianship and well-crafted lyrics put forth by LaFond.

Not afraid to dip into styles that some would even label conflicting, he proves he can easily pivot from indie rock to old-school swing.

In a press release, Mac Miller, Andrew Bird and Billie Holiday are listed as influences and, from a listen, it’s clear to hear tinges of these diverse artists peeking through the polished tapestry of sound.

With the vibe of a vintage lounge act on “To the Moon,” LaFond skillfully embodies the essence of a classic soulful crooner.

“Almost Anytime” has echoes of a scaled down Alt-J number.

LaFond takes listeners on a stylistic ride that seems rather timeless in its delivery. And while an attempt to offer a tasting of so many different songs may seem like a rather ambitious effort — under the direction of LaFond, it somehow all comes together.

The harmonious 10-track collection truly shines.

Working with Boulder-based Octave Records, LaFond was able to record in Direct Stream Digital, a hi-fi audio format developed by Gus Skinas — who has mixed and mastered music for The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Sam Cooke, Herbie Hancock and other industry greats.

We caught up with the creative to find out more about the recording process, his most beloved tunes on the album and what he’s looking forward to about celebrating the release.

Kalene McCort: Love the eclectic vibe of this album and the way it genre-jumps with ease. How long in the making is this album and how does it feel knowing you’ll soon be able to share it with the public?

Thom LaFond: Thank you so much. “The Moon Leans In” was recorded over the course of 10 days in Lyons (at Animal Lane). I made a game plan that involved nine musicians and it went really smoothly in the studio. Four of the songs on the record were recorded live with no overdubbing and those were easy to create. Other songs took layers of guitar, piano and vocals to fill out. Jay Elliot and I spent nine days mixing the record on an analog board.

Some of the tunes I have been kicking around for many years, others were completely new. I rewrote and extended many of the lyrics on the fly, moments before recording. I have written a lot of material since, but this album feels surreal to me in how quickly the recording process was. It was created without branding in mind. It’s very scattered in terms of genre. I’m not sure what others will think of it, but I tried my best to focus solely on creating music I was excited to make.

Members of Banshee Tree, from left, Thom LaFond, Michelle Pietrafitta, Nick Carter and Jason Bertone relax in a Colorado field in May 2021. (Maike Kasdaglis / Ropes Inspire Me/Courtesy photo)

KM: What are you most looking forward to about your album release show at Supermoon and did you pick this venue to go with the name of your record?

TL: I’m thrilled to perform this music with most of the players that played on the record. Enion Pelta-Tiller (TAARKA, Elephant Revival) will be playing violin. My childhood bandmate Chris Duffy (Magic Beans) will be on bass. Forrest Kelly will be on drums.

We had a sold-out show in December at The Gold Hill Inn to premiere the songs live and that was a blast. The band is so fun to play with and I seldom perform with this group of players outside of recording. It’s a treat to see the arrangements come from our first rehearsal last summer all the way to the stage.

Supermoon is the perfect venue in a lot of ways. I wanted the show to be in Boulder and the moon theme was definitely on my mind. It’s an awesome spot and it has a really creative and colorful vibe.

KM: If you had to narrow it down, what would you say are your two favorite tracks on the album and why?

TL: My favorite Tracks are “Life as a Sigh” and “New Wildfire.” Arranging these tunes felt great in the moment. I feel as they are original in their core, with nods to the styles I listen to the most.

“New Wildfire” was written during an outbreak of wildfires in Colorado in 2020. My home in Nederland was centered in the smoke from four simultaneous wildfires. Cameron Peak Fire, East Troublesome and Williams Fork were raging, with the Lefthand Fire just a few miles away. The sky was a charcoal color with a diffuse pink glow — “New wildfire each day, give us heavy weather then you take it away.”

“Life as a Sigh” is inspired by a reoccurring dream. I kept exploring this complex setting of a city by the ocean and so much of my life was smudged together there. Sometimes, I would be out of body with the perspective of a hawk — “The best thing you could do would be to lie down in the city you’ve assembled your sleep. It’s all yours now ”

It’s about how our experiences get collaged together in dreams. I’ve spent my life building this place in my head. I have a strange feeling that it could be where I go when my life is over. It makes me want to keep building the setting by living the most colorful life I can.

Thom LaFond, of Banshee Tree, will release his debut full-length LP “The Moon Leans In” on Feb. 3 on all streaming platforms. An album release party is scheduled for Feb. 3 at Supermoon in Boulder. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale now. (Mila Kasputina/Courtesy photo)

KM: You have such a gift for writing lyrics. Were you always poetically inclined, even in youth? Curious if your English teachers were constantly giving you praise.

TL: I have to chuckle a bit. I was a terrible student. My poems and songs look like unintelligible scribbles until recorded. Some people like to chop up their lyrics to create disconnected phrasing. My brain is wired to do this on its own. It’s harder for me to write cohesive clear stories than to make something feel random. I write based on how it feels to sing the words. I’m striving to at least make my lyrics feel direct and conversational.

KM: After this album release show, can we look forward to you performing more shows locally?

TL: This show is all for now. Banshee Tree is touring this spring and summer. We’re touring Gulf Coast, East Coast, Southern Cali and France all before July.

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