Here’s a band that takes the sounds of New Orleans—that juicy historical jazz, soul, and blues, and combines it with the underground indie scene off the dark streets of New York City. Their music takes you on an emotional journey that you’ll never want to come back from.
Noelle Tannen belts out wrangled lyrics with all her might, a passionate and sultry, yet feisty voice that can make hearts drop; backed by her band, The Filthy No-Nos, the combination is a perfectly orchestrated stew of talented musicians producing melodic beats that transition seamlessly from fast to slow, loud to soft, sad to raging. The band is comprised of Andrew Cowie (baritone/tenor saxophone), Ash Russell (trumpet), Zig Cohen (guitar), Derek Rusinek (bass), Andrew Marshal (drums), and, of course, Noelle Tannen (vocals/keys).
Tannen, born and raised in Harlem, NYC now resides mostly in New Orleans, though she does spend much of her time returning back and forth between the two cities since The Filthy No-Nos are based in the Big Apple.
A self-proclaimed “Harlem honey meets bohemian siren,” Tannen grew up taking advantage of her astounding pipes. Around age three she was already singing at her church, and by the time she was six or seven she picked up the classical cello. She took her playing very seriously through most of her adolescence, however by the time she hit 17 she decided to put down the cello and focus on songwriting. By 20-years-old she was singing rock’n’roll in bands here and there, and then eventually ended up at SUNY Purchase College studying composition.
Sometime after graduating she decided to make the move to New Orleans; the city and its ripe music culture was calling to her. “I just wanted to move there—it’s a pretty good place to be for a musician that tours frequently,” Tannen tells BTRtoday. “The cost of living is so cheap down there and there’s always music going on, so I do a lot of solo touring, and sometimes I hire out people to play with me in different cities when the whole band can’t make it.”
When Noelle Tannen & The Filthy No-Nos first blossomed back in 2014, it was originally called The Noelle Tannen Orchestra and it was a 13-piece band. After eventually realizing the size of the project was a tad unsustainable, Tannen downsized to the current six-piece ensemble. The band constantly joked around, calling themselves the Filthy No-Nos, but then one day it just stuck, and they decided to go with it.
Their newest full-length, self-titled album that just came out October 14th was released on Sunyata Records—a not-for-profit record label located in Seattle, WA. It was started by musician Barrett Martin, who played for bands such as R.E.M., Queens of the Stone Age, and Screaming Trees. The entire album was recorded in six days at ACME studios and engineered by Jonathon Jetter.
Tannen says that each song has it’s own inspiration. “Like ‘Skin’ is a lot about breaking free of this over protection that comes with femininity and being a woman,” she explains. “’What You Got,’ that’s about trying to be happy with what you got, and work with what you got, instead of wanting more and more.”
She admits that her favorite song on the album so far is the track “Skin.” “Being like, ‘I don’t want to be over-protected, stop trying to keep this sacred person,’ that’s what it had a lot to do with,” she explains.. “Just wanting to be free and feeling kind of constrained by society as a woman—it’s about being tough.”
The first record Tannen released was a collection of songs that she wrote alone and recorded the entire album herself, inviting different musicians to play on each track. This most recent album, released just this past Friday, Tannen confesses, is more cohesive. She worked with her band and intended to have the sound that it ultimately conveys—a smooth sultry, yet chaos-inducing medley of different vibes, but with a very distinctive “Noelle Tannen” style that is coherent throughout the entire album.
Tannen is regularly working on all kinds of musical projects—though she assures that Noelle & The Filthy No-Nos has her main attention currently. “I’m always working on new music and collaborating with other people and have a bunch of new material that I’ve done nothing with,” she admits. “I think that in a few months I’ll try and do something with that, under a different project and record it.”
Currently, Noelle & The Filthy No-Nos are touring and playing tunes from their newest self-titled full-length album. Make sure to follow them on all their social media pages (Official Website, Facebook, Soundcloud, Bandcamp) to make sure you don’t miss out on the swinging time the band puts on!