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The Telegraph :: New London, Connecticut

NNAMD has never been able to stay in one place. The Chicago multi-instrumentalist and songwriter set a blistering pace in 2020 with his critically acclaimed genre-fusing LP Brat, a pummeling punk follow-up in the EP Black Plight, and Krazy Karl, a frenetic jazz full-length tribute to Looney Tunes composer Carl Stalling. Add in his role as co-owner of local label Sooper Records, releasing the skittering electronic EP Are You Happy, as well as recent tours with Wilco, Sleater-Kinney, and black midi, and its an overwhelming schedule. But his latest album, Please Have A Seat, which is out October 7 via Secretly Canadian, is the result of a much-needed pause. Finally slowing down and welcoming a creative and emotional reset led to his most immediate and accessible effort yet.

NNAMD has never been able to stay in one place. The Chicago multi-instrumentalist and songwriter set a blistering pace in 2020 with his critically acclaimed genre-fusing LP Brat, a pummeling punk follow-up in the EP Black Plight, and Krazy Karl, a frenetic jazz full-length tribute to Looney Tunes composer Carl Stalling. Add in his role as co-owner of local label Sooper Records, releasing the skittering electronic EP Are You Happy, as well as recent tours with Wilco, Sleater-Kinney, and black midi, and its an overwhelming schedule. But his latest album, Please Have A Seat, which is out October 7 via Secretly Canadian, is the result of a much-needed pause. Finally slowing down and welcoming a creative and emotional reset led to his most immediate and accessible effort yet.

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NNAMD has never been able to stay in one place. The Chicago multi-instrumentalist and songwriter set a blistering pace in 2020 with his critically acclaimed genre-fusing LP Brat, a pummeling punk follow-up in the EP Black Plight, and Krazy Karl, a frenetic jazz full-length tribute to Looney Tunes composer Carl Stalling. Add in his role as co-owner of local label Sooper Records, releasing the skittering electronic EP Are You Happy, as well as recent tours with Wilco, Sleater-Kinney, and black midi, and its an overwhelming schedule. But his latest album, Please Have A Seat, which is out October 7 via Secretly Canadian, is the result of a much-needed pause. Finally slowing down and welcoming a creative and emotional reset led to his most immediate and accessible effort yet.

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Pack Shot

I realized I never take time to just sit and take in where Im at, says NNAMD. Its just nice to not be on Go, Go, Go! mode, and reevaluate where I wanted to go musically. This period of reflection allowed him to take stock of his life and his relationships. He realized the songs he was writing had to mirror his necessary growth. I wanted to be present, he says. Each song stemmed from a place I could think clearly for a second. Each song came from a moment of clarity.
Please Have A Seat serves as an invitation to listen. Its a request to sit down, be present, and take in a moment. With this quiet introspection, NNAMD found inspiration in silence and nuance.

While making the record, he decided to stretch the limits of his pop songwriting: every track had to be hummable. Though hes written earworms throughout his career from playing in bands in Chicagos DIY community or releasing goofy raps asNnamdi's Sooper Dooper Secret Side Project here his shapeshifting hooks are undeniable. Each of the albums 12 songs, which NNAMD wrote, produced, and performed entirely himself, are relentlessly replayable, careening into unexpected and disorienting places. Shoved up against these potent doses of pop bliss are math-rock freakouts, arena-rock lead guitars, breakneck-paced rap flows, and feverish synth arrangements. Its a thrilling synthesis that feels like the future. When Im writing, I'm into such weird music that I want people to feel unsettled, he says. I love pop music and I love writing catchy songs but I also want people to be a little bit uncomfortable too, because thats just the reality of life.

Lead single I Dont Wanna Be Famous finds NNAMD taking a birdseye view of his career so far and grappling with what success means. Over a slinking beat, he raps, I dont really wanna be famous / I just wanna be on your playlists / Used to say that I was too weird and shit / Now they wanna take me serious. After over a decade of writing music in Chicagos underground community, 2020s Brat earned him notable accolades from NPR, the New Yorker, the Chicago Reader, and the Chicago Tribune, which named him Chicagoan of the Year. I want to experience all the things that life has to offer, says NNAMD. I want to be comfortable. I want to be able to support my family. I want to play these big shows but I also want anonymity and to be able to live quietly. The song is an attempt to reconcile his ambitions and emotional needs: a constant battle throughout Please Have A Seat.

While the album is full of delectable pop hooks and overwhelmingly catchy arrangements, Please Have A Seat shows every side of NNAMD. Anti dives deep into anxiety. He sings over an eerily calming arrangement, How much more / Same shit / Yeah I heard it all before / And I cant take much more of this. Touchdown is bouncy and ebullient but the lyrics capture the terrifying feeling of being in a plane hitting turbulence. The stubbornness and the confidence and anxiety in me are always fighting each other and it shows up in these songs, he says. Elsewhere, he finds himself stuck in motion on opener Ready to Run and reevaluating relationships in Benched.

Though the entire record is all NNAMD, he enlists his frequent collaborators Stephan Jurgovan of Nervous Passenger, Sen Morimoto, KAINA, and Brok Mende to provide additional vocals on album highlight Dedication. Its a stunning track that unexpectedly veers from bursts of electronic noise to whats easily his most immediate pop hooks yet. After swirling synths, NNAMD and company yell, Something told me I should stay / Things might end up better today / Fight fight fight fight through the pain. Its reassuring and palpable catharsis.

Please Have A Seat is a visionary statement and another leap from Chicagos hardest working musician. I don't look at things in extremes anymore, he says. Life just happens and you have to kind of pivot and decide how you're gonna take everything. I hope people listening can feel the same things that I felt and can actually sit with something and reflect NNAMD isnt concerned about clear-cut answers and obvious solutions. Given the emotional resonance of the project and his otherworldly talents, this album is both an invitation to sit down and take stock of your own listen but also a call to witness an unmatched artist reaching new heights.

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