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The Indiana Daily Student

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Local band Nice Try to play at Blockhouse Bar, Culture Shock


Local Bloomington band Nice Try is set to play at 8:30 pm Monday, March 19 at the Blockhouse Bar.

The band will also play the Culture Shock Music Festival in April, which will take place on campus in Dunn Meadow. Guitarist and vocalist Madeleine Robinson played Culture Shock last year in the band Amy O and said she had a great time. 

"I appreciate that Culture Shock includes lots of local bands from the community," Robinson said.

Nice Try released the album "Convinced" in 2013, a self-titled tape in 2016 and two singles in early 2017. The band is set to release its self-titled debut album in late 2018. The latest album was produced at the recording studio Russian Recording by owner and producer Mike Bridavsky.

“Their music is simple, clever and catchy with a rawness that is often lacking in music these days,” said Bridavsky.

The new album is Nice Try's first full-length album. 

Nice Try began with Justin Hatton of the band Bugg as the drummer, but Kahler Willits is the current drummer of the band.

“Kahler is a great drummer and I trust his perspective,” said Robinson. “He has been with the band for the long haul.”

Robinson said the band has a bassist, but not a consistent one, so it is currently looking for for someone to fill the role permanently.

Nice Try recently completed a tour with the band Frankie Cosmos.

“I felt like everything in my life was leading up to that tour for so long,” Robinson said. “I wish I was still on that tour. I would do it forever.”

In 2012,  Robinson moved to Bloomington and formed the band Nice Try. 

Robinson said she wanted to start a band because she was listening to more bands than solo artists. She also said she was feeling tired of being perceived a certain way because of being a solo female artist.

“It felt like being in a band made people look at me differently,” Robinson said. “It was an exciting new territory to be loud. I had never done that.”

Robinson said before Nice Try she played heartfelt songs on the ukulele for her solo project, Madeline Ava. Robinson said lots of the feedback she received about the Madeline Ava project started with comments about her aesthetic and appearance rather than the songs she was playing.

“Every flier said ‘cute songs from a cute girl,'” Robinson said.

Robinson said she is not mad about being called cute but did not like that it came up every time she played.

Robinson started playing and recording music as a junior in high school in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 2007. The first song she wrote was for a high school poetry assignment, Robinson said.

“I didn’t play an instrument behind it,” Robinson said. “I just had a shaker and a melody. I recorded it on my computer.”

Robinson said she then started to play ukulele and sing under the name Madeline Ava. Robinson also began recording more songs on her laptop.

“It was as low quality as it gets, but I took pride in it,” Robinson said. “ It was so accessible and I still felt like it was good.”

Robinson said she was inspired by a community of musicians online who uploaded their own albums to a website called Cllct Music. Robinson said she started uploading songs there and recieved affirmation.

“It was all super low-fi and I thought, ‘Yea, I can do that too,'” Robinson said. “Really, I thank the internet for all of my self-confidence in what I do now.”

Robinson started playing guitar around the same time Nice Try started. The first songs that were recorded and released for Nice Try were the first band songs she ever wrote.

“There’s been a lot of growth in this loud-music part of my career, “ Robinson said.

The message of her music changed a little bit when the band started because it felt more comfortable to express frustration in loud songs, Robinson said.

“It is more natural to get out frustration with the band,” Robinson said. “I also tried not to lose too much of the straightforward, diary-like quality of my music because I think you see that less in rock music than in singer-songwriter music.”

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