Bad Books Catchy New Single Gains Deserved Traction

We’ve Been Impressed with Bad Books for Some Time But With New Single Forest Whitaker Gaining Radio Airplay The Secret Is Out

Born from the friendship of Kevin Devine and Manchester Orchestra’s Andy Hull, Bad Books switches between subtle ballads and self indignance with impressive flow, considering these talented guys’ individual successes. “Forest Whitaker” stands out as a single, rising above for a moment, if only in tone, with whistles and video game guitars that almost obscure the fact that they’re singing about self-loathing.

Bad Books Forest Whitaker Band Picture

First single “Forest Whitaker” has decidedly different style than the rest of the songs on II; as its pop undertone, electronic drum and synth shuffle, and infectious whistling stand out…but what seems like a sort melodic-schizophrenia is actually what Bad Books is all about: experimentation and playing with melody.

“Bad Books is my therapeutic outlet,” says Andy Hull, who is also the lead vocalist of inde-rock band Manchester Orchestra. “[It’s] a place I can go and do whatever I want in the moment. Somehow, amazingly, it works out.”

Bad Books began as a collaboration between folk singer-songwriter Kevin Devine and Hull in 2007, when Devine was signed to Favorite Gentlemen, then expanded to feature other members of Manchester Orchestra on Bad Books’ self-titled 2010 debut. Now, with Bad Books II, their second full-length, due October 9th, the band maintains a unique sound, but the musicians have become more willing to stray from their comfort zones. “Forest Whitaker” is no exception.

“‘Forest Whitaker’ was the last song written for the album,” Devine says. “Andy came up with the bones and basic structure and fattened it up in instrumentally with Robert while I was finishing up my spring tour with Say Anything. I came in and we dug into those harmonies and Strokes-y synth/video game guitars, which was super fun and expansive, different for us texturally. I love the lyric and melody-ear candy with a twist of darkness to keep it off-balance, save it from being saccharine. Feels like the missing piece to the record.”


About Bad Books

A true accident if there ever was one; Bad Books was never an intended nor calculated side project of Kevin Devine and Manchester Orchestra’s Andy Hull. Though the two musicians have collaborated and performed together on tour and within the Favorite Gentlemen community of artists for years now, the genesis of Bad Books came from a simple idea to fill space and time off the road by collaborating on a small batch of songs together at the top of the year. With no agenda and no expectations, what was birthed just one week later was Bad Books, a fully realized album encompassing five compositions each from both Devine and Hull, with the members of Manchester Orchestra filling out the sound and the band. The self-titled debut will be released October 19th, 2010 via Favorite Gentlemen Recordings, the record label that was founded and has been run by Manchester Orchestra since 2007.

As songwriters go, Hull and Devine could not be further apart in terms of creative approach. The methodical wordsmith Devine, an English major from Fordham, is known to pine away for great lengths of time just to accurately pin-point one word within a lyric. “I was doing a take of ‘You’re A Mirror I Cannot Avoid’ and stopped myself for fifteen minutes because I was having trouble justifying ending two lines in the same chorus with the word ‘back.’ Just sitting there, staring at the screen, writing different word choices.