Annuals – Be He Me (2006)

FrontCover1Annuals is the musical project of singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist, Adam Baker. Founded in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2002, Annuals first found success following its critically acclaimed 2006 release, Be He Me. As of September 2013, Annuals is based out of Los Angeles.

Born and raised in Apex, North Carolina, Adam Baker began playing drums at 10 years old. In 2000, Baker formed Timothy’s Weekend, a pop-punk band, with future Annuals members, Kenny Florence (lead vocals, guitar) and Mike Robinson (bass). As the band evolved musically, members were added, and Sedona was formed. Sedona (later, Sunfold) featured much of the same lineup as the original Annuals lineup. As in Timothy’s Weekend, Florence took the role of lead singer, songwriter and guitarist, with Robinson on bass, Baker on drums, and Zack Oden joining on guitar.

Over the next couple of years, as Baker learned to play other instruments and took up an interest in audio production, he began to write, record and distribute his own songs. These became the first recorded Annuals tracks.

Early demos and releases from both Annuals and Sunfold were initially put out by their own label, Terpsikhore, which was founded by JK Horne and bassist Mike Robinson.
Be He Me (2006-2008)

In the fall of 2005, Annuals signed with Ace Fu Records, and on October 17, 2006, they released their debut LP, Be He Me. The album exploded on the indie music scene and, thanks in large part to overwhelming coverage in the blogosphere, the band found itself mentioned on just about every “Next Big Thing” and “Bands To Watch” list across the internet in 2006 and 2007, earning them a reputation as a “blog band.” (by wikipedia)

Annuals01Just when you think indie rock has more than its share of quick-witted, sweet, and ambitious individuals who exclaim their undying earnestness in song, along comes Annuals, a collective from North Carolina that will surely win your heart with their bright folk-pop stylings. Singer/songwriter Adam Baker is the resident wunderkind behind it all, sacrificing convention for unabashed pop loveliness on the band’s debut album, Be He Me. Not as rigid as the Arcade Fire and a bit more playful than Sufjan Stevens, Annuals create a fairytale-like place that’s as rich in imagery as it is in sound (think Broken Social Scene), and songs such as the vibrant jeers of “Brother” and the silver-tongued choruses of “Complete, or Completing” make Annuals one of the most exciting arrivals of 2006.

Mike Robinson (bass), Kenny Florence (guitar), and Adam Baker (drums) playing as Sunfold at Mercury Lounge on July 26, 2008

Mike Robinson (bass), Kenny Florence (guitar), and Adam Baker (drums) playing as Sunfold at Mercury Lounge on July 26, 2008

Baker and company just make it seem so easy and so much fun that one cannot help but fall for the hysterical guitar-driven moments of “Bleary-Eyed” and “Carry Around.” Annuals will make you dance without a care in the world, and that is a great feeling. Yet a surly sense of humor also creeps underneath these mini-pop epics, too, particularly on the dawdling “Chase You Off.” It’s nice to see that Baker, at his youthful 20 years of age, doesn’t strive to be anything but the clever, impressionable young man he is. The bright-eyed display of Be He Me couldn’t have been done any better, and that in itself is a welcome refresher when it comes to listening to indie rock today. (by MacKenzie Wilson)

Adam Baker (vocals, guitar, keyboards, drums, percussion, xylophone)
Kenny Florence (guitar, lap-steel guitar, banjo, vocals)
Zack Oden (guitar, drums, percussion, melodica)
Nick Radford (drums)
Mike Robinson (bass, vocals)
Anna Spence (keyboards)
Chris Wessels (violin)
Dylan Willemsa (viola)
Background vocals:
Bret Bengston – Dani Harris – Devin Downey – Josh Pope – Natalie Patterson

01. Brother 3.43
02. Dry Clothes 3.46
03. Complete, Or Completing 5.46
04. Carry Around 3.18
05. Chase You Off 3.54
06. Bleary-Eyed 3.04
07. Fair 4.35
08. The Bull, And The Goat 4.05
09. Mama 2.36
10 Ida, My 2.31
11. Father 5.15
12. Sway 7.05
13. Ease My Mind 4.17
14. River Run 3.15
15. Misty Coy 3.24

All songs written and composed by Adam Baker.