I randomly messaged Jeanette Wall my senior year of high school because I was having some kind of life crisis and someone suggested that I talk to her about this. Keep in mind, I had never met her before and had only known about her through mutual friends and from reading her ultra-cool zine. But this was a crisis, so I took a chance. I remember rambling on about my life and what I wanted and college and things that seemed very important to me at the time, and her response to this complete stranger was so kind and loving and I felt that we had known each other forever. She encouraged me to submit stuff to her zine, The Miscreant, which was the first time I was ever given a platform to write about music in whatever context I wanted. Needless to say, Jeanette has been a superhero to me, so I am the most excited to tell you about her band’s debut album.
Jeanette paired up with Ben Bondy to form Band Practice and their album, Make Nice, is nine tracks of deeply personal and sometimes silly lyrics dressed up in indie pop style.
The album kicks off with “Band Practice Theme Song.” This track starts out simple with a guitar strum and the words, “I am an artist, and I have been drinking,” (put that on my epitaph) and it gradually builds into a fast-paced jam full of cymbal crashes. Does every band have a theme song? No. Should they? Probably.
“Bartending at Silent Barn” chronicles Jeanette’s experiences at the NYC venue. This could have been a purely comical track but lyrics like, “Nobody in my head likes me, so sometimes I get lonely,” takes this song someplace deeper. The last 40 seconds burst into this dense sound that complements the lyrics perfectly.
The acoustic guitar makes an appearance in “Put Up A Fight.” This is a lovely song about uncertainty and not knowing the right way to act in a relationship. But Jeanette and Ben sing, “I can fall in love with you,” and later, “I can dance pretty well.” Aren’t these the most important things anyway?
“Magic!” is a silly song about various bedroom activities. On this track, we get to hear Ben’s vocals front and center. It’s a fun listen and the rhythm of the electric guitars keep things interesting. “Lumps,” a song about cancer, balances heavy subject-matter with poppy instrumentation. At times, the lyrics are hard to decipher through the electric guitar and drums, but the story told through this song is incredibly poignant.
“Shawn Perry,” regains a lighter tone and doles out a bit of lyrical genius at the end with the repetition of “I don’t know what to say, but I know what lips do.” Very sweet. This would be a great prom song—but more like the movie version of prom where it’s actually aesthetically pleasing and the music doesn’t suck.
Next up is “Freddy”—a song about an apparently homicidal love affair. “Freddy baby, don’t you trust me, I could kill you, dear.” I’m not quite sure about the implications, but it’s a solid track.
Following “Freddy” is the heartbreaking and superb “Spare Parts.” This song is less than two minutes long, but it packs a punch. It starts off about tumors and then switches to lovers and the parallels feel incredibly raw to me. “If I’m just a spare part, well then leave me; and I’ve got a feeling I will be.” This song is short and insightful. Its length allows it to be completely vulnerable. It’s over before you know it, but it definitely leaves an impression.
Make Nice ends with what might be my favorite track, “Room.” This acoustic tune is perfect for pining away over someone. “See your room sometimes in pictures, never been there but maybe someday I’ll go.” Jeanette sings this so earnestly. It has the vibe of poems written secretly in a journal. I’d recommend listening to “Room” while you look out the window on the bus and sigh (proven to induce feels).
This album is such a gem to me. I love Band Practice’s ability to get really honest with songs like “Lumps” and then lighten things up with “Magic!” Heavy and light is really well-balanced on Make Nice. There is so much insight within these nine songs. I consider myself really lucky that even three years later, Jeanette is still sending me exactly what I need to hear.
You can listen to Make Nice here: