Adam’s Underrated Records #5
“Nothing Bothers Me” by Triathalon
Adam’s Underrated Records #5
Stories of Criminally Overlooked Albums
by Adam Fitzgerald
@adamwfitzgerald on Twitter
“Nothing Bothers Me” by Triathalon
Best songs: “Take It Easy” — “It’s You” — “Nothing Bothers Me” — “Ways” – “I Don’t Know” – “Chill Out”
Genres: dream pop, surf, indie, R&B, jazz, rock, pop
Influences: Beach Boys, Mac DeMarco, Homeshake, D’Angelo, Inc.,The Cure, Beach House, Real Estate
Triathalon is a unique band. What started as an indie rock band with surf and pop influences in Savannah, Georgia around the talents of singer/songwriter Adam Intrator has evolved into a unique trio of talented NYC-based musicians who have created their own distinct brand of chill R&B make-out music. After signing with New York tastemakers Broken Circles, Adam Intrator, Hunter Jayne and Chad Chilton moved Triathalon from Savannah to Brooklyn, as their music evolved from beach-ready, 60s influenced pop jams to D’Angelo influenced, bedroom ready, heart-tugging art jazz with hip hop tendencies.
Triathalon (spelled with the extra “a” in the middle) just announced their third LP via Broken Circles called “Online” — fully embracing their evolution into suave R&B Lotharios. “Online” comes on the heels of their sexy “Cold Shower EP” (Check out the songs “I Want It” and “Southside” to discover just how undeniable they are) and at the impressive rate Triathalon release music, it can be hard to keep up. New listeners should take note that their entire catalogue is delightfully consistent.
I’m happy to say I booked Triathalon’s first show in Detroit. I don’t remember how I found out about Triathalon, but I was happy to help them play Motown. They ended up playing with my old band Moon Lake and putting on an excellent show. At the time they were promoting their upcoming debut album “Lo-Tide” — I remember buying the single for “Swells” with the B-side “Usher Surfing” and it become one of my favorite purchases of that year.
The first real impression the band made on me was when I saw a tasteful live video of Triathalon playing the soothing and loving “Hawaiin Boi” for Dresden Sessions and I was truly blown away. I was more than happy to help authentic artists who make heartfelt music. What ended up becoming my favorite Triathalon album is their second LP: “Nothing Bothers Me” — a languid and fluid record if there ever has been one.
“Nothing Bothers Me” is one of those rare records that can be played in its entirety, front to finish and chances are the listener will just want to hear it all over again. There are so many good songs on this record, but one of the real accomplishments is how it flows. Building off the solid foundation of their debut “Lo-Tide” Triathalon kicked it up a few notches for “Nothing Bothers Me” with progressive arrangements, deep grooves and brilliant production flourishes like saxophone, varied percussion, drum machines and a beautiful array of dreamy synths.
The medley “Mellow Moves” starts the record off on a progressive note, changing speeds and parts, confusing yet enticing the listener — evident work of their cohesion as a technically-proficient live band. Then the second track “It’s You” hits you like a waterfall.
“It’s You” is a song that translates how it feels when love washes over you in a rare, crystalline way. “It’s You” sets the official vibe for the album at “chill” with subtle guitars, simple-sexy bass and drums grooves, expertly layered synths and quality crooning by Intrator. The fun instrumental “Fantasy Jam” leads into the single-worthy “Ways” — another song that shows how consistently Triathalon can kick out cool songs with special moments, like when the bridge of “Ways” transforms the song into something else entirely.
“Chill Out” is another example of how Triathalon make songs of all kinds but each song retains their signature style. The bass lines are playfully unique and the synth selections are almost as tasty as the catchy vocal melodies and excellent guitar lines. Chilton has this lackadaisical yet utterly dependable quality to his drumming that gives Triathalon a loose yet refined feel. The guitar work of Jayne and Intrator meld lovely, strumming charmingly and shimmering elegantly as layered vocals and keys sing listeners into a haze of happiness.
“Slip’n” is another operatic opus like “Mellow Moves” that highlights not only the band’s talent and group dynamics but also their fearlessness. The cool thing about Triathalon is that they take risks and they work. “Slip’n” goes in many directions but the sincerity of the track begins to relay the depth of the album. “Slip’n” is followed by “I Don’t Know” and “Step Into The Dark” — three songs that begin to paint a picture of loveable slackers who suffer from loneliness, anxiety and self-doubt like anyone else.
Two of the best songs on the album close out the record: the title track “Nothing Bothers Me” and the sensational “Take It Easy.”
“Nothing Bothers Me” the song is much like “Nothing Bothers Me” the album as a whole: good-intentioned, honest dream-pop at its finest. By the end of the album, Triathalon’s distinct brand of woozy indie rock settles into the listener’s heart and mind, like a memory of a love that won’t ever fully disappear.
“Take It Easy” is a song that demands repeated listens. Much like the title track, Triathalon seem to pack “Take It Easy” with lyrics, instrumentation and cumulative moments that are striking with their graceful execution and profound in their cohesion. “Take It Easy” sounds almost familiar with its warmth, instant memorability and nostalgic sounds. The saxophone and twinkling synths at the end are like a wave goodbye, like the whole album may have been a dream (weirdly reminiscent of when the pirate ship sails away at the end of The Goonies.)
Triathalon are a band not without irony, and there is something truly intriguing about a group that glides effortlessly between genres yet stays distinct with their own sound. Perhaps the most important aspect of Triathalon is that the songwriting is sincere and the music itself is lush and welcoming. The lyrics are thought provoking and honest while also offering humility and humor.
The chemistry between Intrator, Chilton and Jayne is evident, plus they clearly have a talented group of collaborators surrounding them: artists, video producers and directors, the folks from Broken Circles, and their former bass players and frequent collaborators like Alex Previty and Lucas Carpenter. Triathalon are nice dudes who make nice music, they are fun to listen to and exciting because they are genuine. My talented friend Adam Laidlaw even played bass for them at one time, through truly small world connections.
It’s not hard to tell, Triathalon is a band full of sweethearts. They make music that gives all the feels but doesn’t take itself too seriously. There is a liquid vibe to the music of Triathalon that has remained consistent across their releases; they exude the “go with the flow” mantra in a natural and unaffected way.
“Nothing Bothers Me” is a dreamy pop record with catchy bass lines, revving drums, glistening guitars, savory synths, memorable melodies and it’s all tied together in distinct ways that show the authentic talent involved. Classic yet inventive, Triathalon prove with each new release that they are a band worth keeping tabs on. Whether you’re floating in the water or floating in the sky, in love or in despair, Triathalon can provide the perfect soundtrack for however you’re feeling. The good vibes Triathalon exude are infectious.
Buy “Nothing Bothers Me” by Triathalon through Broken Circles, Amazon, Apple or listen via Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube or Triathalon’s Bandcamp.