Oxford Noland

Bio: 

Oxford Noland is the indie rock brainchild of cousins Shua Harrell and Aaron 'Bucky' Buckingham. The two grew up skateboarding, playing golf, and wandering their grandparents’ strawberry farm around their native Plant City, Florida. Their musical connection was influenced early-on through weekend gatherings at the farm, listening to their family swap classic folk and gospel tunes. Eventually the cousins began playing together and pursuing their own musical direction, Shua on guitars and Bucky on drums.

"The fact that we're family is so huge.” reflects Bucky. “Neither one of us have a brother, so being close in age we've really grown up like brothers.” Shua adds “I know family will always transcend everything. We’ll always be family and it would be impossible to break up. That’s what’s so beautiful about this. We take our lives experience and combine it to share the feeling of music and connection.” The familial trust enables a true collaboration between the two, which has been developing for nearly 10 years.

"Back when we first started playing, it was Americana. We had an upright bass player and we put out an EP called Bootleggers and Baptists.” Bucky says, adding “it's mind-blowing to think about that now.” At some point they went electric and swapped their bass player for a microkorg acquired on a whim from a jam session, but they wisely carried over Shua's potent and elevated lyrics and songwriting to their next evolution. The result was a sound somewhere between Radiohead and Fleet Foxes; thus, Oxford Noland was born.

Having laid the ground work with their stirring debut EP in 2019, the boys wasted no time getting right back to the home studio, planning for multiple new EPs in 2020. Oxford Noland’s songs seem to have become even more adventurous to match this unflinching pace. The band makes the best possible use of the run time in the next batch of 5 songs, expanding the boundaries of their indie rock sound with cavernous vocal harmonies, fluttering synths, and even a few heart-stopping shifts in time and texture.

“We’re not tied to a genre.” says Bucky. “We admire bands that have moved through all kinds of sounds. We both enjoy each other’s likes but we start from different places.. there are a lot of ups and downs, and even multiple songs that are just voices. These new songs are really removed from typical back beat grooves." It makes sense that Bucky contextualizes everything in terms of rhythm. The mind boggles of the coordination required as he pulls triple duties simultaneously on one-handed bass synth, keyboard, and full drum kit with his remaining 3 limbs, as well as backing harmony vocals. This is part of what makes Oxford Noland's live show such a jaw-dropping experience, with both members commanding equal attention from the audience.
“I want our show to be intoxicating, to feel like it’s passing through you.” says Shua. “I think it’s actually quantifiable. We’ve all felt that as music fans, when you go see a band that really moves and changes you.”

Even with Bucky's constant ambidextrous feats, any 2-piece rock group faces inherent limitations. While many would gravitate to maximum blues-driven rock (see Black Keys, White Stripes, and their legions of clones), Oxford Noland instead shows restraint, using spaces and breathing room to their utmost advantage. The songs lend themselves perfectly to ambient vibes and ragers alike, their skills attuned to produce soundscapes ranging from the tranquil to the turbulent.
While so many indie bands opt for programming, backing tracks, and other electronic trickery, Oxford Noland is refreshingly organic. Each performance demonstrates the incredible efforts of doing it all live, and the result is so much greater than the sum of their parts. It's a thrill to see it all come together.

But as always, impressive performance chops don't amount to much without truly great songs to back them up. It's all meticulously arranged, and a testament to both of their talents that the 2-piece band sounds so full. Recording EPs completely live in their home studio enables Oxford Noland to show off all of their talents at once, combining tremendous performance chops with heartfelt songwriting.