I first saw Tank and the Bangas a few years ago at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on one of the big stages. I wandered in and was knocked out by the band's performance. After returning home, I literally babbled to people about Tank and the Bangas, because I couldn't find a way to properly describe this huge ensemble. There are seven members of the band, but it seemed like 20 that day. I ended up saying the band is kind of like The Mothers of Invention doing a Broadway show, with a whole lot of heart and elaborate music and a poet who could capture the wide-eyed wonder of being a kid while talking about love. The band's high energy and blend of styles almost looks like chaos, but there is no mistaking the members' tight musicianship.
Jump ahead a couple of years, and Tank and the Bangas won NPR Music's Tiny Desk Contest. Now, we finally have the band in for a studio session. Hear the complete performance and interview in the player above. Plus, get a look inside the studio as Tank and the Bangas performs "Rollercoasters" in the video below.