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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

‘Punk is all about participation’: Midwest rocker moves life to Spokane, releases album, then kicks off national tour

Hayes Noble stands in the Parkade. Noble, a recent Spokane implant, will celebrate his debut album’s release on Friday at nYne Bar, before heading off on a monthlong tour.  (Courtesy of Brett Noble)
By Jordan Tolley-Turner The Spokesman-Review

Midwest native Hayes Noble may still be relatively new to Spokane’s music scene, but he has quickly become an artist of quality, purpose and authenticity – all the while tackling the many complications of not only life post-high school, but the challenges of doing so halfway across the country from where he spent his youth. All of these qualities can be found in his sophomore record, “As It Was, As We Were,” which was released Friday, June 21.

Nineteen-year-old Hayes Noble was born and raised in a small town in the far northwest corner of Illinois – Galena. As a town with a population of less than 3,500 and most known for well-preserved 19th-century buildings, Noble found himself lured to music from a young age. Unsurprisingly, he wound up an avid listener of deep-cut punk rock – a subgenre with heavy ties to the Midwest and Chicago, in particular. Touches from his longtime inspirations, such as Dinosaur Jr. and Built to Spill, can be heard in his new record.

Lyrically, Noble found much of the record coming to him via life and circumstance. Over the period of just a few months, Noble was coming out of a relationship, graduating high school and preparing to move to Washington state. In fact, Noble initially recorded multiple demos of the project while sitting with almost nothing but a guitar and an air mattress in his empty childhood home, while his family was making the move to Spokane.

“The title gives away a lot of what the record is about, pretty much just growing up and moving on,” Hayes said, while sitting at a table in Arctos Coffee, one of the many places he is still discovering since his move to the Inland Northwest. “Leaving the only place I had ever known, getting ready for college, there was just so much stuff going on, so I pretty much just wrote about all of that and how I was feeling about it.”

Last year, Noble’s debut record “Head Cleaner” caught the attention of many as a well-done punk record reminiscent of years gone by, but upon the first listen “As It Was, As We Were” quickly doubles down.

The record leaves no stone left unturned with every second filled to the brim with driving snare, guitars attacking the listener with fuzz and screeches of feedback, and an overall sound that screams teenage nostalgia. The 10-track project is loud, fun and perfectly polished to the point of obvious proficiency while keeping the authenticity of Noble’s youthful shoegaze sound alive and well.

“As It Was, As We Were” teems as an overall step-up from an already impressive debut, but what Noble may be most proud of is the effort it took to create a sense of story and to capture not only what he was going through in early 2023, but himself as a person.

“Whereas the last record was my first effort writing songs and I was just trying to get them out there, I think this one is very cohesive and works together,” Hayes said. “I really sat down and actually took time to write the record very intentionally.”

In support of the project, Noble is embarking on the widespread As We Were Tour, which will go as far east as Pennsylvania and bring him close to home with many Midwest dates.

“I love touring the old-fashioned way … playing a show, staying up late, crashing on somebody’s floor, there’s definitely a sense of beauty in that,” Hayes said. “And to me, punk is all about participation, so going out there and meeting like-minded people with the same ethos who are passionate about the same things is really appealing to me.”

But before spending a month on the road, Noble will celebrate the album’s release by playing Friday at the nYne Bar and Bistro.

“I love playing in Spokane, we’ve got a great scene in town,” Hayes said. “I’m excited to get back from tour and keep trying to grow the scene.”