Best known as Interpol's distinctive baritone vocalist, Paul Banks was a singer/songwriter in his own right before joining that band. During the mid-'90s, he adopted the alias Julian Plenti to perform as an acoustic solo artist at New York venues such as the Knitting Factory and Tobacco Road. Around that time, Banks ran into his old friend, guitarist/vocalist Daniel Kessler, and joined his up-and-coming band Interpol. As the group worked its way from 8-track demos in the late '90s to signing with Matador Records in 2002, Banks continued to write and perform his solo material, but took a sabbatical from it around 2003 as Interpol's fame and time commitments grew after the release of their debut album, Turn on the Bright Lights. Three years later, Banks revisited the Julian Plenti material, demoing new and old songs with the recording software Logic Pro; in 2008, he recorded final versions of these songs with string and brass sections, as well as friends like Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino, Ratatat's Mike Stroud, Stiff Jesus' Striker Manley, and the Occasion's Charles Burst. The results, Julian Plenti Is Skyscraper, arrived in summer 2009. In 2012, Banks returned to his solo career, issuing the Julian Plenti Lives EP -- which featured covers of songs by J Dilla and Frank Sinatra -- under his own name that June and following it with the simply named Banks album that October. ~ Heather Phares, Rovi