With their wide range of instruments, layered harmonies and energetic live performances, the folk ensemble Seryn, founded in a college town in North Texas in 2010, makes the kind of winning Americana-tinged pop music that has won them comparisons to the likes of Mumford & Sons and the Low Anthem. Last year Trenton Wheeler (vocals and ukulele), Nathan Allen (guitar and vocals), Aaron Stoner (bass and vocals), Jenny Moscoso (vocals, guitar and banjo), Jordan Rochefort (drums) and Scarlett Deering (violin and vocals) left small-town Denton, Texas, for Music City—Nashville—for better opportunities. And earlier this year, Seryn (above, doing “Disappear”) released their second full-length, Shadow Shows (stream it below). And Paste magazine weighed in: “Distilling Shadow Shows to its simplest folk pop form doesn’t represent the album fully. Rather, Seryn returns with a conceptual record that requires more than a cursory listen to appreciate its sonic nuances and musical juxtapositions.” The six-piece lands in New York City for two shows this week, alongside Corey James Bost and Great Caesar, tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge and with Conveyor and Bost again on Friday at Rough Trade NYC.
Tag Archives: The Low Anthem
Singer and multi-instrumentalist Jocie Adams was an integral part of the much-loved folkies the Low Anthem for six years, but she departed amicably in 2013 to more firmly take the reins as a lead singer and songwriter, fronting Arc Iris (above, their video for “Whiskey Man”). Together with drummer Raymond Belli, trumpeter Mike Irwin, bassist Max Johnson, cellist Robin Ryczek and pianist and multi-instrumentalist Zachary Tenorio-Miller, Adams and crew make music with little regard for genre—hopping around rock, folk, country, Latin, pop, jazz, cabaret and classical. The eclectic sextet’s first album, Arc Iris, (stream it below), just came out last week, and the positive reviews have been rolling in: The Guardian calls the band “a shape-shifting treat,” and AllMusic says, “This self-titled debut album is nearly impossible to categorize. Though this bracing, fresh, nearly seamless meld of cabaret, folk traditions, country, rock, classical, cabaret and jazz is eclectic and ranging, it’s accessible to listeners of many stripes…. Arc Iris is an auspicious debut. This band’s disciplined, sensitive unity expresses Adams’ fresh, expansive musical vision with elegance and grit, humor and pathos, tenderness and sensuality.” See them play the early show tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge.
The Low Anthem – The Bowery ballroom – April 14, 2010
Last night the tremendously talented Providence, R.I., band the Low Anthem played a terrific show at The Bowery Ballroom. The hairy, hat-wearing foursome (well, the three guys)—frontman Ben Knox Miller, Jocie Adams, Jeff Prystowsky and Mat Davidson—switched and traded instruments, with skins, reeds, strings (acoustic, electric and upright), plus a pump organ, crotales and even a God damn saw, all night long. Playing music that seems straight out of The Basement Tapes—Davidson plays the guitar like Robbie Robertson, jangly elbows and bending at the waist included—the band made its way through quiet, beautiful songs, like the set’s opener, “Ticket Taker,” and “To Ohio” (from their most recent release, Oh My God, Charlie Darwin), and rambling, rousing tunes, like the full-on electric, rollicking cover of “Cigarettes, Whiskey and Wild, Wild Women” and the show-closing “The Horizon Is a Beltway.”
Miller, whose voice effortlessly shifts from light and ethereal, like on “Ticket Taker” and “Charlie Darwin,” to something reminiscent of Tom Waits’ growl, as on “Home I’ll Never Be” (written by Waits) and “The Horizon Is a Beltway,” said the group has several new songs that will come out on a new album in September. They played a few of the new tracks, including one about love in an apothecary with the line “She shot me with whiskey and chased me with gin.”
Highlights included a stellar cover of “Evangeline,” with the band circled around a microphone, doing a four-part harmony to the accompaniment of Miller on acoustic guitar and Davidson on the fiddle, and the haunting dirge “This God Damn House.” Miller asked those in the crowd to take out their cell phones “and call whoever you go to concerts with and put both phones on speaker,” which resulted in a pretty cool effect of the song being amplified throughout the venue. This music is different than the majority of what you hear today, and you shouldn’t miss the Low Anthem the next time they come to town. —R. Zizmor
The Low Anthem, out of Providence, R.I., got its start when student DJs Ben Knox Miller and Jeff Prystowsky met at Brown University. They’d played a variety of music together beginning in 2002, but they officially started their band when Dan Lefkowitz joined them in 2006. He left, amicably, several months later (leaving behind the haunting song “This God Damn House”) but was eventually replaced by Jocie Adams—and Mat Davidson became a member last year. It’s fitting that Davidson is a multi-instrumentalist because each member of the group plays a stunning array of instruments (including pump organ, mandolin and even cell phones) in giving the Low Anthem a blast-from-the-past sound, uniquely blending folk, blues, gospel and rock. But you be the judge: Check out the Low Anthem, above, playing “This God Damn House,” and then see them in person tomorrow night at The Bowery Ballroom.