aug 16 2011

Brown Bird – Salt for Salt


Photo: Mikael Kennedy

When we interviewed The Low Anthem earlier this year, they mentioned Brown Bird as something to listen in on. We did.

Brown Bird is David Lamb and Morganeve Swain. From Rhode Island, like so many other of the greatest bands that we have met. Their music is, as they put it themselves, ”best listened to in a room of wood”. Could not agree more.

It is Americana, the way it was intended. It makes you stomp your feet, nod your head and just close your eyes and dream of the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Their forthcoming full-length will be released october 18 by Supply & Demand. If you like long beards, beautiful voices, banjo and sweet sweet music, you wanna pick that one up.

Listen to Fingers to the Bone…

Brown Bird – Fingers to the Bone by supplyanddemand


jul 14 2011

Have you met… The Barr Brothers?


I would guess that this is not the last time we come across a great band from Rhode Island. Deer Tick, The Low Anthem and a whole bunch of them springing from a what seems to be a well with no bottom.

Brad and Andrew Barr is no exception, The Barr Brothers have been making music, or fighting their entire lives. And you can tell. This is genuine and pure love. A love for the music.

The Barr Brothers just signed with Secret City Records. Home of such great artists and bands as Patrick Watson & the Wooden Arms, Plants and Animals, Miracle Fortress, Basia Bulat and more. They should feel right at home.

The self-titled album will be released september 27th. I think you want to check that out. Meanwhile, listen to Beggar in the Morning. Sweet sweet stuff. From Providence…
The Barr Brothers – Beggar in the Morning by SecretCityRecords

jun 4 2011

Interview: The Low Anthem


June 4 The Low Anthem´s USA-tour hits our dreamvillage of Louisville, Kentucky. They play Headliners Music Hall (together with Daniel Lefkowitz and The County Line) and it will for sure be a night to remember.

Kentuckyseven had a chat with bandleaders Ben Knox Miller and Jeff Prystowsky when they visited Gothenburg, Sweden. We talked about Pringles chips, the soundtrack of Sweden and the smart kids of Deer Tick.

Welcome to Sweden! Last time you played here were a much talked-about gig at Pustervik in the summer of 2010. You recall?

“Sure, that was one special evening. It was late, late at night, a really rowdy crowd who had their fair amount of Swedish beer.  We started out with all our instruments on stage and I know we looked at each other and didn´t know which way it would turn. But after three or four songs we knew, everything connected and we really enjoyed it.”

You even played to the crowd in line outside the bar who couldn´t get in?

“Yeah, that’s right (laugh). It was sold out and a long line of people stayed outside. It was raining, and we stopped and played a song for them outside. The night was dark, it was very special. “

The song  “I´ll Take Out Your Ashes” is your most Swedish song ever, Ingmar Bergman-style. Beautiful, guilty, sad feeling. Like a soundtrack of Sweden. What can you say about that song?

“Really? Well now for sure we will play that one tonite. The song was written a night after hanging out at a bar with my friend who just told me a story about her mother passing away, about how her family was feuding about how to deal with the ashes. The family was fighting about who should come to the ceremony, and who shouldn’t. Meanwhile the ashes was at my friends house, on her kitchentable. For months. She more or less wrote the song, just telling me the story.”

In our ears you got two different type of songs. One aggressive, direct, rock-style. One slow, thoughtful, folk-style. Why does it come out like that?

”It’s all about commitment. We just don’t play the arrangements. We keep ourselves to a high standard of really being there emotionally in the songs. And whether it’s the loudest, most abrasive song or the most beautiful, inviting rich song, it’s the same level of commitment to it, so I think that is the same about those two styles. I really didn’t look at it as a matter of styles, just a matter of intensity.”

You´re from Rhode Island. What can you say about the place?

”We live in Providence, in Smithsville. There is a wonderful community of artists there, and an artschool, and Brown University, where we went. The schools are very liberal, and the area is very un-American. And also it is very off-the-map, no national music comes there. Which is kinda good.”

Deer Tick is another Kentuckyseven fav-band, also from Rhode Island, you know them?

”Sure, we know them. They are wild, but it is somewhat staged… they are actually smart kids, they are making an effort to look weird you know. They love the artistry, and they are cool like that. By the way, you need to check out another guy from Rhode Island, Death Vessel. And Brown Bird, you need to check them out as well.”

Social Media, such as Facebook and Twitter. Is that important to you? How do you handle it?

“We don´t.  I think it´s pretty boring for the fans with a twitteraccount that some publisher or pressguy takes care of. It´s seldom from the artists themselves, and rarely any personal and interesting stuff.” But we do write all the emails, for the mailing lists and such.”

Finally, the future. Where will The Low Anthem be, say in 10 years?

”Making records.”

Artist to artist:

Q: John Grant:

”How have you managed to keep from having your collective digestive systems destroyed by the ravages of Pringles whilst on the road?”

A: Ben Knox Miller: ”I think that the food at the venues saves us, coz if we were left at our own devices we would probably eat the food from the gas stations, you know those Swedish hot dogs, love em. So we balance the crappy food with Pringles. And ketchup.”

The gig after the interview was amazing, and the guys were as well. We hope to see them again in Sweden soon. And by the way, the played their most swedish song, upon request…

Read the review here: The Low Anthem @ Pustervik

mar 25 2011

Review: Low Anthem @ Pustervik 2011-03-24


Photo: Maria Gunnesson.

¤ This night was something else. Woody West gathered three bands, all in that crowded, rowdy place called Pusterviksbaren, a small yet beautiful Thursdayfestival. The Head And The Heart started out, and man – you can tell why they were the talk of the town in Austin (SXSW). A band that just made new friends, Kentuckyseven will follow their great path. Then Woods did their folk-psych-thing and killed it. Jeremy Earls voice is from space, intense stuff. And then they entered stage, The Low Anthem.

These Rhode Island-fellas brought everything with them on stage, 14 instruments to choose from. Singer Ben Knox Miller started out with Ticket Taker from their 2009-album Oh My God Charlie Darwin and just rolled with it. We heard Hey All Your Hippies, Boeing 737, Apothecary Love and their most swedish song ever I´ll take out your ashes. The band mixed their folky roots with some aggressive rocktunes and let it all out. The place was packed, I had to lean over on the harmonium just to write these lines.

The Low Anthem is a great liveband. This Bella Union-quartet tours all the way to November and I would enjoy every gig. They lay their hearts out on stage and don´t think twice about it. It´s what they do. Jeff Prystowsky hitting the drums, Jocie Adams with that trumpet, it all makes sense, live music at its core. Before the lights went off they did a couple of a cappella´s and you got that religious, goosebumpy, powerful feeling. You know, just glad to be around when it happened.

Judge says: 6/7 Kentuckyseven´s.

Best song: Charlie Darwin.

They play next: Hamburg, Germany, March 25.

Look out for: Kentuckyseven got an interview with The Low Anthem coming up, stay tuned.

feb 23 2011

Review: The Low Anthem – Smart Flesh


Released Feb 21 via Bella Union.

This Rhode Island (a sauce in Sweden, a place in America) quartet got all the checks they ever gonna need. Facial hair. Check. Lo-Fi. Check. Checked shirt. Double-check. This is an introspective, honest bunch.

Smart Flesh aint no Oh my God Charlie Darwin – the bands breakthru from 2008. Then it was a splattered Wilco/Bon Iver/Tom Waits/Fleet Foxes-vibe. This is more of a one way street, recorded in a Pastafactory with an eerie sound. Some parts I don´t understand, like the instrumental song #6 Wire. Puts my focus elsewhere.

This is a beautiful album. It´s lullabies for the people, it´s rootsy ballads, it´s that folk-acoustic music that belonged before us, long before man and his guitar. It´s the greater picture and you will have to kneel down to the power of songs like Boing 737, Hey All You Hippies and I´ll Take Out Your Ashes.

Smart Flesh is a record who needs your full attention, or it will get lost.

¤ Judge says: 5/7 Kentuckyseven´s

¤ Best track: Hey, All You Hippies

¤ Drink while you listen: Anura Pinotage Syrah (heavy, southaf, darkred)

¤ Check out: Spotify, Amazon.