Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

THE LOW ANTHEM

Smart Flesh

2011-02-26

Review by Nick Nickelson of Smart Flesh by The Low Anthem: The Low Anthem manages to conjure up it's own distinct sound with a cd of incredibly melancholy melodies (“I'll Take Out Your Ashes”) and often strange (“Smart Flesh”, “Matter of Time”) lyrics. Some selections bring to mind Leonard Cohen (“Apothecary Love”, “Burn”), at times Tim Buckley (“Ghost Woman Blues”), but most seem almost Dylanesque (“Boeing 737”, “Hey All You Hippies”) in their influence. Members of the band include: Ben Knox Miller, Jeff Prystowski, Jocie Adams, Mat Davidson. Each band member seems to be quite proficient on a number of arcane instruments, and that (IMHO) seems to be the drawing card for their well-attended performances. As a recording, some of the songs seem to drift almost to the edge of mainstream music – almost conjuring up a vision of a group sittin' around the campfire pickin' and singin' (with the occasional wind instrument thrown in). Contributing artists: Ben Pilgrim, Anton Patzner, Louis Patzner, Robert Houllahan. This band definitely has a cult-like following, and the use of such a broad variety of instruments (cotales, musical saw, portable pump organ, clarinet, upright bass, etc.) is one of the draws for the concert-goer; however, the harmonies that appear throughout this album (“Golden Cattle”, “Love And Altar”) are artfully crafted and beautifully (albeit sorrowfully) performed. -----Nick

Artist Bio: Ben Knox Miller and Jeffrey Prystowsky met while DJing an overnight jazz show on a Brown University radio station, WBRU. They became friends and teammates for a local wood-bat baseball team called the Providence Grays. Miller and Prystowsky played in various ensembles together ranging from classical and jazz to electronica and The Low Anthem was formed in 2006. In the fall of 2006, Dan Lefkowitz, a bluesman from Strasburg, Virginia joined the band and contributed to their evolving brand of songwriting with his song “This God Damn House." Early in 2007, Lefkowitz left the band to pursue simple living in a yurt in Arkansas. The band became a trio again in late 2007 with the addition of classical composer and clarinetist Jocie Adams. Adams, a fellow student and former NASA employee, joined the band after a late-night recording session for the band's album, What The Crow Brings. She appears on vocals and clarinet on the album's closing track, "Coal Mountain Lullaby". Smart Flesh From December 2009 until February 2010, the band recorded their third album, Smart Flesh, in the abandoned Porino’s pasta sauce factory in Central Falls, RI. The album was engineered by Jesse Lauter and mixed by Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes). The new album will be released February 22, 2011. The band released "Ghost Woman Blues", the first song on the record as a free download in December on their website. The band appeared again on The Late Show with David Letterman on January 12, 2011, performing "Ghost Woman Blues". Live performances When The Low Anthem perform live, each member performs on a number of instruments, ranging from crotales to singing saw. A staple of their live performance is This God Damn House, written in 2007 by former band member Dan Lefkowitz. Recently, The Low Anthem have been performing new material, Apothecary, Maybe So, and Ghost Woman Blues, rumored to appear on an upcoming release. Line-up Current Ben Knox Miller (2006-present) Jeff Prystowsky (2006-present) Jocie Adams (2007-present) Mat Davidson (2009-present) From Wikipedia

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

The opinions expressed in these reviews are those of the individual volunteers that submitted the article and do not necessarily reflect the views of WYCE or GRCMC; nor its staff, donors, or affiliates.