Radio 1190 Presents
Jesse Sykes, Ark Life
7 S. Broadway
Denver, CO, 80209
Doors 8:30 PM / Show 9:30 PM
This event is 21 and over
Fiercely contemporary yet rich with classic influences, Mount Moriah's Miracle Temple sports bigger arrangements, louder guitars, bolder vocals, and more soulful rhythms than their acclaimed self-titled debut. Through their artful personal storytelling, the band develops a piercing portrait of a "New South" where progressive traditions are still fitfully breaking free from conservative ones. Mount Moriah's cathartic vision for their home and themselves is writ large in their lovingly critical negotiation with romantic, political, and gender identities; geographical perspective; confrontation and forgiveness. The drive for change, resolute but tinged with regret, is arrestingly captured in the cover image of a burning barn.
At the heart of Mount Moriah are singer/guitarist Heather McEntire and guitarist Jenks Miller. Bassist Casey Toll joined the band in 2010 while James Wallace provided drums, organ, and piano on the album. Miracle Temple was recorded over five days at Beech House in Nashville and co-produced by Mark Nevers, Miller, and McEntire; mixed by Nevers; and mastered by Alex McCollough. McEntire, Miller, and Toll wrote the music, with all lyrics by McEntire except for "Union Street Bridge," co-written with the poet Sarah Messer. Additional tracking was done by Miller, James Wallace, Jeff Crawford, Jaron Pearlman, and Daniel Hart. The expanded arrangements feature an impressive variety of guest stars. Hart provides violin, and Allyn Love plays pedal steel. Indigo Girl Amy Ray sings gospel-tinged backing vocals alongside Bibis Ellison, Ryan Gustafson, and Midtown Dickens' Will Hackney and Catherine Edgerton.
Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter follow up 2007's critically acclaimed 'Like Love, Lust and the Open Halls of the Soul' with 'Marble Son', their fourth release from Paris's Fargo Records and the first on their own US imprint Station Grey/Thirty Tigers.
Sykes and Wandscher took on full production duties for 'Marble Son'; recorded entirely in and around their hometown of Seattle (engineered by Mell Dettmer and mixed by Martin Fevyear). 'Marble Son' exemplifies a band at their creative pinnacle—heavier and more complex than previous records; the music resonates among the parallel worlds of the avant-garde and the timeless. Sykes' voice and sometimes-mystical leanings (the former described aptly by Magnet as "sounding less like a performer and more like a sage") and her band's incomparable musical repoire culminate in what the New York Times has described as "spellbound music, rapt in fatalism and sorrow." Syke's trademark thematic darkness and acclaimed songwriting have never been more present; yet 'Marble Son' speaks of evolution, which Sykes describes as, "a sonic mirror of the most chaotic, turbulent times of our lives, where beauty triumphed, and the tears that spilled became this record".
The album begins with 'Hushed By Devotion', an 8 minute, swelling, rock opus— reminiscent of 1960's San Francisco inspired psychedelia, which provides Wandscher (who co-wrote more of this record then previous) the sonic space to explore the depths of his guitar genius. Characterized by an emblazoned guitar solo, ghostly layered-vocal murmurings; and trademark lyrical poignancy—it's a brilliant, ambitious statement of intent that commands attention.
The record is an extension of their previous work, influenced in part by an association with the art-metal movement centered around Los Angeles label Southern Lord. This "unlikely" musical friendship between Sykes and influential underground bands SunnO))) and Boris was immortalized on the 2006 album 'Altar' (in which Sykes sang and co-wrote the much beloved underground classic "The Sinking Belle",) culminating in a headlining performance of "Altar" at the ATP festival last summer. The band has also toured with Earth, a group commonly acknowledged as one of the major progenitors of heavy-doom (and another member of the Southern Lord roster), psych-rock maestros Black Mountain, and recently appeared at Holland's Roadburn Festival, curated by SunnO)) themselves, this past April.
Their musical kinship is audible in 'Marble Son'—an utterly unique, yet subtle genre crossover. 'Marble Son' is a journey—a gutsy romp laced with moments of shimmering, retro beauty, underpinned by pastoral images of Syke's interior world unfolding. Listen to the standout track 'Pleasuring the Divine', a gritty roar of a song, fed by Wandscher's frenetic riffs, sludgy feedback, combined with frantic drumming—it's entirely unexpected and totally mesmerizing.
That's not to say that there aren't moments of hushed acoustic wonder amongst the 11 tracks. 'Be It Me, Or Be It None' is a glorious four minutes of hazy, Tim Buckley-esque folk, while album closer 'Wooden Roses' is an ethereal meditation on finding love only too late--guitars sparkle, strings stir, and Sykes' voice swells and creaks beautifully right up until the final second.
'Marble Son' is the sound of a band evolving—urgently expanding to mirror the chaos of modern culture while not forgetting the beauty of the tender and mecurial world that exists within us all—the result is more relevant than ever… and, as Jesse puts it; "We have never been closer to sounding like "The Sweet Hereafter" then we do here". What a sweet sound it is. V.K.
Ark Life comes from the mountains.
Lindsay Giles McWilliams
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