ANTI Records

Anti Records signs Saintseneca

by Woody on June 13, 2013

I don’t jack about these guys but the tune in the video below is tasty. Plus the lead singer is rocking a sweet stache. Here is what Anti had to say about their latest signing.

Anti- is thrilled to announce the signing of Saintseneca, a young band from Columbus, Ohio led by singer-songwriter and multi instrumentalist Zac Little. The group utilizes a wide range of instrumentation (violin, mandolin, dulcimer, Turkish Baglama, floor percussion) with the more contemporary elements such as synthesizers and electric guitars to create a unique merging of rustic and modern. Folk and country motifs converge seamlessly with soaring vocals and a vibrant post-punk energy.

While the group formed in Columbus Ohio, a majority of Saintseneca’s members, including songwriter Little, hail from the rural hills of Appalachia. It is a landscape that has infused the group’s expansive and evocative music with a deep sense of introspection. “I was raised on farms in Appalachia, “Little explains, “And I think that my perspective on music was shaped by where I grew up. Being so isolated played a huge role in my music and in the subjects I write about.”

The band’s poetic lyricism and folk instrumentation is powerfully enhanced by elements of pop, post-punk and psychedelia. It is a memorable and moving sound which originally evolved playing alongside electrified punk bands at DIY house shows. “Playing those shows made us want to draw the most sound and volume from the instruments we were using,” Little explains.

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Saintseneca: Live From Bad Racket – Dec 2012 from Bad Racket on Vimeo.

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Its that time of year when I start discovering albums Ive overlooked throughout the year. Its also around this time when I lose my inspiration to blog about music. Thankfully, I unearthed Lost In The Trees with my last remaining eMusic credits and I feel a bit like Alice plummeting down the rabbit hole.

Ari Picker is the founder, composer, and driving force behind Chapel Hills Lost In The Trees. The band creates a sonic blend of indie-folk rock with a backdrop of dramatic classical arrangements. All Alone In An Empty House meanders at times, then careens around sharp twists and turns as it approaches emotional catastrophe. The lyrics are so deeply personal that either old wounds will rip back open or the song craft will serve as near-permanent catharsis. The album opens with the title track which Ari describes:

The lyrics to the title track All Alone in an Empty House are taken from powerful arguments my parents had while living in the house where I was born. The song’s locations and happenings, my father’s stone wall, the tower off the side of the house that he eventually moved into, my twin sisters who died at birth, my mother’s extreme depression, the emotional and sexual abuses, they are all real. But my intention in sharing them is to turn this hard reality into art, something that the listener may find comfort or hope in.

In stark contrast to that contemplative acoustic opener, “Walk Around The Lake” follows in a violent storm of stringed crescendos and ghastly squeals that abruptly plunge into delicacy. “Song for The Painter” is a song about reconciliation that serves as a reprieve before “Fireplace” accelerates in fervor. It carries an angry guitar riff that is slowly softened by strings as the song progresses.

All Alone In An Empty House is one of those albums that requires exploration. Ari has much to say in lyrics delivered by fragile vocals, but his compositions tell a story all on their own. As a listener, it requires devotion to pull back the layers and allow the two to coalesce. If youre a fan of Neutral Milk Hotel, Horse Feathers, and The Acorn, this is an album you should check out.

Lost In The Trees – Walk Around The Lake

Lost In The Trees – Fireplace

Lost In The Trees – All Alone In An Empty House

Video: Lost In The Trees – Walk Around The Lake

Lost in the Trees – “Walk Around The Lake” from Trekky Records on Vimeo.

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Not quite done with Dr. Dog yet. They recently the video for “Shadow People” last month and we forgot to post it. It features experienced roller skaters. Very experienced.

Video: Dr. Dog – Shadow People

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Like Blitzen Trapper’s Destroyer of the Void, Roky Erickson’s True Love Cast Out All Evil is another album we’ve neglected until now. Reading through Roky Erickson’s bio on Wikipedia is both fascinating and heartbreaking. Here are some excerpts:

  • Erickson co-founded the 13th Floor Elevators in 1965. Janis Joplin considered joining the band at one time and they had a hit in local charts in the southwest.
  • In 1968, while doing a stint at HemisFair, Erickson started speaking nonsense. He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and sent to a Houston psychiatric hospital, where he involuntarily received electroconvulsive therapy.
  • In 1969, Erickson was arrested for possession of one marijuana joint in Austin and faced a 10-year prison term. He was first sent to the Austin State Hospital and, after several escapes, was sent to the Rusk State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. He was subjected to more electroconvulsive therapy and Thorazine treatments and remained there until 1972.
  • In 1982, Erickson asserted that a Martian¬† had inhabited his body. He later reported to friends that aliens were coming to Earth to harm him and asked a Notary Public to witness an official declaration that he was himself an alien, hoping that this would convince the aliens to leave him alone.
  • In 1989, he was arrested on charges of mail theft. In an unmedicated state, Erickson began a years-long obsession with the mail, often spending hours poring over random junk mail, writing to solicitors and celebrities (dead or living).¬† Erickson picked up mail from neighbors who had moved and taped it to the walls of his room.

And here we are today. After soul-crushing life experiences that many could not survive, Roky Erickson perseveres and delivers a triumph of spirit in True Love Cast Out All Evil. Much of his survival is due to a judge granting his younger brother custody of him. His legal issues are behind him, he’s on medication to control his schizophrenia, and with loving family and friends behind him, he found music again. The album’s title is definitely an appropriate one.

Produced by Will Sheff and backed by Okkervil River, song selections hand plucked from Roky Erickson’s unreleased catalog are brought to life. The opening track, “Devotional Number One” is particularly stunning, especially considering it was a recorded during his stay at Rusk Hospital. Just read the lyrics:

For Jesus did not
And does and will not
Slay any persons
As somewhere was falsly written.
And to as Jesus
Is not an hallucinogenic mushroom.
Don’t wait for Christ to come.
For he has already risen.

You may be scratching your head, but there’s a fine line between genius and insanity. Musicians like Roky Erickson and Daniel Johnston are operating within that fine line.

The rest of the album turns into more accessible Country-tinged tracks like “Ain’t Blues Too Sad,” “Goodbye Sweet Dreams,” and “Bring Back The Past.” I’m not convinced that I’d hold this album in such high regard without the back story, but Roky’s words and spirit are what make it so special. I’m thankful that his story didn’t end in tragedy and that he reclaimed his family, his music, and his fans.

Roky Erickson – Goodbye Sweet Dreams

Roky Erickson – Be and Bring Me Home

Also check out the documentary, You’re Gonna Miss Me (trailer).

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“I don’t know where Tweedy’s been all my life.” – Mavis Staples

August 2, 2010

Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy produced Mavis Staples upcoming record entitled You Are Not Alone. Paste Magazine (and The Deep Dark Woods’ drummer Lucas Goetz) tipped us off to a great interview with both artists. They share their admiration for one another and some background on the upcoming record. It’s a great watch. Tweet

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Ryan Gosling has a Goth, Folk, Doo-Wap band and performs in a graveyards. And he’s damn good.

July 9, 2009

If I’d have known Dead Man’s Bones was co-founded by that cute actor, Ryan Gosling, I probably wouldn’t have given it a chance. I have something against actors turning into musicians. I think it started with Corey Feldman. Lucky for me, I started watching and then later found that Gosling was in the band. I […]

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Neko Case releases mp3 from upcoming album to raise cash for charity. [Animal Lovers]

January 14, 2009

I’ve been looking for another reason to post the cover art for Neko Case’s upcoming release Middle Cyclone, due out on March 3rd. Now I have it. Every time a blogger posts the new song, “People Got A Lotta Nerve” as a free download, Neko and Anti Records will donate $5 to Best Friends Animal […]

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William Elliott Whitmore – Old Devils [new mp3]

December 1, 2008

William Elliott Whitmore released his first single “Old Devils” from his upcoming ANTI Records debut, Animals in the Dark, which will be released on Feb 17 2009. Will grew up on an Iowa horse farm along the Mississippi River and plays a bluesy brand of folk music, usually accompanied with just a banjo or acoustic […]

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