For the third week in a row, I’ve got a new add! This week it’s the wonderful PRAIRIE EMPIRE, from my former home of Brooklyn! (I actually currently live in band leader Brittain Ashford’s former home of Seattle, we switched!) I really love this band, and have for a very long time: they’re the only band that’s played not one but BOTH of the two CMJ parties I’ve ever thrown as the Band Mom, the most recent being this past year and the first being way back in 2011. So maybe you’ve even seen them play before; they’ve obviously been a part of the Band Mom family for quite a long time—as is also further evidenced by the fact that Band Mom artist MATT BAUER also sings on this record!! PRETTY COOL. Anyway this record is sooo good. Beautiful lush dreamy folk-leaning (but not just straight folk) indie rock. GET ON IT NOW so you can brag to your friends later!
THE SALT, the sophomore album from Brooklyn’s Prairie Empire, is a moving, unexpected departure from their folky, self-titled debut. In the four years between albums, Brittain Ashford and her band developed a more sophisticated sound, one that expands beyond the four walls of the bedroom into cinematic terrain. Calm moments give way to fevered climaxes, strings and reeds humming as Ashford’s mournful, whiskey-soaked alto floats above the chaos. Inspired by the quietude of Elliott Smith and the dynamism of Jeff Buckley, Ashford directs her melancholic vocals through lush, atmospheric arrangements, oscillating between grief and anticipation.
Brittain Ashford (vocals, guitars, arrangements, etc.) and Nim Ben-Reuven (drums, drawings of cats) met by chance while getting copies in Manhattan. They eventually became friends and Ben-Reuven joined the Empire. For this record the duo filled out their sound with Brent Arnold (cello, The Antlers, Reggie Watts, Modest Mouse), Jeff Hudgins (clarinet, sax, bari-sax), Danah Olivetree (cello), Alec Spiegelman (pump organ, Cuddle Magic), Scott Colberg (additional guitar), and Matt Bauer (vox).
It’s fair to say that Prairie Empire has entered a larger world; The Salt surveys the land around them with power and subtlety.
2016 will be a busy year for Ashford. In addition to a cross-country tour in support of The Salt, she’s making her Broadway debut at The Imperial this fall in the acclaimed electro-pop opera Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812. Composer Dave Malloy wrote Ashford’s solo, “Sonya Alone,” with her voice in mind; she performed in the Off-Broadway production of Great Comet for two years, earning raves from Variety, New York Daily News, Time Out NY, and The Boston Globe.
RIYL: Dark Dark Dark, Bowerbirds, Mirah, Natalie Prass, The Antlers, Lost in the Trees, Matt Bauer, Jolie Holland, Dana Falconberry & Medicine Bow
Start With: 3, 4, 7 FCC CLEAN
PRAIRIE EMPIRE TOUR DATES:
6/28 – Milwaukee, WI @ Company Brewing
6/29 – Madison, WI @ House Show
6/30 – Minneapolis, MN @ The Warming House
7/1 – Bismarck, ND @ Side B
7/2 – Bozeman, MT
7/3 – Bigfork, MT @ House Show
7/5 – Walla Walla, WA @ Main Street Studios
7/8 – Seattle, WA @ Gallery 1412
7/9 – Portland, OR @ The Harlowe House
7/10 – Eugene, OR
7/11 – Boise, ID @ House Show
7/12 – Provo, UT @ Studio Studio Dada
7/14 – Boulder, CO @ House Show
7/15 – Denver, CO @ Leon Gallery
7/16 – Denver, CO @ House Show
7/17 – Kansas City, MO @ Records with Merritt
7/18 – St. Louis, MO @ Mt. Thelonious House
7/19 – Memphis, TN @ Murphy’s
7/20 – Nashville, TN
7/21 – Knoxville, TN
7/22 – Asheville, NC
7/23 – Norfolk, VA @ Toast
Contact me for a download link if you’re a radio rep!