photo courtesy of Middle West Management
Sylvan Esso, one of Durham’s most promising new bands, is the duo of singer Amelia Meath (Mountain Man
) and electronic producer Nick Sanborn (Megafaun
). The folksiness of their established projects gives way to intricate, dynamic electronic pop that mines an unsuspected seam between the experimental vocalism of tUnE-yArDs
and the acid house of 808 State
Today, new song “Coffee” premiered on Stereogum
. The stately track will appear on a twelve-inch single, backed with “Dress,” on March 25 via Brooklyn’s Partisan Records, which has previously released music by Mountain Man. Sylvan Esso’s 10-song, self-titled album, home-recorded by the band and mixed by BJ Burton, follows in May.
Chances are good that you’ve already heard Sylvan Esso’s double A-side 12” on Trekky Records
, which features “Hey Mami” and “Play it Right.” The singles paint an accurate picture of the rest of the album, mixing atmospheric effects such as traffic sounds, Meath’s fleet and elaborately layered vocal runs, and Sanborn’s mammoth, squelchy bass synthesizers.
But there are some surprises stashed amid the consistent approach. “Wolf” adds in the faintest rhythmic background of acoustic strings; “HSKT” bends toward dub with its loose, tuned bass drum pads and delay effects; and “Come Down” finds Meath harmonizing with herself over abstract computer-music squiggles.
Most arresting of all is “Could I Be,” where Meath’s voice slides, like an electronic tone from a ribbon controller, over a warm and sticky haze of synth pulses. The perky music masks often-sinister lyrics about predatory courtship, supplying the effervescent surface with hidden depths. Sylvan Esso takes the new material on tour
in about a week, beginning in Washington D.C. on Jan. 28 and rolling into Seattle mid-February.