|River Whyless EP|
River Whyless — River Whyless EP
♦♦♦ River Whyless have a contemplative, relaxed style. The instrumentation weaves together seamlessly. ~ Bruce Warren, WXPN
Location: Asheville, N.C.
Album release: January 20th, 2015
Record Label: Backwoods Nation
1 Life Crisis 4:07
2 Maple Sap 4:38
3 Bath Salt 5:54
4 Miles of Skyline 4:59
5 Fine Companion 3:08
River Whyless is:
♦♦♦ Halli Anderson, violin, vocals
♦♦♦ Daniel Shearin, bass, vocals, harmonium, cello, banjo
♦♦♦ Ryan O'Keefe guitars, vocals
♦♦♦ Alex McWalters drums, percussion
♦♦♦ We’re thrilled to announce that, with the help of our Asheville friends at Backwoods Nation, we’ll be releasing our self–titled EP on January 20th. We spent 5 days at La La Land in Louisville KY with the amazing Kevin Ratterman and rather surprised ourselves with the finished product. It was our first time recording live to tape. It was our first time with someone else lending an outside ear. And it feels to us like the whole process brought new life to the band that we can’t wait to share with you. While we can’t quite give you any music yet, we wanted to share the news and let you know that we’ll be hitting the road in support of the release! Look at our tour dates to see if we're coming to a town near you!
By Grant Golden | January 20, 2015 | 3:09pm | Score: 8.2
ζ→ Sometimes it can be hard to stand out in the crowd when you’re producing experimental folk rock. Plenty of groups are capable of harmonizing well and turning simplistic rhythms into infectious anthems, but it’s rare to find artists who can evoke as much emotion as River Whyless. This Asheville, N.C.–based quartet crafts songs that immerse the listener into a time and place with well–defined emotional arcs. River Whyless EP is the band’s first release since their 2012 debut, A Stone, A Leaf, An Unfound Door, and the past three years of touring have clearly given the band a powerful sense of self–confidence. River Whyless’ eponymous EP showcases the band’s willingness to shy away from expectations and explore its sonic horizon with compelling results.
♦♦♦ The EP begins with “Life Crisis,” a song filled with driving percussion, bouncing melodies and an ever–evolving musical background. “Life Crisis” serves as an excellent introduction to River Whyless for first–time listeners; between the soaring harmonies, emotionally gripping lyricism and dazzling violin work from Halli Anderson, there’s plenty to fall in love with. While tracks like “Life Crisis” will suck you in, ones like “Maple Sap” help you comprehend the brilliance behind the band’s work. River Whyless is an act that’s capable of tugging at your heartstrings with little notice, leaving you reeling before their next words come out. One minute vocalist Ryan O’Keefe is singing of making maple syrup in the woods, the next he’s contemplating the years he’s spent going through the same process, growing closer to being alone as he works his way through life.
ζ→ Another thing that makes River Whyless stand out so much is that they’ve got four members capable of creating their own unique sounds, crafting rich songs all with distinct musical voices on display. Halli Anderson’s whimsical voice glides through the mix on “Bath Salt,” floating atop skittering drum beats while “Miles of Skyline” finds bassist Daniel Shearin taking over vocal duties, bringing a bright falsetto to the tight syncopated rhythms that flesh out this track. The sheer diversity on this EP is reason enough to give it a listen, but the talent on display is why listeners will continue to stick around for more.
♦♦♦ River Whyless is a band capable of seamlessly slipping between soft, serene ballads and heart–wrenching, foot–stomping anthems at the drop of a hat. There’s an excellent sense of dynamism found within the tracks on the River Whyless EP. Anderson frequently plucks her violin to flesh out acoustic chords; Shearin contributes subtle bass riffs and dreamy glockenspiel lines while Alex McWalter provides a powerful percussive foundation for these tracks to grow upon. With such an immense musical landscape set forth, these songs’ vibrant stories are what makes this such an enjoyable release. Each track feels as if it’s from a different narrative standpoint, loosely tied together with rustic themes and passionate, visceral content.
ζ→ Releases like this are what makes artistic growth exciting. It’s clear on River Whyless EP that the band has yet to find a niche to crawl into like so many of their genre. It’s easy to find a formula and stick to it, and when your debut is as impressive as River Whyless’ was then it’s probably very hard not to. But the River Whyless EP proves that it pays to be a band filled with curiosity and a willingness to explore your comfort zones. Although the EP clocks in at under 30 minutes, it’s a fulfilling experience that shows that River Whyless is on the verge of a very exciting musical journey that you’d be foolish to miss out on. :: http://www.pastemagazine.com/
MANAGEMENT: Katie Benson
PUBLICITY: Alyssa DeHayes, Riot Act Media
RADIO: Shil Patel, Team Clermont
♦♦♦ Asheville, North Carolina's River Whyless is a band much like that titular body of water — a mingling of currents, a flow of time and physical space, all brought together in a murmuring sense of purpose. It is the expression of a group of musicians, three of which are songwriters, who have played together in various forms since their college days in the North Carolina mountains. Their forthcoming EP, their first release since their 2012 debut album, is the next evolution of the band's collective voice.
♦♦♦ Composed of Ryan O'Keefe (guitars, vocals), Halli Anderson (violin, vocals), Alex McWalters (drums, percussion) and Daniel Shearin (bass, vocals, harmonium, cello, banjo), the band found themselves at a bit of a crossroads when preparing music for a new release. "Sometimes each songwriter really differs quite a bit from the other," said O'Keefe. "We had to figure out how to incorporate everyone's writing style into a cohesive idea. These were the five songs where we could find that common thread."
♦♦♦ After the "long and arduous, DIY" process of recording their first album over a period of many months back in 2011, the band elected to decamp to Louisville, Kentucky's La La Land Studio to work with Kevin Ratterman (Andrew Bird, My Morning Jacket, Ben Sollee) on their new recordings. "We like to get out of town when we write and record. Putting our minds and bodies in a creative place tends to yield the most honest results. In an atmosphere like La La Land you can eat, sleep and breathe the music you're working on without the distractions of everyday life. I enjoy that," added O'Keefe. "We recorded mostly live with just a few overdubs. Kevin likes to move at a good clip in order to capture that magical, synchronistic moment. He also records to tape and uses all this great gear. Tracking this way was new and exciting to us and, I think it shows in the songs." Recording this way captured the chemistry and intuitive bonds of long–time collaborators hitting their stride. As a band who has toured heavily over the years, it reflects River Whyless as a cohesive unit, where each member anticipates the other’s move, and effortlessly complements it. The new EP was recorded and mixed in just four days. "I'm more proud of these songs than any others we've recorded" glowed O'Keefe. And it's easy to see why.
♦♦♦ The machinery–like percussion that leads track four, "Miles of Skyline," is interwoven with clock–like guitar patterns alongside Shearin's lead vocals. The weeping guitar of "Fine Companion" underpins the stridently hopeful lyrics. "Maple Sap" builds on its multiple metaphors of firewood and sap to ask universal questions we grapple with in stillness with ourselves. "Bath Salt" has a loping rhythm that showcases Anderson's voice finding a mark between Sandy Denny's ethereal plea and Crystal Gayle's country swoon. The English trad–folk sounds are the band's obvious touchstones, putting them in a category similar to contemporaries like Fleet Foxes and Stornoway.
|River Whyless EP|