Jess and George met at party in 2009, with their spontaneous duet of the Prince song, “Pussy Control”. Soon after that they formed a band around a principle of originality and ruthless editing of their work. The name of the band draws inspiration from southern author William Faulkner who would tell his writing students that ‘sometimes in writing you must strangle your darlings’.
The have written and toured as a full band but once they decided to tour the US full time and live in a 20 foot RV, there was only enough extra room for the little dog. Jess is a trained classical violinist but pick up cello and discovered that she was actually a bass player. George found his degree in English Lit pays better as an indie musician and so learned the mandolin.
The music is built on deep sense of rhythm and groove. Mandolin like you’ve rarely ever seen, somewhere between a snare drum and a slalom of notes. The solid body custom cello weaves an intricate counter melody and and percussive groove. The voices and the lyrics are the hidden third member of the band and the story behind the music.The songs work with nontraditional subjects for inspiration. Some song subjects include: the works of great authors (Faulkner, William Blake, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Donald Bartheleme, Anna Ahkmatova) as well as witchcraft in the Civil War, the morality of Somali piracy and the media impact of Neil Armstrong.
Strangled darlings have released 2 full length albums and one EP, receiving praise from hometown and national press alike. They tour the US from Fairbanks Alaska to the Florida Keys and cities and towns in between.
The phrase to sum up the fourth studio release for the duo Strangled Darlings’ Boom Stomp King may simply be: you can’t take it with you. The effect of objects on our lives and the ridiculous fear we have of losing those objects binds the songs together. The routines of suburban life become their own sad, recognizable spirituality while we wait and wait to act. Meanwhile, death snickers from the wings.
Boom Stomp King was created under the self-imposed pressures of quitting the day jobs, selling of the personal effects and moving in a tiny RV. The goal was to head out into the ocean of America, away from the safe harbor of Portland. The duo now lives in a twenty foot C-class RV traveling from Walmart to Walmart in between their heavy full time tour schedule across the United States. “It’s America, the only place you can park for free and is Walmart. So we are the beneficiaries of indirect corporate sponsorship which kind of suits us,” notes Veech.
The album was recorded at The Map Room in Portland, Oregon with Josh Powell in the early spring of 2014. There is an ode to modern media worship of a man who never sought the spot light in the song “Niel Armstrong”, a song about the loss of self in the sea of OxyContin in “Home” and an ironic anthem to self-determination in “Kill Yourself”.
Jess Anderly’s bass/cello continues to challenge the notion of what a “bass line” must be. As she manhandles the groove, she wills her listeners to move. George Veech returns from his notebook of dark American observations and sings with a renewed intimacy and passion.
Strangled Darlings song writing continues to mature as the compositions have become more intricate and weave a restive line between the poetic wording and the all-important groove. The duo continues to resist fitting neatly into a category but the album is as close to folk as they are likely to get.
Boom Stomp King is an introduction to what you can expect at a Strangled Darlings show. The songs echo back the ineffable moments of music vibrating the air only to leave no trace of its existence beyond the thoughts inside the listener.
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