Picture this: dreamy, folk-inspired tunes ignited by an aspiring musician's simple stroll in the city or while immersed in his own thoughts on a meaningless train ride. The concept seems almost too organic of an approach to songwriting to exist in the modern rock scene. Enter NYC's Stone Cold Fox - a group that echoes that exact raw musicianship and towers above anything you've ever heard because of it.
What started out as an acoustic bedroom project in NYC soon morphed into a full-on group and solidified its presence with feel-good elements of rock and pop. Founders Kevin Olken (lead vocalist/guitarist) and Ariel Loh (producer/synth) draw their musical influences from Radiohead, The Walkmen, Andrew Bird and more. Stone Cold Fox's exceptional musicianship grew from a place of deep-seeded knowledge, rooted in the members' early experimentation with a variety of genres. "I composed a bunch of hip hop beats from when I was 15 until 18, a lot of it composed from scratch and a lot from sampling vinyl. Everything was self-taught," explains Loh. Olken has a similar story to tell, "I started to play guitar when I was 9. My dad had constantly played me blues all my life - I was fascinated and it just made sense for me to play the guitar. I started classical, but quickly transitioned to rock and blues."
The group's debut EP, The Young, is a thematic declaration of nostalgia that reflects on tales of loneliness and of leaving home too soon, an all-too-familiar chapter in life that's perfectly captured with its emotionally-charged lyrics. Stone Cold Fox certainly leaves no stone left unturned with this record, making full use of layered keyboards and synths while maintaining a dazzlingly organic sound to create instant ear candy. Fusing emotion with extravagance, Stone Cold Fox has an instant knack for spoiling listeners with a splash of sweet sing-alongs that will leave you humming along to its larger than life choruses and adding an extra hop in your step with its toe-tapping melodies.
The Young sets the bar high for the undeniable talent that this rapidly budding group has to offer and further proves that they're on the cusp of something great. Barely a year since their inception, Stone Cold Fox has made an indefinite place for themselves that is certain to propel them far ahead of their contemporaries. Think of their debut EP as only the beginning of an honest musical journey by indie rock's newest darlings.
Kevin Olken Henthorn - Vocals, Guitar
Ariel Loh - Synths
Graham Stone - Guitar
Justin Bright - Bass
David Tedeschi - Drums
Seventeen - https://soundcloud.com/stonecoldfox/seventeen
The Young - http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-young-ep/id523775626
Discover The Undiscovered: Stone Cold Fox
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Welcome to the October edition of Discover The Undiscovered. We’re excited to present Stone Cold Fox...Welcome to the October edition of Discover The Undiscovered. We’re excited to present Stone Cold Fox, the new band that you all should know.
Their debut EP, The Young, perfectly marries Kevin Olken’s gritty vocals with Ariel Loh’s upbeat synthesizer grooves. Olken and Loh met as classmates at SUNY Purchase where Stone Cold Fox originated as an acoustic bedroom project that has expanded and grown into a solid indie-folk group that blends a youthful and energetic sense of comfort through beautiful songs and simple aesthetics. Now complete with Justin Bright (electric bass/bass synth), Graham Stone (guitar, backup vocals) and David Tedeschi (drums), Stone Cold Fox show off cheeky songwriting under catchy, indie pop tunes to ultimately, capture the spirit of being a twenty-something in America.
FILTER caught up quickly with Stone Cold Fox for a little 101 about their beginnings and inspirations…
Who are your main influences?
Kevin: We both draw a lot of inspiration from Radiohead and The Walkmen. While we like a lot of the same stuff, we have our differences. Ariel finds inspiration through production and arrangement, and I am much more lyric based.
How did you meet?
Ariel: We met in a smokey haze freshman year at SUNY Purchase where neither of us can remember exactly our first encounter.
Kevin: On second thought I think we met in one of the studios at school, or maybe through my ex drummer Zebulon... This question is much harder than it appears.
What is your biggest achievement as a band to date?
Kevin: Not punching each other in the face.
Ariel: Aside from that, we're pretty proud of our first release The Young, and happy about the feedback so far.
Where did the band name originate?
Kevin: It's a saying I've always liked to describe a smokin babe.
Arcade Fire, Grizzly Bear, Girls, Strokes, Peter Green, Jeff Buckley
Plans to Tour?
Kevin: Most likely in the spring. Funds are tight right now and we're mostly concentrating our time in the studio right now.
Ariel: We're currently booking shows for cities and schools in the northeast.
Plans for next release?
Ariel: Right now we are working on a single release for early next year. We are working with Joel Hamilton to help us produce the record.
NYC Artists on the rise: Stone Cold Fox
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There are some records you bring along for a hike through your day, and a precious few that grab you...There are some records you bring along for a hike through your day, and a precious few that grab you by the hand and lead you down their own path for the time it takes to listen through. For new(ish) group Stone Cold Fox, 'The Young EP' possesses such a power. From the moment you'll hear Kevin Olken Henthorn's screaming tenor over the hook in opener 'Pictures,' you'll be in it for the album's duration. Like folksy powerhouses Arcade Fire and local wunderkids The Freelance Whales, this duo's energy sneaks up from behind and overtakes you, and pretty soon you're covered in sweat and have forgotten once again to do the dishes. Fall shows haven't been announced yet, so you have some time to catch up, below, until they do. - Mike Levine (@Goldnuggets)
Stone Cold Fox - "American"
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As we sit here on this 5th of July, recovering from sunburns, hangovers and stomach aches, most of u...As we sit here on this 5th of July, recovering from sunburns, hangovers and stomach aches, most of us are feeling pretty American. But do we truly know what that means? We watched red, white and blue fireworks light up the night sky as loudspeakers proudly filled our ears with our Nation’s anthem, and today we will return to work, diligently trying to define who we are and who we’re going to be.
NYC band Stone Cold Fox’s song “American” is infectous and poetic indie-pop at its best. The song, and actually entire The Young EP, centers itself around a coming of age in America theme. On this song, the group sings, “They won’t tell me what I am to be an American. I’m here, but I’m loosing my cool. No, I won’t wait for you.” Change can be just as exciting and empowering as it is scary. It’s clear this track focuses on the former.
Q&A: Stone Cold Fox
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Stone Cold Fox was forged in the fires of SUNY Purchase where leads Ariel Loh and Kevin Olken Hentho...Stone Cold Fox was forged in the fires of SUNY Purchase where leads Ariel Loh and Kevin Olken Henthorn were enrolled. Combining elements of Henthorn’s folk background with Loh’s extensive production experience, the band’s cinematic (Henthorn studied at film conservatory) indie-pop sound is at turns joyous and melancholy, and always infectious on debut EP The Young.
The band talked to Pop’stache about patriotism, hip hop instrumentals and what “home” means.
P’s: Ariel, you’ve played piano for over a decade, are you trained in classical or otherwise? Do you see that cross over into the band?
A: I started taking piano lessons when I was 8. Piano became a means for me to pursue music, but I never took it seriously. My piano skills eventually led me into making hip hop instrumentals in high school, which ultimately led to music production and audio engineering.
P’s: How has your production work outside of Stone Cold Fox informed your work in the band?
AL: I had recorded a lot of bands at school and done many internships including Electrical Audio in Chicago with Steve Albini, Stratosphere Sound in New York with James Iha and at Studio G Brooklyn with Joel Hamilton. The production skills I gained from those internships are completely responsible for the outcome of the Stone Cold Fox recordings and production.
P’s: Kevin, what’s your songwriting process like? Do you write on guitar?
Kevin Olken Henthorn: It really varies quite a bit. Sometimes I’ll come up with a line on guitar and then later that day I’ll have a melody in my head that somehow fits. Then a few days later I’ll realize what I want the song to be about and I’ll write. I write a lot of my songs in one sitting, mostly on acoustic.
P’s: Kevin, in another interview you mentioned people “becoming more active” nowadays—in a way that’s dissenting, fed-up but as you said almost “patriotic.” In this sense, is Stone Cold Fox a patriot?
KOH: I don’t know about a patriot. Maybe an aspiring ex-patriot. It’s hard to say, I’m still young.
P’s: Many people have chalked your songs to be about being “young in America.” Obviously “America” touches on that. You’ve also mentioned “coming of age.” Is a paring of these ideas a fair summation of the album?
KOH: The album as a whole is about coming of age. ”American” does place that theme in America specifically, but the other songs are really more about nostalgia for a loss of home. I wrote these songs in my last year of college and that is really the “coming of age” period I was thinking of. I think the “graduating college period” is a really important stage in development that I wanted to dive into. You feel you can’t go back home but you don’t have a new home to go to.
P’s: Ariel, you say your sexuality has “always been a driving and inspiring force,” I know it’s broad, but how do you see that manifest into Stone Cold Fox?
A: The journey I have been through with my sexuality as the youngest son of a first generation Chinese immigrant Catholic family has been immense. It’s a large part of who I am and I’m proud of how it has shaped me as a person because of the experiences and difficulties I have overcome. In a broader scope I would say music has helped me not to fear going after what I want out of life even when it seems difficult. Music is a powerful energy that has always been with me through the ups and downs, and I hope that Stone Cold Fox can provide music that people can relate to and feel from.
P’s: How does this EP compare to your forthcoming album?
KOH: The album will dive into areas that the EP never explored. Things will get a little darker at times. We’re still in the early stages so it’s hard to tell.
P’s: Stone Cold Fox has such a full, balanced sound—Ariel says Foster The People were a big influence. What is it that strikes you about Torches?
AL: The thing that grabs me most about Foster’s sound is the production, specifically in the programmed drums and percussion. The palette of sounds, complexity in layering of the drums, all the subtle nuances that go into it really inspired me to experiment with drum sounds. The balance that we struck in The Young is having real recorded drums with different layers of programmed drum and percussion samples.
P’s: Hinging off Foster the People, do you think there’s a place for rock on the pop charts today?
AL: I think musical styles will come full circle again at some point where rock will be in the spotlight in pop music. Our bass player Justin Bright and myself enjoy playing a game we call “hipster or ’80s” when we listen to Alt Nation and First Wave on Sirius, so if that’s any indication of repeating trends and influences, the ’90s may be right around the corner …
Stone Cold Fox - American
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New York-based indie band, Stone Cold Fox's video for the song, “American” reminds me of those youth...New York-based indie band, Stone Cold Fox's video for the song, “American” reminds me of those youthful adventures I never had. I’m way too neurotic, paranoid, and easily-annoyed to ever have gone so fancy and free. But in the end I’m really, really glad somebody could.
I went to high school in suburban Los Angeles but decided to go to college in the south and to play football. When that didn’t work out (read: slow and 5’ 11”), I ended up finding the same old pieces of shit to spend time with, albeit with more gold teeth and dookie braids than I was accustomed to. Soon I was freestyling in the back of Cadillacs and stealing car stereos. Smoking blunts and ducking bullets. Nearly getting myself stabbed, and arrested.
My time at that particular university didn’t last long. Soon I was back in California and took a job working at a hardware store, while failing a whole host of classes at a local community college. I was more focused on who was spinning at the next underground and what drugs I could get my hands on to give even two shakes of a sloppy shitlog about what the Fuck some journeyman hack of a professor was spewing.
Stone Cold Fox seem to have avoided these dregs and had a good old time. Lake trips to someone’s parent’s lake house. Bonfires with cute girls who dance around un-self-consciously in summer dresses and colorful sun glasses. Every body wondering what it means to be so fortunate and awesome.
I envy this type of Abercrombie and Fitch-esque revelry. I just never met anybody wealthy or connected enough to pull that shit off. Winter cabins in Mammoth? Naw. Ocean-front house in Manhattan Beach? Yea, right! We spent most of our time in a Jack in the Box parking lot, or somebody’s backyard taking out our deep-seeded pain on each other’s bodies in the form of drug abuse and physical violence. Don’t get me wrong we had a lot of fun, but I think back then we would have scared the shit out of the people in this band. We definitely would have ridiculed them. And we would have been wrong.
I’m a little older now. I can admit that this is a fucking great song. Now I feel like I should have up and gone on a soul-searching road trip instead of constantly running away from my life. I should have paid attention in college and got involved with somebody besides criminals. I envy the imagery and carefree fun that Stone Cold Fox's song celebrates. I wish I had asked myself these existential questions rather that talking a bunch of shit to everybody so they’d be beaten out of me, or at the very least I could beat them out of some other dick bag.
I can see “American” licensed to a Sam Adams, or American Eagle commercial. It’s fun, but with just enough angst in the form of a question to deftly avoid vapid. It’s the kind of song you’d put on at a friend’s barbeque. Or on one of those road trips or lake house weekends. Which is why the video is fucking perfect and I love it.
Stone Cold Fox - American
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At the center of my true heart lies an innately curious, bespectacled nerd. My latest fascination ha...At the center of my true heart lies an innately curious, bespectacled nerd. My latest fascination has been the infinite universe, the journey beyond our known environment. I’ve been reading Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot which discusses the human future in space and how minuscule we are relative to the vast cosmic ocean. The “pale blue dot” refers to a photograph of Earth taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft from 3.7 billion miles away. There we exist as a lonely speck of faint blue light, floating in an expanse of darkness. It is a terrifying solitude. But yet, we are all here together, writing our histories in the same place they’ve all been written before.
Stone Cold Fox’s American struck me neither as patriotic nor proud. Instead, the gritty guitar riffs and pounding drums echo nostalgia and hope. It speaks to the shared journey of existence, to the dream that we all seek to determine. It’s the human experience, not just the American one.
I will stay up late and dig my own trench
I’ll ask all the questions they never present
And it’s sick and its vain and it’s hard to explain
To question the role or the play of the game
Not for your founding father or for the new born threat
Not for your radical breach that you tend to forget
Not for your good mother or the weight of her debt
Not for your children at sea, but your own way.”
Stone Cold Fox is beautifully and aptly Americana; the guitars are bright and the bass drum kicks hard. Kevin Olken Henthorn‘s vocals quiver with sentiment before resounding with determination. American is both a reminder of our origins and a declaration of our future. Maybe it’s an emotional Monday, but this track is just what I needed for a fresh start. After all, we’re all stuck in this cosmic search together.
Making Noise: KahBang is a Maine return for Stone Cold Fox guitarist
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Stone Cold Fox is an indie-rock band based in Brooklyn, N.Y. It just released a five-track EP called...Stone Cold Fox is an indie-rock band based in Brooklyn, N.Y. It just released a five-track EP called "The Young," and is part of next weekend's KahBang Music Festival happening in Bangor.
Lead vocalist/guitarist Kevin Olken Henthorn hails from South Freeport and is a graduate of Freeport High School. The rest of the band consists of Ariel Loh on synth/back-up vocals, Justin Bright on bass/synth, guitarist Graham Stone and drummer Avery Burton.
Henthorn is as pleased as punch to be coming home for KahBang, and was happy to talk about the band, the new EP and the upcoming performances in his home state.
Let's start with a band history. When did Stone Cold Fox come to be?
Ariel (Loh) and I started working together in fall of 2011 while attending our last year at Purchase College in New York. He was studying at the Music Conservatory, and I was in the Film Conservatory. We starting recording what we thought would be a series of solo acoustic songs, but with Ariel's production, they totally turned into something much larger. We realized we had a legitimate sound, and decided to form Stone Cold Fox.
When was the EP released?
We officially released "The Young" on May 18.
How did you land a spot at KahBang, and what does this mean for the band?
We sent our press kit to them, and they decided to book us. We've played a few city festivals in New York and some small college festivals, but this will be our first large outdoor music festival. So we are pretty stoked.
After KahBang, what's next for the band?
Well, we're gonna take a little break. I'm going to Europe to shoot a film. Ariel and Justin may go to Los Angeles. Our next show is in New York City for an EXFM Showcase on Aug. 30. This fall, we will start work on our first full-length album. We'll be playing a lot of East coast colleges, CMJ, and if things align, we will try to do a little tour this spring to SXSW (South by Southwest).
How's the local Manhattan music scene?
The NYC scene is competitive. There's some great music out there, though, and it's really exciting when you play a show with great artists, because then you can link up with them and start a little network.
How do you personally like to describe the sound of the band?
Nostalgic, catchy pop-rock with folk roots.
Tell us one thing that, above all, you want people who are unfamiliar with Stone Cold Fox to know.
We want people to know that our goal as a band is to create catchy, accessible music that still holds integrity. We don't want to get caught into being just another pop-rock band. We have more to say than "I love you sweetheart," but this is certainly a tough line to follow. We'll do our best.
How did you come up with the name Stone Cold Fox?
The name Stone Cold Fox was inspired by a certain someone. It's also a great way to say you're foxy. And it just sounded like a band name to me.
Staff Writer Aimsel Ponti can be contacted at 791-6455 or at:
On The Hoizon: Stone Cold Fox
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THE BUZZ CREATED BY THE TWO SOON-TO-BE GRADUATES IS IMPRESSIVE, THE IMPACT COMING WHEN THEIR SOLE FO...THE BUZZ CREATED BY THE TWO SOON-TO-BE GRADUATES IS IMPRESSIVE, THE IMPACT COMING WHEN THEIR SOLE FOCUS IS MUSIC... OH BOY, WATCH OUT!
College graduation is quickly approaching for a countless number of students across the country and for New York’s SUNY at Purchase, some curriculum changes could be in store. Thanks to Kevin Henthorn and Ariel Loh, they might consider adding ‘Starting A Buzzworthy Indie Band’ as a major. Of course these two would still have to wait a couple months themselves before achieving such a degree, but Stone Cold Fox has begun to make quite a bit of noise.
The duo officially came together this past fall after demoing some acoustic tunes, but their formation spawned from the disappointments of past musical projects and chance dorm room locations; so Kevin and Ariel have worked together for the past few years… and they’ve caught our attention big time. So we arranged to meet up with the pair in their NYC hometown to fill our brains with as much SCF info as possible. Here’s how it went down:
“Yeah, we can’t meet in there, that place is a madhouse.” The Chelsea Market was a no go… the agreed upon interview location had foiled over before it started. “Let’s just grab a drink somewhere,” Kevin said, saving the days plans. These two unassuming college students seemed either unaware or unaffected of the Internet buzz surrounding their debut EP The Young. Clearly, they have not Google ego boosted themselves lately as they are more focused on their first show this Friday, 2/24 at Pete’s Candy Shop in Brooklyn.
“We’re just starting to look into booking shows. We set up a show at Connecticut College, but after school it’ll be a lot more.” Ariel tells us. “Yeah, but we want to build it slowly… don’t want to play so much people get burned out on us.” Kevin tacks on; firmly showcasing they have thought out the band’s debut and roll out strategy. “We just want people to hear our music. Not even trying to make money until it makes sense.” For a statement that could be construed as somewhat pretentious, it comes across as the complete opposite. They have plans: graduate first and foremost, after, it’s all about their music full speed ahead. CMJ, SXSW, you can insert the alphabetically abbreviated festival here and Stone Cold Fox has it on a list of things to do.
So without having played a single show yet, and for only being in existence for a few months, how have they already made such a name for themselves? “It’s tough to crack. The people you know, like friends, you say check out your band and they don’t.” But then there’s the power of the Internet, but isn’t it just overflowed with bands? “I wouldn’t say it’s diluted. To an extent, shitty music gets put off to the side eventually.” Ariel goes on, “The initial breaking through on the Internet is harder to get through. The thing is that the people that are still reputable are there.” Countless websites have picked up on what has become of our acoustic demo recordings and are quite proud and have supported them.
Our conversation is eloquently accompanied by some blaringly pointless bar music, an ironic fit to our conversation as all the Q’s and A’s come together. Kevin acknowledges that there is a balancing act when it comes to what they write, which is a careful blend of his acoustic folk and Ariel’s electric pop tendencies. The Young EP is their starting point; it’s the intersection of The Gaslight Anthem and Radiohead. It is filled with Kevin’s lyrics of where he grew up and a past summer. “A lot of things were just coming out of that summer, feeling like s**t. A lot of family stuff, what’s that root of that. Processing things.” The peek he allows us into his world is more than fair for a lyricist. A budding talent wants to be accessible, yet till needs that anonymity of his secrets. He acknowledges “American” is inspired by the reflection of one’s surroundings, but does not have much of an agenda for the rest of his work. “People take things for granted.”
They are proud of the five tracks they have put out so far, and the moment is drawing near where their efforts will be put on display. The EP release show marks the beginning for Stone Cold Fox in the public eye and not just their ear. So don’t miss it, be part of their history.
Meet Ariel Loh of Stone Cold Fox
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There’s been no shortage of Asian Americans rocking out in indie bands, and Ariel Loh of Stone Cold ...There’s been no shortage of Asian Americans rocking out in indie bands, and Ariel Loh of Stone Cold Fox can be added to the list of musicians heating up the independent music blogosphere. “Art, music, video, performance and design, are all the same things expressed in different mediums,” says the 22-year old. The busy up-and-comer is exploring sound engineering and producing for a variety of musical projects.
Ariel was born in New York in 1990 to Taiwanese American parents, but later moved to Chicago. He's pursued music since he was young, and started playing piano at eight years old. Ariel is also grounded in a number of interests, and experimented with graphic design, shooting and video editing, and beat-making before eventually ending up in recording. He also came out as gay at 17 years old and explains that “[his sexuality] has always been a driving and inspiring force for what I do.” The ingénue is also inspired by architecture, cinema, art and design, and New York City.
Stone Cold Fox plays as five-piece outfit, but the creative force behind the project remains Ariel Loh, who plays keyboard on live shows, and Kevin Olken Henthorn (vocals). The two met during their freshman year at SUNY Purchase, where Ariel received his Bachelor’s of Music in Studio Production. Originally, Kevin headed a lo-fi, acoustic project with three other members. It wasn’t until Kevin presented half-written songs to demo out of Ariel’s bedroom studio that the younger sound engineer became attached. The duo later decided to re-name the band, and officially founded Stone Cold Fox in 2011.
Kevin and Ariel are the major songwriting force behind Stone Cold Fox, with Kevin responsible for writing the lyrics and both collaborating on melodies and instrumentals. The band has released an EP titled, The Young. Ariel's sweeping melodies contrast Kevin’s orchestral vocals, making it a must-listen for fans of Arcade Fire and Andrew Bird. The EP’s standout track “American” begins with jangly guitar-strumming and peaks with Kevin proclaiming, They won’t tell me what I am/ To be an American.
The lyrics are indicative of the tone and concepts explored on the EP, such as nostalgia, growing up, and the meaning of home. On “Give Up The Kids,” Ariel and Kevin carefully layer heavy, irreverent songwriting under catchy, indie pop tunes with opening lines like, I never thought that God was there/ And if he was/ I didn’t care. Ariel Loh elegantly levels his keyboard and synth playing to compliment Kevin’s stripped-down vocals on the thematic “Father Spirit.” Carrying a theme of being young in America, the EP successfully captures the social and political disenchantment of this generation.
Ariel describes the band’s sound as being a mixture of indie rock with elements of pop and folk. Ariel names Radiohead as being a huge musical influence and adds, “[d]uring the creation of The Young EP, I was heavily influenced by Foster the People’s album, specifically its production techniques in layering of programmed drums and percussion.” As a producer, Ariel is careful to balance synth and the rest of the band’s instruments in a way that compliments, but never overshadows, the traditional side of Stone Cold Fox’s sound.
Ariel and Kevin are currently working on writing new songs for a late-autumn album release. In the meantime, the well-crafted The Young EP is available for streaming on the band’s soundcloud page.
Hyphen readers can also follow Ariel on Twitter and learn more about him on Blogspot.
July 5-8 at CBGB Festival, New York
July 30 at Bowery Electric, New York
August 11 at KahBang Festival, Bangor, Maine
Amber Kong is an undergraduate at UCLA and a DJ for UCLAradio.com
Stone Cold Fox
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Since this is my first post ever for Knox Road, it’s probably a good place to define my music taste ...Since this is my first post ever for Knox Road, it’s probably a good place to define my music taste for you, the readers. The most important thing you should know about me is that I like my music big. It’s why Arcade Fire remains my favorite band, why I can’t get enough of strings, horns, group sing-along choruses and stomping bridges.
The best song from new band Stone Cold Fox, “Pictures,” does a nice job of conveying this big picture, cinematic music (even without any strings, horns, or stomping drums). Part of the beauty of SoundCloud is that it allows us to literally watch a song unfold, and anticipate the wall of sound that’s about to hit. The second I saw the SoundCloud box for “Pictures,” which sees small vertical black lines slowly grow from the beginning into huge ones, I got a good vibe. The sound that finally hits, 57 seconds in, is a memorable chant of “ohs” that takes its time to grow throughout the track in between verses until it masterfully carries the song away in its final minute.
The rest of Stone Cold Fox’s debut EP, The Young, is solid, heartfelt Americana that at times brings to mind The Walkmen, and other times a more guitar-based Head and the Heart. It’s worth checking out, filled with five well-structured, four minute tracks with great songwriting and a knack for strong melodies. The band was started in 2011 by Kevin Olken Henthorn and Ariel Loh, and the EP is getting its official release on February 24, when they play in Pete’s Candy Store in Brooklyn.
Video: Stone Cold Fox - "American"
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Although I'm posting this a few days after Independence Day, the appropriately titled "American" is ...Although I'm posting this a few days after Independence Day, the appropriately titled "American" is still relevant this week. The song is by Brooklyn based band Stone Cold Fox, who originally reached out to me for an Unsigned Friday post, but I believe they deserve to have a regular post. They self released an EP entitled The Young (available on iTunes) and they will be playing in the CBGB Festival in NY as well as KahBang Festival in Maine later this summer, so if you around or plan on attending those events check them out.
The video and song has this Americana vibe, which is obviously a perfect fit for the title of the song. Yet, the overall feel of the visual is just happy times and enjoying the country we live in. Really like what I'm hearing from Stone Cold Fox.
New Interview: Stone Cold Fox
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New York based indie rockers, Stone Cold Fox, talk about their nostalgia inspired tracks from their ...New York based indie rockers, Stone Cold Fox, talk about their nostalgia inspired tracks from their debut release ‘The Young EP’.
1. I heard you play a take-away shows. Can you explain me what is this?
Take away shows are just little spontaneous shows in odd spaces. Usually they are filmed. It's a once in a while thing.
2. Your music has got a hint of nostalgia. Is it because you live in New York? Is New York nostalgic city?
Our music has a lot of nostalgia in it. I don't think it's because of New York. I am actually from Maine, so if anything it's more about leaving home in Maine, and less about being in New York.
3. Aren't you personally too young to be nostalgic and to play nostalgic music?
Haha. No I really don't thing anyone is too young to be nostalgic. There are always times to look back on your life. This album deals with that specific time for young adult when they have left home and are gearing up to find a new place to call home. It's about being in limbo between home and home. As a man in my early 20's I am in this limbo and I have nostalgia for what once was my home. So I write about it.
4. You try to incorporate pop music and rock music. But I think incorporating pop and rock music is one of the hardest thing in the music world. Do you agree?
Honestly I feel like "Pop" is a constant revolving door. One decade it's Classic Rock, the next it's Disco. Where we stand now we have a whole melting pot of genres that we call pop. And I feel it has actually become easier to combine genres and place it under a "Rock Pop" category because there is now so much to draw from and be inspired by. Because we have become saturated with all these genres I've found it easier to write with them in mind because these combination are everywhere. At the end of the day we try and create honest, catchy, accessible music.
5. Of course it's hard to avoid comparisons Stone Cold Fox to The Strokes. They are also from New York. Are you the children of New Rock Revolution in any way?
No revolution for us. Nor do I think those titles are really applicable these days. The Strokes are certainly a part of our inspiration pool, but they by no means make up all of it. We are both from New York, we both make music. However they are field and fields more successful than us, they make very different music, and tell very different stories than us.
6. Your EP is called "The Young". Is this title also kind of nostalgia for something what already passed?
"The Young" embodied all of the nostalgia we wrote about in the album. It felt like an appropriate title. Most of the songs on the album are about coming of age.
7. I love almost all your songs. But I'd like to talk about song called "American". I think it's your the most important song. Because of this line: "They won’t tell me what I am to be an American / I am here but my hearts at sea, they won't speak of me"... "THEY" - you mean who?
The line "They won't tell me what I am to be an American, I'm here but my hearts at sea, they won't speak for me" is about not letting others speak for you.
8. Is your music only music or something more than that? How much your music is about describing the world and how much about trying to change the world?
In my lyrics I try to write about my own philosophies and combine them with music. Sometimes I write the heartbreak song but overall I much prefer to describe certain mind sets and the conclusions I draw from them. In this way a lot of my songs end up being more about philosophy than story telling. Some songs are just comprised of a series of one liners that make up the whole song with a steady theme. But at the end of the day the output is music, and that is all it is. If people care to read into it, agree with it, or disagree with it, than it is in their hands to "change the world" with it. Music to me is more about inspiration.
9. Are you gonna come to Europe?
We would absolute
In The Studio with Stone Cold Fox - Moving Beyond Self-Production for Sonic Inspiration
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What was your pre-production like on this project? Ariel: The preproduction process involved us rec...What was your pre-production like on this project?
Ariel: The preproduction process involved us recording a demo and bringing it to our producer Joel Hamilton for opinion and critique. With his insight and direction, we would go back to our home studio and rework out parts and arrangements in the demo. This went back and forth a couple of times before we hit the studio.
How did you choose the studio?
Ariel: The summer after my junior year in college (2011), I was in search of an internship with Studio G (now referred to as Studio G Classic). Instead of finding myself in the studio, I was recruited to help construction of their new space Studio G 5000. I spent a summer helping to turn a 5000 square feet warehouse into a state of the art recording complex consisting of 3 studio rooms, so it only made sense that we went back to go record there.
What kind of sound were you looking for and how did you achieve it?
Kevin: We were looking for a rockier sound. The instruments were more rhythm driven and we used the vocals to carry the primary melody. We also decided to only use live drums instead of incorporating programed drums.
How does it compare to your last release in terms of style and the creative process?
Kevin: It's angrier. It's not like the EP songs, which are about home and growing up. It comes from a much more visceral emotion of break up and withdrawal. It's like the difference between walking down a hill and jumping off a cliff. Let's just say it was a difficult time haha.
Did you use any special gear or recording techniques on this one?
Ariel: Yes, yes, and yes. Joel has a command-station worth of "special gear" and is an audio wizard of sorts. One of the notable chains was running guitar with an Earthquaker Devices Organizer pedal into an Echoplex
What was your philosophy on live, full-band takes versus individual tracking?
Ariel: We always like to individually track for recording purposes, but we have everyone playing together for the performance and feel.
Any special guests?
What did you try to accomplish in the studio that you’re not able to do live?
Kevin: We really concentrated on finding the exact sounds we wanted to represent the song. We wanted to really experiment in certain parts as well and we really needed to sit down and observe it, rather than playing it live. The live version is like a caricature of sounds, we have our pedals and tones that give the general idea of the sounds we want, but it wasn't until we sat down and observed each sound that we really discovered what the song needs.
What were the toughest challenges you faced?
Ariel: In regards to recording, it was one of the smoothest and most enjoyable recording process I have ever been a part of. We did have conflicted feelings in the songwriting and arrangement in a section of the song during preproduction that ended up being resolved on the first day in the studio. Also being the producer and engineer for everything up to this point, it was a challenge to consciously relinquish some control and entrust it with the producer.
Kevin: I'm really used to working with Ariel as the producer and we've developed a certain routine of yelling at each other in disagreement for days. We really come from different places so it takes us awhile to lock down the final say, but it usually comes out balanced and we both end up happy. It was definitely different working with Joel because I had slightly less control. We really just had to put our trust in Joel to find the right take, the right sound, and the right mix for song. Though it was a jarring experience, the song came out amazing and working with Joel proved to be extremely educational and frankly inspirational.
Any funny stories from the session that you’ll be telling for a while?
Kevin: On one of the more experimental sections of the song we had an ongoing joke about finding "just the right amount of heroin."
How did you handle final mixing and mastering?
Ariel: We spent two days in the studio and Joel was able to give us a final mix by the end of our second day.
What are your release plans?
Kevin: We are releasing the single along with a music video, that I will be directing, in early February. Right in time for the Valentines day. So we can all be depressed and pissed off together.
KIND OF A BIG DEAL: Stone Cold Fox
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I met with Ariel Loh and Kevin Olken Henthorn of Stone Cold Fox at the Black Swan in Bed Stuy. It wa...I met with Ariel Loh and Kevin Olken Henthorn of Stone Cold Fox at the Black Swan in Bed Stuy. It was the first serious cold snap we had felt so far, and the black interior of the dimly lit bar offered respite from the bitter grey outside. Kevin arrived first with a quietly charming demeanor but kept the small talk up, lean and long with a close-cropped beard- the all-American indie rocker, a vision in plaid and dark denim. He sat down and Ariel arrived shortly after with the swagger of a busy and sometimes sleepless producer. Ariel’s sleeker, chicer, and louder, both audibly, and visually- a shaggy geometric haircut hangs artfully over modern, angular glasses. They look oddly incongruous and yet perfectly complimentary. I had to wonder how the pair along with Graham Stone(guitar), Justin Bright(bass) and Roman Dean(drums) came to be the foxes that are Stone Cold Fox. The implications of Stone Cold Fox’s new EP, The Young, reflect on the concept of youth in America, what it is, what it’s supposed to be, and the cognitive dissonance between the two. Henthorn, makes use of his intense nostalgia with painfully sensitive lyrics and a vocal resonance that is overwhelmingly warm, innocent and sometimes spontaneuously sexy. Stylistically it recalls the singer-songwriter end of indie rock while making full use of tasteful, layered keyboards and synths. This all makes sense considering Ariel, who is the producer/engineer/synth player, carefully filled out Kevin’s stripped down, organic sounding songs.
The opening track, Pictures, sets the stage nicely. Gazing at a picture of a loved one in their twenties, it’s reflective, but not sentimental. Rather than an internal, cathartic exorcizing of demons as so many emotional vanity projects we’ve heard lately, somehow the track keeps the listener looking forward to the future. Opening with quiet sounds and equally quiet, almost fragile, vocals, it morphs into a wave of jangly guitars and shimmering percussion.
“We think it’s really good timing,” says Kevin, “with Occupy and everything, people are becoming much more aware of activism- almost patriotic.”
Ariel adds, “At least we hope it’s good timing. Every generation has their own movements and it feels like we’re responding to what’s going on now.”
“Was that intentional?” I ask, “Did you set out with a theme of coming of age in America?”
Kevin replies, “The songs all came together for this project because they felt very connected, but I didn’t write them consciously as an album.” And it feels like it. There’s a level of cohesion without quite being a concept record, or too “matchy-matchy.” The band is a well executed balancing act: the simple and the grand, the vulnerable and the honest.
“Tell me what I am to be an American, I’m here, but I’m losin’ my cool,
and I won’t wait for you”—the second track, American, rings mobile and urgently. It’s thematic, but not explicit. The listener feels conspiratorial, relating the amorphous identity we’ve not yet grown into. The folky intro slowly morphs into multi-tracked, choir vocals and then fades out mournfully.
In an increasingly isolating society, a generation divided by suburbs and an amorphous identity, the listener feels a familiar twinge of loneliness. In Give Up the Kids, Kevin says, “I never thought that god was there, and if He was, he didn’t care.”
It’s hard to imagine a young mind without similar suspicions in this day in age. The vocals sound almost boyish, urgently delivering heavy subject matter in earnest. Again there’s another signature swelling chorus, but this time with a call-and response between Henthorn and a girl (Madeline Mondrala) that propels the lyrics into earworm status with a sweet bridge of sing-songy vocalizations. The chorus breathes an air of ones idealistic views on youth and beauty.
Appropriately enough, just as the internet has connected our generation, it’s the technology in the music that keeps the album friendly. There’s no sterile electronic sounds to be found- Ariel’s synths are more like a cuddly robot. As much as there are splashes of an Arcade Fire style wall of sound, there’s elements of Radiohead in the synth that lacquers the more organic base of the music. The result is still a very warm effect, with no hint of the tinny computer keyboards that seem to pepper indie-rock so frequently these days.
“Did you aim for a balance between the synth sounds and the organic sounds?”
“Definitely,” says Kevin “We definitely wanted to preserve the integrity of the music, but it was all back and forth.”
Ariel adds, “Kevin came to me with these songs on acoustic guitar, and I wanted to really do something creative with programming and synthesizers… it got out of hand some times,” they both laugh. “We’d get so excited and put all this work into a track all night, then we’d come back the next morning and it was… too much.”
And it’s that balance that gives the EP cohesion. Quiet, sweet moments in Wildcats give relief to the rushing euphoria of Father Spirit and its sing-along chorus; there’s a seamlessness of the electronic and the acoustic, the ornate and the austere. There’s obviously more music in the works, and they’re both excited about reworking some of the lush tracks for a more stripped down live show. “We’re looking at much less to work with,” says Kevin, “It will be a challenge.”
I’m looking forward to what they come up with; underneath all that architecture are some lovely bones. The Young is as much a road trip record as it is something to play on a quiet, rainy day at home. Stone Cold Fox encapsulate that yearning feeling you have when you don’t know what you want but know you want something. It’s this quality that separates them from the other cooler-than thou New York City bands. They don’t lose any of the urbaneness that comes from the Brooklyn habitat, but they do thankfully lose the pretense that often accompanies it. The honesty and integrity that The Young has to offer is wrapped in catchy, lovingly-crafted music, and won’t fail to find an audience.
Stone Cold Fox - The Young EP
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I’ll admit when I heard the band name I wasn’t expecting this kind of music. But I gave it a shot an...I’ll admit when I heard the band name I wasn’t expecting this kind of music. But I gave it a shot and was pleasantly surprised. They’re a group out of New York and they’ve got that feel-good folk/rock sound. It’s got elements of Bombay Bicycle Club. Some really beautiful moments on there. Honestly I don’t know much more about them but you can stream their EP below and find them on facebook here.
New Videos: Cultfever "knewyouwell" and Stone Cold Fox "American"
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Check out the video for "knewyouwell" by Cultfever - filmed on an iPhone and edited by Dan Devine (c...Check out the video for "knewyouwell" by Cultfever - filmed on an iPhone and edited by Dan Devine (credits include Twin Sister, Oberhofer). Also featuring Stone Cold Fox's new video for "American". Catch Stone Cold Fox at the BuzzChips Presents show at The Living Room on July 13th, and Cultfever at Mercury Lounge on August 3rd.
I recently came across this extremely promising
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I recently came across this extremely promising new indie rock band this past month. Stone Cold Fox ...I recently came across this extremely promising new indie rock band this past month. Stone Cold Fox is a band that I see entering the signed music world quite easily. Their luscious melodies coupled with their fantastic lyricism ring of bands like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and The Morning Benders. “Pictures” is one of the most incredible indie rock songs I’ve heard in a while. Check out more of their music on Sound Cloud.
Loving... "The Young EP" by Stone Cold Fox
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I love it when I receive an out-of-the-blue tweet or email from an artist or band who would like me ...I love it when I receive an out-of-the-blue tweet or email from an artist or band who would like me to hear their music. Usually these messages come from folks that I've built up a relationship with... but sometimes (exception not rule) they come from someone I don’t know. I welcome all music but have to ask for an offline copy... I do a lot of my deep listening on the train or walking the dog... and streaming just doesn’t work for me in these settings.
Anyway, I received an email from Ariel Loh from Stone Cold Fox... an indie rock duo from New York. He saw my review of Sink \ Sink (his friend, Calumn is part of Sink \ Sink) and wondered if I would take a listen to his band’s latest EP... entitled ”the young EP”. I was honoured to be asked and grateful to be given an mp3 copy to consume.
My initial reaction was delight... the EP is chock full of the most delightfully upbeat, very now, kind of folky, indie rock. My next reaction was one of surprise... with music this good, I was gobsmacked that they weren't already a household name... but I’ll come to that in a moment.
Their music is fab... truly upbeat guitar-orientated rock with vibrant, distinctly ”now” indie stylings. The lyrics are, at times, profound and searching... and at other times light and jovial... but they are all delivered in an earnest, accessible manner that facilitates the kind of unconscious sing-a-long and dance-like-a-loon response... a response that makes their music irresistible to me... kind of like how I respond to Phoenix or Vampire Weekend.
I know I normally talk about ambient, post-rock etc and don't really talk about indie rock... but I have a fondness for some good sing-a-long and dance-like-a-loon music... and ”the young EP” is as good as it gets, in my opinion. I would love to see Stone Cold Fox live... I think they would have a presence that would belie their age and experience... and make for a really great night.
Which gets me onto my other point... why are they not already ”out there”? Sometimes the music industry makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to me.. I mean... why are some bands in the public eye whilst others bask in obscurity? I want Stone Cold Fox to succeed... I want Loh and Kevin Olken (who plays guitar and sings) to be as big as Mumford and Sons. Certainly from listening to this EP... almost on repeat... they deserve to be!
I would highly recommend this EP to you and would actively encourage the band to create a Bandcamp presence to ensure as many people as possible can be exposed to their vibrancy. I've embedded their soundcloud to let you hear them… enjoy!
Stone Cold Fox - The Young EP
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As far as debut EPs go, this is a strong performance by indie rock band Stone Cold Fox. Their EP The...As far as debut EPs go, this is a strong performance by indie rock band Stone Cold Fox. Their EP The Young is set for release on the 18th of May, and it consists entirely of melodic, catchy songs. Really, all five songs have enough quality to be released as singles.
Excluding guest vocalist Madeline Mondrala, the band is made up of five members. The group was founded by Kevin Olken and Ariel Loh in 2011. Kevin Olken is the frontman of the band, as he takes responsibility for songwriting, guitar, and vocals. Otherwise, it is clear that all four other members of the band – Ariel Loh (synths & production), Roman Dean (drums), Justin Bright (bass), Graham Stone (Guitar) – are very important too, as each song’s harmony derives from a ‘sum-of-all-parts’ mentality, which is certainly welcome.
The song ‘Pictures’ typifies the band’s style. The guitar and voice parts are soft to begin with, before the hook really gets the energy going. I was perfectly happy listening to it in the background while I did some work, yet others could definitely enjoy being fully ‘in the moment’ with the song. Being able to make either choice means that the band will definitely garner a larger fan-base than others, a healthy trait by all means.
Stone Cold Fox - American (Official Music Video)
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Woke up to some new music in my inbox this morning that is just so perfect for this 4th of July week...Woke up to some new music in my inbox this morning that is just so perfect for this 4th of July week that I had to post it today. Not to mention that the song is pretty addicting in it's own right that it would have only been a matter of time before this one became a regular on mine and everybody else's summertime playlist. The thing that caught my attention with "American" was the nostalgic and uplifting vibe that you get when the song first starts that builds and builds to this grandiose chorus that will have your feet tapping along in no time. Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Stone Cold Fox are an up and coming indie rock group whose main goal in life appears to be to rock out and have a good time. And just from listening to their music you can tell they are doing a damn good job at doing just that. Check out the visuals and also give their debut EP The Young a listen below which is currently available now.
Stone Cold Fox - American
Stone Cold Fox - American
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Check out the latest visuals from the rock indie band Stone Cold Fox, Directed, produced, and filmed...Check out the latest visuals from the rock indie band Stone Cold Fox, Directed, produced, and filmed by Mattson Tomlin and Kevin Olken Henthorn, Additional filming by Filipp Kotsisheveskiy and Graham Stone.
Video Of The Day: Stone Cold Fox
Featured Video: Stone Cold Fox – American
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With the US celebrating Independence Day last week (non-Will Smith Vs. Aliens version), what better ...With the US celebrating Independence Day last week (non-Will Smith Vs. Aliens version), what better video to feature than an uplifting folk-pop tune about being an American? Cue some idyllic scenery, campfire frolics, and a firework or two, courtesy of Brooklyn’s Stone Cold Fox:
The Blinding Heights Podcast Episode 27 08/13/12
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Broadcasting to hearts and minds from the center of your rock ‘n roll universe… Experience your pre...Broadcasting to hearts and minds from the center of your rock ‘n roll universe…
Experience your premiere music discovery service – The Blinding Heights
A music podcast featuring independent recording artists that you need to hear! Will Black carefully handpicks the best of the best each episode to showcase amazing new songs from around our world. Listen to 90 minutes of music plus a feature band interview each episode!
The Blinding Heights Podcast is produced & hosted by Will Black. You can hear & download all released episodes right here or at iTunes.
Stone Cold Fox The Young
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Listening to Stone Cold Fox’s recent EP, The Young, it’s hard to believe that this band is just over...Listening to Stone Cold Fox’s recent EP, The Young, it’s hard to believe that this band is just over a year old. Created through the partnership of Kevin Olken Henthorn and Ariel Loh, the band has an ambient post rock quality akin to that of Beach House with layers of flawlessly balanced synth, guitar and vocals. “American” is the catchy lead single off of the EP, rising and falling at all the right moments, with the earnest compliment of the acoustic guitar. The following track, “Give Up the Kids” stands out above the rest from the EP opening with a low solitary guitar riff and building steadily with the magically raw voice of Olken and enhanced by the mezzo-soprano back up vocals of Madeline Mondrala. With upcoming shows and more music on the way, Stone Cold Fox should not be overlooked in 2013.
Stone Cold Fox - Bowery Electric Show Review
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Immediately and without introduction, Stone Cold Fox broke into song, utilizing their space by jammi...Immediately and without introduction, Stone Cold Fox broke into song, utilizing their space by jamming back and forth with one another, playing a multitude of new music. Although it was an early show, the room was filled, and there was a glass in every hand.
On the edgier “Know Myself,” lead singer, Kevin Olken Henthorn’s vocals were hazy and sedated, and the room swayed hypnotized by the ethereal synths and piercing guitar riffs. “American,” the single from their debut EP, had everyone in the audience singing and bouncing back and forth to the overlapping, reverberating guitars and fast-paced beats. “Punch Drunk” slowed things back down with gritty vocals and eerie guitars before unexpectedly building up again with wailing guitar licks courtesy of Graham Stone.
“Give Up the Kids,” reminiscent of Modest Mouse, features stellar backup vocals and Kevin’s voice takes on a low-fi, dissonant quality. Rolling into “Graduation,” the whole band became wildly animated and bassist, Justin Bright, threw his long curly hair around.
With more of a hip-hop groove similar to Atmosphere, Kevin described “Man on the Moon” as “a new one, but a throwback,” and it was unquestionably the standout song of the night with dark vocals and a few screams. The vibe of the room changed as everyone silently watched, mesmerized by the band’s spirit and haunting melody.
Stone Cold Fox is undeniably catchy, and “Seventeen” started off sounding a lot like everything we’ve heard from them before, but towards the end it took at turn into howling guitars.
The new batch of songs as well as “Man on the Moon” show that the band is capable of breaking out of the conventional indie-rock niche. Not only is the band’s latest songwriting more inspired than their previous work, the instrumentals seem to be riskier, and tighter.
With a skillfully evolving sound and more new music on the horizon, Stone Cold Fox will not be ignored in 2013.
Give Up The Kids
|May 25, 2013 Saturday||10:30 PM||Mercury Lounge||New York, NY, US|
|Jun 15, 2013 Saturday||6:00 PM||Spring For Sound Fesival||Millerton, NY, US|