Ancient History
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Ancient History


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Ancient History @ Piano's Lounge NYC

New York, New York, USA

New York, New York, USA

Ancient History @ Spike Hill

Brooklyn, New York, USA

Brooklyn, New York, USA

Ancient History @ Sycamore

Brooklyn, New York, USA

Brooklyn, New York, USA

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Ancient History

Donald Ducote, the man behind Brooklyn-based Ancient History, offered the best description of his latest album, Tracks, when he called it “late-night-red-wine-and-reefer-music.” In other words, you don’t want to listen to it if you’re looking for a cheerful pick-me-up. To be clear, that’s not a criticism, but rather some helpful advice on how to fully appreciate his music. In Ducote’s own words, the common thread through these songs is “loss, loss, loss,” and they carry with them a cathartic, introspective quality that creates the ideal soundtrack for reflecting on and moving past life’s inevitable disappointments. With the assistance of engineer Jim Smith (credits include The National and Sharon Van Etten), guitarist Austin Lemieux, and bass player/mixer Paul Johnson (credits include mixing for Beirut), Ducote sets his very personal, heart-on-his-sleeve lyrics to ambient soundscapes that are mostly minimalist to start, but gradually unwrap themselves to reveal a layered complexity that invites repeated listens. Sometimes when you’re down, you just need music to match your mood, and this album does it well. Here’s “Subway Dream” off Tracks, which is available now through the band’s Bandcamp page.

Listen: "Subway Dream" by Ancient History
(To download, right click—or control click for Mac users—on the link and "Save Target As")
- Utne Reader

Donald Ducote has deemed his latest release “late-night red-wine-and-reefer music.” Ducote, who goes by the moniker Ancient History, just put out an 11-track LP called Tracks on January 29. The mellow album is an analog lo-fi concoction that features bassist Paul Johnson (whose credits include mixing a Beirut album) and engineering courtesy of Jim Smith. Give Ancient History a listen by downloading album track “Subway Dream” below. We are proud to premiere it today on - See more at: - Magnet Magazine

Ancient History dropped their record debut Tracks ahead of a slew of NYC show dates for February/March, and bring the carefully xylophone spangled kinetic tunnel passages of "Subway Dream". Train station sleepy exchanges are played out in the soft lull of the piano-guitar relationship while an ambient air duct breeze breathes an ambient sustain.

Frontman Donald Ducote exhibits the sonic restraint learned from the days of My Sister on the Ancient History single on the traumatic dialogues recounted on, "Hands Are For Holding Drinks". - Impose Magazine

In honor of the Hallmark holiday Ancient History frontman Donald Ducote put together his Anti-Valentine’s Day mixtape entitled “Stab Yourself in the Heart Because Love is Bullsh*t.” (Someone’s a little angry and jaded, ay?)

You can listen here: - Fred Perry Subculture

Review Summary: Late night red wine and reefer music.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

Ever since deciding to fuel his adolescence on a steady diet of Weezer, Belle and Sebastian, and Elliot Smith, Donald Ducote always wanted to be a musician. Not just another poster boy or attention seeker either, he wanted to be a real musician. One who didn’t give a *** about money or the man; one who poured his heart out; one who would make a difference. The initial offspring of this dream was My Sister, a band he formed in 2004: a forgettable five-piece doomed to failure following a tangle with the label head’s girlfriend. Soon he was working with an X-Factor. Not exactly living the dream, is it?

It was around this time Ducote must have realised how far he’d moved away from his original mandate. He hadn’t changed the world or inspired thousands of people: he was a cog in the cynical vampire of a music industry, and a pretty small cog at that. One could imagine him waking up on a lonely pillow still soaked in last night’s tears of disappointment. It’s in this cycle where something wonderful happened: he stopped trying. With the help of an old friend, Jim Smith, with Paul Johnson (who's mixed for Beirut) and Austin Lemieux, he was going to write songs for himself. The band was eventually titled Ancient History, possibly as an initial hint to the deep veins of catharsis meandering through Ducote’s lyrics of loss, disappointment and confusion in his past.

True to form, Ancient History frames this personal tale with a hazy, lo-fi production reminiscent of Ducote’s 90’s-indie idols. Shufflingly slow tempos set the stage for guitar and sighed vocals which echo into a communal humm. The sparsely used percussion thumps shyly in the background: used more as texture than solid foundations. When they want to be powerful, such as “I Know It’s Late” and “Quiet Nights in Noisy Neighbourhoods,” Ancient History adopt dream-pop guitar drones as sharp whines in otherwise smoky scenery. A positive note drowned in depression: like Sparklehorse’s nonchalant musical tone in view of harrowing lyrics, or The Smith’s decision to play upbeat music while Morrissey is allowed to, well... be Morrissey. Ducote’s vocals seem distant and almost disinterested -breathless in the way a man in his emotional position must force himself to do anything- and in the light of the drugged up atmosphere this seems perfect.

Tracks progresses much like a steady trudge through tough terrain, with a permeating tiredness and plenty of breaks for instrumental refrains. The tone goes further than Ducote’s self description of “late night red wine and reefer music,” as it emerges as more defeated than he possibly intended. Ducote is very much playing the image of an old man reliving the mistakes of his life, in this sense: the memories are conveyed with exhaustion instead of emotion. The sullen approach he incorporates doesn’t leave much room for energy, and the only point Ancient History approaches dramatic is an angry climactic outburst of “you say you know I can’t let go/ but don’t be so sure that you know me.” A message to Ducote’s peers, perhaps, or the initial motivation for the album summed up in two lines.

It seems ironic after so much trying that Ducote’s finest hour would occur after he gave in. Tracks is a call-back to his early influences, but distinctly personal both lyrically and stylistically. It’s refreshing, too, to hear a man’s grievances in such a nondescript format without the cynical emotional cues (build-ups, breakdowns, strings) to bolster them, mostly because it holds up so well on its own. At points Tracks can appear pretty rough around the edges and slightly dreary, but consider it inevitable for something so deliciously raw. - Sputnik Music

For every romantic Valentine’s Day, there’s the day after.

Musician Donald Ducote is making Feb. 15 a celebration of love gone wrong for all those who had to endure another lonely holiday with a slew of anti-love songs and more than a little catharsis.

“It was a subject I shied away from on other records and it felt like now was a good time to purge those emotions,” said Ducote, a Ditmas Park resident. “I hadn’t and they had stockpiled.”

Ducote wasn’t born cynical, but he has survived his share of bad breakups.

Luckily, like many talented sad people, Ducote has an outlet for his sorrow and bitterness.

He poured out his soul on “Tracks,” a new album he crafted under the moniker Ancient History, reflecting on all the hard times he endured. He recruited some studio musicians for the album and will be accompanied on stage by three back-up players at his anti-love show at the Sycamore Bar and Flowershop.

The music is sparse and folky, while the lyrics on songs such as “Hands Are For Holding Drinks,” “She Gave You The Drink,” and “I Know It’s Late” detail the aftermath of love turned sour.

Ducote said that the inspiration for the record was mainly one relationship, but that others are represented as well.

Despite his troubles, Ducote said he still believes in love.

“You’ve got to keep trying,” he said. ‘You can’t just quit.”

Ancient History at Sycamore Bar & Flowershop [1118 Cortelyou Rd. between Westminster Road and East 11th Street in Ditmas Park, (347) 240–5850,]. Feb 15, 9:30 pm, FREE - Brooklyn Paper

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and Donald Ducote of Ancient History put together this exclusive ANTI valentine's day playlist just for the awesome readers of AltSounds, politely titled - The "Stab Yourself in the Heart Because Love is Bullshit" Mix.

Donald Ducote, lead singer of Brooklyn’s Ancient History knows a thing or two about heartbreak and loss, which he openly divulges on his latest band’s debut album, Tracks (which was released this past Tuesday.)

The two Ancient History tracks included on the mixtape (yes, shameless promotion), bleed the emotional turmoil of break-ups, forgotten friends, loneliness and beyond; common themes amongst the rest of the songs on Tracks.

Donald Ducote's - Stab Yourself in the Heart Because Love is Bullshit Mix Tracklisting:
The Pogues – Dirty Old Town
Modest Mouse – Perfect Disguise
Ancient History – Hands Are for Holding Drinks
Duran Duran – Come Undone
Kings Of Convenience – I Don't Know What I Can Save You From - Röyksopp Remix
Destroyer – Libby's First Sunrise
Mogwai – Waltz For Aidan
Dusty Springfield – The Windmills Of Your Mind
The Decemberists – We Both Go Down Together
M. Ward – Fuel for Fire
Ancient History – Eskimo
Donovan – Wear Your Love Like Heaven - Single Version
Sharon Van Etten – All I Can
The Velvet Underground – Pale Blue Eyes

If you would like to drown your sorrows with Ducote around Valentine’s Day, Ancient History will be performing at Sycamore in Brooklyn on February 15th.
- Alt Sounds

Brooklyn’s Ancient History is the moody brainchild of Donald Ducote, a working musician of various projects over the last several years. Along with bassist Paul Johnson (Beirut), guitarist Austin Lemieux, and engineer Jim Smith (who has previously worked with The National), Ducote has crafted Ancient History’s debut album with composure and maturity. Tracks is a stable blend of neurotic, lo-fi indie with polished electronic production. This atmospheric album offers a scope of the direction indie music is taking and the possibilities that lie therein.

It’s impossible to make an album to please everyone, but Tracks comes fairly close to the mark for fans of indie music. Ducote’s faint, near whispering of the words at times is reminiscent of the lyrical attachment, which is, well, quite haunting. The hook of “Hands are for Holding Drinks” (the title of which is suggestive enough) bids the self-possessed phrase, “You don’t know how easy it was for me to leave you behind.” Captured here is Ducote’s struggle with maintaining the balance between self-efficacy and dependency, a reoccurring theme throughout the album. Listening to Ducote’s lyrics is often like reading through pages of a diary; they are specific in setting and context, sometimes at the expense of being easily relatable by the listener. Yet somehow, it makes his words carry that much more weight when they do eventually hit home and encourages another interpretation: although our experiences differ, we still know what it feels like to be Ducote. The constant grapple for stability despite the countless miseries life throws at us, the unrewarding act of trying to fill our voids, and the confusion and uncertainty that comes with adolescence and young adulthood. We each have our outlets for handling them, and Tracks is Ducote’s outlet.

As you would imagine from the prior lyrical analysis, the music in Tracks is the reflection in the mirror. Much like in the lyrics, emotions are put on display in the tone of the music. While the record initially sounds like your average low-budget, indie ballad album, Ancient History slowly peels away layer after layer of its protective exoskeleton and reveals a beautifully baroque and highly organized interior. At times, there are so many different things happening in Tracks, you can’t possibly digest it all after only one listen. If there were a tip of the iceberg, it would have to be Ducote’s vocals, while everything else lies far below the brink of visibility. This is what gives Tracks personality - it’s like listening to the soundtrack to someone’s life (albeit an inconsolable, gloomy one with a few random spurts of optimism).

All in all, this is an album worth your time, and I suggest taking the ride.

Track List:
1. Four-Leafed
2. Hands Are For Holding Drinks
3. At The Rose Hotel
4. Subway Dream
5. Quiet Nights In Noisy Neighborhoods
6. She Gave You The Keys
7. Eskimo
8. The Courtyard At Midnite
9. Clover Honey
10. I Know It's Late
11. Oh Yeah - In Your Speakers

Tav Falco started this thing with Christmas Wish Lists. So shortly I think, maybe the writer Chris Connolly will finish it. Christmas lists, they fascinate and simultaneously induce at the very least wincing, and they are insidious and irresistible. But for now I can't stop asking people for their Christmas Wish Lists. I don't know, it's like warm blood isn't warm for long, I have to get it while it's hot.

Ancient History's Donny Ducote seems like the kind of person who spends a lot of time in tunnels and on trains, if you're reading this on the Subway, check out the guy over there in the corner scribbling in a notebook, brow furrowed. It's never easy being Donny Ducote. But with the advent of Ancient History's debut release, we're pretty certain Donny is gonna have to come out into the light in 2013. An indie album that doesn't sound as if it was recorded in a bedroom, instead, sounding like it was made for it. Well, made for the bedrooms of more existentialist types, I guess. Donny Ducote could easily make a more likable boyfriend on Girls. Check out Donny's Christmas list...

1. Rent for January
2. Pinback's debut on vinyl. Can't find it anywhere.
3. A pair of the old school olive and brown Airwalks that I used to wear in 7th grade.
4. SM57 or three
5. ADAT tapes
6. Shades for my windows
7. A couple weeks of paid vacation
8. Keys to a rental car with a full tank of gas
9. Every episode of Behind The Music starring early 90's rock bands.
10. Socks. Preferably colorful socks.

Listen to Ancient History on Soundcloud. Check out their nice website here - Outside Left

“She gave you the keys to unlock the door, but only while she was away” laments Donald Ducote on the opening track for Ancient History’s Tracks. While ‘She Gave You the Keys’ is a slow, plaintive, Will-Shef-esque introduction, the bulk of the album is ornate, atmospheric, and sufficiently murky and dour to suggest The Black Heart Procession – albeit without the strident, childlike vocals of Pall Jenkins. Ducote’s voice fits the tracks quite well, as his wispy tenor glides seamlessly among the acoustic & electric guitars, piano, and sythns. In addition to the songs below, outstanding tracks on Tracks (not to be missed) include ‘Hands are for Holding Drinks’ and ‘Oh Yeah’ – each of which are aching reminiscences of past love, the playful ‘Subway Dream’, and the schizophrenic ‘Eskimo’. - The DaDaDa

Rating: B+

Tracks is the work of singer/songwriter Donald Ducote (ex-My Sister in 1994), engineer Jim Smith (who’s done some work with the National, according to the internet), bassist Paul Johnson (Beirut) who also mixed, and guitarist Austin Lemieux. They all make up the band Ancient History on this debut album.

The framework for Ancient History’s sound is the melancholic singer/songwriter style of Ducote who combines the feel of Elliott Smith with the slowcore of Red House Painter Mark Kozalek (he’s willing to pick up the tempo, though). When I heard his voice, I was also reminded of Chris Isaak singing “Wicked Game,” though this album sounds very little like that.

Ducote is the key, but what elevates Ancient History above the sum of its influences are the arrangements and careful production/mixing. On first listen, Tracks sounds like a lo-fi basement/bedroom recording, but it’s carefully engineered to give a low hiss and analog warmth to Ducote’s voice and mist the songs in a bit of gloom. It wasn’t recorded in a studio, but on a twelve-track tape recorder in the French Kicks’ studio space.

Most songs feature Ducote singing and strumming his guitar—there are a few songs that feature keyboards more prominently that didn’t really fit for me—which are filled out with dream pop guitar lines, drones, distorted percussion, and a few other instruments.

One of the best examples of this is the second track, “Four-Leafed,” which starts with Ducote plucking accompanied by some light, but propulsive drumming. There are a few guitar creeks and squeals in the back before an electric guitar line and accordion join in. Towards the end, the drums get distorted, the electric guitar gets blissed out and slightly sinister, and it’s all on the verge of exploding, though it never gets there.

This is very much an album rewarding multiple listens to sift through the layers and pick out all the pieces. The arrangements enhance the mood with carefully controlled chaos though I wish sometimes they offer the Phil Elvrum-explosion they seem to promise (I could very well see Four-Leafed live getting very loud).

I liked Tracks more and more as I listened to it. What I’m most curious about is where the group would go on a second album. Ancient History pushes in a few directions from its base palette and I’m interested where a follow up might lead. One of the clear highlights, for me, is “Subway Dream.” Aside from Ductoe’s whispery singing, it’s pretty much a straight out pop song with a charging beat and a super-catchy indie-pop melody delivered by what I think is a xylophone. The layers build and it’s all quite fantastic before fizzling out.

Tracks comes out officially this week. Right now it’s streaming on the Ancient History bandcamp. It’ll be on Spotify and available to download through iTunes and anywhere else you buy music from. A CD will also be available through CDBaby and Amazon. Feel free to email us at if you would like something reviewed.

-James P. - Portly Adolescence

Ancient History, the alter-ego for one Donald Ducote, creates an eerily intriguing sound, a series of celestial soundscapes that provide a haunting visage. By turns ominous and surreal, the music is strangely entrancing, a spectral creation that can be bleak or beautiful depending on one’s perspective. Ducote’s hushed vocals leave a lethargic effect, but when the band proffers a spunky pulse, as on “Subway Dreams,” or builds the pace unexpectedly, as is the case on “Eskimo,” the results are both sensual and sublime. Unlike other cosmic concoctions of this sort, the tunes aren’t several steps removed; in fact, there’s a feeling of forward progress that pervades each one. Ultimately Tracks defies description, given Ducote’s imaginative setups, but after a thorough hearing, the melodies become oddly intoxicating. It’s for that reason Tracks is well recommended. After all, in its own way, Ancient History could be considered past perfect. - No Depression


Tracks-LP (2013)

Vasquez- LP (2007)
In Tall Cotton- LP (2008)
Monitor- LP (2009)



“Quiet Nights in Noisy Neighborhoods.”

That’s a song found about halfway through Tracks, the new album by Ancient History. It’s a dreamy affair, filled with fuzzy guitars, whispered vocals and a muted cacophony of percussion.

It also serves as an apt description for the band, a creation of Brooklyn’s Donald Ducote and a local treasure trove of talented musicians. Created in the midst of the borough’s vast music scene, Ancient History crafts a sound well-suited for late nights, and their quietly memorable moments, amongst bustling neighborhoods.

A neighborhood like Bushwick, where Ancient History began.

“There’s just a lot going on there artistically,” says Ducote, who originally moved sight-unseen to Brooklyn’s DIY enclave from Phoenix and San Diego. Ducote found an environment awash in creativity and synergy. He spent time writing songs, playing in bands, even working in a coffee shop near the Morgan L subway stop (where he’d often serve coffee to the same people he would later collaborate with). He befriended Paul Johnson, who worked with the band Beirut. And Jim Smith, who he initially worked with when Ducote was in a band called My Sister in 1994.

And it was here that Ancient History really began.

For AH, Ducote (with Smith’s help) wanted to rekindle the lo-fi experimentation he initially tried in his My Sister, while utilizing more of vast talent already around him. And maybe channeling some of his musical influences in the process: Belle & Sebastian, Elliott Smith, Three Mile Pilot, Black Heart Procession.

So, beginning in 2010, he, along with a bevy of musicians (including Johnson, Smith and guitarist Austin Lemieux) started recording songs in a myriad of spaces: in the middle of the night in his bedroom. An art studio. A girlfriend’s apartment. Even some drum tracks in Ducote’s boss’s apartment in the Financial District.

“Anywhere that had a lot of reverb, where you could really hear the room,” he remembers. “We knew exactly the sounds we wanted for the record.”

Those sounds ended up, three years later, becoming Tracks: a deceptively quiet record, with a complexity belying its lo-fi origins. Throughout, Ducote’s vocals are ethereal, dreamy, often whispered. The percussion is soft, but present. Pulsing beats, synths, pianos flit in and out. Pretty harmonies abound, like on “She Gave You the Keys.” Mostly, it’s calm and beautiful, with notable exceptions: the frantic vocals and slightly jarring beat of “Eskimo”, the steady build-up of “Four-Leafed,” the urgency of “I Know It’s Late”.

(Noting the album’s differing textures, Ducote recently commented in an interview: “I don’t think anybody wants to be easy to pin down.”)

But often ahead in the mix: the shimmery guitars of Austin Lemeiux. “He had a huge voice on the record,” Ducote agrees. “You can tell that his influences lie among Codeine, My Bloody Valentine, even Pulp. I love that sound.”

Lyrically, Tracks is mostly a record of heartache, relationships won and lost, and fleeting connections (and, for “Clover Honey,” the closing of his beloved Bushwick coffee shop). For Ducote, who writes the lyrics last, the songs had to take on the right form to fit the music. “These songs... they had to have some meat on them,” he says, while adding “If you listen to this all at once, it sounds like I had a rough year. But this is really ten years in one record.”

With the record finished, a somewhat different line-up of the band plans to play many shows: a few headlining gigs and hit some festivals. If you’re lucky, you already heard several of the tracks debut at a Bushwick rooftop house party.

In the end, Tracks can rightly be considered middle of the night music, but possessing a sound that’s hard to pin down to just one or two words.

Ducote agrees, offering his own assessment. “It’s a nice feeling we crafted on this record.”