Invisible Hand
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Invisible Hand

Charlottesville, Virginia, United States | INDIE

Charlottesville, Virginia, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Pop


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Record Review: Invisible Hand"

Invisible Hand
Invisible Hand
Charlottesville, VA

“A year’s worth of emotion, a year in the making”

Indie rock group Invisible Hand, the one-time side project of Adam Smith, has been touring for the past few years and has grown to include bassist Thomas Dean, drummer Adam Brock, and guitarist Jon Bray. Highly revered and often considered the best group to come out of Charlottesville, VA in a while, Invisible Hand has released their debut album, a self-titled pop rock album with punk undertones.

The album opens with “Two Chords,” a love song in which you can hear the sincerity and longing in Smith’s voice. The album continues to feature his angsty, heartfelt lyrics, such as on “Four Seasons,” where Smith croons, “You’re my reason for the seasons.”
The music sound full and lush, often showcasing orchestral talent from the Charlottesville area. For the most part, the record is upbeat, but is juxtaposed by feelings of yearning (“I Want to Win”) and anxiety (“Don’t Wait For Your Third Eye”). (Funny/Not Funny)

Recorded at White Star Sound, Louisa, VA // Produced by Chris Keup, Stewart Myers and Invisible Hand // Mixed by Stewart Myers // Mastered by Fred Kevorkian
- Performermag


Invisible Hand is a band from Charlottesville, Va. The members play in a lot of other bands. They released their first full length, Invisible Hand, on Funny/Not Funny Records late last year. Their drummer, Adam Brock, has a band called Borrowed Beams of Light that are recording a new record as well. They are also playing this year’s conference.
Jeff: Adam Smith. Musician. Songwriter. Bartender. What can’t you do?
Adam Smith: Professional Sandwich Eater, too. I make a mean peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I tell you what.
Jeff: Go on.
Adam: Well you have to butter both side with peanut butter and layer a healthy slab of jelly in the middle. It really provides for a nice and tasty…Oh, sorry. The most important part is you have to toast the bread.
Jeff: Toast before you put the peanut butter and jelly on it?
Adam: Yea, I usually toast the bread before I put the jelly on. You know, the advantage of buttering both sides of the bread with the peanuts is you can wrap it up and take it in a to-go container and you’re bread isn’t soggy from all the jelly seeping into it so it gives a nice protection.
Jeff: Let’s get down to brass tacks. April 1 and 2. Harrisonburg, Va. Invisible Hand. How are you feeling about that?
Adam: I’m feeling pretty good.
Jeff: Care to clarify?
Adam: (Laughs) Well…MACRoCk every year is an exceptionally fun time. I don’t see why this year would be any different. I’m looking forward to hanging out with bros, seeing some cool bands and playing a rock set of my own and fucking feelin’ it.
Jeff: From your expertise and anecdotal evidence, what have been high points and low points in the past?
Adam: A highlight last year was our somewhat impromptu Kinks cover set at the Blue Nile after-party which was heck of a lot of fun. We also played with CCRR and BroFX and it was hyped as shit. Party of the century. I’m looking forward to something like that happening again this year. Not sure. That’s usually my favorite part when something falls together. A previous year, we were intercepted by Matt Leech (Funny / Not Funny Records CEO) right after our set saying a band had cancelled on another showcase and asked us to fill the void. Whenever a chance like that arises, we jump at it. Low points would include being in multiple bands and travelling between venues in between 15 minutes of set changing time which albeit it’s fun playing music, there’s definitely some stress that comes along with tearing down a drum set, setting up an amplifier all within 15 minutes.
Jeff: So you recently released your first LP, Invisible Hand. Let’s say you’re at a family reunion, how would you describe that release to your family?
Adam: Well it’s not Moon River.

Jeff: But what is? There’s only one.

Adam: (Laughs) My family, while supportive, has actually expressed – well my grandmother in particular – has expressed to me that she thinks I should change my genre. “There’s no money in rock’n’roll.” She actually wants me to do covers of Moon River. It’s a singable tune with a nice beat and will offend no one.

Jeff: The idea is just to cover that one song?

Adam: Pretty much. Like an extended psychedelic jam of Moon River. That’s what I took it as. So when I describe my music to my family I say “The kind of music that you hate.” (Laughs). I don’t know, I say “rock’n’roll.”

Jeff: As a bartender, tell me about the archetypes you meet at the bar.

Adam: Well there’s the typical Sad Bastard. Typically the sad people just want to talk and they don’t want to talk about what’s making them sad. They want some cheery conversation to make them believe not everyone is an asshole. Another type is the macho trying to impress his girlfriend type. There’s no way to satisfy them because there’s always something wrong and more than likely, they are a better bartender than you are and they will let you know with every drink. (Laughs). So you sort of ignore them. There’s also the type that looks like they want to talk but has absolutely nothing to say.

Jeff: Explain that.

Adam: They’re sitting down with no newspaper with their drink and staring at the other alcohol on the wall and I position myself into their point of view and say something like “How’s it hanging, chum?” and I’ll get monosyllabic answers. Another type would be the Cougar. Cougars are great because they tip well and kind of fun. They are flirty enough but they are also reserved and refined with age. They don’t let it get out of hand; at least not where I bartend.

Jeff: So they’re classy.

Adam: They are classy cougars.

Jeff: What’s your favorite drink to make?

Adam: A beer and a shot of whiskey.

Jeff: What’s the most difficult?
Adam: Probably anything you muddle like mojitos or old fashioneds.
Jeff: What’s your specialty?
Adam: The Greyhound which is vodka and grapefruit juice. Extremely simple and highly effective. It gets you where you need to be.
Jeff: Anything to add about MACRoCk?
Adam: Make no plans. Let it happen. - MACROCK

"Stripwax: Invisible Hand is your favorite new band"

“Don’t wait for your Third Eye, it’ll come when you’re least alive…”
Don’t Wait For Your Third Eye – Invisible Hand
The only reason I know what these guys are getting at in this song is because I like to party and socialize with people. One night, somewhere in the middle of this last decade, I was at this bash at The Viper Room and Joe Rogan was there, jabbering incessantly about DMT to several UFC fighters and West Hollywood strippers.
DMT is Dimethyltryptamine, which is produced in the pineal gland, or yer THIRD EYE. When you sleep, yer pineal gland releases tiny bits of Dimethyltryptamine, and then you dream crazy stuff like having sex with a horse who is smoking a Savinelli Horoscope pipe and wearing a top hat and a monocle (somehow), but it’s not really just a horse, its yer boss.
DMT is what makes dreams awesome, and Joe had been hanging out with some South American Indian tribe who’d been brewing DMT- producing teas since they discovered fire. Of course, Joe DIDN’T HAVE ANY with him that night, or if he did he wasn’t sharing.
When you die, supposedly yer pineal gland floods yer brain with DMT, and that’s when you see the loved ones who’ve passed on before you holding the tiny Baby Jesus or waving at you from the broad back of Ganesha or whatever fits the storyline you were raised with.
That’s exactly what this band from Charlottesville, VA is writing songs and singing about, and you know what? They’ve got eleven other songs besides that, all of which tower above 90 percent of everything else that’s “new” in rock (and roll), and 100 percent above all other debut elpeez released this year.
Adam Smith (the leader of Invisible Hand, not the 17th century Scottish philosopher/economist) makes this so. Smith has been forming bands since he was 14 years old, and this version of Invisible Hand, which has been together about four years, has all the right players in place: Adam Brock on drums (his hands and feet are always busy, and he sings), Jon Bray (the other half of Invisible Hands’ guitar attack, who also sings) and Thomas Dean, providing the bottom end bounce on bass. Each track is laced with auricular surprises — perfectly placed keyboard notes, spectacular arpeggios, daredevil vocal arrangements. They really thought this stuff through.
If you dig around The Web, you’ll find that the band Invisible Hand likes to be compared with most is The Kinks. Not a bad model for any band, and I’d say yeah, I can hear it, but I can think of more contemporary comparative models: As mentioned in the comic, the tricky vocal harmonics are similar to Denmark’s Figurines (yes, I said Sweden in the strip and normally I pride myself in my geographical knowledge, but I momentarily lapsed into “Geez, all bands north of Germany seem to be from Sweden” thinking, and it was too close to press time to change it) the nervous energy of Les Savy Fav, the gravity-defeating liftoff power of The Pixies , and the grace and beauty of (I’m just gonna say it…) The Wrens (umm, ditto).
This band, this record — they are worth your while. There is not one moment of laziness to be found here. The entire record rings true, which is more than I can say about my Joe Rogan story, which was completely made up bullshit. - Third Coast Digest


Invisible Hand - Eating Out

Party. Drugs. Party. Drugs. Party. Drugs. Or… wait, no, those aren’t drugs! Look closer.

This pop romp was directed by Dennis Roberts. Don’t miss the psychedelic breakdown at 2:45! The Charlottesville, Virginian band’s fifth release, Aja EP comes out on September 18th. Pre-order this baby on 45rpm 12” vinyl from Funny/Not Funny Records today.

"Guided By Guided By Voices: A New Guided By Voices Covers Compilation"

Guided By Voices have one of the largest collections of songs ever released, so it makes sense to do a compilation of Guided By Voices covers. Wild Animal Kingdom just announced the release of an extremely limited cassette-only release of 16 GBV tracks. “Guided By Guided By Voices” will be limited to 100 tapes and has gotten a fair amount of press. It would be smart to head over to Wild Animal Kingdom‘s website and grab one of these before they’re gone.

The track list looks strong and the songs that have been released on the internet sound pretty good so far.

Invisible Hand – Non-Absorbing
Chromium Bitch – Tractor Rape Chain
No Demons Here – Wondering Boy Poet/Game of Pricks
Martin Courtney IV – Kicker of Elves/As We Go Up We Go Down
Andrew Cedermark – A Good Flying Bird
Air Waves – Back To The Lake
Big Troubles – A Big Fan of the Pigpen
Alex Bleeker and Evan Brody – Motor Away
Eternal Summers – A Salty Salute
Pill Wonder – My Valuable Hunting Knife
Hallelujah The Hills – Chicken Blows
FZ – I Am A Scientist
Harpoon Forever – Awful Bliss
Citymouth and Chromium Bitch – They’re Not Witches
Fluffy Lumbers – Club Molluska
Dana Jewell – 14 Cheerleader Coldfront - Death and Taxes

"Local Bands Take the Stage"

Local radio station WTJU 91.1 FM sponsored a “Welcome Back” concert in the Amphitheater last Friday, featuring bands Andrew Cedermark & Buffalo Wildwing, The Invisible Hand and Caninos. The three groups have played together in the past — some may remember The Invisible Hand playing with Caninos at the Sigma Phi Society fraternity house several months ago — but this concert was the first time they had all been on stage together.

Andrew Cedermark started off the show on vocals and guitar. He was sadly only accompanied by a member of Buffalo Wildwing, Kevin Haney on drums, until bass guitarist Jacob Wolf arrived near the end of the set list. And even though Cedermark, a University alumnus, graduated in 2008, he still makes a point to connect his music with the University.

“The band’s breezy overall vibe, with preachy, finger-pointing lyrics are custom-tailored to [Thomas] Jefferson’s credo: ‘In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock,’” Cedermark said.

The Invisible Hand performed second, and their energy kept the Amphitheater filled with blood-pumping sound. The members had all the vibrancy one would hope to see from an indie punk/pop group. Lead guitarist Adam Smith jumped around on stage, keeping energy high, and even the drummer exaggerated his cymbal crashes.

I was surprised at the complexity of musicianship and instrumental proficiency displayed at the concert. Though the genres of music were far from my personal favorites, it was impressive to hear that the members of each band were so attuned to their counterparts. I’ve always believed hard work is audible when a band plays. Each time I heard a successful, tough lick that night, I also heard the numerous nights of practicing and drilling that went in to delivering the songs so impressively.

Although the lineup, featuring Charlottesville local bands, looked fantastic, I had some doubts when I saw only a small crowd in the Amphitheater. Why would so few people take advantage of a free concert?

Perhaps the event suffered from a low turnout because it did not receive the publicity it deserved. And perhaps the Amphitheater wasn’t the best choice of venue. My largest criticism of the concert was the poor acoustics. The instrumental portion of each band sounded spectacular, but I could only decipher three lyrical words for every minute that the bands played. I tried moving around to get a different balance of sound waves, but nothing worked. It was still an enjoyable evening, but I felt as if the sound system was selling the bands short.

Caninos played the last set, finishing the evening on a strong note. Bass player Gary Canino works as a disc jockey at WTJU and hopes the concert will revive appreciation for student bands.

“I hope the concert shows students that Charlottesville actually does contain some of the best bands and songwriters in Virginia,” Canino said. “A bold claim, I know, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better songwriter than Andrew [Cedermark] on the east coast, or a band that plays with more zest and energy than the Hand anywhere.”

And the event could have even more benefits, Canino continued.

“If [the concert] leads to one student band being born, that’d be great.” - The Cavalier Daily

"a review of the Invisible Hand “Sinister Hand” cassette on Funny/NotFunny Records"

Adam Smith and his band Invisible Hand have been kicking around Charlottesville for a good while now, but it’s only in the past year or so that they’ve really come into their own as a fully-formed powerhouse (as opposed to Adam and some dudes knocking around on a four-track recorder every few months). Smith’s got a knack for indelible hooks, and he suffuses his songs with just enough gooey weirdness to keep them from falling into rote repetition. He’s not afraid to mess around with his recording techniques either; his songs play primarily in the lo-fi/psychedelic garage sandbox, but he can branch out when the tune calls for it. However, nothing’s so polished here to provoke thoughts of Jeff Lynne production values.

Side A of Sinister Hand kicks off with “I Want To Win,” a corker showcasing Smith’s British Invasion obsession with a spacey instrumental breakdown in the middle. Smith’s bandmates – drummer Adam Brock, bassist Thomas Dean, and guitarist Jon Bray – are firing on all cylinders from the outset. “Top Of The Pops” follows with a headstrong backbeat and rousing refrain. The rest of the material swings from poppy ditties like “My Heart Beat Is Making My Ears Ring” to rousing echoes of early Kinks on “Future Of Music.” A couple of songs highlight Smith’s touching falsetto, including the live favorite “Four Seasons” and “Black Tie Formal,” where he offers a sarcastic apology for dancing with another girl. “Once The Salad Enters Your Mind” (contender for song title of the year) offers a coda that starts off with precise interplay before veering off into headier territory.

A few of the songs on Sinister Hand (Sinister=left, so alternately Left Hand? Shorthand for leftover songs? Reading too much into the title?) have seen release elsewhere, but the new jams exhibit true growth. If there’s one small thing this tape is missing, it’s a cracked ballad along the lines of Guided By Voices’ “Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory” or Syd Barrett’s “Terrapin”. Smith’s got one in him somewhere and it’ll be interesting to hear it one day. - Nailgun Media

"Shout out"

I did something I haven't done in a very long time today - I opened an email from my Ski Club inbox. The very first one I checked was from a band called Invisible Hand. All you hip fucks probably already know about these guys but for a square like me they're still new. Surprisingly, the very first band from the very first email actually turns out to be really good.

They're straight forward rock n' roll with influences coming from every direction. At times they sound a bit Brit, like The Beatles or The Libertines but then out of nowhere you hear a little Wolf Parade or even Queens Of The Stone Age. Actually, that's not even all that accurate but the point is they're all over the place, in a good way. Whatever it is they're doing, I'm digging it. They'll be in NYC soon so check them out. - Brooklyn Ski Club


I was recently alerted by the guys at Funny / Not Funny Records who are doing some really cool shit with some upcoming bands from the Virigina area (and seriously, who would’ve known that Virigina has some cool shit to say for themselves?) and we’re becoming really partial to Invisible Hand. They’re releasing a casette through the above label called Sinister Hand which will be out June 1st. The material is a little varied – ‘The Future of Music’ has something instantly likeable about it and it’s kind of meshing of a throwback to (not the 60s, as with like, um, everyone else) to like 70s commercial rock which they try to meld together with something more like the contemporary lo-fi punk sound – and I know on paper, even writing it, it sounds like it shouldn’t work – but it does. The major standout here is ‘Top of the Pops’ (note: NOT an Art Brut cover) which does the above formula but way more sucessfully – it’s a little fuzzy but it’s got a riff that won’t leave my head and the vocals god, kill me for saying this, remind me of like the harmonizing of Queen but much less, um, flambouyantly. This is a band with something – now, it’s something that can go quickly wrong and they haven’t so far, so check them out below… - Nu Rave Brain Wave

"The Invisible Hand [feature]"

The Invisible Hand is the project of Adam Wolcott Smith of Virginia. Backing Smith are Thomas St. Clair Dean, Adam Benson Brock, and David Jonathan Bray. Together they create a sound reminiscent of a rough rock version of early New Pornographers but plush with distorted guitars, punk traits, and more dissonance. Thus their sound is slightly familiar yet fresh and exciting.

The group has put a few things out on Funny/Not Funny Records including a 4-song EP and a split single with The Alphabet. They’re set to do it again with a cassette single titled Sinister Hand. Head over to Funny/Not Funny for all things Invisible Hand. - Fensepost

"Some days offer strange parallels"

Some days offer strange parallels. I didn’t get to go TRKFest, but I did spend a few hours of my day yelling at the US/Ghana game. Afterwards, I spent seven hours in a warehouse, alternately playing records and watching bands. All, save one, were locals I had seen a million times, including one of my favorites, Whatever Brains. While that may seem an inane detail, it led to the most important moment of the night for me: just after arriving, Whatever Brains frontman Rich Ivey looked me dead in the eye and said, “You have to see Invisible Hand.”

An hour or so later, the Charlottesville band were onstage, all dressed in what was essentially beach gear (it was well over ninety degrees in the space), pounding out noisy pop gems of three minutes each. Their vocals were joyous, and each member bounced around the stage to a different rhythm, giving their appearance a shambolic quality that accentuated the energy of their songs. When guitarist Jonathan Bray’s string of effect pedals lost power, he plugged straight into his amp with even more aplomb, and the music didn’t suffer for it; good songwriting does not require a Turbo Tube Screamer.

Those same qualities exist on Sinister Hand, the newest full-length release by Invisible Hand, put out on cassette by Funny/Not Funny Records. The record opens with a wave of distorted guitar and a loping drum gallop, and beginning Adam Smith’s titular line in “I Want to Win,” Sinister Hand provides twelve tracks of engaging guitar pop that would be at home almost anywhere in the power pop lineage of the past forty years.

The key tracks here are “Future of Music” and “Four Seasons,” blasts of Buzzcocks-esque power pop with close harmonies that are as catchy as anything I’ve heard this year.

Plenty of bands offer themselves up for easy comparison to historical touchstones; Invisible Hand are not one of those bands. There are pieces of the Kinks, Pixies, and even some of Big Star’s jangle, plus peppy digital delay soundscapes reminiscent of modern bands like Abe Vigoda, but none of those comparisons are completely accurate. Invisible Hand are simply an excellent pop band, and Sinister Hand is a fine document of their work.

-brian shaw - New Vague

"Low-Watt Spotlight"

As I was putting this post together I received an e-mail from one Adam Smith, a compatriot of our recently beloved Neon Lights artist Titus Andronicus. Three cheers for kismet! If your name is Adam Smith, the market pretty much demands that you call your band the Invisible Hand. The double-tracked vocal melody, pleasantly waltzing guitar lines, sloppy countrified Meat Puppets breakdowns, and continual crunch should find a few willing consumers as well. "Client 9" cultural moment, I give you your anthem in waiting. - The Merry Swankster blog

"CakeShop show"

The Invisible Hand remind me a bit of Of Montreal by way of Superchunk or the Clean. Definitely a '90s indie rock thing going on, pretty good."
-Brooklyn Vegan
- Brooklyn Vegan

"Hand Records Bravo Theme Song"

"It's been a while since I first got word that the Invisible Hand was recording the theme song for a TV show on Bravo—so long that I figured that things didn't pan out, as things sometimes go with musicians. But frontman Adam Smith just sent me a message with a link to a Bravo blog that that features a brief snippet of their tune, which will, in fact, be the theme song for a show called "Nine by Design." It premieres April 13. The show follows a couple that has seven children and makes a living flipping houses. The theme was apparently written by Chris Keup, the songwriter/producer who's recording the band's full-length at his Louisa studio. - Cville Weekly

"review" - 7inches blogspot

"The Hand that rocks the city"

About a year ago, if you asked Adam Smith or Jon Bray of The Invisible Hand if their other band, Truman Sparks, was still together, it was impossible to get a straight answer out of them. One would say it was on hiatus, the other would say it was over, and then each would repeat the other’s answer, only to finally claim they didn’t know who had changed the band’s MySpace picture to a gravestone, emblazoned with “R.I.P.”

It’s the time of the Four Seasons! Nab a copy of the excellent new EP by The Invisible Hand.

Now that we know the answer (the page now reads, “[t]he remaining member is through with music altogether”), The Invisible Hand has delivered an EP that renders the question hardly worth asking. It is 15 minutes of music that’s accessible and dense enough to reward—but not to demand—repeated listening. Here, that’s a good thing. Where Truman Sparks’ greatest flaw was its inability or unwillingness to dwell on its hooks, favoring instead endless (and often amazing) pyrotechnics, Invisible Hand prizes pop over prog while retaining the density of composition that made Truman Sparks such an exciting group.

The EP’s best moments show Smith at his most ephemeral, where familiar melodies wander so long as to feel alien. Most exciting is when these melodies wander elsewhere, then return retrofitted to a new effect, as they do on the EP’s better, albeit more oddly-titled, tracks, “Salad” and “Aubade.” The other two songs, “Black Tie Formal” and “Four Seasons,” are college rock romps, less solemn and haughty than their titles suggest. It feels like getting kicked in The Shins. (Ha ha.)

The Invisible Hand is a local supergroup of sorts, and each song and each odd flourish serves as a reminder that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Adam Brock’s drums, which he bangs occasionally for The Nice Jenkins, rarely loaf through a nuance, and Thomas Dean’s carousing bass work, otherwise reserved for Order, reminds us that while playing that instrument is said to be easy, doing it well is anything but. Of course, much of the lively chaos comes from the Smith/Bray axe dialogue, another fortunate holdover from the Truman Sparks era, which is often so bizarre yet so locked in as to seem the work of a single, unhinged mind.

The slipshod artwork—a cardboard digipack printed with handcut letters and black clouds—reveals the project as a labor of love, completed in spite of financial and technological limitations. But the homespun production (it was recorded in Brock’s Woolen Mills basement) is part of the EP’s charm; along with Smith’s yelp, it brings to mind Of Montreal, sans glitz. The execution also reminds us of that other Charlottesville music story—not the one about vertical integration, but the one about Pavement, Silver Jews and early Jagjaguwar, the one that begins with friends coming together to stage endearing cultural oddities here, and ends with people adoring it elsewhere. - C-ville Weekly

"Ask A Straight Guy: Invisible Hand’s Adam Smith"

Before you ask, no, I have not mastered time travel in order to go back to the 18th century and score an interview with the father of modern economics. This is way more interesting than that…

Let me introduce you to Charlottesville, Virginia’s own Invisible Hand, one of my favorite new local bands. If you ask me, they’re kind of like a modern-day, countrified version of The Kinks: a little blues, a little rock, a little psychedelia and a whole lotta swagger. Now, I talked about them a bit in my MACRoCk review last month, so if you’d like to read a bit more and see some pictures you can head over there, or you can check out their Myspace. However, if you’d rather see them in person, you’re in luck my friend for they will be performing at the Velvet Lounge this Tuesday, May 24th. I’ve seen them a few times now, and they put on a pretty badass live show, so if you’re in town, this is one that’s not to be missed. In the meantime, lead singer/guitarist Adam Smith was kind enough to sit down and answer some of our silly questions!

TNG: When did you first realize you were straight?

Adam Smith: I guess my parents just always told me I was going to be straight. My classmates said I was straight. My teachers. The police. So yeah, I guess American culture in general just asked this of me. It’s my cross to bare.

TNG: What is your least favorite stereotype about straight people?

AS: That we all watch college basketball—and fuck women.

TNG: What obligations, if any, do you feel that you have to the gay community?

AS: I guess the same obligations to any minority community—to be decent and compassionate and try to get everybody everywhere to push for equal rights. You can’t just hope that the bigots and racists and fascists will slowly die out with the grandparents. You have to be active about it.

TNG: What are the biggest challenges faced by a straight person in today’s culture?

AS: Well for some of us, it’s not really that simple. A lot of us aren’t just straight—we’re also white, upper-middle class…and American! Try that on for size! Sometimes it’s tough not knowing exactly which of the myriad opportunities we should partake in. You can’t just spend all of your twenties sucking down mint juleps and asking your lawyer parents to help you with rent. It makes a person feel shallow. You know?

TNG: If you had to “go gay” for one member of the same sex, who would it be?

AS: Big Dick Cheney

TNG: Given the seemingly endless number of “indie” artists in existence today, how do you think you set yourself apart from the crowd?

AS: We try to keep our songs current by staying true to the ones that have influenced us, as opposed to jumping onto a sound that is hip right now.

TNG: Finally, why should Washington, DC come out and see you play this Tuesday?

AS: Invisible hand jobs for everyone! - The New Gay

"Talk to the Invisible Hand An interview with Adam Smith"

Fresh off the van from Austin after playing at SXSW and just a short week before playing MacRock in Harrisonburg, Charlotteville’s own Adam Smith had time to sit down and talk with me about his project, The Invisible Hand. As a favorite of many local artists and critics, the four-piece rock outfit has become since August “the band to see” in Charlottesville, and is gaining a reputation as a formidable live and touring force.

Dec: Tell me about yourself. You’re from Charlottesville, is that right?
Adam: Yeah, actually moved here when I was ten from Texas. I lived in Fort Worth. I was home schooled and did that all the way until I was 16. Then I graduated and went to Piedmont for a little while and dropped out because I wanted to play music. Pretty much this whole tour was spurred because I really wanted to go to SXSW and we had the opportunity to go, but I was in school and the spring break didn’t align correctly so I just decided to not go to school.
But I’ve been playing music for awhile, I’ve been playing since I was fourteen. I played in a band called Folkskünde, which was pretty popular with high school kids, everybody who went to CHS. We parted ways because everybody went to college or just decided to do different things with their lives. After that I decided to form Truman Sparks. It was me and my friend Malcolm, who had previously been in Folkskünde. But then he left to go to college and I got my friend John Hampton to play, and Jon Bray who now plays in The Invisible Hand, and my friend Ray who used to write for the Dec, actually. That band was active for a long time and I just found out that we’re no longer active.
Dec: Yeah I just saw that on the MySpace last night.
Yeah I saw that a couple nights ago, actually. I was really perplexed by the whole thing. That was John Hampton’s doing, I’m pretty sure. I guess we’re broken up, but if a show comes up I would definitely still play it.
Dec: Were there problems with Truman Sparks? Why has it come to a stop?
The reason it really came to a stop was because there wasn’t any ability to tour. Ray works at Crutchfield, and it’s a pretty cush job, but it is a nine to five, five days a week kind of job. He has to tour on his break time. That was one problem. It just seemed that logistics were never aligned correctly. I was a little bit transient for a while. I moved to Portland, and Philadelphia and because of that there were stops in our creativity. It was a lagging sort of band towards the end. We did create really good things when we were active, but there wasn’t a whole lot of a push. Although we had the ideal, the fantasy of touring, it never became a reality.
Dec: So it wasn’t really any musical or creative differences, just an inability to tour?
I will say that I am definitely going for a more pop song structure now. Truman Sparks would just be sprawling epics that maybe had a theme that repeated, but The Invisible Hand is definitely a concise pop song that will maybe be four minutes long but is usually shorter than that.
Dec: The Invisible Hand came about way before Truman Sparks ever ended, is that right?
Yeah. The Invisible Hand was essentially the moniker I used for any recording I did by myself. That started when I was fifteen, when I got a computer and started recording music. I created three albums without ever touring behind them or playing them live. Just for my own benefit. Some of those songs would turn into Truman Sparks songs, or parts of them. It was more of a sketchpad for songs or bands that I was in. Only recently have I started to push the actual band itself.
It started off as just a two-piece. It was me and a drummer, my friend Parker, who plays with me in this other band called Order. The music was a lot noisier. The songs were still there but they were muddled with a lot of distortion. I was playing guitar through an octave pedal so it was really loud. He essentially quit playing because he needed to find a job. He lived in Cleveland too, so it was just kind of a logistical nightmare. He notified me that he was stopping when I told him I had booked a tour. So I was scrambling to find musicians and I was friends with Adam Brock from The Nice Jenkins. The Nice Jenkins at this point was on a hiatus, there weren’t doing too much, so he was ripe for the picking. Then I got my friend Thomas who plays with me in Order. I got him to play bass. Then Jon Bray, who I’ve played with so many times. Everybody came together and we just had a similar aesthetic, which I was really surprised about. To me, it was a last ditch effort to put a band together for a tour, but it ended up meshing really well. That was in August, and since then it’s been that core group of people. That really is The Invisible Hand right now.
Dec: Had Truman Sparks slowed down by that point?
Yeah. At that point the reality of not being able to tour sort of became more and more apparent. I started doing Invisible Hand a lot more. It just felt like this is more the music that I listen to. I’d rather be doing this, whereas Truman Sparks was more of an experiment. We could play in odd time signatures, we could do crazy things, but really all I want to do is hear a good pop song. I want to hear The Kinks. So, I just started drifting more mentally towards the Invisible Hand, and thinking it was what I wanted to do. Truman Sparks slowly started fading out. We made several attempts to practice or play shows but there were always the schedule conflicts, we could never really work it out.
Dec: Who wrote the majority of the music for Truman Sparks?
It was definitely a collaborative effort.
Dec: How does that compare to The Invisible Hand?
I think I was just in a different state of mind. I was doing a lot more experimenting with odd time signatures and trying to make it musically complex. The Invisible Hand is much more simplified, but it’s still a group effort to arrange. One of the reasons I love playing in a band is to have that musical camaraderie and work ethic to shape the song into something that’s good.
Dec: Is there any reason you are still here in Charlottesville?
When I decided to move I was just a little unsettled being here and I’d been here for awhile and I felt like it was probably time to leave. That was a year ago, and I moved to Philadelphia for a month. As it worked out I started dating a girl living here but then I moved to Philadelphia. So I moved back to Virginia basically to be with this girl. I ended up seeing a lot of good come out of this city. I started working at The Bridge [Progressive Arts Initiative] and that gave me something to do, and really inspired me to want to be in Charlottesville and make something happen here. More than anything, I felt that because Charlottesville is so small and not a whole lot happens here, that it is perfect for something big to happen. To create a really close knit scene and have stuff spawn from there. I think it is still a little immature in its music scene. But now more than ever, its starting to blossom. David [Baker Benson’s D.B.B. Plays Cups], that’s great, and Birdlips. There’s been a lot of other bands popping up—a lot of U.Va. bands, Caninos. A year ago there were no U.Va. bands so it’s really great that that’s happening.
Dec: It seems that the Charlottesville music scene is a great place for a small band to blossom.
Probably the biggest thing that makes Charlottesville so great for music is that it’s just so encouraging of the arts. It really nurtures young people trying to do something. If somebody has an idea, Charlottesville is right there holding them up. It’s a little bit of a reality shock when you go beyond Charlottesville, but for now it’s great.
Dec: What is the Invisible Hand focusing on right now? Are you guys writing and recording or just touring?
We just finished recording a four-song demo. The purpose of this is just to have the full band sound. We just finished that and took it down to Austin, and pretty much just gave away most of our copies of it. We are really focused on playing New York a lot. That’s really what a band needs to do. Once you’ve reached a certain level, you kind of have to play New York in order to take it to the next level. At the same time, we’re trying to record again. We want to do a full-length album by the end of the summer, which is maybe a lofty goal because we don’t even have the songs written.
Dec: The stuff you just recorded, did you go to a studio or do it yourselves?
We did it ourselves. We did it on my computer and I have a few good mics and pre-amps. I think it was a lot better because we could take the time and we did a lot of experimenting.
Dec: Would you go to a studio for the summer LP?
I’m not quite sure. I like the freedom of recording ourselves, but you do miss a certain fidelity. I could care less about fidelity, maybe. I feel like a lot for my favorite bands don’t have that. It’s not for the audiophiles, but at the same time I don’t want to alienate people by making something that sounds horrible.
Dec: What are you listening to right now?
I’m listening to a lot of bands that we’ve played with recently. Real Estate, they’re from New Jersey but somehow it sounds like California. It’s just really relaxed. We played with this band called Sister Suie, which is a pretty interesting band. It’s Canadian Reggae. It’s real weird, but it’s good. Sparks, this band from the 70s that has this real flamboyant front man. It’s sort of operatic like Queen is but a little more nerdy. They have pretty awesome pop songs.
Dec: Would you say you take any inspiration from them?
Definitely a lot of inspiration from Sparks, more and more. It started out being more inspired by Deerhoof or something like that, but then I heard Sparks and I was like, “This is exactly what I’m going for.” - The Declaration

"This Past Weekend! (Show one)"

Next up was the Invisible Hand from the Charlottesville regions of Virginia. As we were driving out there, my old roommate and I were lamenting over the ellusiveness of that good ol’ indie punk energy. So many things seem straight up punk/hardcore these days or mellow, melody-focused indie rock. Where are the modern Archers and Superchunk?? A question I’ve been wondering aloud a lot lately. Where’s that carefree, raw and loose sound forged from a clash between powerpop, punk and a desire to write more substance into a song?? Well, it’s funny, our question was answered about two hours after our discussion. The Invisible Hand shove through their set fast and loud, but maintain a sense of melody and meticulously thought out song structure. The frontman has a guitar and stance not far off from Mike Ness of Social Distortion, but the music is a more biting, crashed-out sound reminiscent of Dinosaur Jr and well, Superchunk and Archers of Loaf. Exactly what we had been looking for! It was a great set and I’ll definitely be out for the next one. -


Faces (2001)
Teenage Girls & Medicine (2003)
Captivate and Destroy (2004)
A Poorman VS. the Fleshpots of Egypt (2005)
Adam Split: No Face/Invisible Hand Cassette (2006)
New Twist (2007)
Invisible Hand Cassette (2007)
Down With Friends (2008)
Four Seasons EP (2009)
Invisible Hand/Alphabet Split (2010)
Invisible Hand/Naked Gods Split (2010)
S/T LP (2010)
Invisible Hand/Borrowed Beams of Light Split (2010)



After recording his first album at the age of 14, Adam Smith formed the band "Folkskunde" (loosely translated as "the people's client") and at age 16 began playing live. "Folkskunde" mixed contemporary styles with a Kinks and Beatles aesthetic, creating a young, original sound. As members of the band left to attend college, Folkskunde attempted to reunite on holidays and then in 2003 disbanded. Smith, who was already in the throws of recording his second solo album, began to produce his music projects under the moniker "Invisible Hand."

Expanding and contracting in size from as many as eight musicians to as few as one; "Invisible Hand" shows consistent intensity. Smith's lyrics are impassioned, ironic, appropriated and everyday- woven into heavy melodies that are as unusual as they are catchy.

Playing live since the age of 16, Smith has gained reknown for his sharp songwriting abilities and raw performance style. He's played with The Extraordinaires, Donny Hue and the Colors, and Lux Perpetua, as well has opened for Mogwai, Man Man, Health, Adam Green, Vivian Girls, Awesome Color, Titus Andronicus, Skeletons and the Kings of All Cities, Sunburned Hand of the Man, Meneguar, Jay Reatard, The Constantines, The Thermals, Real Estate, Whatever Brains, and soon, Best Coast, and Cloud Nothings.

While producing his "Invisible Hand" solo and collaborative albums, Smith joined "Order" (previously "Of the Dying Orchid") as a bassist and keyboardist. He traveled on a few tours up and down the east coast before deciding to form another band of his own, with a distinctive "genre." Thus, "Truman Sparks" was born. The members of "Truman Sparks" came from a wide musical background of rock, punk, eclectic pop. The initial goal was to experiment with hardcore because nobody in the band had ever explored that genre. This resulted in a unique amalgamation of style that sounded like "Pavement trying to cover King Crimson" so they were dubbed "a slackers prog band" or in their own terms, "Trog-Rock."

Several tours ensued and Smith produced a full album and one EP under the "Truman Sparks" moniker. Smith also continued to crank out "Invisible Hand" albums. "Invisible Hand " began touring as a "side project" in 2006.

As Smith's musical taste began leaning toward the "Invisible Hand" solo recordings, favoring the subtleties of a simple two minute song over the complexities of "Truman Sparks" 8 minute epics, he inverted the roles of the two bands. Today "Truman Sparks" is the side project and the "Invisible Hand" is Smith's primary focus.

The now "Adam Smith & the Invisible Hand” has self engineered and produced two full length LPs: “Down with Friends” and “Sleep” available at Record Theory ( and
an EP titled “4 Seasons” along with a split 7" with “The Alphabet” available at Funny Not Funny Records ( )

The band has played hundreds of shows throughout the east coast and as far as SXSW. They play regularly in NYC with supportive fans coming to see them at such places as the CakeShop and Bar Matchless, all around their home town of Charlottesville, Richmond & the Shenandoah Valley stretching south to the particularly frequenting North Carolina where they have amassed a loyal following.

In addition to the up-coming April 13, 2010 launch of the theme song to the new BRAVO series "9 by Design", "Adam Smith & the Invisble Hand" has just completed recording and mastering a full length LP which will see a release this year and are completing a slew of new home recording singles which will see 7" releases within in the next few months.

“Two chords / How are you? / I have not heard from you in a long time / Not since I started to play my guitar were you so interesting” begins Charlottesville, VA rock band Invisible Hand’s debut album, Invisible Hand, with the aptly titled track “Two Chords.” Before releasing the weight of a grandiose wall of reverb and a hypnotic drumbeat, the album’s opener begins with muffled feedback and the intimate crooning of lead singer/songwriter Adam Smith on top of sparse guitar pickings. Waxing nostalgia on simpler times, “Two Chords”, in the spirit of “What’s In It For Me?” by The Walkmen and “Crime Scene Part One” by The Afghan Whigs, sets a dramatic tone for the hyperactive, fist-pumping power-pop record to come.