Josiah Wordsworth
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Josiah Wordsworth


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"BreakThru Radio: "Blue State" Album Review"

Josiah Wordsworth could easily be the name of the rowdiest fire and brimstone preacher this side of the Mason-Dixon line, but in actuality it is the name of a duo comprised of Jordan Slominski (piano) and Andrew Weidner (drums), who both hail from St. Paul, Minnesota. The music they make is reminiscent of the Kyle Mann Combo, Danny Elfman, and most importantly, The Bad Plus, which makes The Blue State EP required listening.

The five songs contained within this astounding debut are a perfect example of storytelling without words. It's easy to imagine the Visigoths sacking Rome alongside the romping whirlwind of "Witch Hunt", or the black and white striped Beetlejuice terrorizing the newly dead during the dark jaunt of "Drive-By Media."

The duo is already working on their first full-length, which should be out by February of 2008. That means you have a little less than a year to fully devour the many subtle nuances and pressure points contained within The Blue State EP. - BreakThru Radio

"The Silent Ballet: "Wordsworth!" Album Review"

Josiah Wordsworth is a band on the move. Last year they released an EP by the name of Blue State, which received some well-deserved praise here at The Silent Ballet.Blue State is a record that is both minimalist and complex, as it only features piano and drums, but also interweaves the two in deeply intricate, jazzy, and chaotic patterns. They’ve since added some new members to the band, and their new (and first) LP, Wordsworth!, is therefore in many ways a very different album. But though the new guitar elements certainly change their overall sound in a somewhat dramatic way, the general spirit of the music remains the same. Josiah Wordsworth has indeed returned, and the band has brought another spasmodically jazzy collection of tunes along with it.

Most of the music found here is an exercise in carefully controlled chaos. Moments of pleasantly soft harmony give way to what could, perhaps, be called the piano version of breakcore. I am not speaking of quiet-loud dynamics in the traditional post-rock sense -- there are no crescendos to be found here. Instead, the music employs rapid shifts in and out of fast-paced rhythmic absurdities. These keep the listener excited and constantly on edge, but they are never grating to the ear, as music of this sort can easily become. Josiah Wordsworth should be commended for writing yet another album which is both exciting and harmonic, fast-paced, and pleasant. Overall, the music seems to be a bit more mature on this effort than the last, although I still don’t think you could exactly call any of these songs subtle.

It is in the context of this absence of subtlety that I must address the one issue which does continually plague the album: cheesiness. This is an issue that was also present in Blue State, but with the addition of guitars it becomes much more prominent and noticeable this time around. It’s a tough issue to tackle, because at a certain level cheesiness equates with awesomeness, but at another level, it makes the music entirely laughable. “Nada Gravitas” is an excellent example. The song flat-out rocks, and has been featured as a Silent Ballet Track of the Week for good reason. The music is very technical, but also highly enjoyable. Then, towards the end, the guitar kicks out a lead line whose tone absolutely screams, “Hey! Look at me! I’m playing the guitar now!” But, again, if the listener is perhaps moved to hysterics by this, he will also be impressed by how good this little solo sounds. This sort of awesome/cheese dichotomy reminds me intensely of Liquid Tension Experiment. Hopefully, anyone familiar with this exemplary prog-metal instrumental band (which contains 3/5 of the members of Dream Theater!) will understand exactly what I mean. For the rest: just know that both of these bands (though quite different in many respects) pull off the sometimes difficult task of being both somewhat laughable and deeply impressive at the same time.

I’ll admit, the first time I heard this new album I was a little bit disappointed.Blue State was one of my favorite CDs from last year because of the way in which it made the most of just one piano and just one drum kit. I was hoping to see Josiah Wordsworth continue along in this direction, and further develop that minimal/complex element that made their music so compelling. In the context of these hopes for the new LP, the addition of the guitars and bass initially turned me off from Wordsworth!. But after the initial shock wore off, I realized that this album is in much the same spirit as the previous EP. Though these new instruments do change the setting of the music rather dramatically, this album just represents a different way of getting at the same goal. Although I would still like to see that minimal/complex piano sound developed further in future albums, this new sound also suits me quite well.

If you liked or loved Blue State, then the odds are pretty good that you’ll like or love Wordsworth! as well. The album represents an increased maturity from the first EP, albeit in a different direction than I anticipated. Really, the only thing holding them back from true greatness is this omnipresent cheese-factor. If they can just cut that, then they’ll be winners for sure. Josiah Wordsworth, please understand: you don’t have to use your guitar and piano tones to tell us to listen to you. We’re excited enough to do that on our own.

On a side note: Label Execs, sign this band now!

Score: 7.5/10

-Tom Butcher - The Silent Ballet

"The Lonely Note: "Blue State" Album Review"

For those of you who are comfortable with music that resides at the intersection of numerous genres, Josiah Wordsworth is your duo. Not quite jazz, not quite rock, not quite classical, JW's compositions occupy an intriguing space that redefines contemporary music.

Take a listen to 'Silver Dollar Swagger,' an epic journey that begins in prog-rock territory and ends in saloon country. - The Lonely Note

"Local Vertical: "Blue State" Album Review"

An email from Josh Sundquist, manager for Josiah Wordsworth, shares awareness on the unique sounds and compositions of the duo. Gaining popularity on the St. Paul, MN, nightclub scene, Josiah Wordsworth offers strictly pianos and drums. The result is a refreshing set of 5 tracks, none of which has any weaknesses. Highly recommended! - Local Vertical

"The Silent Ballet: "Blue State" Album Review"

Consisting of mainly piano and drums, the music created by Minnesotan duo Josiah Wordsworth hovers between rock, jazz ,and classical. Their debut EP, Blue State, features 5 tracks that are refreshingly unique.

“Witch Hunt” begins dramatically with a brooding piano piece that builds intensely, like a magnificent storm approaching. Dark and compelling, it is an exquisite way to open an album. The dark mood is suddenly disrupted by a series of fast-paced jazz inspired piano pieces, at first the bursts of upbeat piano throughout the track seem out of place, but ultimately it is these shifts in mood and structure that make the track all the more disturbing and appealing. “Witch Hunt” sounds like a battle between two split personalities, one good, and one menacingly evil.

Imagine yourself as a child visiting a circus. There’s a ringmaster, clowns, and an assortment of animals. It looks like any other circus from the outside, but inside…The ringmaster is a horrifically deformed monster of a man, the clowns are sinister looking, their mouths are filled with yellow shark-like teeth and blood is used to paint on their menacing smiles, and the animals are terrifying mutant-like beasts. “Drive-by Media” sounds like circus music in parts, but is not the kind of music we associate with the circus, as its brightness is clearly tarnished by a darker tone. The result is an incredibly weird, yet wonderful track that would fit well into a soundtrack of a Tim Burton movie.

“Silver Dollar Swagger” begins with a funeral march instrumentation with drums that sound like a cannon and gun salute. Like “Witch Hunt” the moody atmosphere is torn apart by jazzy piano, but this time the effect isn’t disturbing - it’s damn catchy!

Complex, chaotic, dark, and wickedly good, Blue State is an outstanding effort that contains no weak tracks. From the moment it begins it is obvious that it is remarkably different, yet it should still appeal to a broad range of piano lovers; just don’t expect any light piano tinkering.

Score: 7.5/10

-Leanne Simpson - The Silent Ballet

"Pulse of the Twin Cities Review"

Jordan Slominski and Andrew Weldner are the one-two punch behind Josiah Wordsworth, and, for this duo, two hits is all you need: a pianist hitting you, and you hitting the drumset. Josiah Wordsworth's music is chock full of the kind of ivory-keyed pyrotechnics that were given their rightful place in pop music by Ben Folds back in the '90s. The group eschews singing and all that fancy falderal in favor of focusing their McNally-Smith-honed talents on quirky instrumental miniatures that sometimes come off like a head-on collision between a sensible Renault driven by Erik Satie and a tricked out low-rider piloted by Sir Elton John. - Pulse of the Twin Cities

"The Rift: "Blue State" Album Review"

Monty Python's line, "...and now from something completely different" comes to mind after hearing the unique album called "Blue State" by Josiah Wordsworth. It's a fusion of jazz, rock and some hinting at classical piano accompanied by drums. It really is something different to my ears. I've heard bands that fuse musical styles together but not really like I'm hearing in Wordsworth's work.

He dares to go at it without any lyrics, so from the get-go he's asking the listener to concentrate on the music. That will probably keep in standard practice with the jazz listener's but you might lose some rock fans that are looking for melodic lyrics to deliver the songs message. On first listen I waited for lyrics to start up (prior to reading the bio) and that distracted me, I immediately had to restart the disc and listen with new ears and it started to click for me.

I don't know if the title "Blue State" has multiply meanings relating to Minnesota being a 'blue state' in 2004 elections, or references a period in Wordsworth's work like Picasso 'blue period' or if it's just the general feeling of the album, there were plenty of moments of that do reflect a 'blue' vibe (but there was plenty of upbeat moments as well). It felt like something John Cale meets Ben Folds would do minus the vocals, a sort of eccentric but poppy music. It was defiantly refreshing, and one record where it did feel like a new sound was being developed. - Rift Magazine

"We Heart Music: "Wordsworth!" Album Review"

I wanted to mention Josiah Wordsworth's debut album, Wordsworth!, was released March 18th. I found out that his name is actually Jordan Slominski and he's based in St Paul, Minnesota.

I'll have to point out that I don't actually have his album or debut EP called Blue State, which was released in 2007, but based on the few songs I listened to, it sounds like a lot of piano with a rock n roll sensibility. The two songs I've heard on Wordsworth! are instrumentals, so I am assuming the rest of the album have no lyrics. It's still enjoyable.

"My Catholic Darling" feels like a frantic piano-driven song. Although I say frantic, I feel Slominski is very much in control of the song.

It would be interesting to see him perform live, especially on that particular song - and good news, I just checked and he's playing a few dates Gustavus Adolfus - Courtyard Cafe, St. Peter (23 Apr 2008) and Varsity Theater, Minneapolis (24 Apr 2008).

Once again, Wordsworth! is out now and you can purchase the album directly on his website. - We Heart Music

"Austin360: "SXSW 2009 - Josiah Wordsworth @ The Elephant Room" Review"

I was a little surprised to discover a line outside Austin’s jazz cellar with SXSW staffers limiting the club to badges and wristbands only. Inside the scene was somewhat sedate, with couples cozied up at candlelit tables and obviously unapologetic music nerds holding up the walls.

On stage, a three-piece combo of average looking white dudes were setting up. The group, Josiah Wordsworth from St Paul, Minn., opened with an abstract avant jazz piece but then quickly segued into a frentically paced, tightly complex number that boggled the mind. As the group continued, throwing down instrumental jazz joints that escalated into near punk rock mayhem before dropping into beautiful lyrical passages then regaining maddening momentum, the line began to make sense. A whole lot of sense. -

"Rock Sellout: "Blue State" Album Review"

With a name like Wordsworth, you’d think the subject of this entry would be a wealthy shipping heir or possibly a butler. Oh, but he’s not! Rather, he isn’t a ‘he’ at all, but rather a them. They are a of a sort of classical-jazz-indie duo. It’s a bit like Vince Guaraldi playing poker with The Decemberists at Edvard Grieg’s house. Hopefully that’s conjuring the appropriate image here. Josiah Wordsworth are Jordan Slominski and Andrew Wiedner. Slominski takes up piano duties while Wiedner pounds the skins. Neither dares sing, allowing their instrumentation to do all the talking. It seems odd to say, but it’s a rather daring concept in this day-and-age. After all, how many hugely popular orchestral bands can you name off the top of your head? Likely not that many. A lack of vocals may scare off the rock traditionalists, but their loss will be our gain. ...if you really want a taste of the band’s diversity, I’d recommend checking out ‘Eulogy’ or ‘Rock Song’. It’s well worth it." - Rock Sellout


* "Recession + Depression = Line of Succession" LP (To be released Feb. 2010)

* "Wordsworth!" LP (2008):
Receiving airplay on 180 CMJ affiliated radio stations across the country.

* "Blue State" EP (2007):
Receiving airplay on 140 CMJ affiliated radio stations across the country.



Up-and-coming classical-jazzster-punk-rocker Josiah Wordsworth has been rocking the Minneapolis underground indie music scene since 2005. The menacing and chaotic music is a mash up of Beethoven, Ben Folds, and The Bad Plus.

With two albums under his belt, Josiah Wordsworth has made a stunning splash across the radio airwaves, receiving airplay on 180 CMJ affiliated radio stations, charting in the Top 10 in many markets for multiple weeks. In addition to the radio success, Josiah Wordsworth's music has been recently licensed to various TV networks, such as MTV, Oxygen, and Lifetime. 2009 has marked a big year for Josiah Wordsworth, notably being a featured showcase at South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin, TX. Josiah Wordsworth is currently writing new material and grinding it out in the studio, working on their new release, expected to be released in early 2010.