Miracles of Modern Science
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Miracles of Modern Science

Brooklyn, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2005 | SELF

Brooklyn, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2005
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"March's Best Music From Across The Map"

This five-piece from New York takes classical instruments and pushes them to new levels by crafting half pop/half indie sounding tunes. Featuring a violin, mandolin, cello, drums and stand-up bass, Miracles Of Modern Science sound familiar, but at the same time highlight talents becoming rarer and rarer to find in modern music. - The Guardian


"CMJ Diary: The Good, The Bad, and The Grungy"

Miracles of Modern Science at Pianos
Don’t mistake this band for something wimpy, just because it’s composed of chamber instruments. The mix of violin, cello, and stand-up bass combined with mandolin and drums fosters some serious power. Though Miracles of Modern Science takes the time to explore the nuances of their string instruments, their chug ‘n’ stomp live show made for propulsive rock grounded in punk ethos. –T.O. - New York Times – The Local


"The Miracles Of Modern Science's Orchestral Space-Pop"

The Miracles of Modern Science play consummate major-key space-pop that sounds like something new -- no small feat, when half of the promo albums we receive sound like a mix of Arcade Fire, Radiohead, The Strokes, Deathcab for Cutie or any of the other indie luminaries that have broken through to whatever level now constitutes success in the music business.

Their instrumentation (violin, mandolin, cello, double bass and drums) has a lot to do with this. String sections have been in vogue in rock and post-rock bands for 5-10 years, but I'm hard-pressed to think of another pop band that uses only classical instruments, especially one that dresses up in silver space suit costumes, although comparisons to Final Fantasy and Broken Social Scene are somewhat apt.

None of this would matter if their music didn't pass muster on its own, but it does. The band describes its sound as "futuristic pop, antebellum balladry and sea shanty singalong" that "sounds like a bluegrass band sent into outer space in a giant disco ball," which isn't too far off.

The Miracles of Modern Science formed three years ago at Princeton University, and now lives in Brooklyn. Here's a full stream from their upcoming EP, slated for a late summer release. - Wired


"Wired's Top 100 Songs of 2011 Spotify Playlist"

An interoffice e-mail hit our inboxes one morning: “Have any favorite songs for 2011?”

The responses, unsurprisingly, piled in. Before lunch was fully digested it was born: the Wired Top 100 Songs of 2011 playlist. The vetting process had simple criteria:

1) Be submitted by a Wired staffer.
2) Be verified as from 2011.
3) Be a killer track.
4) Be available on Spotify.

Favorites ran the gamut. At any point in the office, you could overhear Beyoncé at one desk with Revocation rocking next door. There are predictable inclusions on several fronts — Bon Iver (have to keep up with the music blog Joneses), Tycho (fellow San Franciscan), Miracles of Modern Science (c’mon, name alone).

Several artists had multiple songs submitted — Merrill Garbus’ visit to our office apparently influenced the masses — but in the end we kept it to one song per album. If you happened to work on multiple projects in 2011 (looking at you, Frank Ocean), additional ones were eligible.

The playlist is available on Spotify as a 100-song collection. If you want to keep your ears from any jarring transitions, you can also listen by genre: Uptempo, Midtempo, Downtempo, Aggressive and Groove sub-playlists are available.

Find out which list includes Mastodon by browsing them all, but see the full list of 100 tracks for your Tumblr-pasting pleasure below.


The List: A to Z
A$AP Rocky — “Peso — Radio Edit”
Adele — “Rolling in the Deep”
Atlas Sound — “Angel Is Broken”
Battles — “Wall Street”
Beirut — “Santa Fe”
Beyonce — “Countdown”
Big Black Delta “IFUCKINGLOVEYOU”
Black Cobra — “Avalanche”
The Black Keys — “Lonely Boy”
Bon Iver — “Holocene”
Bon Iver, James Blake — “Fall Creek Boys Choir”
Cass McCombs — “County Line”
Chad Valley — “Now That I’m Real (How Does It Feel?)”
Chase & Status, Liam Bailey — “Blind Faith”
College, Electric Youth — “A Real Hero”
Cults — “Never Saw the Point”
Danger Mouse, Danielle Luppi — “Two Against One (feat. Jack White)”
Das Racist — “Michael Jackson”
Destroyer — “Downtown”
DJ Khaled, Rick Ross, Drake, Lil Wayne — “I’m on One”
Drake — “Headlines”
Duck Sauce — “Big Bad Wolf”
Dum Dum Girls — “Wrong Feels Right”
The Donkeys — “Oxblood”
Florence + The Machine — “No Light, No Light”
Foster the People — “Miss You”
Frank Ocean — “Novacane”
Fucked Up — “Queen of Hearts”
Future Islands — “The Great Fire”
Girls — “Vomit”
Gold Panda — “Fifth Ave.”
Holy Ghost! — “Wait and See”
James Apollo — “Grandad’s Morpine & Wine”
James Blake — “The Wilhelm Scream”
Jay Z, Kanye West, Frank Ocean — “No Church in the Wild”
Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter – “Hushed By Devotion”
John Maus — “Believer”
Justice — “Civilization”
Allen Stone — “Satisfaction”
Keep Shelly in Athens — “DIY”
Kendrick Lamar — “Hol’ Up”
Lana Del Rey — “Video Games”
Laura Marling — “Sophia”
Leftover Cuties — “Places to Go”
Little Dragon — “Little Man”
Lykke Li — “Get Some (Remix by Beck)”
M83 — “Midnight City”
Major Lazer, The Partysquad — “Original Don”
Mastodon — “Black Tongue”
Mayer Hawthorne — “The Walk”
Miracles of Modern Science — “Eating Me Alive”
Mogwai — “Rano Pano”
Neon Indian – “Polish Girl”
Nero — “Promises”
Nicholas Jaar — “Keep Me There”
Onoeohtrix Point Never — “Sleep Dealer”
Phantogram — “16 Years”
PJ Harvey — “The World That Maketh Murder”
Radiohead — “Feral”
Raphael Saadiq — “Radio”
Real Estate — “It’s Real”
Hanni El Khatib — “Dead Wrong”
Revocation — “Cretin”
The Roots, Phonte, Dice Raw — “One Time”
Sandro Perri — “Changes”
SBTRKT — “Never Never (feat. Sampha)”
Shabazz Palaces — “Swerve … the reeping of all that is worthwhile (Noir not withstanding)”
Siriusmo — “Einmal In De Woche Schreien”
Skrillex — “First of the Year — Equinox”
Slow Club — “Two Cousins”
Starfucker — “Reptilians”
The Stepkids — “Legend in My Own Mind”
Telekinesis — “Please Ask for Help”
The Antlers — “No Widows”
The Naked and Famous — “Young Blood”
The Raveonettes — “Recharge & Revolt”
Theophilus London — “Stop It”
Thievery Corporation — “Where It All Starts”
Thurston Moore — “Benediction”
Tim Hecker — “Sketch 9?
Toro Y Moi — “New Beat”
tune-yards — “Gangsta”
TV on the Radio — “Repetition”
Tycho — “Hours”
Tyler, the Creator — “Yonkers”
Van Dyke Parks — “Farther Along”
VHS or Beta — “I Found a Reason”
Vivian Girls — “I Heard You Say”
Washed Out — “Within and Without”
White Hills — “Upon Arrival”
Wicked Knee — “I’m Blue”
Wilco — “One Sunday Morning”
Wild Beats — “End Come Too Soon”
Wild Flag — “Romance”
Wooden Ships — “Flight”
Yelle — “S’eteient Le Soleil”
Young Magic — “You With Air”
Yuck — “Rubber”
Zola Jesus — “Vessel” - Wired


"Album Review: Miracles of Modern Science – Dog Year [86% "Recommended" rating]"

As a band that’s made up of a double bassist, a mandolinist, a violinist, a cellist and a drummer, you might expect Miracles of Modern Science to make music that is more suited to a hoe down than a rock show, but MOMS’ music is suitable for any kind of upbeat affair. There’s a certain amount of hokiness that comes with this territory, but rather than try to avoid it, MOMS embrace it fully, and in doing so have created an extremely lively and funny album.
It is that more orthodox of instruments, the drums, that drives the music across Dog Year, but every other instrument is essential in making the songs as bright and colourful as they are. The cartoonish vibe of the album is played from the off with a lead off track named “MOMS Away!” like the opening credits of the album. And, in a way it is, since we are instantly introduced to everything that is great about Dog Year: the thunderous undercurrent of drum and double bass, the incessantly intriguing noodling of mandolin and violin and of course Evan Younger’s quirky lyrics, both goofy and earnest simultaneously (“Secret machines inside it seems, draining the marrow from my bones / I think that I see that not unlike me, they’re just afraid of being alone” goes the chorus).
Although this is basically the way that practically every song on Dog Year plays out, MOMS have a few more tricks up their sleeves. “Tensity” is exactly that, tense, switching from the quietest moments of the album to the loudest, with every string seemingly plucked and bowed with utter ferocity. On tracks like “Quantum of Solace” MOMS show that they can also have success in restraint, bringing the heartbreak to life. But, MOMS are at their best when they’re simply rambunctious, and this is done best in the double-header of “Space Chopper” and “I Found Space.” In both of these songs MOMS’ imagination combined with their instrumentation takes them to weird alien worlds, and they seem to be more happy and at home there than anywhere else.
Dog Year is packed with tales that encompass various genres from childish fables to Vonnegut-esque science fiction. And then of course, there is the secret track, which I won’t spoil for you here, but I will say that it makes The Decemberists’ “The Mariner’s Revenge Song” seem like an adorable bed time story in comparison.
“Unique” is a word that is thrown around plenty in music journalism these days, and while in many ways it could be applied to MOMS, the truth is that it seems that striving to be unique never even crossed their minds. Dog Year is an album that sounds as though it has been borne purely out of enjoyment of making music, and that joy resonates from every song. From the rhyming dictionary couplets (“You will meet a typhoon / on the surface of the moon”) to the unabashed garishness of some of the choruses, it’s rare that you find an album so happy to put itself out there caring not that there are so many places that someone could nitpick. And, Dog Year is all the better for it. Next time you want something that is simultaneously easy listening and exciting, look no further than Miracles of Modern Science.
- One Thirty BPM


"Miracles of Modern Science: Dog Year [8.0 "Commendable" rating]"

Don’t retire that “Best of 2011” list just yet. With Dog Year, their full-length debut, nutso Brooklyn indie-experimentalists Miracles of Modern Science have just unloaded a “Must Hear” on our unsuspecting asses.

These guys are total dweebs—no shame in that. And though principal writers Evan Younger (double-bass, vocals) and Josh Hirshfeld (mandolin, vocals) met via Facebook and founded the project at an Ivy League home-base (Princeton University), the real dorkiness cuts through in the music—which sounds like it was concocted in a science lab filled with beakers and goggle-wearing brainiacs. The eclecticism is overwhelming, and even though the players stick faithfully to their core instruments, sometimes it’s literally impossible to classify the genre of a given track. The pummeling “Space Chopper” might be the world’s introduction to disco-grass. The intertwining cello and violin (played by Geoff McDonald and Kieran Ledwidge respectively) add a layer of sophistication to the playful eclecticism, helping steer tracks like “Tensity” and “I Found Space” toward Owen Pallett or Ra Ra Riot territory, even as the Tyler Pines’ tight, powerful drumming nearly pushes its way to prog-rock. And that “Friend of the Animals” is able to swing effectively from bluegrass to space-rock to wah-wah funk and back again—and never doing so in jarring fashion—is an accomplishment all on its own.

They sure are fond of punny song titles (see: “Bossa Supernova” and “MOMS AWAY” and “Strangerous”), but the songs themselves tend to avoid easy, obvious quirk. In fact, the band’s collective instrumental communion is often coronary-serious, the arrangements building and circling with youthful vigor. On “Quantum of Solace,” in which Hirshfeld arrives at his inevitable R.E.M. reference, the band builds stark intensity through sheer brightness, a solar eclipse of sound.

“I’ve got friends at the petting zoo,” goes one memorable line. Hell, with a debut this strong, they just might make a few human friends, too. - Paste Magazine


"Album Review: Miracles of Modern Science – Dog Year [4/5 stars]"

Who’d have thought one of the best indie rock debuts of the season would come from an Ivy League-bred, string-centered quintet? This New York-by-way-of-Princeton five-piece ekes about as much pop sensibility from jazz instrumentation as anyone not named Walter Becker or Donald Fagen.
Miracles of Modern Science‘s debut full-length, Dog Year, is crafted using only a violin, cello, mandolin, bass, and drums, which they implement in more of a rock and roll style than the baroque stylings of chamber pop. Put to perfect use in “Strangerous”, a bombastic love song, the violin takes a rhythmic role while the mandolin carries the melody. It’s songs like this and the frantic “Eating Me Alive” where the fun the band is having carries over into the music. They can also dial down the pomp when desired; male and female vocals trade off beautifully between the verse and chorus on “Quantum of Solace”, while the strings and drums paint a dense backdrop to their voices.

Perhaps most charming of all is how the band refuses to take itself seriously, from goofy plays on words in song titles (“MOMS AWAY!”, “Strangerous”) to the obligingly geeky obsession with outer space (“Space Chopper”, “I Found Space”, and “Bossa Supernova”). A secret track on the album lyrically involving a cheatin’ wife, a cyborg, and a dart accident that leads to a quadruple-amputation is a weird shanty in the vein of early Primus, and it’s one of the funnier tracks heard this year.

Their lack of pretense and relatively unique approach keeps their music from ever even approaching stuffiness, despite the more stiff-collared associations of their choice in instruments. Kudos to Miracles of Modern Science for not sounding like any other band out there right now, a truly impressive feat in our current trend-driven indie climate.

Essential Songs: “Strangerous” and “Quantum of Solace”
- Consequence of Sound


"The Top Albums of 2011: Honorable Mentions"

Miracles of Modern Science
Dog Year
[Self-released]
Elevators to the sun, typhoons on the moon, psychotic dreams, secret machines, these are just four of the things mentioned on Miracles of Modern Science’s debut album Dog Year. In fact, these are all within the first song of the album. The collection’s 11 other songs paint plenty more bizarre images. This should be enough to tell you a little about Miracles of Modern Science, but when I tell you that they have no bassist or guitarists, but instead have a violinist, double bassist, cellist and a mandolinist I’m not sure whether the picture of their music that you have in your mind will be becoming more or less clear. Honestly, the only way to fully solve the conundrum that is Miracles of Modern Science is to listen to their music. Their distinct brand of boastful folk-tinged indie pop is sure to cause some kind of reaction from you from the very first listen. Whether it will be overwhelmingly positive as ours is difficult to say. The way we see it, Dog Year contains twelve theatrical little nuggets of entertainment that will have no problem in brightening any gloomy day, and sometimes that’s all we ask for. - One Thirty BPM


"Miracles of Modern Science: No Guitars Necessary"

A lot of rock bands visit the NPR studios with maybe a fiddle or two in tow. But Miracles of Modern Science are not a typical rock band. The group boasts a mandolin, upright bass, cello, violin, drums — and absolutely no electric guitar.

Evan Younger, Josh Hirshfeld, Kieran Ledwidge, Tyler Pines and Geoff McDonald met in college, where they bonded over a shared love of jazz, rock and classical music. But even more important to their chemistry, McDonald says, is a belief that those genres can play nice together, with satisfying results.

"There's sort of a thaw in the music community now between people who play classical music, or whatever you want to call it — concert music, art music — and what we do in music clubs," says McDonald. "And that's a really great thing. You see lots of people doing imaginative things from both sides of what was [once] a divide."

Miracles of Modern Science piled into NPR's Studio 4A to speak with Weekend Edition Sunday host Audie Cornish, and to perform songs from their debut album, Dog Year. - NPR Weekend Edition


"SPIN's 25 Must-Hear Artists from the CMJ Festival"

Listed as one of Spin's 25 Must-Hear Artists at CMJ 2009!

"Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Sounds like: String-laden, twitchy but danceable songs from an ensemble of self-proclaimed "orchestra drop outs and jazz-band rejects."

Recommended if you like: Ra Ra Riot, Andrew Bird

You should know: The group is known for wearing space suits onstage -- awesome, but potentially gamey! " - SPIN.com


"Album Review: Miracles of Modern Science (4.5 Stars)"

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Orchestral elements have always been used by bands to transform their work into something all the more epic. It is a timeless trick having been employed by everyone from The Who to Metallica and has been fully enlisted by bands such as The Arcade Fire. New Jersey’s own Miracles of Modern Science has taken this technique to a new level by creating a pop-rock sound that is entirely based around their classical instruments, pushing the standard rock requirements into the background. The result is the self proclaimed orchestral space rock that is both beautiful and epic in nature. Their debut, self titled, EP demands excellent speakers and a warning to your neighbors because the only way to listen to their first release is by turning it up, way up.

“MR2” leads things off with Kieran Ledwidge’s catchy violin section that will be stuck in your head for weeks. Two cellos and a mandolin fill things out and create the soundtrack to the story telling style of the lyrics. Grand build-ups litter the group’s musical landscape bringing you from valley to peak and back again. With the help of the two cellist’s combined with the high notes of a mandolin and violin, the epic pop song is perfected just the way the Beatles would have wanted it on “Eat Me Alive”. What is interesting to hear is the technique used by musicians, from plucking to odd bends and strains, as on the previously mentioned track. “Luminol”, a song about a desperate longing for love with a hint of bitterness and acceptance, is the stand out amongst the few selections. It carries those moments with a more predominant mandolin section that adds a touch of Appalachian roots to the music. Vocal duties are also traded, punctuated with harmonizing ooh’s and ahh’s as every string is plucked and strummed. “524” Closes things out with a western epic that includes some excellent whistling, and country guitars to go along with the running horse sound of the percussions. The send off proves that this east coast six piece can write one hell of a song in what ever style they choose be it indie pop, or civil war western.

While MOMS debut is short, is it a teaser for what is to come for the group. Given their talent and formal training the possibilities are endless, just check out the strange Dr. Seuss inspired non-EP track Didit (also available for free). By transferring the rock formula to classical instruments you create something unique. When you take those same instruments and make them the focus of your creativity, you end up with something that is new and exciting with endless possibilities. Hopefully this is not the last we here from Miracles as this EP is the proverbial tasting spoon at a Baskin Robins, you know you want more, but you have to wait. - Consequence of Sound


"Indefatigable Defenders Of Dreaming"

Miracles of Modern Science are indefatigable defenders of dreaming. Thus they subscribe to the theory that battles are won with brains not brawn. Otherwise, they might not have tackled orchestral pop so literally.

To start, the Brooklyn-based band integrate a variety of classical elements (mandolin, double bass, violin and cello) with a triumphant indie rock sensibility. And for this very reason alone they could be lopped into the same category as the Arcade Fire. They certainly devise miniature ballads that swell with purpose, providing a cerebral soundtrack to the most poignant of times.

Yet it is an unambiguous, do-or-die mentality which Miracles of Modern Science exudes that is markedly different. As repeatedly underscored in "Eating Me Alive," dithering about can consume you whole. Front man Josh Hirshfeld intones, "Figured that my heart would be my guide/ When I asked my heart my spleen replied/ Said don't bother with your heart it never can be found/ Stick with me I'm better qualified."

The brief, four-song affair that Hirshfeld engages in with the listener is peculiar and, furthermore, unforgettable. But generally minds are more easily won than retained. Only time will reveal the success of such forward thinking.

--Joshua Pressman - LAist


"Miracles Of Modern Science (AKA The Bon Joviver Guys) – “Friend Of The Animals”"

Last week, the New Jersey band Miracles Of Modern Science launched 100 comments-section puns when they covered “You Give Love A Bad Name” the way Justin Vernon would and called the result Bon Joviver. And expertly executed though that joke may be, it’s also worth noting that the band is perfectly good at crafting its own densely orchestrated, occasionally vaguely funky indie prettiness. Below, download their big, ambitious, generally impressive song “Friend Of The Animals.”

The band’s album Dog Year is out now and available on their Bandcamp page. And here’s a quote from mandolin player Josh Hirshfeld about the whole Bon Joviver thing: “We had hit a wall after a long day of practice and needed a break. I made the ’Bon Joviver’ pun thinking we’d laugh and move on. Instead we spontaneously launched into ’You Give Love A Bad Name’ in our most Bon Iver-esque falsetto and couldn’t stop ourselves from recording it, throwing on some cabin-style reverb, and shooting a video on Evan’s phone. By the end of the night it was up on Youtube. It’s been fun seeing people respond with their own band name combinations — I’d love to hear LCD Soundsystem Of A Down.” - Stereogum


"'Swipe' Right If You Dig This New Song About Tinder"

There are quite a few songs online about Tinder -- mostly parodies set to Kesha and Pitbull's "Timber" -- but a funny thing happened Wednesday on YouTube: a really catchy, actually pretty great song about the dating app arrived.

"Swipe" by Miracles of Modern Science, featuring singer Kristin Slipp, has the quirky feel of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" mixed with tongue-in-cheek, but not outright jokey, lyrics. (Sample: "I saw your picture and I had to stop/ Are you for real or is that Photoshop?")

Listen and judge for yourself (and, as Styleite pointed out, take note of Slipp's undeniable Marnie Michaels vibe):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PpBsRO7iWY

Miracles of Modern Science formed in 2005 but have made a name for themselves recently with YouTube cover songs, including their take on Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" last year. - Billboard


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Miracles of Modern Science have a vision for the future of pop music. Forget mind-controlled beats and artificially intelligent synthesizers—with just violin, cello, mandolin, drums, and a double bass-wielding frontman, MOMS create “pop that sounds like something new” (Wired). Their new LP, Mean Dreams (out 8.14.15), unites past and future in a set of songs that upend notions of what stringed instruments can do.

On Mean Dreams, strings are neither rock imitation nor classical ornamentation. “There’s no separate string section behind music stands supporting the band,” notes singer/bassist Evan Younger. “The stringsare the band.”

 “In some ways it’s a limitation, but there are things our instruments can do that others can’t,” says violinist Kieran Ledwidge. “We think differently with strings in our hands than we would with guitars or keyboards. It’s exciting to see what songs come out of this combination.” 

The band’s classically inspired passion for counterpoint and structure adds a dimension seldom heard in pop songs. You’ll rarely find one member strumming chords while another plays lead; on Mean Dreams, each instrument’s distinct melodies combine into elaborate textures. The record is a tapestry of recurring themes and motifs, where odd rhythms and harmonic detours weave seamlessly in and out of hooks.

However, MOMS temper their meticulous songcraft with a quick wit and a feel for the zeitgeist: their videos for “Swipe” (a duet about dating app Tinder), “Bon Joviver” (a mashup that Huffington Postdeclared “perfect”), and others have tallied millions of views and been featured on Billboard, MTV, Cosmopolitan, and Buzzfeed. The band’s music videos for Mean Dreams are full of the same humor and DIY spirit. (Keep your eyes peeled for a pair of tearaway pants in the one-take video for “Follow Your Heart (Or Something)”—the band sewed them by hand.) 

MOMS have evolved since releasing 2011’s Dog Year, an NPR Weekend Edition favorite, and 2013’s MEEMS EP, which The Guardian praised for “highlighting talents rarer and rarer to find in modern music.” No longer fresh-faced college grads eagerly exploring Brooklyn’s music scene, members have lost lovers to distant coasts and continents, felt the conflicting tugs of artistic passion and home life stability, and weathered the vagaries of the modern music business. Stirred by the question of when to put a dream on a deadline, MOMS have produced their most urgent work on Mean Dreams: ten unconventional anthems that mix inspirational energy with gnawing doubt, and frustration with wry self-awareness about the long odds of making it as a band. 

Confronting this angst-inducing subject, the band found themselves reflecting on the music that first sparked their rock star fantasies. Cellist Geoff McDonald recalls, “I dreamed of being in the next Weezer or Green Day, but I didn’t imagine my cello would be involved.” Now MOMS have made an album their younger selves might have loved, channeling their childhood heroes’ rock energy and driving choruses through their own eclectic style and unlikely instrumentation. 

Mandolinist Josh Hirshfeld adds, “If the album inspires anyone to pick up an old instrument and play it in a new way, we’ll be happy.”

Band Members