Modern Merchant
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Modern Merchant

New York City, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014

New York City, New York, United States
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Indie




"NYC Bands on the Rise: Modern Merchant"

For any fan of the dream pop of Local Natives and Caveman, Modern Merchant brings the best of those bands' harmonic bliss to a carefully composed new EP, 'For The Fields.'

From weighty topics of marriage ('Marry Me Annie'), to the gentle crashing of the waves in the partially intimate/partially epic 'Necessary Evil,' the band's sweeping harmonies and dreamy guitar lines cast a meditative spell that will linger for hours after a listen. The band takes a simple approach to tugging at the heartstrings, and is all the more effective at it for playing it that way. See them live when they play Bowery Electric on July 17. - Mike Levine (@Goldnuggets)
- The Deli

"Modern Merchant : For The Fields EP"

Modern Merchant fait de la pop douce, en provenance de Brooklyn. Modern Merchant, c’est d’abord une voix profonde, celle de John Parson qui résonne au travers de mélodies intimistes où les guitares glissent comme les anges et les synthés crient une urgence semblable à une respiration nécessaire.

Eux viennent de dévoiler un EP For The Fields, 6 titres entêtants, aux rythmiques éclectiques où les changements sont dynamiques et les harmonies multi-couches.

Modern Merchant, c’est un quatuor formé de John Parson (chant, guitare), de Jesse Stanford (guitare, chant, synthé), de Mike Skaggs (basse) et de Sydney Weiss (percussions, voix) qui fait une dream pop mélancolique où les espoirs cachés dans les notes côtoient un rock lo-fi aux harmonies délicates.

Après une introduction aérienne, When The Market Crash, où les frictions, en ligne de basse et les tensions sont sous-tendues, leur musique semble être un mélange entre Local Native et Grizzly Bear. Pourtant, leur marque de fabrique est singulière, hantant les pistes à la volée. Ce sont toutes des harmonies émouvantes qui chevauchent une progressive agitation addictive.

Like Minded met ainsi en valeur la voix langoureuse de John Parson, créant un pas-de-deux sombre, laissant le clair-obscur être l’interprète de leur âme avec des guitares, des percussions et des chœurs qui donnent corps à cette étreinte subtile. Le refrain reste profondément ancré dans l’esprit, comme un aveux.

Puis se profile un autre rythme avec Marry Me Annie, plus jazzy, des percussions dominant la toile sonore. Là, tel un cache-cache acoustique pour monde à la renverse, la piste traîne une mélancolie décadente, un souffle doux.

Unending Afterthought continue la danse, empruntant un autre sentier, celui psychédélique où des échos lo-fi, une batterie menaçante contrastent avec l’ensemble des voix qui fournissent alors une douceur sauvage.

La ballade sinueuse de Modern Merchant se continue avec For The Fields ponctué de sifflements à la fois las et entraînants. Là, les voix vous emportent, dream pop à la limite du folk irrégulier, délice des sens, les aiguisant dans toutes les directions.

Quant enfin Necessary Evil retentit, Modern Merchant se fait plus pop rock, tout en impulsions lactées et en harmonies infinies. Leur mouvement vous porte à la dérive.

Fragile, nomade, leur dérivation leur permet d’atteindre des rivages où personne ne peut venir les chercher. Comme des passagers dans un bateau à la dérive, ils sont, dans le grand vent des saisons, quatre âmes enfermés avec l’espoir et le doute. - Pause Musicale

"Modern Merchant – For The Fields"

John Parson, Jesse Stanford, Mike Skaggs and Sydney Weiss make up the band Modern Merchant. Originally hailing from Connecticut, they are now based in Brooklyn, and have released their debut album For the Fields. The six songs were recorded in October, 2012 in Connecticut while Super Storm Sandy was wreaking its havoc on the eastern seaboard and far inland. The band managed to avoid falling trees, sustained wind gusts, flooding, and power outages, while shacked up in a house in the woods of Connecticut, and walked out into a new day with a finished album in hand.

The six tracks are moderately paced, mood setting songs that take their time developing, but don’t drone on to do so, and never get boring. The songs are simple, but effective, especially since they aim to create an ethereal ambience. Modern Merchant succeeds at building this experience by using steady drum beats, determined bass-lines, guitar rhythms and leads that float along. The lead vocals threaten to soar, but stay attached to the music enough to sound like its purpose is to be another instrument, and not something to take over and dominate the songs. This approach also allows for the singers to flow into the vocal harmonies that elevate the tracks.

The songs tend to cycle around themselves until they gradually open up just a bit more until they are fully realized. Some songs sound like they could be slowed down Pinback tracks, and at the same time the band can have a Pink Floyd-like atmospheric feel that attempts to float you away with them through the ether. They have a psychedelic quality in this way, and could very well prove to be some stoner’s favorite mood setters. The tracks “When the Markets Crash,” “Like Minded,” and “Necessary Evil” are all great examples of these qualities that the band has worked to create.

For The Fields is a solid debut EP from the band, with good songs that stand on their own, but also that seem to just scratch the surface of the band’s potential. Released April 1st, the band is hosting its record release party April 27th at Rockwood Music Hall in Manhattan, with plans to embark on a tour soon after. - Wordkrapht

"Modern Merchant Creates Layers of Harmony on ‘For the Fields’ EP"

You don’t hear a lot of clarinet in rock ‘n’ roll, but there it is, winding its way through “Marry Me Annie” on Modern Merchant’s new EP, “For the Fields.” Although part of the Brooklyn indie band released a three-song demo in 2011, “For the Fields” is the full group’s proper debut, and it’s a promising one at that.

The quartet — John Parson, Mike Skaggs, Jesse Stanford and Sydney Weiss — plays lush, low-key songs structured around bobbing waves of melody. Singer Parson surrounds his understated voice with dreamy layers of guitar, keyboards, bass and drums, adding touches like the clarinet on “Marry Me Annie” or trebly spikes of guitar on “Like-Minded.” A wash of noise swells up behind his vocals on “Unending Afterthought,” and a descending whistling part evokes Andrew Bird on the slow spiraling title track.

“For the Fields” is bookended by a pair of songs that encapsulate everything Modern Merchant does well. Opener “When the Markets Crash” makes excellent use of space, piling up layers of wordless vocals over an ebb-and-flow beat that occasionally recedes to leave Parson’s voice standing alone. On the back end, closing song “Necessary Evil” emphasizes a bold rhythm that dissolves into a warm, drifting expanse of guitars and harmony vocals on the refrain.

What Modern Merchant needs, now that the band has released a compelling studio recording, is to follow it up sooner, rather than later. It’s one thing to leave listeners wanting more, as long as you don’t leave them waiting too long. - Listen, Dammit

"Modern Merchant :: "Like Minded""

Playing a languid form of the outsider pop that has recently charmed audiences with its deftness and lilting harmonies, Modern Merchant, a Brooklyn four-piece, offer their voice to the chorus on "Like Minded". A bit like Local Natives set in a sultry lounge scene, the band crafts a sparse guitar lick to offset the languorous vocals, eventually soaring with the addition of synthesizers at the edges. The arrangement glides along without obvious friction, a pleasant male-female duet announcing the second movement, a mildly more urgent take on the original conceit, rich and moving harmonies set against a stirring progression. More than just one song, the band's most recent EP, For The Fields, is as good an extended player to come out of Brooklyn this year, offering odes to Grizzly Bear and the aforementioned Local Natives, without feeling a bit derivative.
- 32ftpersecond Blog

"Marry Me Annie"

I wasn’t sure how I felt about the latest EP by Modern Merchant upon first listen until I reached track three, a slow grooving, dreamy pop song called ‘Marry Me Annie‘. The song is in the vein of Grizzly Bear and Local Natives, no question, but the delicate horn based rhythm section at the top is infectious. Blankets of harmonized vocals swoop in shortly after and the lead melody immediately had my head bobbing in a Jim James fashion, entrancing in style. The song dynamically moves from section to section, sonically telling a tale for those who stumble on the play button. I’m glad to provide that button today and I hope you’ll download their EP right after. - Dingus on Music

"Modern Merchant, ‘Like-Minded’ – Free MP3 Download"

Modern Merchant have put their stamp on dreamy harmonies set to swelling instrumentation, joining the likes of Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear on that front. There’s even some clarinet in there.

The group’s story began in New Haven, Conn., where Jesse Stanford (guitars, vocals, synth) met John Parson (lead vocals, guitar). The duo relocated to Brooklyn, and Mike Skaggs (bass) and Sydney Weiss (drums, vocals) quickly completed the quartet. Their whimsical sound has been well received, earning them a recording session with and an upcoming performance opening for Mates of State.

Their debut EP, ‘For the Fields,’ offers six tracks swimming in richness. The layered guitars build perfectly around the group’s trembling yet elegant vocals, demanding the attention of listeners. We’re offering ‘Like-Minded’ as today’s free download. The track quite literally withstood the elements, and thankfully so, because it’s one of the EP’s standout tracks.

“The song was recorded in the midst of Hurricane Sandy, in an old, blue house deep in the woods of Connecticut,” Parson told “Miraculously, the power stayed on, we didn’t run out of pancakes or beer and when the storm passed, ‘Like-Minded’ was there.” - Diffuser.FM

"Album of the Day 6/4/13: Modern Merchant - For The Fields"

Lush. Rich. Ornamental. These are all adjectives you're going to read over and over again when you hear people describe the newest EP from Brooklyn (by way of CT) indie folk outfit, Modern Merchant. Unfortunately for them these are all drastic understatements.

Modern Merchant drape layers upon layers of instrumentation and melodies all over For The Fields in the way some of the great painters have left paint drying so thick on the canvas the textures and depth are visible from across the gallery space. Whether they are in moments of deep introspection or light-hearted whimsy, Modern Merchant is able to create powerful and entrancing atmospheres. Theirs is a style of music that commands your undivided attention at every listen, whether on a dark Summer night with a good set of headphones or in the live setting. Either way they are busy evoking roughly 30 years of some of the masters of alluring sounds from psych rock to shoegaze to dream pop.

John Parson and Jesse Stanford are two of the best songwriters Connecticut has churned out in some time. On their own or in other outfits they were exceptional at their craft but together they are an absolute powerhouse. That's not to diminish the contributions of bassist Mike Skaggs or drummer Sydney Weiss. On the contrary this band couldn't succeed sonically without the backbone that this rhythm section lays down. Most drummers keep time. Weiss keeps time and place while Skaggs fills in the gaps with near perfect proficiency. This foursome plays off one another in a way that very few bands are capable of organically achieving.

For The Fields is like a walk in your favorite forest. It's familiar and you might know the landscape well enough. But there is so much beauty and stimuli that you'll discover something fresh and exciting with each and every stroll down the path.

You can hear selections from this album over at the Modern Merchant Bandcamp page. For The Fields is available for purchase there or from the band directly at their many upcoming live performances this Summer. -


Still working on that hot first release.



The haunting melodies and pulse-like rhythms of Brooklyn-based Modern Merchant will get you a bit dazed and glassy-eyed. Layered harmonies and dynamic shifts work to create a soundscape that's at once experimental yet grounded in pop sensibilities.

Modern Merchant is John Parson (vocals, guitar), Jesse Stanford (guitar, vocals, synth), Mike Skaggs (bass) and Sydney Weiss (percussion, vocals).

Having crossed paths in the New Haven music scene, Stanford and Parson established Modern Merchant, bringing in Weiss and Skaggs after a move to Brooklyn.

The band recorded a session with to support their first full band EP, "For The Fields" in April 2013, and has toured throughout the Northeast and Midwest. 

The band is currently in the studio working on their next album.

They have shared the stage with Mates of State, Caveman, Islands, Lucius, Sea Wolf and Hospitality.