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new harmony indiana

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States | INDIE

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States | INDIE
Band Americana Acoustic

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"New Harmony Indiana America's Physic"

With its recreation of a raucous fundamentalist prayer meeting, “Devil Take the Hindmost” opens America's Physic on a Flannery O'Connor note. What follows can often be categorized as Americana, but not everything by Milwaukee's New Harmony Indiana is easy to peg. The hootenanny sing-along “Before She Goes” detours down a Beatlesque bridge. “Crystal” conjures ghosts of Johnny Cash & The Tennessee Two, yet like many of the band's lyrics, the words (with their theme of memory against the “march of progress”) balance the archaic with the contemporary. Recorded in a loose, live-sounding session, America's Physic presents 15 comfortably worn songs that explore freedom and responsibility, the unfinished aftermath of death and, on “That Was the Modern World,” coming of age at the dawn of punk rock. More than just a collection of strong tunes, America's Physic has the flow and contrast of a great album.

- Express Milwaukee


"New Harmony Indiana - America's Physic"

New Harmony Indiana - America's Physic - onMilwaukee.com


"New Harmony Indiana, Parlour Music"

Sometimes listening to indie music is as difficult as trying to find a decent song on commercial radio. It's the gems you discover that make the search worthwhile. For me, Parlour Music is one of those gems.

This is quite a low-key effort. Upright bassist Matt Krajewski's vocals are understated, as are the instruments of Joe Vent (guitar, banjo and lap steel) and Jeff Krajewski (drums and percussion), the background vocals of Stephanie Dosen and those of various other players including fiddle and keyboards.

Spooky is an appropriate word, not in the sense of gothic, but because some of the songs are in the minor keys and have mysterious lyrics. Many of the titles reinforce this; for example, "Stigmata," "I'm Not Afraid of You," "Scars" and "I'm Troubled."

As is often true of the best indie work, this CD is not easy to classify, and different listeners will hear different things. I would disagree with the band's website calling it "an exhilarating mix of Latin dance, industrial jazz, moaning hillbilly ballads and a few pop-rock tunes." I think that the CD IS exhilarating, but not because of its high energy. The only song that seems to fit the genres in the above list is "Waterin' Hole," and even that is quite far from anything you would ever hear at a bluegrass festival.

I could imagine these atmospheric songs sung in French, in a smoky Paris back-alley bistro. Matt Krajewski's accordion on a few cuts brings out this flavor. Only four other words come to mind -- quirky, beautiful and highly recommended.

- Rambles
written by Dave Howell
published 24 January 2004
http://www.rambles.net/nhi_parlour03.html - Rambles, a cultural arts magazine


"New Harmony Indiana, Parlour Music"

It's unusual to find rustic instrumentation in arrangements as unusual as those of New Harmony Indiana's Parlour Music. Sure, "Waterin' Hole" speaks with an Americana accent and would sound at home in a No Depression set list. But most of the music by this Milwaukee band can't be easily pegged. Guitarist (and banjo player) Joe Vent reinvents a song from his old band the Yell Leaders, "I'm Troubled," with quietly desperate backing vocals, plucked Appalachian strings and electronic distortion echoing the narrator's disorientation. It's one of the most vivid evocations of depression ever recorded, registering the physical agony, emotional paralysis and fleeting thoughts of death that can accompany the malady. The dour "I'm Not Afraid of You" sounds ancient with its accordian, fiddle and string bass (by vocalist Matt Krajewski), grounded by an incessant primeval drumbeat.

Not everything on Parlour Music is covered in frowns. New Harmony's take on Ministry's "Stigmata" is a jazzy lark--imagine an Elvis impersonator in a lounge-lizard mood. And the snappy rockers "Dig a New Hole" and "My Inspiration" recall the sweeping urgency of '80s Britpop.

--Dave Luhrssen
- Shepherd Express


"New Harmony Indiana, Parlour Music"

My dear readers, I am going to confess something to you, and I hope and pray that you do not hold this admission against me. Please don't use it against me in a court of law, this confesion is just between me and thee, and I'm trusting you to keep it close to your chest, and that you carry it with you for all your days. It's one that is especially true in the case of New Harmony Indiana.

I like music that is funny.

(I can imagine my credibilty going down the drain with that one.)

Why is it that a dang sense of humor is something to be ashamed of? Ladies and gentlemen, I really do not understand why people in this underground music environment that we are all trapped in do not understand that laughing and having a good time in an irony-free environment is NOT A BAD THING. Why must you stand there with your arms folded, a dour frown planted on your face, and just this whole laughable po-faced attitude that will not allow you to crack a smile? You aren't Morrissey, you aren't Thom Yorke, you only own their records, so will you pack up that piss-poor attitude of yours and just LAUGH every now and then, and ENJOY music that's fun and funny? (I'd rather hear Roger Miller than Morrissey ANY day. Wouldn't you?)

See, New Harmony Indiana is one of the funniest records I've heard all year. Don't get me wrong, I'm not laughing at Jeff Krajewski, because I don't think that his band is a joke one, but I do feel as if you have to listen to Parlour Music with a sense of humor, because, well...if you take anything too seriously, you won't like it--even though you think you might. Such is double the case with New Harmony Indiana--if you're not careful, you could be put off on the first listen, and that would be a shame.

I don't see any of that nasty 'irony' in New Harmony Indiana's game, but what I do see is a young man who's got a lot of musical inspirations and he's not afraid to use them. Imagine a drunken mix of lounge music, pop music, adult-contemporary and lite jazz, thrown together in the hands of an ex-goth crooner who suddenly went straight when he learned of the magic of singing to aging hipsters and their beards, and you'll be close to appreciating Parlour Music. On the surface, you could easily be put off by Jeff Krajewski's voice--it's like an unholy alliance between Bryan Ferry and Nick Cave, and if you don't have a sense of humor, then you're more likely than not going to hit the 'off'' button and go, "JOSEPH, WHAT IS THIS GAWDAWFUL POO THAT YOU'RE SO HYPED ABOUT???"

But, you see, that's the great thing about Parlour Music. The more you listen to it, the more you realize that, OH MY GOODNESS, these guys are serious! The silly jazz stylings of "City Of Lost Children" and "I'm Troubled" might make you laugh, but when you get down to it, those songs aren't silly--they're utterly sincere, and you shouldn't write these guys off as a novelty act. But, then again, how could you not like New Harmony Indiana? They've put a smile on my face and have made me laugh today--a day when a laugh was exactly what I needed.

Though it's sad that humor in music isn't appreciated by most music listeners, that doesn't hurt New Harmony Indiana none. These kids have impressed me, they've impressed folks at NPR, and they'll impress you if you allow them to. Seek this one out, my friends, because you'll be impressed, you'll be amused, you'll be wowed (especially with their lounge version of a Ministry hit), and, best of all, you'll add a few minutes onto your pathetic little too-serious lives--if you still remember how to laugh. Parlour Music is such a fun record.

You remember what 'fun' is, don't you?

--Joseph Kyle
posted December 9, 2003 - Mundane Sounds


"New Harmony Indiana, Parlour Music"

Ouvrir le boîtier de Parlour Music, c'est comme pousser les portes battantes du saloon d'une ville fantôme où flottent encore des notes abandonnées dans le temps.

La musique de New Harmony Indiana oscille entre un rock campagnard avec des arrière-goûts jazzy et une musique folk fantomatique veloutée.

Matt Krajewski, le musicien ultra-polyvalent à la tête du combo, orchestre des rencontres des plus improbables entre instruments, et confronte le côté traditionnel d'une folk sympathique à la disto d'un rock plus ou moins énergique, cela pour le plus grand plaisir des oreilles.

Un melting-pot amusant, parfois intrigant, pimenté par des dérapages contrôlés de la voix de Matt entre un côté country music limite parodique et un côté crooner à rouflaquettes tout aussi tonique.

L'album fait penser à pas mal de références vu le brassage de styles et de sonorités, entre autres à Johnny Cash et à Tom Waits, mais aussi à l'aspect brouillon méticuleux de certains groupes de la scène anversoise, comme chez Kiss My Jazz, par exemple.

Sur plusieurs plages, on a tendance à se laisser porter par le minimalisme délicieux d'un instrument en particulier et à passer à côté d'orchestrations excentriques (que l'on découvrira avec d'autant plus d'intérêt lors des écoutes suivantes).

Scars et Dig a New Hole sont les morceaux qui tirent l'album vers le haut, ceux qu'on pourrait écouter quinze fois de suite sans penser à balancer le CD par la fenêtre.

My Inspiration transporte un je-ne-sais-quoi rappelant les bons débuts de la carrière solo de Phil Collins, et constitue un beau petit bouquet final pour l'album.

Sébastien Cools

- ramdam.com


Discography

The New CD, America's Physic - featuring Otis Gibbs and Sara Kozar - focus tracks - #3 It Started Raining, #6 Crystal

Their Debut CD, Parlour Music, was put together by Al Williams (Willy Porter) and Gary Tanin. The lead track, Sometimes, was featured on NPR's All Things Considered

Photos

Bio

New Harmony Indiana are a trio that plays Americana music. Or maybe better stated, they play a wide variety of American music. They are the brainchild of Matt Krajewski. The three members come from a handful of Midwestern touring outfits. The likes of; the Yell Leaders (pop/rock), the Wooldridge Brothers (Americana) and Tolstoi’s Tricycle (pop/prog) These groups helped them develop an unusually diverse musical palette. When Matt decided to form his own musical project, there was no escaping musical past. He gathered together a few of his most accomplished cohorts and decided to re-write the book.

Traditional country instrumentation provides their basic musical foundation, and it’s not unusual, to hear a distorted guitar, a trad fiddle, and a 100 –year-old reed organ on the same loungy pop song. Throw in the stray banjo, lapsteel and ghostly harmonies and you might start to get the picture. What ties this all together is their love of music in it’s more pure forms.

NHI creates diverse interesting, intelligent, and aesthetically pleasing music. And it’s not the contrast between musical styles which define NHI’s sound, it is the common thread that ties it together.