Sean Wagner and the Ne'er Do Wells
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Sean Wagner and the Ne'er Do Wells

Portland, Oregon, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF

Portland, Oregon, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2009
Band Pop Folk

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Music

Press


"Sean Wagner and the Ne'er Do Wells EP Review"

"Similar to great folk acts like The Lumineers and Paul Simon, Sean Wagner and the gang are releasing timeless pieces of musical art that can only be enjoyed by the ears of a well-versed listener whose affinity for music surpasses the superficial barriers of mainstream pop music." - I Am Entertainment Magazine


"Sean Wagner and the Ne'er Do Wells EP Review July 2014"

Blasting into the soundscapes with trumpets blazing to complete abandon-the brass parps in all the right places and the overall arrangement is joyous.

It’s a heartwarming selection of tunes that is worth taking the time to listen to, at a time when radio pop and mindless hip-hop is being pummeled into our ears at every turn. Sean Wagner has presented something new, blending a variety of styles and creating something that sounds genuinely new and enjoyable. It’s hard to pick out a key track – ‘Arcadia’ and ‘Before The Storm’ both have outstanding brass swells that cause the heart to beat a little faster. - Skope Magazine


"Word Came With the Evening Review-10-Piece Musical Beast"

You must check out the new album Word Came with the Evening from 10-piece musical beast Sean Wagner & The Ne’er Do Wells. - Pen's Eye View


"Word Came With the Evening Review: Infectious, Unforgettable"

The album starts off with the warm, inviting sound of Hawthorne-the upbeat tempo works so well with the lyrics and chorus that makes it so unforgettable. The real fun is in Not Yet with its build-up horn section and shouts of hey!; that get everybody singing along. Sean's songs are so infectious that you can't help but get wrapped up in them, especially Hard To Find and the groove of Never Be Enough. The mellow sway of Cascadia (Wash Us Away) and upbeat tempo of So Together show the diversity in Sean's music on this latest release. - JP's Music Blog


"Word Came With the Evening Review"

"Carefully crafted, well-polished indie pop." - IndieMusic.co


"Word Came With the Evening Review: Well-composed plus some, radio friendly melodies-vast musicality is impressive in that the use defies convention."

The 11-tracks play out with exuberance—proto-pop sentimentalities and radio friendly melodies, with the addition of a genreless horn section. Allowing the brass to simply shine for its own merit and to nestle neatly in with the rest of the instrumentation is a bright spot from track to track. Also apparent is a dedication not just to the songwriting and not just to the musicality, instead the sound conveys a commitment to the whole of the songs.

Opening to the staccato melody of “Hawthorne” the body of instrumentation is upfront with electric chirps, slight percussion and horn foundation. The groove of the track may bear some resemblance to a down-tempo ska or mock reggae piece but the arrangement of the song sees the vocal delivery and musicality in harmony through the initial verses making it something entirely its own. The closing solo is comprised of pristine trumpet at the lead with an undercurrent of offbeat trombone slides. Those 23 seconds is a small window of pure genius in placement and execution. “Not Yet” is a slight instrumental interlude showcasing the “music-only” capability of the group. Piano builds through to the addition of strings, backing percussion and eventually horn blasts, with barely a guitar (or any other standard instrumentation) to be heard. The terse track crescendos through the body of the track, adding more and more facets to the soundscape and conveys the strength of the musicality without so much as one cymbal crash. Jangle strum opens “The Victor” with Wagner channeling Death Cab’s Ben Gibbard and his penchant for upper range, nasal vocal delivery. Drumstick percussion joins the fold just under the horn interplay and intermittent electric guitar fills. With its sing-songy ethos one barely notices the addition of cryptic Edgar Allen Poe verses to the lyrics and would never guess this was a song about darker matter all together. “Cascadia (Wash Us Away) is a down tempo, demure track that cleverly hides the track ethos of a long-overdue catastrophic event that hits the Oregon coast much in the same way as The Decemberists’ “Calamity Song.” It’s a songwriting feat that plays out as intended without sounding contrived or forced.

Much like the “mise en place” in the culinary world, Wagner has done the same thing with these tracks in terms of “everything in its place, as it should be.” The vocal delivery doesn’t stand out amongst the tracks, but shares the space with the instrumentation. And as mentioned, the vast musicality is impressive in that the use defies convention. Horns assume the lead on many of the tracks and are used as addition fills in others. “Guitar-driven” isn’t in the Wagner dictionary on this album, instead the approach can only be described as atypical and proof that the tracks were treated with due diligence. Moody and brooding at points and cheery and uplifting at others; this is well composed plus some. - Skope Magazine


"Word Came With the Evening Review: This is a fantastic album, a very epic one. Tremendous songcraft."

A 10-piece band complete with four horns and two strings, the Ne'er Do Wells illuminate Wagner's already luminous songwriting. That very magic is captured note for note on their latest album Word Came With the Evening. This is a fantastic album, a very epic one. Tremendous songcraft, a lot of great orchestration on it, great brass, just a great album.
- RockWired Radio


"Tangled and Knotted Album Review"

There's plenty to love in Wagner's smart-but-breezy tone, his horn and strings, and his bedroom-pop vocal delivery-on new disc Tangled and Knotted, such a nice sound and voice." - Willamette Week


"Tangled and Knotted Album Review"

There's plenty to love in Wagner's smart-but-breezy tone, his horn and strings, and his bedroom-pop vocal delivery-on new disc Tangled and Knotted, such a nice sound and voice." - Willamette Week


"Tangled and Knotted Album Review"

"Tangled and Knotted, a joyful little pop record, is affable and pleasant with plenty of traditional rock radio charm. Good songs and a great voice." Ezra Caraeff, Portland Mercury - The Portland Mercury


"Tangled and Knotted Album Review"

"Reminds me of an early Paul Simon-that type of songwriter." Inessa, 101.9 Kink.fm Portland. - 101.9 kink.fm


"All the While Album Review"

Like Ted Leo's airy voice glued to Ray Lamontagne's horn-filled hooks, Sean Wagner has a certain voice-meets-brass magnetism."
- Mark Stock, Willamette Week
- Willamette Week


"All the While Album Review"

"A singer/songwriter with an airy, light voice, Sean Wagner is immersed in penning mid-tempo pop songs, each as consistent and compelling as the last." Ezra Caraeff - Portland Mercury


"Tangled and Knotted Album Review"

"There's plenty to love in Wagner's smart-but-breezy tone, his horn and strings, and his bedroom-pop vocal delivery-on new disc Tangled and Knotted, such a nice sound and voice." - The Willamette Weekly


"Portland Mercury Review"

"A singer/songwriter with an airy, light voice, Sean Wagner is immersed in penning mid-tempo pop songs, each as consistent and compelling as the last." Ezra Caraeff, The Portland Mercury - The Portland Mercury


"All The While Review"

"On All The While, Wagner's songs shine through with the pop sensibilities of Spoon, Elvis Costello, and The Cars. The former of those examples is very apparent on his song “Time Will Tell”. A raucous mixture of horns, upbeat hand claps and playful lyrics, the song is about as contagious as any could be.

From a purely songwriting stand point Wagner has the very, very rare ability to write ridiculously catchy songs that refuse to leave your mind long after you’ve stopped listening, and you have to give Wagner a lot of credit for being able to produce such an extensive album of hooks and choruses. Songs like “Warning Signs”, “Let’s Go” and “Boston” can make your aunt tap her feet while being the hipster’s guilty pleasure. It’s the grey area that many artists wish they could tap in to. " Hoyt Emerson, This Heart Will Burn Right Out

- This Heart Will Burn Right Out


"Review"

If falling in love had a melody, it would sound exactly like the keyboard line in Sean Wagner's "I Can't Tell You." But as it turns out, the song's about breaking up, not falling in love. That juxtaposition of the bitter and the sweet marks each song on his debut EP in some way, as the sleepy sun-bleached melodies explore the ineffable sweetness of looking back and trying to move on.

With a sound reminiscent of the softer side of Pete Yorn mixed up with John Mayer's alt-country-tinged cousin, the 5 songs on Long Lost Photograph feel instantly familiar. Have longing and regret been covered by other artists in other times? Yeah, of course. But it's been a while since someone new explored them with such an artful blending of summery lightness and heartbreaking intimacy.

This is music to be listened to on the beach, in the park, or on a long drive with the windows down and the stereo up. Sit back, relax, and indulge in a daydream about that one perfect summer, that one perfect lover, that one perfect, sun-drenched, frozen-in-time day. So maybe you can't go home again—you can sure as hell sing about it."- Lisa Marshall - Reviewer from Portland Indie Paper


"Willamette Week Review"

"Like Ted Leo’s airy voice glued to Ray Lamontagne’s horn-filled hooks, Sean Wagner has a certain voice-meets-brass magnetism. Wagner occasionally invites a few jazz elements into his repertoire, borrowing a somber sax note or triumphant trumpet chord. The guitar-totin’ Portlander celebrates the release of his new album, All The While, at The White Eagle." MARK STOCK, Willamette Week
- Willamette Week


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

A raucous 9-piece folk-pop group showcasing captivating arrangements, punchy hooks, blaring horns, soulful strings, and lush harmonies, Sean Wagner and the Ne’er Do Wells have played shows and festivals across the United States. Sean Wagner’s music has garnered comparisons to artists such as the Vampire Weekend, Paul Simon, and the Lumineers, and has been featured on multiple networks (MTV, Discovery, A&E), Pandora.com, and radio stations around the world in addition to being selected a winner in 2014's International Songwriting Competition.

Interspersed between live shows, the band has released one EP and three LPs (including their most recent entitled Word Came With the Evening in November of 2013) and is working on a new record to be released in August of 2014 with a tour to follow.  

Band Members