The Definite Articles
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The Definite Articles

San Francisco, California, United States | SELF

San Francisco, California, United States | SELF
Band Rock Folk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


This band has no press


EP: Boy Wonder
LP: King Merriweather

Both are available streaming on Rdio.


Feeling a bit camera shy


"We basically sound like The Arcade Fire or The Decemberists with a string quartet where the guitars usually go," is the way members of The Definite Articles would probably summarize their sound to a stranger. Other attempts to shorthand their lush, multilayered indie rock blend don't quite seem to hit the mark; "orchestral rock" conjures images of a night at the symphony, and people are always surprised to find out that "string rock" includes a singer, keyboards, and drums.

Begun in 2005 as an acoustic duo featuring cellist/singer Shawn Alpay and violinist Jon Sung, The Definite Articles have always had an affinity for thoughtful, illustrative songs painted with a polyphonic brush. Their palette expanded in 2007 with the addition of violist Melody Mundy, drummer Arjun Singh, and keyboard/vocalist Molly Smart. Violinist Tanya Quinlan, who joined the ranks of The Definite Articles in 2010, completes the quartet at the band's core.

The seeds for their first full-length album "King Merriweather" were planted by a single song that bandleader Shawn Alpay wrote in 2007. The set of lyrics contained there seemed to describe a much different place than those constructed for his other songs, and it inspired Shawn to compose more in that vein; within a few months, the bulk of the album had been penned. Over the next two years, song arrangements took shape as a full collaboration with the other members of the band. Recording at John Vanderslice's Tiny Telephone commenced this past June; instrumentation recorded during the session ultimately comprised 30 musicians, including woodwinds, horns, harp, choir, and a dozen strings.