The Mirror Stage
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The Mirror Stage

Band Rock Avant-garde


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Underlined Magazine (Chicago, IL)"

"Behind a barrage of language and allusion, the music quietly creates its own vocabulary. Ten Thousand Tongues is a rare work that is immediately listenable, yet speaks in a language all its own." - Underlined Magazine

"Oxford Town Show Preview"

"The Mirror Stage headlines this Saturday night giving Oxford the rare opportunity to discover a genre of thinking man's music." - Oxford Town

"A to Z (Riverfront Times Music Blog)"

"Tasteful, burbling keyboards, dreamy guitars and James McAnally's starry-eyed vocals dominate the EP; recommended for fans of Copeland, Secret Machines and surging pop bands of their ilk." - Riverfront Times

"Interview with Nothing Quite Like the Blinding Light"

nql: Any plans of releasing a full length soon?

JM: After our East Coast tour, we plan on coming back to St. Louis to write and record scratch tracks pretty intensively. We have about ten songs at various stages of completion. The songs are more melodic, but more challenging as well. There is much more of an old soul and gospel element that blends into larger, more complicated arrangements in a way we done much in the past. It is overall just more ambitious-songs with seven pianos and others with Taiko drumming.

If I have a title first, the rest seems to fall into place--right now we are working with the title “Trumpeter,” which relates to an idea of something being announced, some judgment or hope being called into being. We don’t work in “concept albums,” but everything we write is arranged along certain themes that create resonances over the course of an album. Ten Thousand Tongues was primarily concerned with how to speak of a world we don’t understand, whether that be responding to the over-hanging anxiety of a post-atomic environment or wading through an image-drenched world to weave together some truth. Trumpeter is more visceral and, in many ways, more relatable (which isn’t to say it isn’t as dense, unfortunately…).

nql: With all that is now at an artist’s disposal as far as DIY is concerned, I sometimes wonder why a band would even want to be on a label. As a band that is currently unsigned, what is your attitude on this issue?

JM: We’re trying to answer that one as well! What it comes down to for us is how to best have our music heard. On our own, we have toured, shot a professional music video for “Electrical Storm,” received radio play across the country and sold a fair number of CD’s. Not to mention the fact that we have handmade all of our merch (shirts, stickers, buttons…) and most of our CD’s. We aren’t a typical band in this respect. Three of the four of us run our own businesses-Brea is a highly-demanded photographer around the country; I run a nonprofit artist studio and gallery space; and Nate runs an art therapy center. We’ve put all of our profits from the band back into touring, recording, etc, so that we are essentially running a business that is currently making a profit. Our first tour was even profitable, which is unheard of. We are good at the things most bands need a label’s help with. At some point, it becomes a question of how much leverage a label will provide. If the exposure or distribution they provide outweighs the traditional costs involved, then it makes sense to sign. If not, we will continue our path. We are a career band. We try to build respect with our listeners and supporters and over time that grows and that can happen slowly or it can happen overnight. We just know this is what we should be doing. Beyond that, the business will get done. - Alex Crisafulli

"STL Sound Magazine"

What do they sound like? If you said indie rock, you'd be right. If you said art rock, you'd be right on target. You could also throw in cerebral, literature-driven and highly visual. The Mirror Stage burst onto the scene this spring with Ten Thousand Tongues. The five songs therein are shimmering, challenging, complex, rich, deep...And yet the songs are accessible and enjoyable...dare I say unlike anything we've heard from a brand new local band? - Laura Hamlett

"Louisville Eccentric Observer Pick of the Week"

The Mirror Stage recently self-released their debut EP Ten Thousand Tongues to praise from music critics and aficionados across the country. The band blends indie-rock with folk and baroque, creating a powerful sound that has earned them comparisons to the Arcade Fire and Explosions In The Sky. Lead singer James McAnally...exhibits some powerful vocal melodies on Tongues... - Louisville Eccentric Observer

"Inside STL Review"

On Ten Thousand Tongues, The Mirror Stage create music which encompasses a wide collection of sound varying from rock, to indie, artsy, and pop. With equally diverse and not surprising musical and literary influences, ranging from The Arcade Fire and Bob Dylan, to T.S. Eliot and Haruki Murakami, the band's music cleverly walks the tight rope of substance and mainstream appeal. Whether you are in the mood for introspection or just rocking out, Ten Thousand Tongues is an incredibly strong debut CD worthy of a listen. - Suresh Mohapatra

"Flagpole Magazine (Athens, GA)"

Cerebral, intricate indie rock with layers of dark, dreamy swirling guitars - Flagpole Magazine

"The Album Project"

The Mirror Stage has created a very compelling album that dives into a slightly darker indie rock. 'Ten Thousand Tongues' uses some light electronic elements to enhance the sound which fits well with the unique fragmented singing style. -

"The Local Voice (Oxford, MS)"

They combine intellect, talent, and stylistic confidence...The Mirror Stage are one fine excerpt from your generation's contribution. - The Oxford Eagle


Ten Thousand Tongues EP
First Single "Electrical Storm" has received national, international, and online radio airplay



The Mirror Stage crafts music that is greater than mere notes and lyrics. Its complex and intriguing songs epitomize the marriage of thought and instinct, of letting inspiration lead the way in a quest for perfection. It's a lofty goal, certainly, yet one they've achieved on their debut EP Ten Thousand Tongues--five songs that are more inspired by writers such as Samuel Beckett and T.S. Eliot than musicians or songwriters.

The writing of vocalist/guitarist/wordsmith James McAnally comes from a desire to communicate those moments that usually leave us speechless. "Some people respond sitting at a piano, hearing it resonate, or in front of a symphony, picking out the parts," he says. "I get it when writing, because I am trying to take all of these disconnected sources and weave them in to a story that attempts to make sense of a world in which the atomic bomb and Lazarus are supposed to coexist. Our best and worst as a society are both present in each of the songs."

Yet The Mirror Stage isn't solely lyrically focused; its thoughtfully constructed words are backed by intricate instrumentation that builds into well-composed crescendos. Each of its members is musically trained, from theory to opera to performance. James studied experimental music in college--including chant theory, which explains the chant and choral parts of Ten Thousand Tongues, as well as the unorthodox instrumentation from hammered dulcimer to unmetered percussion. Through ongoing musical study, Gregg Roberson contributes a variety of sounds to the band, including piano, guitar, bass and synth. And with her background in opera, keyboardist/vocalist Brea McAnally lends a gorgeously artistic touch. As she explains, "Opera training showed me there aren't any limits to the sounds one can make with the human voice."

James traces the enigmatic narratives of Ten Thousand Tongues back to an elegy given by his Methodist-preacher father. He recalled an Irish proverb which speaks of "thin places:” spots on earth in which angels come to watch us and where we can hear them move. "The thin places are people or places," says James, "certain songs or chord progressions, those unnamable things that change us that we've never known how to talk about."

A fitting rise to the music of The Mirror Stage; you listen, you try to find the words to express your feelings but, ultimately, you just give into them. Good art doesn't have to be explained to be appreciated. If it moves you, if it inspires you, if it challenges you, somewhere along the line you realize it has changed you ever so slightly and, whether quiet or loud, it is still humming below the surface.