Milagres (formerly The Secret Life of Sofia)
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Milagres (formerly The Secret Life of Sofia)

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"When this band "emerges" it will be after years of a solid base of NYC fans telling anyone who will listen to check them out. Their new album is very high on my list of what I'm looking forward to in 2008. "

and, a few months later...

"Seven Summits finds The Secret Life of Sofia scaling peaks of their own construct that are no less varied than the mountains and mountaineers conveyed in the songs they sing. Each track is justly layered and burrows deep; grabbing hold of the most human elements, contrasting those with the grandest of landscapes, and tugging little by little. Over a dozen listens in, this record continues to amaze." - Ear Farm


Did you go to Mercury Lounge on Saturday night to see Bound Stems? Or, maybe for Maritime? Not me. Let me ask you a question then...who did you end up being most impressed by, the band you were there to see or someone else? I'm curious because, to me, there was no question which band from that bill deserves the most blog-tention.

Look, I can't tell you the truth here without sounding like I have a big stalkery crush on The Secret Life Of Sofia, but the truth is they're one of my favorite current bands. Something about their music makes me feel like they know me really well. Like...hm...almost as if they've written this music just for me. There's nothing better than connecting with a band like that. Do you remember in Groundhog Day how Phil uses day after day to get to know Rita? Her likes, dislikes, what she studied in college...that she likes to say a prayer and drink to world peace, etc. Well, at this point, it wouldn't surprise me one bit to learn that The Secret Life Of Sofia had done the same thing to me, but in a musical sense. As if they went back in time and spent one day over and over learning what makes me tick as a lover of music. They figured out the perfect sound, instrumentation, emotional tone, lyrical content, and more, so that I'd have no option other than to enjoy their music.

The Secret Life Of Sofia's songs (both on record and live) are mellow yet explosive, desolate and gorgeous, perfectly crafted and calculated, and simply transcend the current New York City indie-rock club scene. I often worry about writing statements like that because it can't help but appear to be hyperbole but that's just not the case. Each time I catch one of their shows I find myself noticing and enjoying new things about the band and their music. This time I was a bit focused on how tight the rhythm section was and on the fact that Kyle's voice sounded superb and that Eric's work on guitar reminded me (at times) of Vini Reilly and Johnny Marr. How can I help but want to keep going back for more? - Ear Farm


Clean, dreamy indie rock with a hint of vulnerability. That exposed feeling is most tangivle in singer Kyle Wilson's voice which is reminiscent of Eric's Trip lo-fi vocals. Guitars are streamlined, sparkling and unpolluted. The vibe is very melancholy without being sullen or depressive. The tunnel effect on the guitars combined with the minimal and sparse production exposes the music to listener, creating an intimacy that bands like Radiohead and Coldplay harness well. It's just in the case of The Secret Life of Sofia, the approach is decidedly more indie rock. Which, for those in need of genre explanations, means the band relies heavily on the guitars and carving bass lines to set the stage for vocals that have their own light shown upon them. For a band so under the radar and with only one EP, the sound is very polished and emotive. The smart play is how friendly and upbeat the feelings are, despite the shyness of the music itself. - Modern Fix


So that Beat Radio show I mentioned the other day just got even more exciting. The makers of quite possibly my FAVORITE ALBUM of 2008 have been added to the lineup.

9pm The Secret Life of Sofia
10pm Beat Radio
11pm Wye Oak (Merge Records)

Yes. The Secret Life of Sofia. Saw them play a much too short set @ The Delancey recently and they were amazing/mesmerizing/sublime/very very impressive. If you have not heard Seven Summits yet, you really need to get on that. And the band makes a strong case for why you should still buy cds with the intricate, beautiful artwork/packaging for the album. Add them to the flyer! - Battering Room Blog


Mt. Everest looms over China and Nepal at 30 thousand feet above sea level; it is the tallest summit in the world. Only the most experienced, dedicated climbers can reach the top. Dozens die trying ever year, their bodies left on the mountain side, frozen monuments to the extreme stakes, a warning for those arrogantly attempting to conquer nature.

The same holds true for the perfect album. It's a high goal: seeking it exudes brashness and stupidity. Attaining it requires talent and commitment. Many bands fail in the process, their less-than-spectacular or even terrible albums left on shelves, a burden of shame, unlistenable memorials to the cruelty of the music business.

Luckily, The Secret Life Of Sofia, a relatively new band from Brooklyn, have the summit in sight. Seven Summits, a surprisingly good debut full-length, is available now as a self-released, limited-edition CD.

Mountains, death, and tragedy form the epicenter of the Brooklyn band's album. The mountaineering theme arose from Kyle Wilson, the band's singer/songwriter, head sherpa and lyrical wordsmith. Wilson caught the "nature" bug a few years ago, and his obsession manifested in the 11-track Seven Summits.

The lyrics of Seven Summits break the mold by presenting more than a shoddy mirror of pared-down poetry. They conduct the album like a series of stories, each song an intricate narrative.

...

- Jennifer Monteagudo - CMJ


"The new songs are absolutely beautiful..." - Milk Milk Lemonade Blog


Nanda Devi was featured on Said the Gramophone in June:

"The Secret Life of Sofia - "Nanda Devi". This song description is an abridged version of the Nanda Devi Wikipedia entry as of early on Tuesday, June 17, 2008.

Nanda Devi is the second and the highest. It is Bliss-Giving Goddess, two-peaked, east-west. Twin in myth and folklore. The interior is Sanctuary - Glacier, Glacier, Glacier, Glacier, Glacier. All of these glaciers are located within the Sanctuary. The arduous exploration of the Sanctuary is deep, very difficult to traverse. Hugh Ruttledge attempted three times in the 1930s and failed each time. In a letter to The Times he wrote that 'Nanda Devi imposes on her votaries an admission test as yet beyond their skill and endurance'. Attempts were made from 1965 to 1968 to listen [to] Nanda Devi, but an avalanche disappeared. Fragile firewood ... humankind. " - Said the Gramophone (blog)


Outside featured on Largehearted Boy, Fluxtumblr, I Guess I'm Floating, Azltron, The Music Slut... etc.

And, international:

Lazydigger (france), heetsof (Netherlands), book of shadow (singapore), said the gramophone (canada), etc... - Many Blogs!


"If counting the number of times an album is able to cause chills in a particular listener is, in any way, a measure of the impression it’s capable of making, Seven Summits would rate quite well... a band that’s developed a sophistication for arrangement not present in your typical rock band... each and every track is quite impressive — thoughtful without ever feeling contrived and capable of switching gears from energetic and forceful to nearly hypnotic and meditative with ease." -StereoactiveNYC 05.08 - StereoactiveNYC.com


Band of the week in July at Pop Tarts Suck Toasted

"...It's like aural marijuana! But as slowed down and folky as it can be, there are some truly deep elements in this band's songs. Intricate lyrics, hushed vocals, and tons of subtle percussion make the music feel like more then some coffee house hack. It's a brilliat effect to have such wonderfully layered sounds from such simple music."
- Pop Tarts Suck Toasted blog


Discography

Seven Summits LP (Limited Edition) 2008
The Secret Life of Sofia EP (2006)
The Secret Life of Sofia EP Ltd. Edition (2005)

Photos

Bio

Not to get all Beakman here, but some people have asked who Sofia is. Okay, okay. OKAY. Pre-Christian sects wanted a word for the sort of wisdom everyone hopes to acquire before they die--eventually they gave up and just used the word "Sofia". Over time the word's meaning evolved, but the general idea stayed intact--which is how Sofia became both a name for God and a word meaning "clarity in confusion."

With that in mind, The Secret Life of Sofia aims to make music that's stark, enveloping, melodic, and resonant. Taking cues from the music they love (Henryk Gorecki, Arvo Part, "wall of sound rock band"), lead Kyle Wilson writes songs about high altitude mountaneering, the life and death of grizzly men, and various out-of-place-nesses, while multi-instrumentalists Eric Schwortz, Steven Leventhal, Fraser McCulloch, and Chris Brazee bring unique sounds (bells, percussion, harmonies) and skills (subaru driving, google-mapping, encyclopedic knowledge of the Beatles) to the project.

-Amalia Levari