There have been some rumblings and grumblings lately in these virtual pages that the indie scene has been inundated over the last couple of years by two different trends, American/alt-country and indietronica (see Savior Adore’s In the Wooded Forest – QRO review). Well, if these two trending tsunamis crashed into each other and washed away the pretenders, we’d likely find washed up on shore a pair of skinny jeans, a bale of hay, and the Seedy Seeds as the last band left standing.
The Cincinnati-based trio has blended elements of folk, Americana, and electronica into a winning mixture on their new release Count the Days. Not in equal parts, mind you. The balance is shifted decisively towards folk/American and you will be thankful for it. There are no cosmic synth freakouts a la The Flaming Lips (QRO live review). The Seedy Seeds require little electronic assistance to remind us how comforting and yet strange the traditional folk portfolio is: banjos, kazoos, accordions, whatever. Layered over a light synth beat or toy keyboard, the banjo on "Oh, Cincinnati" lights up the orchestration with a welcome home warmth.
One of the great windfalls of the new Americana movement has been a renewed attention paid to vocals and lyrics. There’s no shouting (not that there’s anything wrong with that…) and harmonies are actually achieved, rather than merely gestured towards. It’s a Drug Rug (QRO live review) strategy – as opposed to the monotonous, vocal drudgery of an Interpol (QRO album review), for example – and it’s a welcome addition to the indie scene. The Seedy Seeds have a strong female vocal in Margaret, who can throw down some mean Cranberry banshee howls; the guys, Mike and Brian, aren’t too shabby either.
The songs on Count the Days stick with you. It’s a testament to great songwriting. The tracks "Winter 04" and "The Push" are especially addictive and you’ll put them on you’re next mixtape (assuming you still own a cassette player). Where the Seedy Seeds miss a step is when they can’t strike the folk/tronica balance just right. "Dandelions" falls victim to too much clutter and an awkward synth beat that grates the ear. It’s hard to fault "My Roots Go Down," an enjoyable folk gospel ditty, but it’s just a bit left of center compared to the rest of the album and probably works better live.
The Seedy Seeds will be coming to New York for CMJ (QRO Festival Guide). Here’s to hoping they can show Williamsburg a thing or two about Americana and represent for Cincinnati, home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! Oh wait, that’s Cleveland. For the Bengals then!
MP3 Stream: "The Push"