Release Date: Apr 1, 2014
Record label: Anti
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Pop, Indie Folk
In an episode of Portlandia, a character played by Kristen Wiig becomes maniacally obsessed with a local band�"her local band. While displaying much less folly, I too know the feeling of intense possessiveness surrounding a band. In my case it is Saintseneca, a kitschy little folk band I first discovered huddled on the tiny stage of Kobo in Columbus, Ohio.
There’s no shortage of folk revivalists these days. The pretensions of these trend following bands conjure up images of beards, fitted vests and foot stopping hummable tunes with plenty of imitation and very little authenticity. However, Columbus, Ohio’s Saintseneca is a band apart. Led by multi-instrumentalist Zac Little, they play a unique brand of folk-inspired post punk that has an aged patina but is as sharp as a brand new knife.
Columbus, Ohio's Saintseneca began as a unit that distilled and expanded upon the inspiration of folk music from the Appalachian range: the place songwriter, frontman, and lone original member Zac Little hails from. However, through extensive D.I.Y. touring, two previous EPs, and a full-length (2013's acclaimed Last), they've gelled into a band whose sound equals all the places they've been, rather than merely where Little is from.
This album is something of a grower. Saintseneca is an Ohio-based folk-rock band built around the acoustic guitar and odd, warbling voice of frontman Zac Little, whose jarring excursions into the realm of off-kilter vocalizations set the tone from the opening bars of lead track “Blood Bath”. Saintseneca aims for the same wonky-acoustic vibe as, say Bon Iver, but go about it in a very different way, substituting Bon Iver’s breathy sincerity and hushed tones with a series of yodels, howls and gurgles that are initially off-putting.
Imagine sitting by a lake within the Appalachians in southern Ohio, among dense forestry with maybe a deer or two in sight. Bust out your guitar, grab a few musical companions, and the resulting sound would resemble the quintessential tree music that is Saintseneca. That idyllic, inspirational setting was in fact the environment of frontman Zac Little’s upbringing.