The Silent League is a difficult band to trace. Formed in 2004 in Brooklyn by Justin Russo (at the time, keyboardist for Mercury Rev during the classic Deserter’s Songs / All is Dream era), The Silent League may sometimes appear like an on-again/off-again relationship between a collective of musicians interested only in periodically making records, playing shows, and disappearing again. This may be true. While nobody in New York ever seems quite sure whether or not the band still exists (their second record, ‘Of Stars And Other Somebodies’ was never even released in N. America, and is due for re-release), the name carries weight all over the city. Lay tracks through the past 5-6 years’ worth of new music (take Arcade Fire, Beirut, St. Vincent, Stars Like Fleas, Bishop Allen…) and you’re going to run over more than a handful of people who began with or spent time creating music under the name The Silent League…many of them still do, you just don’t know it. “We don’t really care about maintaining a place in the industry. There is enough noise in the world and everyone has other work to busy themselves with”, says Russo, “we try to keep it new, detached…we make music when we think we have something to say that isn’t already being said”.
The Silent League is releasing a new record, it’s third, in Feb 2010, ..But You’ve Always Been The Caretaker. This time with the idiosyncratic producer, and band-member, Shannon Fields at the helm (founder and producer of the unclassifiable Brooklyn collective Stars Like Fleas, and whose musical credits include Helado Negro, Miho Hatori, Doveman, and many projects that ignore rock and pop altogether), the band spent time at various upstate farmhouse studios with recording and mixing engineer D. James Goodwin (Scary Mansion, The Bravery) crafting a somewhat different record. More explicit is the group’s affection for the soft rock and artrock power ballads of the 70s (the group initially bonded over a common love of ELO, Todd Rundgren, Roxy Music and Bread), but the moodier and more unhinged qualities that have always been subtexts in the band’s music have been pushed forward. It is an evocative, jarring, sometimes disturbing and densely woven record that seems nearly to ignore contemporary indierock but which sounds very little like its antecedents or any obvious contemporary reference points. Rather than chasing the endlessly tiresome “reinvention of rock”, The Silent League, with one foot in sterling songcraft and the other in the Brooklyn diaspora, has sculpted stunningly fresh new music with the decapitated pieces of rock’s MOR family tree.
01/16 – New York, NY Blender Theater at Gramercy &
01/28 – Brooklyn, NY Bruar Falls
01/30 – Syracuse, NY Westcott Theatre
02/01 – Washington, DC DC9
02/03 – Nashville, TN The Basement
02/05 – Gainsville, FL The Atlantic
02/06 – Jacksonville, FL The Sinclair
03/17-03/20 – Austin, TX SXSW