Modern Kin’s sweeping 12 song debut begins with singer Drew Grow’s ardent wail, and expands into heady and tilted harmonies that scrape around rowdy guitars.
These are songs that push forward and take up space, that celebrate the primitive thrill of being loud when you are expected to be quiet. Spinal drums bend under the weight of probing riffs that snap back toward indelible, rousing melodies. At its core, however, this is a live band. And as most great live bands attempt, Modern Kin has successfully turned their recorded work into a mirror of the hot lights, quavering strings and communal experience. What emerges is an expansive album that deeply explores the instinctual, essential connection music can make between us.
The band formed in 2007, in a SE neighborhood of Portland, OR. They were called Drew Grow & the Pastors’ Wives then, a sort of imaginative and sensitive family. Propelled by leader Drew Grow’s extraordinary songwriting, and armed with shared hopes of honoring a sustainable life dedicated to music, the four members worked tirelessly together to bring their vision to life. Their communal house served as a kind of DIY factory – a record label (Amigo/Amiga) was formed by drummer Jeremiah Hayden, songs were written, practiced and recorded, t-shirts screened, tours booked, all within their four walls. And they experienced some successes – their gritty, soulful, self-propelled album earned them national tours with Wild Flag, and The Head & The Heart.
In 2012, the band trimmed down to its three core members (Grow, Hayden, and bassist Kris Doty) entered the studio, and emerged with a new name, a recombined sense of purpose, and a record spun with the elbow grease and fervent drive that had first brought them together. Modern Kin’s debut was also the debut of Janet Weiss (Sleater-Kinney, Quasi, Wild Flag) as a producer. Basic tracks were recorded in a blazing eight days at the now-defunct Hangar Studios in Sacramento, CA, with engineer Bryce Gonzales (Here We Go Magic, The Breeders, Devandra Banhart) before the band returned home to their refuge, their basement studio, to put the finishing touches on the songs. Two of the tracks, Abandon and Big Enough to Cook, were mixed by Dave Fridmann (The Flaming Lips, MGMT, Tame Impala) , while the remainder were mixed by K. Evan Hodge III and Drew Grow.
Bound by tenacity, friendship, and a compelling desire to make formidable music together, Modern Kin released their self-titled debut album October 22, on Amigo/Amiga Recordings.