Punch Brothers' New Album Now Streaming on Spinner; Bonnaroo Set Available on NPR.org
The big Bonnaroo Festival of Music & Arts may be behind us (till next year), but the memories and the music from 2010 live on, following sets from Punch Brothers, Carolina Chocolate Drops, and The Black Keys. The complete Punch Brothers set is now available online at npr.org. The band's latest Nonesuch album, Antifogmatic, is out tomorrow and is streaming in full all week at spinner.com.
In the Wall Street Journal's Bonnaroo wrap-up, the paper's music writer Jim Fusilli calls the band "across-the-board excellent." Punch Brothers played songs both from the new album and from their wide-ranging live-set repertoire. As the New York Times explained, "It’s not a Bonnaroo set without a wild-card cover version." Times music writer Jon Pareles says of all the covers heard at the festival, "the biggest genre leap was from the Punch Brothers, the band led by the mandolinist Chris Thile (formerly of Nickel Creek) that uses bluegrass instruments but has more complicated song structures under its fingers. It started with quiet, scurrying runs hinting at dissonant harmonies; then, as chords coalesced, Mr. Thile’s high croon came in to sing 'Morning Bell': Radiohead’s alienation song with a new brisk undercurrent and speedy picking and fiddling heading far from Appalachia." Read more at nytimes.com.
After the Friday set at Bonnaroo, the band headed up to Highland Park, Illinois, for a performance at the Ravinia Festival Pavilion on Saturday, followed by a Sunday-night set at the State Theatre in Minneapolis. The two concerts marked the start of a several show run supporting Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune raves: "In short, the progressive Punch Brothers were creative, exciting and wow-inducing. Musically, they stole the show."
Sold-out shows with Martin follow tomorrow in Denver and Wednesday in Salt Lake City. While in Denver, the band will stop by Twist & Shout music shop, celebrating the release of the new album with a free in-store performance and CD signing. On Thursday, Punch Brothers will be in Los Angeles, performing on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. For more on the band's upcoming performances, head to nonesuch.com/on-tour.
Over in the UK, where Antifogmatic is out today, the Independent says the new album "does for bluegrass what Monteverdi did for Renaissance polyphony, leading to an undiscovered dimension in which new kinds of thoughts might be expressed." Reviewer Nick Coleman describes the album's songs as "consistently intriguing in their crazily formalist arrangements." He recommends: "Try it. A tinkling, twinkling challenge to the ear but a coolly fascinating one." Read the review at independent.co.uk.
Back in the States, the Washington Post's Express Night Out says: "The album proves that not only will Thile and the Punch Brothers keep bluegrass from getting dusty, but they'll certainly pick up plenty of new fans along the way."
To hear what the band has to say about the new album, there's a new eight-minute video, Punch Brothers: A Conversation About "Antifogmatic," at nonesuch.com/media. You can pick up a copy of the album today in the Nonesuch Store.