Who: The Low Anthem, a trio of neo-hippie rockers who, after scoring a slot at Bonnaroo and a gig opening for Ray LaMontagne, have become one of the hottest unsigned bands on the East Coast. With A&R reps flocking to their sold out shows, frontman Ben Knox Miller says, “We can make a living now. Not a luxurious living, but a living.”
Sounds Like: Backed by Miller’s Springsteen-esque rasp and multi-instrumentalists Jocie Adams and Jeff Prystowsky, the Low Anthem craft homemade, warm-hearted Americana populated by train workers and road trippers on their second album, Oh My God, Charles Darwin. Recorded on Block Island, Rhode Island, the group adds flourishes of instruments like pump organ, zither and Tibetan singing bowls.
• The trio met at Brown University; Miller and Prystowsky played intramural baseball together and then DJ’d the graveyard shift at a radio station before starting the Low Anthem as a duo. The band’s biggest fan was Adams, who was recruited to join after Miller learned she could play anything from trumpet to viola.
• Adams is a classical music-loving nerd who once worked as a researcher at NASA (she studied photochemistry). “I guess you could say I undiscovered [the hydrocarbon] allene in Titan’s atmosphere,” Adams says. Miller jokes, “Can you imagine what it’s like getting her to rock & roll?”
• “Everything we listen to is really old: Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Gustav Mahler,” Miller says of the band’s influences. “We’re not into the next big thing.”
Hear It Now: Oh My God, Charles Darwin is available now in stores and digital music services. In our Breaking video above, watch Low Anthem perform their song “To the Ghosts That Write History Books.”