Paste: Punch Brothers are aliens

There is much to report from and about Punch Brothers, Chris Thile’s merry band of alt-bluegrass pranksters.

Their current Nonesuch album, Antifogmatic, has just been released on vinyl for all you audiophiles out there. It is packaged with a copy of the CD, and an MP3 download for $21 in their web store.

The project also received an interesting review in Paste magazine, entitled The Slobbering Rave: Beware The Punch Brothers:

“The Punch Brothers are aliens, and they’re here to take over our world. Let’s look at the evidence: For starters, their music is an impossibly perfect mixture of down-home charm and staggering sophistication. This can only be the result of complex algorithms running on an interplanetary mainframe.

Take the song “Rye Whiskey” off the new album Antifogmatic: It’s simply awesome—fun and uplifting, even witty—but it’s actually a mind-control weapon. Listen for too long and you will suddenly find yourself rallying your friends to attend Punch Brothers concerts, only to slurp down their alien message of world domination like a delicious musical smoothie of earthling subjugation.”

And here is a video of those same Punchers performing Rye Whiskey on Live At MTV, the “music” network’s new online series.

Whenever we post music from Punch Brothers, we hear strains of “but that’s not bluegrass,” from more purist-minded readers of Bluegrass Today. We are always interested in hearing from you, either here or on Facebook, so fire away.

But please give these guys’ music a listen. However you may prefer to qualify the sound, it’s interesting, energetic and forward-looking music that appeals to a wide swath of the modern audience.

I find it delightful in all regards.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.

  • sanmarrb

    …I love how the purists always carp on about the Punch Brothers, and really anyone who tries to do anything interesting with bluegrass. Have they really forgotten that bluegrass has always been a maverick, experimental music? I’m sure that, sixty years ago, they would have complained that Bill Monroe was corrupting old-time stringband music by introducing jazzy syncopation, wildly brisk tempos, material from swing and blues, and three-finger banjo picking. C’mon, people. The capacity for innovation is a part of the bluegrass fabric, and to use tradition as a means of limiting musical possibilities will ensure that the music stagnates and becomes a boring, dusty museum piece and eventually die out. Some folks may be happy with that, but not me.