The Low Anthem - Smart Flesh (2011)


On February 22, The Low Anthem will release "Smart Flesh", the self-produced follow-up to their critically lauded 2009 release, Oh My God, Charlie Darwin, on Nonesuch. The majority of Smart Flesh‘s 11 tracks were recorded in a cavernous, vacant pasta sauce factory in Central Falls, Rhode Island. Additional tracking was done in a Providence garage (dubbed the “gator pit”). Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, Monsters of Folk) mixed the record in Omaha with additional mixing by engineer Jesse Lauter (Elvis Perkins) in New York. The Low Anthem is four multi-instrumentalists—Ben Knox Miller, Jeff Prystowsky, Jocie Adams, and newest member Mat Davidson.

Paranormal hitchhikers, taught highwires, aircraft, swelling tumors, whirring machinery, deserted highways, mannequins, cremation, and formaldehyde make up the language of Smart Flesh—its themes include love, longing, and the vain contortions of our lives before death.

The band surveyed dozens of spaces for their portable recording studio. “We knew right away when we stepped into the factory. The space was really the main instrument for the whole record. The resonance was chilling,” says Miller. “We were able to experiment with new recording techniques to capture the sound at different distances. Mics 100, even 200 feet away caught the sound barreling across the room.”

The Low Anthem is fascinated with tone and timbre. The eclectic array of instruments used on Smart Flesh include jaw harp, musical saw, stylophone, three antique pump organs (restored by the band), and oversized drum kits. An elaborate scheme was employed to re-amp noise through various chambers of the factory.

Since the release of Oh My God, Charlie Darwin, The Low Anthem has played shows with Iron and Wine, Emmylou Harris,  The National, and The Avett Brothers, among others. They have played Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, and Glastonbury, and returned to the Newport Folk Festival for the second consecutive year this summer. The Low Anthem made their national television debut on The Late Show with David Letterman earlier this year and won MOJO magazine’s Breakthrough Award in June.


The Low Anthem
Smart Flesh (2011)
Album art: 
Release date: 

1. Ghost Woman Blues
2. Apothecary Love
3. Boeing 737
4. Love And Altar
5. Matter Of Time
6. Wire
7. Burn
8. Hey, All You Hippies!
9. I'll Take Out Your Ashes
10. Golden Cattle
11. Smart Flesh

Music label: 
United States
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