Arc Iris

Arc Iris are a wildly adventurous, genre-blurring band founded in Massachusetts by frontwoman, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Jocie Adams, formerly of the Low Anthem. Her bandmembers include the seasoned rhythm section of bassist Max Johnson, pianist and multi-instrumentalist Zachary Tenorio-Miller, and drummer Raymond Belli. Adams, a formally trained classical composer (and former NASA researcher), formed the group as a deliberately adventurous ensemble whose music is informed by everything from sophisticated '70s pop to folk, country, cabaret, jazz, classical music, and contemporary sources such as Grizzly Bear. Initially a sextet, Arc Iris established its reputation first as a touring ensemble who traveled the country opening for Calexico, CocoRosie, Marco Benevento, Menomena, and Justin Townes Earle, and based on the strength of their live performances and demos, were signed to Anti in 2013. The group's self-titled debut album, recorded and mixed by Dan Cardinal (with Andrew Barr on drums), featured a large cast of musical collaborators and was released in April 2014, drawing considerable critical acclaim. After losing their manager and label, Arc Iris pared down to a quartet to deliver their follow-up, the more textural and rhythmic Moon Saloon, in August 2016. The album was self-produced and mixed by David Wrench (FKA twigs, Jamie xx) and was issued by Bella Union in Europe, where the majority of the group's fan base lies. In 2018, the band pared its personnel even further down to the trio of lead vocalist Adams, keyboardist and electronicist Tenorio-Miller, and drummer Belli. Recording at Providence's Columbus Theater -- home to silent movies and vaudeville during the '20s -- the band evolved into a concentrated pop-prog outfit, mixing musical styles for the resulting Icon of Ego, with heavy synthesizer work that carried a thick, analog electronic sound harking back to the '70s. The songs carried an underlying theme that interrogated notions of celebrity, fame, and idol worship. The set was issued in October by Ba Da Bing. ~ Thom Jurek

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