Sylvan Esso will be performing at Hayden Homes Amphitheater, Sunday, August 27, 2023, at 7:00pm. Doors open at 5:30pm. Tickets are on sale now.
At the beginning of 2022, Sylvan Esso packed up and headed west. Cramming the contents of a recording studio into their Prius, Nick Sanborn and Amelia Meath drove from their home in Durham, North Carolina to Los Angeles, where they set up a makeshift studio in a small rental house on the east side and did something that surprised them: they wrote a song. And then another.
Some bands can create entire albums on short-term writing jags, but until now, Meath says, Sylvan Esso was not one of them. But that speed -- and the resulting looseness and live-wire energy in their songs -- is one of many things that feels like brand-new territory in No Rules Sandy, their fourth studio album, out August 12, 2022. Describing their first three albums as a trilogy that is now complete, Meath and Sanborn see No Rules Sandy as the beginning of a new period, with songs that are "wilder and stranger and more cathartic than the band used to be," as Sanborn puts it.
Though Sylvan Esso very much remains a duo, the scope of their work has continued to expand since their landmark WITH concert -- with a live band of ten -- in 2019. 2021 marked the launch of their music label, Psychic Hotline, and in 2022 both Meath and Sanborn will launch projects with other collaborators. Meath's The A's, a new band with her Mountain Main partner Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, will release an album on July 15, while Sanborn's Made of Oak project will release an EP collaboration with GRRL on September 2. The collaborations carry through to No Rules Sandy as well; TJ Maiani contributes his persistent drums to "Your Reality" and "Alarm," while Sam Gendel's saxophone lends a mysterious, unworldly quality to "How Did You Know" and album closer "Coming Back to You," a stripped down and haunting track that's unlike any Sylvan Esso song that has come before it.
As all these new chapters unfold and the Sylvan Esso umbrella expands, Sanborn and Meath continue to run their recording studio Betty's in the woods outside Durham and think constantly about what's next -- without overthinking it too much.