Comprised of John Parson (vocals, guitar), Jesse Stanford (vocals, guitar) and Sydney Weiss (vocals, drums), the Brooklyn-based trio Modern Merchant can trace their origins to when the band’s founding members Parson and Stanford met while the duo were residing in Connecticut. Apparently, as the story goes, Parson and Stanford, who were already accomplished musicians individually had bounded over a shared artistic vision and mutual influences, and they started collaborating together, making a name for themselves across Connecticut as a duo. And like countless bands before them, Parson and Stanford relocated to Brooklyn, where they met Sydney Weiss, an accomplished drummer in her own right, who had been a member of a number of local indie rock bands over the past decade.
Parson and Stanford were impressed by Weiss’s approach, as it possessed elements of jazz, rock, African rhythms and avant garde, and believed that it would be the foundation and inspiration to the material that had already started writing. Along with a rotating cast of backing musicians and friends, Modern Merchant began to take shape, and they released their debut EP, For the Fields in 2013 which, they embarked on two small North American tours to support.
The trio spent the bulk of last year writing and recording material that will appear on their forthcoming sophomore EP, Virtues. Thematically, the album reportedly features songs on loss and love, growing, learning how and when to let go, and the sort of love that’s simultaneously both exhilarating and frightening, among others that come up in adulthood.
“Bucolic,” the first single off Virtues is a soaring and cinematic bit of dream pop consisting of ethereal guitar chords, swirling electronics and plaintive vocals paired with thundering drumming that punctuate and emphasizes Stanford’s phrasing. Interestingly. the song subtly channels The Verve in the sense that it manages to melancholy with hope, suggesting that all of us have the ability to somehow push onward in our darkest days.