Electro-indie folk collaboration between Amelia Meath of Mountain Man and electronic producer Nick Sanborn.
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Sylvan Esso Biography

by James Christopher Monger

What Now A collaboration between singer/songwriter Amelia Meath of the Appalachian indie folk trio Mountain Man and electronic producer Nick Sanborn, who performs under the moniker Made of Oak and plays bass with rootsy psych-rockers Megafaun, Durham, North Carolina's Sylvan Esso craft evocative yet elusive electro-folk-pop confections that encompass the best parts of both artists. The duo issued their eponymous Billboard-charting debut in 2014 and landed a Best Dance/Electronic Album Grammy nomination in 2017 for their sophomore long-player, What Now. Their inward-looking third full-length effort, 2020's Free Love, also earned a Grammy nomination and was their third straight album to make the top half of the Billboard 200. Further expanding their blend of analog and electronic sounds, the pair returned in 2022 with No Rules Sandy.

Sylvan Esso Formed in 2013, a year after Sanborn presented Meath with a particularly affecting remix of the Meath-penned Mountain Man song "Play It Right," the band released their Partisan Records-issued debut long-player, Sylvan Esso, in early 2014. The LP cracked the Top 40 on the Billboard 200 on the strength of the singles "Hey Mami" and "Coffee," the latter of which they performed on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, marking their national television debut. Early 2017 saw the release of two new singles, "Radio" and "Kick Jump Twist," in anticipation of the arrival of their sophomore full-length, What Now, which appeared later that year and earned a Grammy nomination. After a year of extensive touring, the duo collaborated with tourmates Collections of Colonies of Bees on a 2018 cover of Califone's "Funeral Singers."

With Two years later, the live album With arrived, an audio counterpart to a live concert documentary released online around the same time. Later in 2020, Sylvan Esso issued their third full-length effort, the inward-looking Free Love, which was nominated for a Best Dance/Electronic Grammy Award. Along with their own work, the pair launched the independent Psychic Hotline label in 2021, issuing projects by Sam Gendel, Ohmme, Bartees Strange, and others. In August 2022, Sylvan Esso released their fourth studio album, No Rules Sandy, which featured guest contributions by saxophonist Gendel and drummer TJ Maiani, as well as a string arrangement by Gabriel Kahane.

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