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Antifogmatic CD

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Audio CD, CD, June 15, 2010
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. You Are 5:06$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Don't Need No 4:29$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Alex 5:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Rye Whiskey 3:29$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Me And Us 6:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Missy 3:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. The Woman And The Bell 4:06$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Next To The Trash 3:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Welcome Home 6:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. This Is The Song [Good Luck] 3:53$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 15, 2010)
  • Original Release Date: 2010
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B003BWBA7Q
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,680 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

'Antifogmatic,' the follow-up to the Punch Brothers' 2008 debut, 'Punch,' is a collaboratively written collection of songs from these 'five wily, omnivorous bluegrass titans,' as the Village Voice has called them, a quintet that the Washington Post, in turn, has described as 'some of the best string pickers of the new generation.'

'Antifogmatic' is seamlessly sequenced to display the collective imagination, the instrumental and vocal power, of the band - Thile, guitarist Chris Eldridge, bassist Paul Kowert, banjo player Noam Pikelny, and fiddler Gabe Witcher. Though the quintet is now based in New York City, where they have an informal residency at Manhattan's The Living Room, they recorded and mixed the album at Hollywood's historic Ocean Way studio with iconoclastic producer Jon Brion (Brad Mehldau, Aimee Mann, Fiona Apple, Kanye West) and engineer Greg Koller. Says Witcher, 'We knew we needed a producer equally as well-versed in pop and rock as in instrumental music, and I don't think there is anyone more able to capture and communicate the essence of this material than Jon Brion.'

The arrangements on 'Antifogmatic' range from intimate to boisterous and back; genre-wise, the band once again ventures where no string band has ever gone before. The spare opening track 'You Are' contrasts percussive guitar riffs with lyrical string parts that dance around Thile's sweet upper register as he spins a tale of romantic emancipation; occasionally, the other instruments give way to reveal the throb of the bass. The band also engages in some unexpectedly beautiful harmony singing, smoothing out the compelling melodic twists and turns of 'Welcome Home.' 'Me and Us' and 'Woman and the Bell' both have a dream-like quality; the former, in fact, was inspired by those jumbled, thought-filled moments before sleep sets in, and the instrumentation keeps pace with the ever-shifting imagery. In contrast, 'Don't Need No' and 'Rye Whiskey' are foot-stomping barroom boasts and 'Next to the Trash' is the closest the band gets to traditional bluegrass, even as the lyrics tug the piece in a more surreal direction.

The Punch Brothers are as comfortable at the jam band-oriented Bonnaroo Festival, where they will appear in June, as at Carnegie Hall. Their fan base ranges from the hip youthful crowds that packed the Living Room to the dedicated listeners of NPR's Prairie Home Companion, which has also hosted the exceedingly good-humored boys.

The group will be on tour throughout the spring and summer and will make appearances at the Newport Folk Festival and the Telluride Blugrass Festival. A special deluxe edition of 'Antifogmatic' includes a four-song instrumental EP and a seven-song DVD filmed during the band's Living Room residency. The first 250 copies will also include a signed 'Punch Cocktail Recipe Guide.' The word 'Antifogmatic,' explains Thile, 'is an old term for a bracing beverage, generally rum or whiskey, that a person would have before going out to work in rough weather to stave off any ill effects. This batch of tunes could be used in much the same way, and includes some characters who would probably benefit mightily, if temporarily, from a good antifogmatic.'

Customer Reviews

This guys are really good.
William Slater III
Third, the composing process was apparently a very open-ended ordeal, where each band member would bring in ideas and the group would work with them.
John Montroy
Do yourself a favor and buy this album!
J. Borkholder

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By John Montroy on June 23, 2010
Format: Audio CD
This is the third album featuring Punch Brothers in some form another - the first being How to Grow, and the second being Punch - but in my mind, really the first true album from the group. How to Grow was still a bit of a Thile solo effort and had an abundance of covers; if nothing else it showed the group's obscene potential. Punch was an excellent 'official' debut, but that album was divided in half - over forty minutes of the album were taken up by Thile's rather excellent string quintet piece, "The Blind Leaving The Blind", while the last fifteen or so were group compositions. While Punch was a good album, it felt rather fragmented because of the clear subdivision of labor in the group; there were clearly two musical identities of the group. So this album, Antifogmatic, is in my mind their first pure musical statement of what the Punch Brothers can really do. And oh my god...what a statement.

The group presents a much more comfortable sound and picture of themselves on Antifogmatic - naturally so, for this album consists of nothing but group compositions. More traditional listeners might be put off by the album's weirdness at points - the group has no problem fiddling around in layers upon layers of dissonance, or storming through obscene chord changes at a blistering tempo. One might be tempted to label this as pretentiousness, or talent and technical skill gone horribly awry. Not so. To put this album in perspective, the listener has to understand the group itself. First off, the group is young and clearly loves itself. They know they've got something special, and they definitely feed off each other's musicianship in an atmosphere of giggling, goofy musicians coming up with obscene ideas. Second, each member of the group is a complete virtuouso on their respective instrument.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Leopold Stotch on June 17, 2010
Format: Audio CD probably does not need to be said, but I'll say it: there is no song-driven ensemble on the planet with the technical prowess, dynamic range, and unbridled adventurous spirit of the Punch Brothers. There is really nothing they can't play, no style they can't knowlingly reference, no time signature too tricky, no structure too convoluted, no volume too soft or too loud. It's all quite staggering, and the idea of finding or creating a music equal to their skills is equally daunting. I mean, you can play anything, so what do you play?

This is their first collectively conceived album -- the prior disk mostly consisted of a suite written and very carefully arranged by mandolinist and bandleader Chris Thile. That five such distinct voices came together to create something this compelling and singular is a grand achievement in and of itself. This is truly kaleidoscopic stuff: throw any old conceptions of verse/chorus/bridge out the window: sections emerge and fade, new music is introduced at surprising coordinates, instrumental roles are transposed and reconfigured at will. Thrilling stuff. Thile is also revealing himself to be a quite engaging vocalist and daring lyricist.

So, sure, it's bluegrass instrumentation, but this is stringband music fashioned from the same maverick, virtuosic spirit that lead Bill Monroe to create it in the first place: a spirit woefully departed from most modern bluegrass, which has instead -- for the most part -- become a bastion of conservative musical stagnation. Not for the faint of heart.

I did reserve the last star, though...paradoxically, I found an entire album of relentless innovation to be just a wee bit exhausting.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By J. Borkholder on June 15, 2010
Format: MP3 Music
The Punch Brothers have grown from being Chris Thile and friends to a full fledged group. Antifogmatic finds five amazing musicians on top of their games and blending together perfectly. Do yourself a favor and buy this album! While there are undoubtedly some Thile haters out there cuz they want to see him a pickin' and a grinnin', those with an open mind and an appreciation for great music will love this album.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Pager on July 21, 2010
Format: Audio CD
A little background: I did not grow up on bluegrass. I always hated country, but I always had a soft spot for its more rootsy, less annoying cousin, bluegrass. A year ago, I was listening almost exclusively to metal, progressive rock, and everything in between. Anything with Steven Wilson, Daniel Gildenlow, or Kevin Moore's fingerprint found its way into my catalog, along with older classics like Yes and King Crimson.

And then I started getting into bluegrass. Bought a few bluegrass albums, and decided on attending the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. That is where I stumbled upon Punch Brothers. No more than 30 minutes into their set, after I had already spent about $100 on music at the merch tent, I decided I had to leave with just one more album. And that was the Antifogmatic deluxe edition.

I will say, the first couple times through the album, it didn't really grab me. I figured it would be relegated to that ever growing array of average albums. But I kept listening, and before long, I found there were certain songs and passages that just kept me coming back for more.

I mentioned the progressive rock artists to whom I have extensively listened for a reason. There are some obvious parallels between that kind of music and Punch Brothers. The sound is different, and the instrumentation is worlds apart, but just like King Crimson did, the Punch Brothers are taking a genre, mixing in influences from other genres, and pushing the boundaries far beyond the traditional limits. These guys are talented, and they can play traditional bluegrass as well as anybody (as evidenced by a couple of tracks on the bonus DVD), but they especially excel in their composition ability. There is really nothing else like them around.
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