If you missed “Lend Me Your Voice,” the Alverno presents performance regarding his role in various musical endeavors, Milwaukee ex-pat Nick Sanborn plays in a shitload of bands. As Decibully was fading (and after the band ultimately ended), Sanborn sidemanned with Headlights and Buffalo, in addition to his ongoing work with Made Of Oak, Cedar AV, Milwaukee’s own Collections Of Colonies Of Bees, and Durham-based Megafaun—which ultimately spurred his relocation from Wisconsin to North Carolina. In Durham, Sanborn started his latest and arguably best project to date, Sylvan Esso, with former Vermont folk singer Amelia Meath.

The young project has already garnered favorable words from a heft of respected national sources, even before the formal release of its debut record. With NPR streaming Sylvan Esso’s gorgeous self-titled debut, the praise (which is about to come from every direction) carries even more weight. The 10-song work finds Sanborn’s keen production that’s equal part ballsy and beautiful melding seamlessly with the smooth veneer of Meath’s versatile vocals to forge effortlessly catchy dream-pop. Songs like “Wolf” and “Dress” channel Feist singing a sultry number while playing a Super Mario Bros underwater level on full blast. Don’t take our extremely nuanced comparisons for it. Listen to it now.

If it took leaving Milwaukee for Sanborn to make something like Sylvan Esso happen, we’re happy he left. Just know we’re going to claim him (and by whatever loose extension, Sylvan Esso) to anybody who will listen.

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Milwaukee Record Staff

Music, culture, gentle sarcasm.