Marah Press Photo 2010

Philly duo Marah is now a slightly different duo: In 2008 frontman David Bielanko’s brother Serge left the band, and Christine Smith, a longtime band member, became an even bigger part of the band, writing and recording Marah’s upcoming LP Life Is A Problem with David in an old Amish farmhouse in Pennsylvania. This is first Marah record without Serge. The first taste from the new record, “Valley Farm Song,” is a weird animal: What sounds like beatboxing (or is it someone pulling a straw out of a drink?) and bagpipes (or is it a busted harmonica?) sit alongside guitar, a pounded out piano, and banjo. According to the band’s press release, some of the instruments they used on the album include “…flea market drums, a trash picked bass, a cheap fiddle, Serge’s collection of rusting harmonicas, banjos, a free church piano, etc.” All that, and the etc seem to make an appearance on the song. The result sounds triumphant and melancholy, sort of an anthem for farmhands and factory workers. There’s a mini-clip of Marah mixing the track:


Life Is A Problem is out 6/22 via Valley Farm Songs. They’ve got some shows right around the release date:

05/08 – Pittsburgh, PA @ PD’s Pub (Acoustic show)
05/27 – New York, NY @ The Bowery Electric
05/28 – Niagara Falls, Ontario @ Yanks Old Niagara
05/29 – Toronto, Ontario @ Horseshoe Tavern
06/03 – New York, NY @ The Bowery Electric
06/04 – Northampton, MA @ Iron Horse Music Hall
06/06 – Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live
06/08 – Rochester, NY @ Bug Jar
06/09 – Buffalo, NY @ Mohawk Place
06/10 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Thunderbird Cafe
06/11 – Columbus, OH @ The Summit
06/12 – Pontiac, MI @ Crofoot
06/14 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
06/16 – Minneapolis, MN @ 400 Bar
06/18 – Lawrence, KS @ Bottleneck
06/19 – St. Louis, MO @ Blueberry Hill
06/25 – Oxford, MS @ Proud Larry’s
06/29 – Atlanta, GA @ Smith’s Olde Bar
06/30 – Asheville, NC @ Grey Eagle
07/02 – Arlington, VA @ IOTA Club & Cafe
07/03 – Millheim, PA @ Elk Creek Cafe And Aleworks

[Photo by Simone Cecchetti]

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Comments (3)
  1. Longtime band mate? She is his girlfriend and joined Marah on their last effort.

  2. Interesting mix of sounds, but nice instrumentation. I wonder how it would sound live because it definitely sounds like a bedroom studio work.

  3. Sounds a lot like something from the first album “Let’s Cut the Crap…”
    Dave said the album would be a new direction, but also that the songs were among the very best he’d ever made. Gotta hand it to Dave, he’s consistent in his ability to explore new sounds and make fresh, vivid, NEW sounding albums every time. This should be a great album, too…

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