St. Lenox is Andy Choi, a New York lawyer and Juilliard-trained concert violinist whose extremely distinct music is equal parts jarring and charming. Choi’s voice is one of the most striking instruments in music today, a harsh and commanding howl that reminds me of John Darnielle, Michael Stipe, and Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart but is something entirely its own. His subject matter is equally transfixing and unique, a mix of queer love songs, protest music, and savvy observations about the modern American experience. His 2014 album 10 Songs About Memory And Hope For The Future has rightfully enjoyed slow-building buzz — I mean, just listen to the gripping “I Still Dream Of The ’90s” — and today he’s back with news of the follow-up.
Ten Hymns From My American Gothic is designed as a gift to Choi’s father, who immigrated to the United States from South Korea, in honor of his 70th birthday. It’s preceded by a video for lead single “Thurgood Marshall,” which unleashes Choi’s voice in rapid-fire tribute to the late Supreme Court justice against a crisp backbeat and a gradually intensifying pileup of keyboards and guitars. Director Elliot Lyman’s video tours through a library and adds new layers of busyness to the sensory overload. There’s a lot to unpack here, but before you think too hard about it, just sit back and enjoy.
01 “Fuel America”
02 “Thurgood Marshall”
03 “The Public School System”
05 “Conspiracy Theories”
06 “You Don’t Call Me Anymore”
08 “People From Other Cultures”
09 “What I Think About When You Say South Korea”
10 “When I Return”
Ten Hymns From My American Gothic is out 10/21 on Anyway. Pre-order it here.