Four string instruments, a drum set, and a quintet of Ivy League musicians might not seem like a recipe for a successful rock band, but the Princeton-bred Miracles of Modern Science (profiled by PAW in February 2010) have defied convention and preconceptions to attract a growing contingent of fans in indie-music circles.
The Brooklyn-based group, also known as MOMS, was created on campus by five undergrads, now alumni: Josh Hirshfeld ’08 (mandolin), Kieran Ledwidge ’08 (violin), Geoff McDonald ’07 (cello), Tyler Pines ’09 (drums), and Evan Younger ’08 (vocals/bass). They released their first full-length album, Dog Year, in December 2011, earning praise from Paste Magazine and Consequence of Sound and landing one song on Wired’s Top 100 Songs of 2011.
This month, the group embarked on its most ambitious tour to date, a three-week journey of 15 gigs in 10 states that included a return to the South-by-Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.
Along the way, Ledwidge and his mates have filed entertaining blog posts, chronicling the scenery along the 10-hour drive from Brooklyn to Columbus, Ohio (barns, barns, and “unidentifiable objects on the horizon that turned out to be barns”); preparations for the cold of Chicago (“not so much along Napoleonic lines as bears preparing for the winter”); and sharing couch and floor space in Norman, Okla., with a pair of house cats who “alternated between lovingly curling up with us, and dropping hints that the fate of our sleep rested entirely in their hands.”
Ledwidge saved his most colorful lines to describe a lively show in a converted chapel at Drury University in Springfield, Mo.:
“As we moved into ‘MOMS Away’ to put our set to rest (and I should preface this by saying I was pretty pumped up by this stage, so my recall may be skewed), fixed pews were no match for a determined dancing core who ripped them apart with Hulk-like ease, splintering wood — oak was like matchsticks before the throbbing mass — throwing entire rows skyward in an aerial spectacle of sound and fury, the likes of which could only be dreamed of by Cirque du Soleil, completely obliterating what was otherwise a peaceful establishment of moderate local historic significance in an orgy of unrestrained self-expression. Some of the details are a little hazy. Pretty sure that Hulk thing happened, though.”
Listen to “MOMS Away”:
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