|The Artisanals at the Summer Shindig. Photo: Chris Huber
The Artisanals formed in 2016 with former members of SUSTO, Brave Baby, and Tedo Stone (Atlanta), and because of the popularity of those groups, the band had a strong local following right away. The word about The Artisanals was spread on a more national scale this past winter when they went on tour with fellow South Carolina ensemble Band of Horses (more dates together this fall), who have been prominent supporters of Charleston’s music scene, most notably SUSTO, who achieved critical acclaim with their sophomore album & I’m Fine Today.
Johnny Delaware left SUSTO just before the release of & I’m Fine Today to form The Artisanals, who have been pulling large crowds for the past year, even without releasing any recorded music other than a demo or two. Delaware has been a strong personality in the local music scene for a while now, though, with his notorious positive attitude and a 2013 solo album that’s been in the tape decks of local indie rock fans for many years. The Artisanals is just his newest and biggest project, and probably one that he will pursue for a long time coming.
Today marks the release of The Artisanals’ long-awaited debut EP, Literally, Anywhere. The band recorded the EP at the famed Magic Shop Studio back in January. The studio was formerly located in New York and is where David Bowie recorded The Next Day and Blackstar and Arcade Fire recorded The Suburbs. The Magic Shop was relocated to The Magic Barn in Iowa a couple years back, and so The Artisanals made a trip out there with producer Wolfgang Zimmerman to record these songs.
Literally, Anywhere contains four tracks that will eventually be released on a full-length album of the same name. I guess The Artisanals decided it was time to give their fans a taste of their studio work to hold us over until they’re ready to show us the rest of what they accomplished at the Magic Barn. What we got is a strong helping of well-thought out songs that all run longer than four minutes, with a definitive old school vibe throughout.
The old school atmosphere isn’t just found in their music, either. If you see these guys play live, you’ll understand what I’m saying. Johnny Delaware looks like he stepped out of a time machine, and he brought along a bag of psychedelic mushrooms to snack on as he barreled through the years from 1968 to 2017. He grabbed the rest of the band from a field in the middle of nowhere, where they were lying on their backs staring at the sky and watching the clouds melt, handed them guitars and said “Let’s go to the future and make some music.” And today we have The Artisanals. Stream their debut EP Literally, Anywhere below.