1990 – present (28 years)
Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, Maryland, United States
Tall Firs were formed in 1990 when teenagers Dave Mies and Aaron Mullan taught one another to play guitar over the telephone in Annapolis, Maryland. Eleven years later they played their first gig, having crawled to Brooklyn, NY in the interim. Halfway through the second decade of searching for a drummer, Ryan Sawyer finally assumed the throne.
A near-telepathic nonchalance pervades the music of the Tall Firs. The interwoven melodies of the two guitars converse in a language that has evolved an unsettling familiarity like birdies on a remote island. The drums comment on the discussion, push or pull it, effortlessly gliding from free time to strict metronome and back over the course of a single measure. Melancholic incantations reminiscent of Joni Mitchell or Jackson C. Frank transition into open-tuning workouts of despair and beauty like Mississippi John Hurt throwing down with Wire.
In New York, the band has packed Lower East Side hotspot Tonic, been curated by Jim ORourke to perform at The Stone, and done gigs at dive bars, amphitheatres, and illegal loft spaces while maintaining a semi-residence at Williamsburgs Union Pool. Tall Firs have shared bills with Sonic Youth, Oneida, Awesome Color, Samara Lubelski, P.G. Six, Tim Foljahn, and Corsano/Flaherty amongst other Brooklyn and New England weirdos.
More on the band members: Aaron Mullan (guitar/vox) was a longtime collaborator of now-infamous New Weird American Chris Corsano before spending several years recording albums for other people. Ryan Sawyer (drums/vox) played in At the Drive In as a teenager, and has played in groups such as the Mekons, Fiery Furnaces, and Stars Like Fleas, plus has been a floating presence on the NYC underground jazz scene in groups like Eye Contact; his collaboration with Daniel Carter, Matt Heyner, and Matt Lavelle. Dave Mies (guitar/vox) paid dues in the Baltimore scuzz-rock zone before bringing his world-weary guitar stylings up north.
As a trio, the Tall Firs have the disarming presence of a dog-whisperer, and the unnerving triangular-cold-read of a shadow boxing crüe of mesmerists. This is the band guitarman/journalist Alan Licht says is "Beard-less contemporary rock at it's best."
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