Hess Is More: 80 Years

In the Lowbrow Reader Variety Hour shows, we were proud to present some of New York’s most riveting entertainers at Soho’s Housing Works Bookstore: John Mulaney, the Fiery Furnaces, Adam Green, Wyatt Cenac, Jeffrey Lewis, Professor Irwin Corey…the list goes on! Among the best sets came from one of our favorite musical acts: Hess Is More, which tore the roof off the humble bookstore years ago. (It was since repaired.)

In the ensuing years, Hess Is More, which somehow is based in both downtown Manhattan and Copenhagen, has only gained strength. The momentum culminates in 80 Years, the band’s breathtaking new album that was just released on Edition Records, a British label primarily associated with jazz. 80 Years is at once mind-bending and danceable, experimental and endlessly listenable, idiosyncratic and thoroughly accessible. Though it pivots around the songs of lead singer and drummer Mikkel Hess, this record presents a lovely showcase for the astonishing band he has assembled, including saxophonist Matt Parker, pop producer Rasmus Bille Bahncke, David Mason of the electronic act Listening Center, studio rabbi W. Andrew Raposo, and—who saw this one coming?!—trumpet heavy Tom Harrell. The record also features liner-notes by Lowbrow Reader editor Jay Ruttenberg, so you have something to read after you get tired from dancing. Buy 80 Years here—and check out the below video for “It’s Backwards No Matter What I Do,” produced in collaboration with designer Henrik Vibskov, originally for the Museum of Art and Design’s great “fashion after Fashion” exhibition.