Peter Oren



Listen to ‘Anthropocene’ here:

Twenty-five-year-old, Indiana-born artist Peter Oren has announced his second album, Anthropocene, will be arriving 10 November via Western Vinyl. Along with the announcement Oran has shared the first single and title-track.

Oren possesses a remarkable singing voice, low and deep and richly textured. It rumbles in your conscience, a righteous sound that marks him as an artist for our tumultuous times, when sanity seems absent from popular discussions. One listen to ‘Anthropocene’ is enough to show that Oren’s strength lies not only in his conviction in the content of his music nor in the power of his vocal but in the way the arrangement of his music marks an artist way beyond his years. Lush, orchestral instrumentation and grand, rich structure coupled with that unique voice positions Oren perfectly to confront a topic as large and as ominous as the Anthropocene Age.

That term is relatively new, reportedly coined in the 1960s but popularised only in the new century to designate a new era in the earth’s history, when man has exerted a permanent—and, many would argue, an incredibly deleterious—change in the environment. This is a massive and daunting subject for a lone artist to address, let alone a young musician making his second full-length record. But Oren has the skills to put it all into perspective. The songs on Anthropocene are direct and poetic, outraged and measured.

Art and activism are inseparable on these ten songs, each bolstering the other. “There’s no separating art from reality,” says Oren. “The reality is that our politics are guided by our emotions, and music has the capacity to demonstrate those emotions, at least on an individual level. And if you can talk to someone on an individual level, you might be able to have a more useful conversation than if you’re talking to a roomful of people.”

As well as support slots for Elvis PerkinsMargaret GlaspyAA BondyMarlon Williams and Joe Pug; Oren soon attracted the attention of Ken Coomer, the former drummer for Wilco and a producer in Nashville. Together, the duo assembled a backing band featuring some of the city’s finest session musicians, including keyboard player Michael Webb, singer Maureen Murphy, and guitarists Sam Wilson and Laur Jaomets (Sturgill Simpson). On Anthropocene they provide stately backing for Oren’s songs, with drips of pedal steel and quivers of strings subtly reinforcing his observations about the state of the world.

Anthropocene might be merely didactic and oppressive—a giant bummer of an album—if those rallying cries weren’t tempered with something like hope. It celebrates labour, individual and collective, as the most effective tool for lasting change, and that vision of communal responsibility is what makes the album such a rousing call to arms.

“Music is a sympathetic process, where people who feel the same can experience it together. I don’t know if my songs would change somebody’s mind, but they might help people feel a little bit less alone in their opinions and might encourage them to get involved in some way. Nobody’s going to riot when the album hits the street, but maybe it can in some small way help turn the tables.”

Antropocene tracklist:

1. Burden Of Proof
2. Anthropocene
3. Falling Water
4. Chain Of Command
5. Throw Down
6. Canary In A Coal Mine
7. New Gardens
8. Pictures From Spain
9. River And Stone
10. Welcome Goodbye