Reviews

The Sundown Song EP, 2013
"Clogs have always been stirring, but rarely this moving."
—Laura Snapes, Pitchfork

Big Ears Festival, 2010 (concert review)
"[Terry] Riley also enjoyed a fair number of other people’s shows, especially the art-song band Clogs. ('They were the hit for me,' he said, beaming over breakfast on Monday morning. 'Great performers, great writing. I’m going to buy their CD when I get home.')"
—Ben Ratliff, The New York Times

 The Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton, 2010
Newcomers to Clogs’ singularly sensual sonic template will latch firstly to the tracks featuring the biggest names – Sufjan Stevens’s gentle closer We Were Here, and Matt Berninger’s stirring Last Song. But they’ll soon become enraptured by what accompanies these highest-of-profile pieces: music that embraces the listener with a silken touch and seduces them with a beguiling beauty that, still, sits prettily beyond the clamour of convenient categorisation.
—Mike Diver, BBC

 "Representing both consolidation and evolution, The Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton is Clogs' most expansive work to date. With an ever-broadening reach, this intrepid quartet continues to make some of the most hauntingly beautiful and spiritually profound chamber music of the last decade."
—John Kelman, All About Jazz

 "By turns wistful and playful, the album is one of the most evocative and appealing records of the year, in any genre."
—John Schaefer, NPR Music

 "Lady Walton contains the most accomplished and varied music Clogs have recorded to date."
—David Raposa, Pitchfork

 "Clogs [have an] impressive ability to straddle classical and indie spheres, where marimbas and mandolins elegantly court electric guitar and whiskey-voiced vocalists. It's a challenging listen [...] but match their sublime effort with willing ears and the rewards are endlessly worthwhile."
—Laura Snapes, NME

 Southern Theater concert preview, 2010 (interview with Bryce)
“You could always use more bassoon. […] People are still in the thralls of writing for bass clarinet all the time. Really the bassoon is sadly underrepresented in lots of music.”
—Mark Brenden, Minnesota Daily

 Veil Waltz EP, 2010
"Worden's operatic soprano works particularly well within ['On the Edge's] appealing mélange of folkloric textures and minimalist pulses, while Elliott's lyrical bassoon and Kozumplik's spare percussion work in concert with Newsome's strings and Dessner's acoustic guitar to create the sublime beauty endemic in Clogs' work since its debut, Thom's Night Out. The group's ability to evoke timeless melancholy [...] is matched by its ability to mask greater compositional depth. Serenely beautiful, the mixed meters of 'Guitar 13' [...] reveal far more detailed minds at work."

—John Kelman, All About Jazz

Brooklyn Academy of Music, 2009
 (concert review)
"The Clogs pieces, featuring Mr. Newsome on viola and Bryce Dessner on guitar (both from the National), were closer to rock, more basic in form and rhythm even as they retained the transparency of chamber music. In elegiac pieces and up-tempo ones, they circled through three or four chords, often with Mr. Newsome playing melodies and variations as Mr. Dessner plucked methodical arpeggios, Rachael Elliott added counterpoint on bassoon, and Thomas Kozumplik played shimmering chords on marimba. [...] There was no question that the classical and indie realms can share a border where music turns pensive, knotty and otherworldly."

—Jon Pareles, The New York Times


Lantern, 2006

"If this is your first exposure to Clogs, you've picked a fantastic time to become acquainted."

—David Raposa, Pitchfork

"You'd have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by their powerful, gorgeous music."

—Kerstan Mackness, TimeOut London



"Nuanced, achingly beautiful chamber compositions"

—Jennifer Kelly, Neumu


Bristol, UK 2006 (concert preview)

"Their best realised work."

—Phil Meadley, The Independent (UK)



Symphony Space, 2005 (concert review)
"Smart and engaging playing"
—Jeremy Eichler, The New York Times

London Jazz Festival, 2004 (concert review)

"...This is music of such intense beauty that each successive piece is like another exquisite blow on a bruise. The cumulative effect is overwhelming, which is meant as the highest praise."

—David Peschek, The Guardian (UK)

Stick Music, 2004
“Clogs has developed a personal vernacular, a discrete concept that differentiates it and makes using other artists as reference points meaningless. Clogs is, quite simply, a group like no other. […] With Stick Music Newsome may have made his most cogent and compelling statement to date: a recording that redefines the roles and capabilities of string instruments, and redefines the concept of composition itself, where melody, texture and rhythm coalesce to create a strange yet completely approachable aural landscape.”
—John Kelman, All About Jazz

"When trying to describe Clogs' music to other folks, it might be better to forgo any genre distinctions and head straight for the thesaurus so you can find fresh and exciting ways to say 'sublime.'"

—David Raposa, Pitchfork

Lullaby for Sue, 2003
“creates a brilliant autumnal atmosphere for naked thought, and crazy daydreams”
—Chris Nettleton, Drowned In Sound

“a very intricate and sophisticated sound”
—Amneziak, Tiny Mix Tapes

More electric and eclectic than their début recording, Lullaby for Sue is a landmark recording by a group that defies easy labeling; by enticing the listener while at the same time challenging, Clogs manage to create a new musical expression that shows a remarkable evolution in a short period of time.
—John Kelman, JazzReview.com

Thom’s Night Out, 2001

"The music handily eludes classification, but fans of Sigur Ros, the Rachel's, and other post-rock ensembles who know how to listen in respectful silence to a live performance will have no trouble appreciating the softly evocative compositions."
—The New Yorker

"An ethereal music for the 21st century."
—TimeOut New York

"While his [Padma Newsome's] works for bassoon, saxophone, guitar, percussion, and his own instruments bear the casual, loose-limbed shamble of Western improvisation, they are largely grounded in the classic folk musics of India and the Jewish Diaspora. At once familiar and alien, comical and disquieting, soothing and overwrought, the Clogs' music walks a fine line between radiance and darkness that is rarely achieved outside Hindu culture—and even more rarely in a nightclub setting."
—SF Weekly

"Smooth and thin-sounding strings weep in and out of hollow guitar pops and deep, minimal bassoon-based soundscapes-rich, concise, repetitive and slightly experimental. These guys refresh classical music with their subtle touch, their accessible grooves, and a tiny klezmer edge...a phenomenal live experience for those with sensitive ears and quiet tongues."
—Boss Sambosa, Montréal Mirror

"The buzz is swelling around this Aussie-American quartet that captures the basics of conservative avant-instro."
—Ilana Kronick, Voir Hour (Montréal)

"Clogs...grab form by the cojones and manipulate it to fit their own personal vision of aesthetics, meaning they're real weird, real creative, real esoteric, real good."
—Blue Dog Press (Buffalo)

"The biggest drawback to Thom's Night Out is that it won't fit logically anywhere in your music collection. A case could be made for including it with your world-music stuff or with your classical discs or even with the rock CDs-somewhere between Camper Van Beethoven and Costello, Elvis. The four-piece ensemble uses Western classical instruments to play pop-structured songs that can sound like klezmer music, traditional Indian melodies or even medieval monody. Padma Newsome plays the violin and viola and also composed most of the tunes. Thomas Kozumplik plays all manner of percussion, including steel drums, and Bryce Dessner plays classical guitar while Rachael Elliott fills out the ensemble on bassoon. Sound like an odd combination? It is, but the honed chops and unique harmonic sensibility somehow hold it all together. Fans of rock's slo-mo movement will feel right at home, and so will their parents. It is overall refreshing in its originality and bravado; few new CDs in any genre will do as much to challenge the way you listen to music."
—Andrew Ervin, Philadelphia City Paper