Modern Kin is the Portland band Pastors’ Wives reinvented. The trio of Drew Grow, Kris Doty and Jeremiah Hayden are without their former keyboardist Seth Schaper but have added a new, visceral sound and a self-titled debut album.
Whereas before the Pastors’ Wives did a lot of what Grow calls “a real loose sort of stompy gospel, messy thing,” Modern Kin’s new sound is more complex and sophisticated. But the group kept its live-show philosophy of playing raw and instinctively with the freedom to make mistakes.
“We were practicing so much together,” Grow says, “and really enjoying tightening up the rhythms and chasing down different feels and tightening things up in a certain way, and then by the end when we had laid all the craziness back on top of that bed, it just really felt like it was a new thing.”
The revitalization of the album is partly thanks to Sleater-Kinney’s Janet Weiss, Grow’s girlfriend, who produced it.
“In my writing process, at times,” Grow says, “I’d play her a new song and ask, ‘What do you think?’ And she’d say ‘I just don’t like the chorus. I just still don’t like the chorus.’ And I went back and rewrote it, and sure enough, what do you know, at the end of the day it was a better song.”