With diverse influence, Anonymous transcends definition

by Ryan Snyder

Taken in its classic definition, the term “anonymous” might refer to that without characteristic — something so devoid of distinction that it refuses its own identity. But taken on the grander cosmic scale, you have a term that engenders itself to theories surrounding the superconciousness and other higher states of understanding. It can evoke reflection of Hegel’s theory of absolute idealism or Jung’s collective unconscious; those that in some way describe individual being as completely irrelevant, while casting our membership in something incomprehensibly large. It makes sense, however, for a band that incorporates the term as its name to be purveyors of a sound that is itself indefinable. The music of Burlington band Anonymous ( anonymousjams) is a blend of so many styles that they use the term JamRockFunkDubTron to only begin describing their songwriting ethos. With their hands in bluesy guitar solos, precise synth loops and darkly subsonic low-end and sizzling horns, each number takes on a completely different personality than the one before. Careful to avoid the term “jam band,” vocalist/rhythm guitarist Nick MacDaniels stresses the collaborative nature of all of the band’s six members. Each bring their own influences to form the complex yet structured dynamic that makes them a favorite around the Elon University bar scene and beyond. The core of the band met while in high school in Maryland, though they possessed a completely different aesthetic at the time. “We used to sound a lot like Dave Matthews, but that’s kind of a forgotten era of the band,” MacDaniels said. “We just kind of grew up in musical tastes and didn’t want to knock off another band.” Their debut album, Meet Anonymous, was produced a year and a half ago in order to bridge the gap between their old and new sound, but only recently have they produced material true to their current sound. Entitled The Handout, the band plans to make the EP free on their website for download, hence the title, and also to “hand out” at shows. “Were hoping to have it done before Christmas, but we’ve been hammering the kinks out,” MacDaniels noted. “It’s the best thing we’ve recorded so far.” It includes a few tracks of original material along with a cover of one of the Talking Heads most memorable works, “This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody).” Though it’s been re-recorded by several artists before them, including their major influence Perpetual Groove, MacDaniels believes it’s a piece that deserves only the most careful treatment. “The song is perfect as it already is,” MacDaniels stated. “I was just really inspired by the lyrics and felt like I could relate the same passion, while singing it with some honest personal conviction.”

That same conviction has led the band to take on a project that allows them to further their music, while practicing their environmental ideals. They recently took out a mortgage on a circa-1940s bungalow in Burlington to use as a rehearsal and creative space. The house’s only use is for music, which allows them to practice and write spontaneously. In addition, Anonymous is also renovating the house so that it is highly energy efficient. “It’s been cool to see our music improve over the months, along with the improvements to the house,” MacDaniels added. Anonymous plans on ramping up their tour schedule in the spring with shows in Washington DC, Virginia, North Carolina and surrounding areas. Though no dates have been announced as of yet, the band expects to play more shows in the coming year than any in their existence.