A Swollen River, A Well Overflowing (Keeled Scales)

Contact Jacob Daneman, Jaycee Rockhold about Tenci

Chicago-based band Tenci present a new single/video, “Vanishing Coin,” from their sophomore album, A Swollen River, A Well Overflowing, out November 4th on Keeled Scales. A Swollen River, A Well Overflowing sees Jess Shoman steering Tenci’s inventive music further and wilder. This sonic evolution is at the forefront in the upbeat immediacy of “Vanishing Coin.” Shoman’s soft and trilling vocals fuel the song’s imagery as a friendship vanishes and another well appears, as a wish from a coin tossed into that well never comes to fruition.


Shoman elaborates on the track and its accompanying video: “Something that’s been hard to cope with as an adult is that meaningful friendships might not always exist in the same way as time ticks  forward. ‘Vanishing Coin’ is about wading through the quiet loss and change of friendships. Through that grief comes clarity of what remains and the importance of harnessing that.


The music video (shot by Henry Jordan Smith) is meant to take on a more playful approach through a series of funny tricks – highlighting how something new and unexpected can still hold magic and laughter.”


From the close-knit Chicago scene, Shoman is joined by Curtis Oren on saxophone and guitar, Izzy Reidy on bass (Izzy True), and Joseph Farago on drums (Joey Nebulous). Following the release of their debut, My Heart is an Open Field, and weeks of touring across the country, Tenci regrouped in Chicago to record A Swollen River with engineer Abby Black. On this album, Tenci finds a new place of compositional and lyrical complexity.


Their first album dealt with letting go of painful life experiences and grief, resulting in feelings of emptiness. As Shoman entered their older and wiser years and gained distance and perspective on that grief, Tenci’s new collection of songs carry a contrasting feeling, a celebration of self-rejuvenation. Living during an ongoing pandemic, dangerous nationalism, and climate change, to name a few, can feel so painful, it’s numbing. Tenci attempts to create art out of that metaphorical car on fire outside. Instead of disassociating, Shoman hopes to find commonality in communal care.The songs on A Swollen River, A Well Overflowing weave together like twigs to create that fire, a burning message to keep going.