Alive After Five: Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter with Low-fi 

It's the last AAF of the season

Poetic and intense, Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter defy classification. At first listen, the duo are pure folk but after a bit, their music can range from the airy and atmospheric to alternative country to something close to pure rock.

Beginning in Seattle in 2002, singer-songwriter Jesse Sykes and guitarist Phil Wandscher formed a musical partnership that has spanned four albums and gained critical acclaim. They have toured with Iron & Wine, Bright Eyes, Sparklehorse and Black Mountain, and have performed throughout the United States as well as across the Atlantic in cities such as Paris, London and Amsterdam.

Though Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter have a sound sometimes described as psychedelic, they have a broader appeal because their songs run the range of human emotion. Sykes has said that she tries to capture the "strange combination of swagger and vulnerability" of modern life, and with her clever lyrics and dusky voice, she succeeds. Add in Wandscher's distorted guitar riffs and the other talented musicians who make up the rest of "the Sweet Hereafter," and it makes for one compelling show.

This year is the 25th anniversary of Alive After Five and to mark the occasion, local artist Ward Hooper designed a commemorative poster that will be available for sale. And because it's the last AAF of 2011, that means it is also the annual end-of-season Record Exchange Party at AAF. All that and a performance by Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter? It's a great way to end the summer.

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