• This group ventures beyond the territorial trappings of genres until their music hits a cinematic free space where elegant pop hooks, mandolins, cello, horns, and harmonies combine for pure magic.

    — iTunes
  • There’s a Nick-Cave-meets-The-Velvet-Underground via Flannery O’Connor feeling to Murder By Death.

    — PopShifter
  • Murder by Death bring a perspective that's honest and heartfelt, and it's a reminder why this group is still one of the most powerful Hoosier acts around.

    — Allmusic
  • Murder by Death have quietly proven themselves to be the best in the game when it comes to longform yarn-spinning...Every album feels less like a studio recording and more like a well-worn Cormac McCarthy book.

    — Noisey/ VICE
  • Over the course of a nearly 15-year career, the band Murder by Death has taken a leading role in a growing effort to unite indie rock with country and folk.

    — Entertainment Weekly
  • These Hoosier gothics explore the fetid corners of rural Americana, telling hard-drinking, hard-bitten stories about love, personal history and brown liquor.

    — Philadelphia Weekly
  • Rarely does a band blend upbeat melodies with downtrodden characters to such a believable effect.

    — Dallas Observer
  • The band blends dark subjects -- death, violence, booze and isolation both emotional and physical -- with glimpses of brightness borrowed from vaudeville and wild west melodrama. That's where their genre-bending begins. Turla's crackly guitar modernizes their sound, giving them a foothold among indie counterparts like Calexico and Iron and Wine.

    — KDHX St. Louis
  • They've cultivated a cult-like fan base via their unique sound, which mingles elements of country, indie rock and alternative music into collections of songs that are the sonic equivalent of "No Country For Old Men."

    — PureVolume
Bloomington, IN

On the surface, Murder By Death is a Bloomington, IN quintet with a wry, ominous name. But behind the geography and moniker is a band of meticulous and literary songwriters matched by a specific brand of brooding, anthem-riding balladry and orchestral indie rock.

Murder By Death's path began in the early 2000s as most Midwestern college-town groups do, by playing to small crowds at ratty venues and frenzied house parties. While many of their formative-year scene-mates failed to make it much further than campustown's borders, Murder By Death translated their anonymous beginnings into a 10+ year career founded on a bedrock of five full-length albums, tireless D.I.Y. touring and performing ethics, and, most importantly, a dedicated, cult-like fanbase.

Since the band began in 2001, their audience has blossomed due in part to extended tours alongside similarly hardworking musical kin such as Against Me!, Gaslight Anthem, Lucero, William Elliott Whitmore, Ha Ha Tonka, and others. Throughout relentless touring across the United States, Canada and Europe, Murder By Death has gained word-of-mouth devotees and support from the likes of media outlets like SPIN Magazine, who said of the band:

'They brawl like Johnny Cash's cellmates or dreamily swoon like Nick [Cave], stomping saloon floorboards in 4/4 time as grand strings fade into high noon.'

What resonates most with supporters is the band's energetic, unique, and altogether consistent sound and conceptualized vision. The personnel and ingredients of the group consist of Sarah Balliet's throaty cello melodies, singer/guitarist Adam Turla's booming baritone vocals and brawny guitar strumming, drummer Dagan Thogerson and bassist Matt Armstrong's locked-down, post-punk rhythm section interplay, and David Fountain's multi-instrumentalist bag of tricks (including piano, trumpet, accordion, mandolin, vocals, percussion). The overriding sound is an amalgamation of textures ranging from dark and desolate to upbeat and brightly melodic, all of it landing somewhere under the orchestrated indie rock umbrella.

The other mainstay signature element of Murder By Death's identity has been built by the overriding concepts behind each individual album. Every successive effort conjures up fresh imaginative and tactile worlds - whether it's the battle between the Devil and a small Western town (Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them?, 2003), an arid land of death and redemption (In Bocca al Lupo, 2006), or just songs inspired by a retreat into the Tennessee mountains (Good Morning, Magpie, 2010).

Compilation Tracks: 
Recommended if You Like: 
Nick Cave
The Devil Makes Three
The National
Johnny Cash
Okkervil River

Similar Bloodshot Artists