With the recent release of his third LP Jackals of the East Side, Eric Benoit has broadened his scope beyond the folk-electronic confessional stylings of previous releases. His 2018 album Heartrender was an exploration of personal anguish, sex, and love, while Jackals is a step into the national conversation - an album of protest, anger, and frustration.
Though the majority of Jackals of the East Side takes place in NYC, it is about more than a single city. It’s a testament to those marginalized communities working together to bring down those in power around the world.
Opening tracks “Dissociation,” “Programmatic Man,” “Sordid Swung,” and “DBT” explore the personal coping mechanisms needed to live in the depressing world of Trump’s America. They are unfortunately especially timely with the coronavirus crisis. Then, the tracks “Don’t Flinch,” “Other Objects,” “Peak Ex,” and “We Don’t Run, We Cross Lanes” take on the evil of patriarchy, misogyny, and nationalism, offering a reflection on where we are now and hope for our ability to move forward.
Benoit’s musical project began in the summer of 2014 with his live debut as Artist of the Month at The Bitter End Singer-Songwriter Series. Not content with the singer-songwriter label, he released his debut album College - an avant-garde electronic affair addressing tough topics such as self-harm and a peer’s suicide - on June 16th, 2017. Soon afterwards, he successfully funded the release of his second LP, Heartrender, on Indiegogo, played a packed album release show at PIANOS NYC on January 27th, 2018, and received positive reviews from PopMatters, Treble Magazine, We Are Unseen, and more.
During the summer of 2018, he released two EPs: Black Currant (May 25) and Pride Parade (August 3). Though they employ differing musical styles of electronic and folk-rock respectively, the EPs share an exploration of sexuality, queerness, pain, joy, personal struggle, loneliness, and transformation.