St. Lenox is the music project of Andrew Choi. His debut, Ten Songs About Memory and Hope, received critical acclaim from NPR, NOISEY and CMJ, with NOISEY editor-in-chief calling the single “Bitter Pill” one of the 10 Best Songs of 2015.
Follow up, Ten Hymns From My American Gothic, received one of the highest Metacritic ratings for a new release in 2016, and was the highest-rated indie-pop release in 2016 according to review aggregator Album of the Year. The record was ranked #68 on PopMatters Best Albums of 2016 list, and was called one of 14 Criminally Underrated Records of 2016 by Salon. In reviews, PopMatters praised Ten Hymns as “nothing short of a 21st century pop masterpiece” while AllMusic described it as an example of “true 21st century songwriting.” Single “Thurgood Marshall” appeared on Best Songs of the Week lists at Consequence of Sound and Vulture, and is referenced as part of the pop culture history of the late Supreme Court justice in Time Magazine. Stereogum calls Choi’s voice “one of the most striking instruments in music today.” Jersey Beat calls the record one of the Best Records of the Decade.
His third album, Ten Fables of Young Ambition and Passionate Love, was ranked #43 on PopMatters Best Albums of 2018 list, and was listed on AllMusic’s Best Indie Pop and Indie Rock Albums of 2018. AllMusic praised the record, noting that Choi’s “creative pursuits have resulted in some of the most unique and unconventionally thrilling pop music in the late 2010s.”
- MTV News: “Here on Good Friday, Andrew Choi stands alone. His latest album as St. Lenox, Ten Songs of Worship and Praise for Our Tumultuous Times, is inherently religious, but as “Deliverance” reveals, his POV is less someone kneeling in the pews than standing in the parking lot, weighing whether or not to make an entrance. Shades of Stephin Merritt and John Darnielle abound here, both in the storytelling and the direct vocals, but Choi is also his own kind of performer – muscly, not showy, economical, and completely unforgettable.” —Patrick Hosken
- Stereogum: “Andrew Choi is one of the most intense and expressive vocalists in indie rock. As St. Lenox, he seems to funnel every ounce of energy he can muster into his lyric-driven songs, so that every syllable commands attention.”
- Pretty Fort: “His delivery is purposefully overwhelming, sensational, boisterous and commanding … There’s something weirdly punk about St. Lenox, it’s punk in the way that it’s counterculture today … in how rambunctiously different it is.”
- Stereogum: “A truly unique and captivating American songwriter … No one sings like Andrew Choi. I compared the St. Lenox singer’s voice to John Darnielle, Michael Stipe, and Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart … Craig Finn, Cee-Lo Green, and Wesley Willis, but none of those comparisons properly captures the blunt intensity of Choi’s delivery.”
- All Music Guide (Editor’s Pick) notes that St. Lenox’s records “have resulted in some of the most unique and unconventionally thrilling pop music in the late 2010s … Listening to Choi’s wild and soulful delivery can be jarring, exhilarating, amusing, and, depending on one’s tastes, a little over-the-top, but while his rapid-fire sing-shouting isn’t for everyone, he has certainly carved out his own distinctive niche and owns it completely … Through it all, he manages to remain relatable and grounded, spinning with great fervor tales that while unique to his path could also belong to thousands of other Americans trying to navigate their way across the confusing social landscapes of their own cities and communities. Making for a unique cocktail, Choi’s extravagant presentation and lingering Midwestern humility somehow cancel each other out and into the creative enigma that is St. Lenox.”
- PopMatters proclaims that “Andrew Choi … is a lyrical genius,” comparing the poetry of Ten Fables to that of Walt Whitman, and praising Choi’s “wry observations about the people and places he encounters and his search for love that capture the old courage teacher’s modern sensibility.”
- The Big Takeover: “Choi is not your run of the mill poet cutting third rate material, rather, a singular force of nature who’s back with his third spellbinding collection. Possessed with a bellowing vocal range and a knack for stitching together verbose, cathartic diatribes that eschews mundane metrical composing entirely, the bard goes straight for the jugular.”
- Best Albums of 2018: nods from AllMusic, PopMatters, Music. Defined., Jersey Beat, and Matt Besser (Upright Citizens Brigade).
- PopMatters (9 out of 10 stars): “Albums of such sheer artistry, originality and thematic immediacy are few and far between. This is the album of perspective and hope we need in this time of political and social unrest … It takes a distinctly singular voice to create something that stands apart from the ever increasing white noise overwhelming the internet in the wake of the great democratization of recording … Ten Hymns From My American Gothic is nothing short of a 21st century pop masterpiece.”
- Allmusic (Editor’s Pick): “St. Lenox is the musical vehicle of Andrew Choi, a New York-based Korean-American from the Midwest whose gutsy indie pop chronicles the modern American experience in a dazzling litany of soulful free verse … an unlikely indie powerhouse who melds glossy electronic textures with richly chorded piano pop delivered in an intensely soul-bearing tenor that falls somewhere between Cee Lo Green and John Darnielle. With Ten Hymns, Choi expands on his broad vision exploring themes of immigration, American culture, and history, painting vividly from his own personal and family experiences. At times beautiful, difficult, and brash, this is true 21st century songwriting.”
- Best Albums of 2016: nods from PopMatters, Columbus Alive, Jersey Beat.
- Salon: One of the most criminally underrated albums of 2016.
- Stereogum, for “Thurgood Marshall” – “Choi’s voice is one of the most striking instruments in music today, a harsh and commanding howl that reminds me of John Darnielle, Michael Stipe, and Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart but is something entirely its own. His subject matter is equally transfixing and unique, a mix of queer love songs, protest music, and savvy observations about the modern American experience.”
- Consequence of Sound – Top Ten Songs of the Week – 9/9/16
- Vulture – 6 Best New Songs of the Week – 9/13/16
- Best Albums of 2015: nods from Jersey Beat, Columbus Alive
- Noisey/VICE, for “The Greyhound Bus Song”- “I burst into tears—big, ugly, inescapable, unbidden tears that felt like they had been stored up for ages. St. Lenox’s music has that effect … you play it and stumble into revelations, hit nerves that you may not have been ready to hit. That’s not to say it’s sad and dark and horrible. It’s just more or less like life itself, which is uncertain and plodding and often finds moments of humor emerging right alongside moments of sadness.”
- Noisey/VICE, for “Bitter Pill” – “Man, with this song, there’s just something so bizarrely poignant about the way it makes you feel. Off his debut record Ten Songs About Memory and Hope, “Bitter Pill” feels like a piece of writing or a poem, beautifully illustrating that choke in your throat you get when you’re reminded of the past and the way things used to be. The song’s lyricism following in the trajectory of other great story tellers in music, kind of reminding me of a blend of Rufus Wainwright and the Mountain Goats.”
- NPR – Songs We Love, for “Just Friends” – “It’s hard to believe that Andy Choi, the gigantic voice behind St. Lenox, was an award-winning teenage violinist. That was back in the mid-’90s, a time the New York songwriter romanticizes to charming effect throughout his debut album, Ten Songs About Memory And Hope … He belts out his regrets with uncanny melisma, like John Darnielle channeling Tony Clifton. As odd as it sounds, it’s a genuinely affecting affect.”
- CMJ, for “Bitter Pill” – “a mournful laptop/singing act that features odd but slowly ingratiating melodies and time signatures, not to mention Choi’s tear-stained, journal-like lyrics that spill out and around the songs. Live, it can be arrestingly intense or just curious, depending on your ability to let love in, as Nick Cave might say. And actually, there’s a darkness to St. Lenox that probably means he has a few Cave CDs on his shelves.”
- The Big Takeover – “Let it be known to the uninitiated Mr. Choi possesses a powerful, and frankly enviable croon … a la Jeff Buckley or Rufus Wainwright. Vocal intonations aside, Ten Songs could survive on its own in the hands of virtually any mouthpiece utilizing Choi’s ornate, slice-of-life by way of stream-of-consciousness narratives. … Too complex to be cast off a as a mere pop album.”
- Dusted Magazine – “The foremost thing here is the voice. It’s fluent, yanking melodies out of lines overstuffed with words… How did Andy Choi develop this helium-dosed soar, somewhere between honest tabernacle rafter-shaking and a jumbo mumble? … confessions include Mountain Goatsesque fictions … detailed memories with slightly sci-fi skews of the present … But he belts them with an utter lack of guile … You want to hang out with the guy. You want to hear him talk.”
- Jersey Beat – The Silver Lining – “Choi belts out the vocals with a power and intensity that reaches right through you and grabs your inner being. It’s a huge, throaty, tenor blast that jets over electronic instrumentals that are, contrastingly, light and lithe. The lyrics seem autobiographical, focused on remembrances of youth, so much that the songs seem less like songs and more like a musical conversation about times gone by … There are several really strong tracks here, and I’ll start out by giving a shout-out to what has to become a “standard,” if there’s any justice in the musical world, “You’re Not Here.” It has that quiet jazz ballad feel, with just Choi’s gigantic presence and electric piano. “I Still Dream Of The ‘90s” is the album’s opener, and the one that grabbed me right off, with Choi’s glorious vocals and the glimmering electronics. “To Be Young Again,” with its slice of life as a teenager in the Midwest 20 years ago, and cool editing techniques with the electronics makes this a standout, and maybe my favorite of the album … This one gets my highest recommendation, and will certainly be atop my end of the year list.”
- Music For Robots – “Now, I definitely could be listening to a lot more music than I have been, but the simple truth is that I haven’t heard anything as great as St. Lenox in a long, long time. St. Lenox–whose alter ego is award-winning violinist Andy Choi–has put out a record that I cannot stop listening to. The fact that it’s a debut makes it all the more impressive … Choi sounds like some kind of Rufus Wainwright-Adele love child, and his larger-than-life vocals are the perfect foil for his songs’ minimal arrangements. And those songs–hoo boy. John Darnielle said it best: “feeling really evangelical about just how good a lyricist Andy Choi is. real vision and feeling.
- Music. Defined. – “St. Lenox toes a fine line through the whole endeavour, mixing loops and beats with … a storytelling style reminiscent of a young Billy Joel. It’s experimental pop with a sound both familiar and impossible to place. I could rattle off ten names that I’m reminded of while listening (Sting, Cee-Lo, David Gray, Lionel Richie, etc.) … I dig it. A lot. And I hope for a lot of people St. Lenox will be their first great musical discovery of 2015.”
- 32ftpersecond (on Hypemachine) – “St. lenox … sprays soulful vocals about a failed relationship over one of those 1970s keyboard progressions that screams of washed out bedrooms and pixelated afternoon television. The R&B vibe hangs as the corners, but the other influences are hard to place, an arrangement that denies easy treatment… It’s immensely memorable, a hook you want to sing and sing again, a brilliant slice of pop in a tiny package.” – Geoff Nelson
- The Deli Magazine – St. Lenox validates all those emotions that thoughts of your hometown bring up and which you think are too sappy to reveal. Maybe its rides on Greyhound buses… or the images of crucifixion that pop up now and then in our dealings with the world. Envision a golden-throated jazz crooner singing mercurial melodies over skittery electronic compositions … St. Lenox sits on a stool, bathed in pale blue stage lights, sounding like a beautiful robot from the future.”