Irene & Reed (2009-2013) was an Indie Rock / Dark-Tinged Americana / Piano Pop duo from Indianapolis, Ind., featuring Leslie Irene Benson (lyrics + vocals) and Jason Reed Milner (music + piano).
Interweaving a raw American folk vibe with sultry blues/jazz vocals, a hint of pop sensibility and a playful blend of melodic rock, ragtime and classical piano, Irene & Reed took listeners on an emotional ride of aural storytelling on their debut album, Closer to Home, self-released on Bandcamp in 2010.
Drummer Edward Venable (Placebo, Bone Daddie, and Second Fiddle) joined in 2010 on drums and backing vocals to launch the band’s first live tour, in support of their debut album, Closer to Home. Guest bass guitarists included Scott Carroll and Eric Latham. Latham also played bass guitar on demos and live tracks.
Irene & Reed perform “Crucified” off of their debut album, “Closer to Home,” at their first live concert, held at Birdy’s Bar & Grill in Indianapolis, Ind., on Dec. 1, 2010. Members performing included Benson (vocals), Milner (keys), Venable (drums), and Carroll (bass).
In 2013, the band was going to release its second full-length Irene & Reed album, tentatively titled, Struggle, Strength, Reclamation, which was recorded at Sony Tree Studios in Nashville, TN. However, due to floods and technical issues, they were forced to shelve the album. The unreleased rough demos are now streaming for free for fans on Musical Family Tree.
In 2013, Irene & Reed transformed into The Sweetest Condition, and Benson and Milner left Indianapolis to move to Nashville, Tenn.