The Sweetest Condition Keeps Irene & Reed as a ‘Side Project’

Understanding the transition between Irene & Reed to The Sweetest Condition…

When you’re having a bad day, what kind of music do you listen to? Is it heavy metal, punk, or industrial rock? What about the days you’re on a lucky streak? You’re in love, you’re on a 3-day weekend, or you just got a raise at work…. Do you listen to something much lighter — pop, country, or jazz, perhaps?

It’s inevitable. Human emotions run the gamut from joy to sorrow and everything in between. It makes sense that on some days, you prefer the dark to the light side of life, and vice versa. Everything is dual-natured — including music. It’s finding the compromise between the two that’s the hard part for most musicians. The lucky few learn to package it all into one project, one music genre, one style, and one image. For the rest of us, we’re left with split personalities. And the bands who like to take risks will use this to their advantage by creating two separate music projects to focus on the two very different parts that make up the essence of who they are.

It’s why you always hear about bands with “side projects.” It’s the perfect concept, really! You get two opportunities to express and challenge yourself in very different ways on a musical and emotional level. How exciting!…

That’s where we come in.

In 2009, when Jason Reed Milner and I started writing music together, we formed Irene & Reed (, a “piano pop” band with sultry blues, folk, and even some ragtime undertones. It was the “yang” to our “yin.”

However, where there is light, there are also shadows. Thus, three years later, The Sweetest Condition ( was born. It was our chance to do something totally different — to take the organic elements and hopefulness of Irene & Reed and throw a dirty, dark, electronic twist on it. It was time to recreate our identities!

And so, we now bring to you two entirely different music styles. The Sweetest Condition is our primary focus as songwriters, but we cannot hide from our dual-natured selves. We have decided to keep Irene & Reed as a side project — for those days when we “just want to write a happy song, damn it!”

What’s to come?

Album two is on its way, and we’ll be releasing Struggle, Strength, Reclamation as a limited edition Irene & Reed album for our beloved fanatics out there, sometime around the upcoming holiday season. (Stocking stuffers, anyone?!) So, those of you who have seen us live in the past year will finally be able to take home the songs you got stuck in your head from those shows. (You’re welcome!) And, you’ll finally be able to enjoy the rhythms of our former Irene & Reed band members, the lovely drummer Eddie Venable and bassist Eric Latham, who recorded as guest musicians on this long-awaited collection. Woohoo!

And what about The Sweetest Condition?

Well, friends, Jason and I have a very special EP in the works for you right now with brand new songs from our brand new two-piece band. … We can’t wait to introduce you to the dark side!

Sleep well, my pretties.

– Leslie “Irene” Benson, singer-songwriter

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