Trevor Powers // Playwright

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Trevor Powers sunset his Youth Lagoon project back in 2016 and, upon conclusion of his tour that year, dropped out. He has now resurfaced, ready for a fresh start, under his born name with a new song and video and the announcement of the launch of his own label, Baby Halo. Powers also shared the above note, further explaining his retirement from Youth Lagoon.

This new song, “Playwright,” is a beauty, as is the video. The song floats along with brief moments of intensity featuring Trevor’s vocals above asian-inflected orchestration and electronic sonic alterations.

The video, featuring famed synchronized swimming outfit the Aqualillies and directed by Dan Opsal, showcases the mysteriously masked, billowy figures intertwining, trapped in a deep blue underwater setting, and seems to visually articulate Powers’ views on this former project.

“I ended Youth Lagoon because it became a mental dungeon, & I was its captive,” Powers explains. “My intention was never to keep it going — only to serve as a nod to the blooming years. It’s been said the worst prisons are the ones we build for ourselves / the barriers, rules, & regulations that we choose to live by out of fear of the unknown or because we think it’s what we’re supposed to do. But I now feel freed. This project is the beginning of something new; not the continuation of something old.”

Photo Recap: Kevin Morby at The Hi-Fi

Funny enough, listening to a recording can obscure the musicality of a performer. This is especially true of records like Kevin Morby’s City Music, a seamless piece that Morby released last year on Dead Oceans. The album has all of the hallmarks of an #albumoftheyear: timeless emotional weight, zero filler, and a pace that travels from bold-as-lightning on one end to twinkling traffic lights and back again. The music is alive here, and Morby is clearly an excellent musician by any standard. Only experiencing him through spotify, cd, or even vinyl, though, is to only understand a fraction of the talent coursing through him and his band.

For one, obviously, the suit game here is strong. Donned in honky tonk formal wear covered in enough embroidery to impress an outlaw mc gang, Morby is not fucking around. Beyond the style, though, is where the meat and potatoes live. Every band member has the skill to take a deceptively simple song structure and add their own complex layer to it, building and crafting something so alive and sprawling that the album version of the same song seems wilted and limp by comparison. The crowd at the HI-FI was already excited before the set, but they were set to a full frenzy as the band exploded City Music’s eponymous track and tore through the manic energy of “1234.” It was as if the crowd was hearing something that we had instinctively loved for the very first time, that we couldn’t help but love.

City Music was one of my favorite albums from last year, but Kevin Morby puts on one of the best performances I’ve even seen.

 

Kevin Morby

 

Hand Habits

 

 

Photos by Doug Fellegy (via Flickr)

Today’s MOKB on SIRIUS XMU Blog Radio Playlist : 5/1/18

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Here’s the playlist from today’s My Old Kentucky Blog Radio on SIRIUS XMU, Channel 35 on every Tuesday at 10pm EST! Also, the show can be found anytime via OnDemand online and via the app.

Clairo – 4EVER
Oneohtrix Point Never – Black Snow
Janelle Monae – Americans
The Internet – Roll (Burbank Funk)
Christine and the Queens – Tilted
Hatchie – Sleep
Eleanor K. – I Can Only See Me
Cullen Omori – Four Years
Family Reunion – Vision
Sam Evian – IDGAF
Lydia Kepinski – Les routes indolores
Ty Segall & the Freedom Band – Fanny Dog (Royal)
Snail Mail – Heat Wave
Kadhja Bonet – Delphine
The Asteroids Galaxy Tour – Surrender
Parcels – Tieduprightnow
Pinkshinyultrablast – Dance AM
Duke Dumont w/ Ebenezer – Inhale
Yondo – Candy Beat
Maps and Atlases – Fall Apart
Palace Winter – Come Back (Left Behind)
Lucas – Beacon
J. Roddy Walston and the Business – Heavy Bells
Body Type – Arrow
Boys – Hemtjansten
Dijon – Skin
Hana Vu ft. Satchy – Cool
Jon Hopkins – Everything Connected

Photo Recap: Colter Wall and The Local Honeys at The Hi-Fi

Colter Wall and The Local Honeys made an ideally paired bill for fans of any sort of Americana blend, and the sold out HI-FI crowd in mid-March knew it. This being Wall’s second time playing Indianapolis, many fans waiting outside before doors opened were swapping stories about how solid his last performance was and excitedly chatting about how amazing it would be to see him again. One guy even diy’d his own neon-colored sandwich board with the phrase “SHUT THE FUCK UP WHEN COLTER WALL IS PLAYING” that he wore during the evening. But everyone, even sandwich board guy, couldn’t help but shout and cheer throughout both bands and you can’t really blame them.

The Local Honeys opened the evening with a Kentucky verve, sweetly melting their harmonized twang into their instrumentation. Linda Jean Stokley and Montana Hobbs rolled the crowd into a frenzy thanks to furious banjo and fiddle playing before causing them to completely unravel amid their oversized guitar-led stories about corrupt mine owners and vindictive love.

Only in his 20s, Colter Wall had a voice that could either be the result of bonafide country music genetics or a pact with the devil. In either case the result is the same: a cloud of whiskey scented gravel dust, funneled through a Canadian true crime epic. His sound is so nonchalant and authentic that you would be forgiven for thinking him a contemporary of Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard, yet his eponymous debut record was released in 2017. Awed silence be damned, Wall’s set made the crowd whistle and cheer themselves hoarse. Most of all sandwich board guy.

 

Colter Wall

 

The Local Honeys

 

Photos by Doug Fellegy (via Flickr)

Photo Recap: There’s Nothing Quite Like a Jonathan Richman Show

Words by Seth Johnson
Photos by Doug Fellegy

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more unique performer than Jonathan Richman.

Best known for his time fronting legendary proto-punk band the Modern Lovers, Richman may be 66 years old, but his effervescent spirit on stage is closer to that of a child at the play park. Personally, I have always felt a strange connection to Richman and his music. We do share a love for the Velvet Underground (Richman lived on the VU manager’s couch as a youngster), but there’s always been something more to my fascination with the Massachusetts-born musician. As much as he’s a rock ‘n’ roller, he’s also a genuine, contemplative goofball, which I finally was able to experience firsthand when Richman performed at the Hi-Fi this past Tuesday.

Accompanied by longtime drummer Tommy Larkins, Richman had all ears on him from the very first note of his performance, keeping fans emotionally engaged throughout the entirety of his set. As one might expect, Richman is equal parts comedian and musician at his shows, often cracking clever quips in the context of songs. While doing this, however, he also remains vulnerable as well, sharing reflections on life, love and the world we live in.

Right off the bat, Richman made a point of having the audience be a part of his show. After first having the Hi-Fi turn on lights in the crowd, he then bugged them about turning off the TV screens in the bar, before eventually being informed that the TV screens displayed beer that was available on tap. Selections from Richman’s more recent albums surfaced in the beginning of his set, including songs like “Behold the Lilies of the Field” and “Sad Trumpets of Afternoon.” Later on, fan favorites like “I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar” and “Old World” also made their way into the show, too. No matter how familiar the song, however, Richman made it breathe a new life live, continually improvising on guitar and vocals. It was ultimately this improvising that gave Richman’s set its highest degree of charm.

To close out his performance, Richman recited a poem, once again defying the expectations of a “modern” rock show. In this very vulnerable instance, he presented himself less as an icon and more as a human. In the end, it’s this fact that would seem to make his shows so refreshingly enthralling.

All of this being said, I can surely say there’s nothing quite like a Jonathan Richman show. Go see him the next time he comes to your town. You won’t regret it.

 

 

Jonathan Richman

 

Summer Green

Photo Recap: Low at The Hi-Fi

Words by Seth Johnson
Photos by Doug Fellegy

There’s no questioning the impressive career of Duluth, Minnesota band Low. Known for their emotive, minimalist indie rock sound, Low has been around since 1993, consistently releasing high quality music over the decades. After seeing them open up for Swans back in 2013 at Deluxe, I was excited for a more intimate experience with Low at the Hi-Fi.

Rather than having an opening act on this night, Low opted to instead treat their fans to two sets of music. A few songs in, guitarist/vocalist Alan Sparhawk mentioned that the first set would predominantly consist of new material, which fans would eventually find on an upcoming release that’s currently in the works. After playing through six new tunes, Low reached back to the 2013 album The
Invisible Way and played the song “Plastic Cup.” They then closed out this first set with two older selections—“Spanish Translation” from the 2015 album Ones and Sixes and “Pissing” from 2005’s The Great Destroyer.

Time and time again throughout the night, I found my mind drifting into a deep contemplation—an effect that Low has seemingly had on others I would assume. Sparhawk and drummer/vocalist Mimi Parker showed off their melancholy harmonies time and time again throughout the night, often singing over simple yet sharp guitar work. During their second set, Low played several more songs from 2015’s Ones and Sixes, including “Landslide,” “Lies,” “No Comprende,” “The Innocents,” and “What Part of Me.” Sprinkled in between these more recent songs were some older selections for the more faithful fans. The most memorable of these was certainly the set closer, “Murderer,” from the 2007 album Drums and Guns. As Sparhawk mentioned, Low has closed with this song for years and years, with its meaning continually changing with the times. “One more thing before I go / One more thing I’ll ask you, lord,” sang Parker and Sparhawk in unison. “You may need a murderer / Someone to do your dirty work.” The song put a fittingly pensive cap on the moving night of music.

 

Low

 

Today’s MOKB on SIRIUS XMU Blog Radio Playlist : 2/27/18

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Here’s the playlist from today’s My Old Kentucky Blog Radio on SIRIUS XMU, Channel 35! Also, available anytime via OnDemand online and via the app.

Rejjie Snow ft. Anna Of The North – Charlie Brown
Few Bits – Starry Eyed
Janelle Monae – Make Me Feel
Nilufer Yanya – Thanks 4 Nothing
Niki & The Dove – Coconut Kiss
MorMor – Heaven’s Only Wishful
Starchild and the New Romantic – Lost Boys
Drew Auscherman – 1979 (Smashing Pumpkins cover)
Small Black – Breathless
Sunflower Bean – Twentytwo
Bishop Nehru – Rooftops
Kendrick Lamar – DNA
Yuno – No Going Back
Brett – Roman Candle
Launder – Annie Blue
Sitcom ft. Clairo – Green Fleece
U.S. Girls – Incidental Boogie
Major Murphy – One Day
Nation of Language – I’ve Thought About Chicago
Bülow – Not A Love Song
Personal Issue – Saint Jude
Boytoy – Mary Anne
Charlotte Day Wilson – Stone Woman
Kate Teague – Low Life
There’s Talk – In Your Hands
True Blue – Mirror Power
King Princess – 1950
Anna Of The North – Fire