Tag Archives: new music

A solid find: Hollow Coves (New Artist Update)

I was recently just doodling around on the internet like we like to do when paper proposals should really be written, and I stumbled across these two beautiful gentlemen who, quote, “have that chilled vibe about [them].”

Such truth.

I’m a fan of acoustic sets and I’m even more of a fan of acoustic duos. Pretty clean, pure stuff to me, and I find that if you just have a guitar in hand and your voice, there are no real opportunities to BS your music.

Hollow Coves do not disappoint.

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Meet Ryan Henderson and Matt Carins, two dudes from Brisbane, Australia. Recently just releasing their debut EP, Drifting, indie-folk duo Hollow Coves keep it simple and keep it classy.

Just listening to the first song on Drifting, “The Woods,” is beautifully simple with an intro of a slowly building beat that develops into simple guitar melodies and soft piano chords, vaguely giving a Kris Allen feel to the song. The two boys picked each other well as both their voices truly complement each other as they bring the song alive with their relaxed tone and lyrics of “And we all sit around the fire/ We feel a little warmer now/And we all sit around the fire/ We feel so much better now.”

Drifting – EP by Hollow Coves

Take a listen, and if just chilling around the fire and feeling better and warmer doesn’t give you a “chilled” vibe then I don’t know what will.

In “Home,” the second song on Drifting¸ simple subtle guitar melodies combined with the duo’s intertwined voices also just brings you home as they sing “Take me home/To the friends I’ve always known/Take me home/Back to the place where I belong.”

Such simple lyrics right? I mean, yes, don’t get me wrong here, these pieces of music are not the most complex musically and lyrically, but the overall vibe these two have is what I think they’re both trying to achieve: simple, clean and beautiful. And hey, indie folk isn’t Bach.

I think in the last song, “Heatwave,” is actually the song that is the most complex of the three on the EP with more complicated instrumentals, but at the same time, it’s also my least favorite.  Why? 1) There’s only one person doing vocals on this song, which for me, causes the song to lose depth, and 2) The last half of the song is guitar strumming and humming which gets boring. Nonetheless, the one guy doing the vocals on this song, either Ryan or Matt (I can’t tell), does show a wider range of vocal capability, so cool to know for the future if they decide to release a full album.

Where to listen?! http://hollowcoves.bandcamp.com/releases 

Overall? I like them. I like this. I like indie folk and I like their simplicity and the beauty that comes with it. If they keep to the simple melodies of both their instrumentals and their voices, then Hollow Coves will be a duo that makes it to the top.

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Ariana Rivera

Album Review: “Alone For The First Time” by Ryan Hemsworth

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HAPPY RYAN HEMSWORTH WEEK!

the canadian prince of future vibes and dope remixes dropped a new album November 4th named Alone For The First Time. the album is fairly short, just 7 songs totaling 27 minutes. 

TRACKLIST:

01 “Hurt Me”

02 “Walk Me Home” (Feat. Lontalius)

03 “Snow In Newark” (Feat. Dawn Golden)

04 “Blemish”

05 “Too Long Here” (Feat. Alex G)

06 “Surrounded” (Feat. Kotomi & DOSS)

07 “By Myself” (Feat. the GTW & Little Cloud)

the album is a super chill collection of songs that have great beats accompanied by really pretty and sometimes sad lyrics, a perfect follow up to last years album, Guilt Trips (which you should also check out if you haven’t). Hemsworth told vogue “Maybe it’s[Alone For The First Time] a reaction to all the party music out there now, but I just needed to do something a little quieter — every song I do is in a minor key.” this makes the album really flow together- i think it sounds best just played in order. Check out the stream below:

the first track, “Hurt Me”, is minimalistic with a bubbly electronic beat and simple lyrics (the only words are “don’t you hurt me”). how much more representative of Ryan Hemsworth’s style could that be…

“Walk Me Home” is that classic internal battle between wanting to be with someone but knowing they’re not good for ya. put those lyrics over Hemsworth’s spin on what sounds like a ballerina music box and it’s an amazing song; you’ll find yourself torn between dancing and curling up in a ball of sad- the best kind of sad.

“Snow in Newark” was the album’s first single, released September 22nd, 2014. this track is ESSENTIAL. this song is a sincere and relatable piece, you can’t help but wanna give ryan a big ol’ hug because he’s just so adorably glum. “I call my music happysad, one word, no spaces,” Ryan Hemsworth says, and that’s exactly what this is. 

“Blemish” is an instrumental electronic track, which is very different than the typical, crazy instrumentals that start to sound repetitive and almost aggressive, because Hemsworth’s mellow and unique style is so vibe-able. 

“Too Long Here” opens up with the lyric “Who ever thought of a big train / Going right in your mouth”. it’s a lonely song about feeling lost, but in a really common and not necessarily sad way. i think this is my favorite song on the album because the meaning isn’t really clear, so everyone’s gonna interpret it differently. and Alex G’s voice is dope, so that always helps.

“Surrounded” is great. the voices, one computerized-sounding, one soft and very classic, create a cool contrast with the electronic beat and bass. you really notice Hemsworth’s DJ skills on this track- they’re impossible to ignore.

finally, the last hoorah, “By Myself”.  this is such an amazing song, and i love the way Hemsworth, GTW & Little Cloud worked together, because the song seems accessible. you can relate to the lyrics and the beat, and you can be alone but with someone else, as the song is saying. it’s a cool way to end the album because when it finishes, it winds down to nothing and you do almost feel by yourself. 

overall, the album was a really successful project, and i think Ryan Hemsworth is just on the come up. he’s been touring around the world, doing big festival appearances and college fling concerts, but he’s had time to make this album and be really involved with his fans. he replies to a majority of the tweets he receives, and answers all of his tumblr asks, which reveals how humble and, honestly, timid he is. when a fan complimented his performance at the University of British Columbia, he replied “i felt funny at ubc for some reason.. i dunno if i’m good at like big college spring fling parties? or just 2 self conscious lol.” it’s essentially impossible to dislike Ryan Hemsworth as a person, which makes his music that much more attractive. 

Hemsworth detailed his reasoning for making this album shy away from the typical electronic club music on his tumblr: “i think just a lot of the places i found myself in the past year (big weird EDM festivals, etc) kind of pushed me to make something quieter / separate from that world. and also just the combo of never being home but meeting cute nice people on the road lots added up to a newfound appreciation of a lot of music i’d forgotten about.”

basically, you should totally check out his new album. and his instagram, which is where i pulled this picture from:

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gnovs

New Video: Jesse Romo – The Beauty of One

Jazzy and slow, Jesse Romo, starts off his latest track, “The Beauty of One” with a casual collection of guitar and drums. As the vocals begin, a wave of relaxation washes through all the instruments at once. Although the music isn’t technically difficult, it does challenge the listener to take in the message that Jesse strives to convey. “It is about feeling lost and alone, having a spiritual experience, and coming to find connectedness with the Universe,” the artist shares in the description of the song’s music video:

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A compilation of various Yosemite and Joshua Tree time lapses accompany the song as it drifts through various states of calamity. Check out the music video on Facebook or in the stream above.

This track is decidedly different than the music that can be found in Romo’s previous releases. While mixtapes like Listen, Love (Epilogue) and Afterthoughts rely heavily on sample-based production around jazz and hip-hop, other projects like happykid vibes out like old school Nintendo. This single ushers the first time that Jesse’s voice has appeared on a track – needless to say, I am glad to hear it.

To explain the inspiration behind the song, Romo states:

I started writing this song last summer, during a difficult couple of months in my life. Facing trials and tribulations again recently, but now with a greater sense of hope, I felt it was time to complete the song.”

There’s plenty of more beauty to be found in this artist’s work on Bandcamp and Soundcloud. Feel free to stream and download anything as he has gladly offered it all up for free!

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DJ Desman

Hozier: Let’s appreciate the man and the album (Artist/Album Review)

Hi I’m Ariana Rivera and I like writing words and music so I asked some people about a way to combine the two and they gave me this job.

So lately, I’ve been obsessed, and I think you know what I mean. I’m talking about soul-sucking, mind-numbing, “Wow, I can’t stop listening” plain obsessed. This entire album and the man who writes it has stolen my heart and although it’s only been a couple of weeks, I just can’t help but love it.

Meet Hozier.

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Born Andrew Hozier-Byrne, 24, Irish born and gifted with a soulful, bluesy as hell voice, this man is relatively new to the industry, with his debut album, Hozier released in Ireland in September, and globally just last month. Studied music in Dublin for a bit and was involved in an Irish vocal choral group, but dropped that…to become who he is, a modern day, Van Morrison and a male Adele.

So let’s talk about his album, now that we have an understanding that he’s somewhat successful and a little bit beautiful.

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Starting off with “Take Me to Church,” his first single that went viral on YouTube and topped the charts all around, we get a feel of how Hozier feels about love in his analogous parallel of love to religion: that falling in love essentially resulted in a death of everything. Not the happiest way to start the day, but the song starts off just a pure tone of his voice and some simple piano chords. Once we get going, background vocals come in, and for a second you see a hint of the vocal choral group roots that he has. The lyrics of this song are powerful once you reach the chorus, and we end the song not just with a pianist and smooth sounds of Hozier’s voice, but with a powerful guitar and drum combo, thundering through to make a statement.

So obviously, this guy has power, and we get a second hint of that in his second track off the album, “Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene” (which had a hint of influence from the Black Keys to me). At this point in the album, however, you might already have the feeling of, “Okay, I got that he can do powerful R&B and soul, but is this really the sound for the entire album?”

Hozier switches it up a bit and finally shows a softer bluesy side in “Jackie and Wilson,” with an asymmetric rhythm and feel. “From Eden,” the 6th track off the album, other than having incredible lyrics that reference a lil bit of Satan (“I slithered in from Eden”) has the oddest sound of the entire album in my opinion. Start a song off with some cello and guitar, and just a voice resonating “Babe,” and it just is too soulful. It sounds like you’re listening to a lullaby when you first start off. The lyrics come in, and the symbiotic relationship that the cello, guitar, and drums play off each other, and although the song loses its lullaby feel, the instrumentals alone still leave you feeling just serene and peaceful.

 “Work Song,” one of the later tracks, is my favorite of the entire album simply because of the melodic hums that swell beautifully and timed claps that start off the song (This is so weird, but I swear it reminds me of  Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Don’t judge.) He sings this track with almost a careless croon of just walking around mournfully. I dig the style. My favorite lyric off the entire album comes from this song: “When, my, time comes around/ Lay me gently in the cold dark earth/ No grave can hold my body down/ I’ll crawl home to her.” He’s an intense guy, but an intense lover all the same, and this lyric holds it true for me.

Take a listen.

We end the album, still soulful, but much more toned down from when we started. “Cherry Wine,” the last track of the album, is the live version, and features Hozier picking at his guitar and his voice. Unlike with previous songs in the album, in which he sings it with a completely folky, blues style similar to that of the earlier track “Like Real People Do, “ Hozier sings it pure, clean, and naked of any influence. It’s the purest song of the album, and the happiest song as, in terms of tone. With sound clips of blue birds in the background and pretty guitar riffs, “Cherry Wine” ends the album on a happier, more serendipitous note than the intense, tormented sound of “Take Me to Church” in the beginning.

If ya like Van Morrison, if you like The Black Keys, and if ya like some bluesy soul, grab a copy.

Where to get it: http://www.myplaydirect.com/hozier

Where to listen: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8KVn2EQ_jy3dXEtYoeTI0EPy40usREYO 

Overall? Obviously, I’m obsessed for a reason. There’s hints of the Gospel/choral influences in almost every track, and I thank it for it. Although his soulful, bluesy riffs are beautiful, they can be a bit intense, and the heavy content of his lyricism is nicely off put by the heart lifting melodic swells. Additional to that, it seems to add to the holy atmosphere he had in his sound and the love/religion obsession he has in his lyrics.

Maybe you won’t be obsessed, but I still love him for his soulful vibe. That, and the fact he followed me back on Instagram.

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Ariana Rivera

LT’s Choice: Little Kid’s Album Logic Songs

This week, instead of posting a playlist, I feel obligated to post an album because no singular album that I have stumbled upon recently has captivated me in a similar fashion to this. 

Little Kid’s Logic Songs was recorded somewhere in Ontario, Canada. The only way we get a feel for where the location is is through the extensive use of train field recordings throughout the album. These overlap with guitar riffs and vocals that mirror the styles of both The Microphones and Elvis Depressedly

The first song starts out slow, as it is more of a cold invitation to the album, as opposed to a warm embrace of what is to come. The album defines itself from the second song out, so bare with it. With that being said, the album is one that is best listened to all the way through. 

Check it out in the bandcamp stream below:

Logic Songs by Little Kid

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Lauren-Taylor Mansfield

Rad Report: Otieno Terry blows the roof off the Vera Project

I’d like you to close your eyes for a moment and imagine that some kind of intangible, energy-like force comes up from behind you and jolts you in a way that makes your body move uncontrollably. Before you realize it, liveliness is radiating out of your body in a way that can only be interpreted as dancing.

The energy that Otieno Terry brought onto the stage last Thursday night (the 23rd) was incomparable to any other artists I’ve seen perform. Although he’s a complete wildcard in the scheme of my music taste, he most obviously has the ability to create the kind of energy-like force I was referring to above. Although his music is a little more on the hip-hop/jazz/R&B end of the spectrum than I usually explore, I found myself captivated by the ambiance that radiated from his stage presence toward the crowd. Between his smooth yet hip-hoppy vocals and his exhilarating dance skills, he was able to get the whole crowd moving to his music in a way that very few artists have the ability to.

Each song that he performed had an individual flare to it with vibes pulling from different genres. He joked around about naming one of his songs after one of his band mates, but later got more serious when he revealed that one was about “falling in love and shit.” My personal favorite was his cover of Sweet Dreams (originally by Eurythmics), which he clearly made his own (as seen and heard in the video above).

After an amazing show, I was lucky enough to meet this one-of-a-kind artist with my main girl and fellow blawger Ani Joon (check out her vlog, The Ani Joon Review). I only had the opportunity to speak with him for a few minutes, but discovered that he is actually a really awesome dude. On top of that, he’s a local artist, originally from Central District. This isn’t his first time rocking shows in the Seattle area and his next show is coming up at The Crocodile on November 28th! Check him out next month and don’t miss this awesome opportunity to become enveloped in Otieno Terry’s awe-inspiring music and energy. 

Photo of Otieno Terry and me after the show

Rad Rebs

Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!

Not-Bad-Not-Bad-Pretty-Good: Belated Coverage of BADBADNOTGOOD (Show Review)


BBNG jamming out somewhere. Image ripped from google.

On Tuesday October 14th, the jazzy hip-hop trio BADBADNOTGOOD performed at Neumo’s for their first time in Seattle. Yes this date has passed. Long passed. Too many days have gone in its wake for a quick-response review. This Tuesday can no longer be looked forward to. Well, maybe I needed time to digest, catch the flu, get distracted, and figure it out. You cannot attend this show unless you have a time machine in between the washer and dryer in the basement. Neglect your laundry. Let’s use this imaginative machine to relive the experience watching three young guns approach jam-virtuosity.

Jazz is all about unspoken communication. Using instruments as vocal apparatus and notes as words and phrases. You’ve heard the concept of phrasing in music if you watched any documentaries or wielded something brass in high school. Now then, you know the insanity of a well-spoken jazz ensemble in the height of improvisation. Jack Kerouac wrote about this in the 40’s. He would dig on these all-night wild be-bop musicians covered in sweat and blood and cigarette smoke in dark and airless clubs in San Francisco or New York. Whooping and cheering at the musicians, acknowledging moments when they had it, man. The whole audience shot glances at each other and simultaneously agreed: the band’s got it.

BADBADNOTGOOD have got it. I swear. They jammed too hard, clearly testing the limits of their musicianship through crescendos in volume and tempo. Their unspoken communication was amazing and apparent during extended solo sections for the jams “Hedron,” “Triangle,” as well as a silky smooth new track called “Velvet.” Conversation was killed, we were all swept off. They clearly lost themselves and we cheered them on, losing ourselves in the process. There was a subconscious agreement in the audience that up there, flooded in the river of lights and smoke, the band had achieved some kind of clarity.

One of their last tunes seemed an experiment in dexterity. There was a section that built and rose, swelling up like all of those 64th note electronic snare clacks before the predictable bass drop, though live, this intensity is more obvious and felt than the slow turning of knob. Every player attempted to burst beyond their comfort zone of their instrument. This cacophony, growing wide with the clashing of voices, the speed of flying fingers and drumsticks, was passionate and intense. This was the lifting of a weight over their collective heads heavier than they have previously lifted.

This sounds exaggerated. But hell. I’ve seen jazz gigs and the audience often appears as though they are trapped in an elevator. My generation of 20-somethings and jazz music don’t seem to go too well together. Sure, as a musician, I love jazz. I whoop and holler. But the crowd responded to BADBADNOTGOOD’s tunes in such a spirit as a punk rock show.

I caught up with Chester, the bassist, after the show and he gave a word of advice to the modern day aspiring artist, “It is about making connections. Meeting people. Saying hello and seeing how far that hello will take you.”

Check out the band’s latest music video for “CAN’T LEAVE THE NIGHT” below:

You never know who you will meet and how they can change your life forever. I know this rings true for the trio as their cover songs of popular rap cuts (Kanye West, A Tribe Called Quest, Gucchi Mane, etc.) introduced them to the absurd artistry of the Odd Future world.

The band will be back. They already have a committed, youthful, following and this is a hopeful advancement in the arts. Also, good on you Seattle for giving them such a warm welcome.

Nate Anderson

Weekly Digs: Exuma (Artist/Album Review)

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Hey there. My name’s Jamie, and each week I’m going to introduce you to an album or artist you’ve (probably) never heard before. To start things off we’ll take a look at the debut, self titled album from the Bahamian musician Exuma.

Exuma began his career like many other greats of his era, playing in small clubs around Greenwich Village, but the sound he developed was entirely his own. Exuma’s music is a fantastic concoction of freak-folk, calypso, and all around instrumental furor, paired with his half singing, half groaning voice ringing out mythical and sorcerous lyrics inspired by the spiritual tradition of Obeah. In 1970 he put together a group of musicians and recorded his first album, Exuma.

While only seven tracks long, the album is so dynamic and powerful that it never feels lacking. In the opening song “Exuma, The Obeah Man”, the singer introduces himself in impressive fashion: “Exuma was my name when I lived in the stars/Exuma was a planet that once lit Mars/I’ve got the voice of many in my throat/The teeth of a frog and the tail of a goat”. The lyrics shine throughout the album and are brought alive by Exuma’s rough voice, at times verging on hysteria and at others rising softly above the music.

The second track “Dambala” is a stunningly beautiful tune, built around a simple chord progression that starts gently and slowly rises into a hectic, chanting call for the coming of Dambala, the God of the Sky and creator of all life in the Vodou tradition. The best song from the B-side has to be “You Don’t Know What’s Going On”. This gem contains perhaps my favorite verse from the album: “You can’t change the night into day/And you can’t take the milk/From the milky way./You can’t take the sun from the sky/And you can’t put the light/In Ray Charles eyes”. Once again the melody is simple but with a slightly more jovial rhythm than will be found on the rest of the album.

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Exuma would continue to record and tour into the 80s, following up his debut with the excellent Exuma II in the 1970. If you have any interest in the freak folk genre or in world music, then Exuma is an absolute must. His music toes the line of being out of control like almost no one else, and the result is spectacular.

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Jamie Coughlin

Hungary, Hungry Huskies – One Night in Paris with Sondre Lerche

Heilman’s set sits absent while Lerche performers (Photo by Eric Sandoval)

Jesse Marchant created soundscapes right off the bat – his looping pedal catching every articulation and reverberation of his electric guitar. Slowly and softly, he approached the mic and the room quieted to the tune of Marchant’s serious smirk. The tiny room echoed with Jesse’s voice, the quitter never ceasing beneath. While his left hand fluttered, his right played effortlessly. As he blatantly switched guitars, the roomed murmured – the lights breaking through Marchant’s mess of unkempt hair and tattered instrument. His lyrics swallowed and swayed between dynamic shifts of instrumentation. On his own, Jesse’s guitar supported him beautifully as the stage shook in tandem.

He spoke to us in French, telling us how magnificent of an experience it was to play for the first time at this bar in Paris. The Montreal native grabbed his electric guitar once again and led himself to the drum set on the right of the stage. He played the two instruments in a syncopated manner, driving the rhythm forward with the bass and cymbals – his guitar building as he sang. We bobbed our heads in response the pain and passion of Marchant’s lyricism pulling us forward. Take a listen to his new album below to get a feel for this man’s heart and soul:

http://jbm-music.com/music

Calmly and carefully, he moved through his set, allowing the voice of his various instruments to shine through the darkness of his lyrics and the stage itself. Employing various techniques to repeat and reverberate his guitar, Marchant’s lyrics flew magnificently above the bass and treble. Nothing could limit the ardent performer as he tuned his guitar to the hum of his harmonica. Jesse stared intently into the audience, listening to our reactions to his humble voice.

Marchant’s set built up charmingly, lifting our heads into the air with love and acceptance. At the end of his set, Jesse spoke to us – struggling with the word “grateful” and the crowd translated in a chorus of a language I didn’t understand. They cheered in response to his beautifully fluid French. His last song was a fury of fingerpicking, exposing the expertise of this magical musician. He smiled at us between moments of intense focus and we nodded to the resounding rhythm in response.

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Accented articulations flow from the opener’s instrumentations (Photo by ES)

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Marchant slams on an electronic bass pedal

With a thunderous boom, the drums hit so hard my beer moved swiftly across the stage. Sondre Lerche’s voice rung out over a distorted guitar. A visceral performer, Lerche touched his telecaster delicately – his body moving in violent spouts of celebration. He danced behind his guitar and looked up occasionally to take in the screams of the fan girls (and boys) in the audience. “You wanna dance?” he yelled to joyous acclaim, the floor shaking to the beat of the drums. As our bodies swayed to the newest single, “Bad Law”, his hands moved as if he was directing a choir. He truly did as we sang along with him, clapping in tandem and smiling as we mirrored his emotions.

Sondre flipped his hair back and forth, dancing to his tunes as if he was in the audience himself. His complex chords did everything but phase him, yet they rang beautifully through the little speakers that blasted within the venue of Divan du Monde – a bar in the heart of Paris’ club district. Bassist Chris Holm echoed the choruses, allowing us to be drawn to the lyrical trance that Lerche had undoubtedly put us under.

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Lerche and Holm create a syncopated symphony

With each solo, the guitar became more distorted until, after the first two songs, he took the time to introduce himself and the tour – reliving the past of his “pre-intercourse phase” to “see what the hell was going on” during that period of time. The old guitar resounded the classic Lerche, his playing in this concert building upon the past of his Faces Down and Dan in Real Life days. The riffs of his first albums rang out clearly from the classic cutaway Gibson – the drums amplifying their fever and juxtaposing today’s sound with the sound of the artist’s past. The stream below gives you a listen at the early Sondre Lerche:

His voice lower than before, Sondre’s vibratos remained powerful over the fluttering bass and flirtatious guitar. The crowd jumped in jubilation, our screams sometimes louder than the performer’s voice as we sang along to songs like “Say It All” and “No One’s Gonna Come”. He quieted us down to hear us sing with him, his voice and guitar escalating to empowering heights – rocking out with Dave Heilman on the drums until our ears had finally adjusted to the new interpretations of his oldest albums.

He spoke frequently of his past performances in Paris. At one point he referenced a bar that has since burned down – according to one audience member who seemed to know a lot about the current state of the city’s club scene. After apologizing for our loss, he entered into a reflection of those tours, his guitar fiercer than ever before. Jazzy yet incomprehensibly intense, the band played the old songs anew and the crowd relived their experiences of when they first heard Sondre’s voice – whether in the clubs of Paris’ past or in the comfort of their own homes.

Strobes blazed as blue notes blew from the speakers and the rest of the band left the stage. Sondre stepped away from the mic and he let the room carry his voice. As our singing finally faded away, he yelled over his electric guitar – the close-cut walls intensifying the performer’s unamplified melodies. “My Hands Our Shaking” came to a close, unaccompanied. Unexpectedly, Lerche began to sing “Like Lazenby” at the request of an audience member – apologizing to the sound crew in the back for not telling them he would play it before-hand.

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Sondre looks longingly into the audience (Photo by ES)

To the tune of our synchronous claps, the band returned to the stage – reviving the scene’s intensity. As the drums joined in, we all realized just how coordinated the whole performance really was. “Sleep On Needles” was played in sync, Sondre’s sweat dripping from his brow. The crowd began to shout more requests than they could handle and his only response remained, “So many hits!” he exclaimed.

As he introduced the merchandise, Lerche advertised his opener and the passion in his eyes burst forward with every word. During the entire performance, Sondre remained as thoughtful of a person as he was off the stage. After the show, I got a chance to speak with him, to ask what the difference was between the recent album, PLEASE, and the rest of his repertoire. “Time,” he responded, “It was 15 years – 32, actually, depending on how you count.” He smiled.

“My style changed gradually as time went on, but also I looked at other artists and was inspired by their music. The way they sounded, there was no way that the way I was writing could sound like that. So, for PLEASE, I decided to look at other ways to design a song – with a desire to shake things up.”

He went on to say how much respect he had for Jesse Marchant and other artists as they helped him find a new way to create. This inspired creativity showed strongly as the lights lit up the stage to “Sentimentalist” – one of the tracks off of the new album. As the guitar became ever-more complicated, Sondre’s movements became more and more terse and tense – until solo breaks and bass build released enough energy to allow for him to relax.

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Laughing and singing, the man dances behind the mic (Photo by ES)

As Lerche bathed in the almost-transparent light of the stage, the crowd went wild as the drums introduced songs like “Lucifer” and other hits from PLEASE. Heilman’s break beats – along with Holm’s funky rhythms – provided the powerful foundation to frontman’s lyrics, allowing us to dance to the sultry sounds that described the newfound Sondre Lerche.

He joked with his limited knowledge of French before introducing a track off of his self-titled record, “Private Caller.” To much acclaim from the audience, Lerche performed the music which he played on his last European tour – this time, Paris would be his first stop in a series of many more performances to come. As quickly as he put it down, the telecaster flew from Sondre’s shoulders – only to be replaced, once again, by the Gibson guitar.

A familiar riff rang out and “Two Way Monologue” had begun, one of the artist’s most successfully singles. Chris’ “ooh”s and “ahh”s only added to the amplifying intensity as Dave and Sondre riled us up throughout the song. At the end, Lerche taught us the chorus and made us sing a solo for him in response to the already brilliant performances that the band had just spent the last few minutes “showing off”.

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Lyrics flow from a man of many words

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Lerche’s old guitar marked the movements of his past (Photos by ES)

With a smile on his face, the sweat-drenched performer played one of his latest tracks, “Legends” – leading us in cheers of “Oh”s and “Whoa”s. After a brief remission to the back of the stage, Heilman returned to the stage with an overpowering “Merci Paris!” And, as the lights went up, the Bergen, Norway natives – Lerche and Holm – appeared in their rightful places.

After a track that packed us in and made the floor shift and shake, the band left Sondre on stage – standing alone and asking for one final request. We sang with him to the final song of the Dan in Real Life soundtrack (featuring Steve Carrell, Dane Cook, and guest-artist Regina Spektor), “Modern Nature”. The crowd swayed and swooned as the lights faded on the stage before us.

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DJ Desman