Hamilton Leithauser – Tickets – The Sinclair – Cambridge, MA – February 8th, 2017
Wed, February 8, 2017
Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 8:45 pmThe Sinclair
$20 advance / $23 day of show
This event is 18 and over
The Sinclair is general admission standing room only. Tickets available at AXS.COM, or by phone at 888-929-7849. No service charge on tickets purchased in person at The Sinclair Box office Wednesdays-Saturdays 12-7PM. Please note: box office is cash only.https://www.sinclaircambridge.com/event/1359773/
"This was a record I'd been wanting to make for at least a decade" Rostam says, "As a fan of Hamilton's voice in the Walkmen I'd been wanting to capture it in ways it hadn't been captured before—to make songs with him that placed the crooner right beside the howler, the screamer beside the whisperer—to try to leave no stone unturned in terms of how we should approach the delivery of a song. And also to try to push his voice outside of any musical context it had lived in before."
Says Leithauser, "Rostam's one-man-band process is so fundamentally different from the way I've always written songs, and it's very impressive. We had no idea what kind of music we were going to make—we actually didn't know we were working on an album at first—but unexpected things kept falling into place. We were writing and recording everything simultaneously—it was flat-out inspiring just to be there."
Many of these songs seem to take place in a memory of New York's past, or wading through the waist high waters in a half-submerged New York of the future. Yet what unites them is that they tell stories—I Had A Dream That You Were Mine is an album, a collection of songs yes, but also a collection of narratives. The Bride's Dad faithfully recounts an unexpected (an probably uninvited) guest at a friend's recent wedding; You Ain't That Young Kid follows the wistful narrator through a night of lost love and transformed resolve. From the doo-wop of When the Truth is… to the country pedal steel of The Morning Stars; from the piano and organ alchemy of the Band in A 1000 Times, to the Leonard Cohen-esque Spanish triplets of In a Black Out; the album harnesses the exploding musical styles of midcentury America—which, when melded with the warbled 1980's analogue synthesizers of You Ain't That Young Kid, the ultramodern sub bass of Sick as a Dog, the intimate falsetto of 1959, and the raucous bar-room chorus of Rough Going—sparks an entirely unexpected and innovative style.
The 21-year-old Dacus grew up in Richmond; she was adopted at a young age, an experience that informed her curious, openhearted songwriting. "When my parents were explaining what adoption was -- which was very early on in my childhood -- they always said that my birthmother thought I was worthwhile even though she couldn't be my mom," she says. "And so from essentially infancy, I was taught that life was innately worthwhile because a bunch of people had worked together to set me up with one.
"Every other philosophy of mine has been built on that foundation," she continues. "Humans want this experience for each other; there has to be some reason why. I seem to always end up trying to write and understand how we can live the most worthwhile life, and therefore how we hold each other up from getting there."
Dacus started playing around Richmond while in college, opening for local acts and eventually meeting Jacob Blizard, a guitarist who invited her to make a record for a college project of his. 'No Burden,' which originally came out in February on the Richmond label EggHunt Records, opens with the forthright, almost brutally honest "I Don't Wanna Be Funny Anymore," the last song Dacus wrote before the album's day-long recording session at Starstruck Studios in Nashville. Dacus delivers scalpel-sharp observations about resisting pigeonholing over chunky guitars, ticking off ideals of femininity and youth until the track's not-quite-resolution.
These themes extend to the lyrics of songs like "Strange Torpedo," a whirling portrait of a friend whose "bunch of bad habits" who, Dacus sings, has "been falling for so long... [and hasn't] hit anything solid yet." "I've been that friend watching a loved one do what they know is bad for them and not understanding why," says Dacus. The song offers a simple message: "'I love you, why don't you love you? You're the one in your body so you get to choose what to do with it, but if I were you I'd treat me differently.'"
The rest of 'No Burden,' which was produced by Collin Pastore, puts Dacus's voice center stage, allowing the glinting poetry of her lyrics to shine even more brightly. "Trust," which Dacus wrote in late 2013, showcases her alone with her guitar, her faint vibrato floating over strummed chords as she sings of self-redemption. And the diptych "Dream State..." and ."..Familiar Place," which revolve around Dacus repeating "Without you, I am surely the last of our kind/ Without you, I am surely the last of my kind," capture disappointment and loss in a jaw-dropping way; the music trembles around her while her voice stays steady, anticipating whatever might come next.
'No Burden' is a forthright, disarmingly catchy statement. And while it's a sterling debut, it only hints at the potential possessed by this passionate, thoughtful young woman. - Maura Johnston
52 Church St
Cambridge, MA, 02138