Posts Tagged ‘Adam Torres’

I would follow Adam Torres’ voice to the ends of the earth I am so looking forward to seeing him at some UK festivals this summer. There is a magical, slinking, serpentine quality to his falsetto vocal and the interplay between it and his music that, as a listener, I’m trying to figure out why it is so utterly affecting. After years without a proper full length album release, Torres released “Pearls to Swine” last year, a proper follow-up album that makes good on the promise he exhibited on the 2006 indie cult classic Nostra Nova. On “Pearls” and this year’s EP I Came to Sing the Song, that songwriting spellwork is as potent and refined as ever, in a quietly rousing way like the warm, bright morning light on the sleepy world.

Torres sang three of his recent songs for us at the WXPN Studio and, stripped of auxiliary instrumentation and band members, the performance was just as affecting.

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Untitled

It’s no surprise that there were a few songs that didn’t quite make it on to Adam Torres’wonderful 2016 LP, “Pearls To Swine”, given that the whole record feels like the most fragile of creations, where adding or removing one single piece could lead the whole thing to crumbling. Lucky then, that Torres is also releasing an accompanying EP,I Came To Sing The Song”, which collates some of those very tracks. Following on from the striking title-track, Adam has unveiled another of track from it, in the form of the wholesome and rugged “Hatchet” . “For me, Hatchet is a song about healing from seemingly irreconcilable conflicts,” Torres says of the track. “And what else is a conflict besides the lack of understanding between two people or maybe two groups of people?”

Stoking such fiery sentiments, this push-and-pull is evident throughout the track, as soon as those drums kick-in and lead the whole thing down a wildly romantic path. Torres’ songs positively gleams with rustic romanticism, his lilting vocal beautiful and pure in one moment and then sun-burned and sand-scorched the next. The same is true on “Hatchet”, and though it only last for three-and-a-half minutes it seems to tell a story that was formed many a year before and will live for long after he departs from it.

While Torres’ voice often steals the show, the musicianship here makes for a sublime addition; the rolling, weather-like drums of Rodolfo Villarreal III, the sturdy bass of Dailey Toliver and the stirring strings of Aisha Burns which adds beautiful textures to the already-stirring backdrop. And that’s before we even mention the additional “vibes” from Thor Harris.

Wild of heart and soft in tongue, it’s another beautiful cut from Torres’, a reminder that there’s still plenty of space for such things in this largely shadowed world. Check it out below.

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Adam Torres - I Came To Sing The Song

With last year’s album “Pearls To Swine”, singer-songwriter Adam Torres released a stunning collection of song Torres found an exponentially larger audience than ever before, and for good reason. It was his first album in 10 years and his first for Fat Possum Records, a deal that materialized after his cult favorite 2006 debut Nostra Nova was reissued by Misra Records. Torres, who is a gifted songwriter with a supernatural evocative falsetto vocal, Torres spent the time between albums in Austin honing his craft, developing an aesthetic as all-consuming as a gorgeously shot Western, his voice beaming brightly across a fiery barren landscape. The album realized all the stunning potential that had been hidden away for a decade.

Torres is back next month with I Came To Sing The Song, an EP of four songs recorded during the Pearls To Swine sessions. Or as Torres put it via email, “The idea behind the song and EP is finding purpose in one’s work, and having to adjust to the lightness and darkness of that search.” The title track is a gentle ballad featuring Torres’ peerless vocals backed by guitar and violin. Upon pressing play, your heart will be stirred.

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It took Adam Torres 10 years to release his second album. His life took a non-musical turn when he moved from Athens, Ohio, to Austin, Texas, with South America somewhere along the way. This album was the antiserum to all the overused and over-abundant vocal processing I heard in 2016. Adam Torres high and lonesome voice is pure, relatable and visceral. The songs are weightless with an underpinning of violin and simple, tasteful keyboards and percussion. I tend to need, then find, one good quiet record each year. Pearls To Swine was my go-to serene album for 2016.

Adam Torres voice makes Pearls To Swine a constant listen for me. It’s high and lonesome, but more frail than the voices of the bluegrass pioneers who defined that style . Besides, Torres isn’t a country singer or a folksinger but more of an atmospheric storyteller.

It took the musician, now based in Austin just a week to record Pearls To Swine, though the album was nearly 10 years in the making. In 2006, Torres was 20 and living in Athens, Ohio, when he put out a debut record called Nostra Nova, which is worthy of cult status. Then his life took a non-musical course.

I first heard his music far more recently, Thor Harris of Swans raved about this new singer he was touring with, and then I heard Pearls To Swine and flipped. I’ve been writing and telling my gigging friends about Adam Torres a whole lot this year, and the more I listen, the more I want to share it.

Listen in particular to the way Torres and Aisha Burns weave his voice and her violin together. It’s rare and beautiful. Then there’s the delicate percussion and bass that keep it all in motion. In addition to songs from his current record, we also get to hear an unreleased track, appropriately titled “I Came To Sing The Song.” I’m thrilled he did.

Set List

  • “High Lonesome”
  • “Outlands”
  • “I Came To Sing The Song”

Musicians

Adam Torres (vocals, guitar); Aisha Burns (violin); Thor Harris (percussion); Dailey Toliver (bass, keys)

It’s been a decade since Adam Torres released his debut album, Nostra Nova, which was reissued to great acclaim in 2015. Recently signed to Fat Possum Records, the AustinTexas dwelling songwriter known for poetic lyrics and beautiful melodies just released a new album, Pearls to Swine. It’s very exciting to see a renewal of the traditional singer-songwriter movement. Adam Torres is just one of many Americana/roots solo musicians who have popped up over the past few years, having released his debut album in 2006 when he was just 20 years old. Pearls To Swine, is a sizzler of a record, one which I hope will likely catapult Adam Torres into a much greater spotlight. Torres’ Fat Possum debut is full of natural soundscapes and elaborate imagery that brilliantly twinkles throughout this piece of art.

From the upcoming album, Pearls To Swine, out September 9th via Fat Possum Records

Austin folk singer/songwriter Adam Torres debuts the beautifully surreal video for “Some Beast Will Find You By Name“, a foreboding, achingly melancholy ballad taken from his new LP Pearls To Swine, out now on Fat Possum. Watch the haunting, fever-dreamlike visuals,

A decade ago, Adam Torres was 22 years old, living in Athens, Ohio, and balancing college with musical aspirations. He had released a solo album in 2006, but he was spending substantial time as a member in a modestly successful folk rock band. Working toward someone else’s creative vision in a town with little music industry left him “disillusioned” and “disappointed with indie music.” 

Fast-forward to 2011. Now living in Austin and pursuing graduate degrees in Latin American studies and public policy at UT, Torres attended a house concert and started feeling the allure of being a part of a local music community again. Although he had quit performing by then, he never stopped practicing and writing music. “For a while it became a private thing,” he says. 

Instead of being disillusioned, Torres was inspired to finish a set of songs that stemmed from his travels in Ecuador, where he had studied abroad in 2009. After assembling a stellar backup band that included former Shearwater member Thor Harris,  Matthew Shepherd (Dana Falconberry) and Aisha Burns (Balmorhea), he recorded an album. The result, Pearls to Swine, comes out September. 9th. 

The collection of contemplative, transfixing folk songs hinges on restrained percussion, gorgeous strings by Burns and the singer-songwriter’s voice, a wavering, gentle falsetto that he employs as effectively as any instrument. It’s in his voice that Torres’ Native American influences emerge. Born in Albuquerque to a mother raised on a Cochiti Pueblo reservation and a father from a Mexican-American family that claims Apache chief Geronimo as a distant relative, Torres also has been given the name See-Ru, which means “bluebird” in the Cochiti Pueblo Keresan language.

“Art is the most direct means of reminding anyone what it means to be human,” says Torres, adding that his album captures the “beautiful possibilities” and “ugly truth” of life. After many migrations, maybe the place Torres has been trying to reach isn’t a place at all. Maybe this is his most important destination yet.

Taken from “Pearls to Swine”, out now on Fat Possum Records

When I first heard the pure voice of Adam Torres, it felt fortifying. Torres’ album “Pearls To Swine” connected me with the human voice in ways that feel intimate instead of filtered or distant.

Torres is an Austin musician whose nine most recent songs were all recorded direct to tape in about a week — but it took a decade to get here. In 2006, he was 20 and living in Athens, Ohio, when he put out a debut called Rostra Nova. To the few who know it, it’s achieved a sort of cult status. Then Torres‘ life took a non-musical course, including volunteer work in South America, then graduate school in Austin, and then a job working on water quality in the Rio Grande River for the state of Texas. He kept writing, but other than a limited-edition cassette in 2012, none of his work had surfaced until now.

The songs on Pearls To Swine are often about landscapes, both physical and emotional. “Juniper Arms,” the song that hooked me on Torres‘ music, is a song about his birthplace of Albuquerque, N.M.
His collaborators on these songs include Thor Harris, a percussionist and instrument-maker from Swans and Shearwater. The gorgeous violin underpinning Adams‘ voice, played by Aisha Burns, is particularly striking in “Outlands.”

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We reside in a musical landscape where technology, songwriting and performance are all intertwined. These are creative and sometimes powerful musical times. But Pearls To Swine hearkens back to when songwriting and singing more often leapt from pen and guitar straight to the heart; from Simon & Garfunkel to Sandy Denny, Jeff Buckley to Judee Sill, Nick Drake to Joan Baez.

They are here and will be out on September 9th, our new record “PEARLS TO SWINE” will be available in stores worldwide. LP and CD formats will also include a poster insert with handwritten lyrics on the reverse side. This is the new EP from singer Adam Torres for the first time in nearly a decade,  The Austin folk singer’s 2006 album Nostra Nova got a second chance thanks to a reissue, and Torres toured the country, breathing new life into the songs. The album was a quiet revelation, homespun but with a symphonic sound just a step removed from Neutral Milk Hotel’s fervent experiments

Check out “Outlands” is a deep and beautiful track, with profoundly moving lyrics that features percussionist Thor Harris on drums and Aisha Burns on violin. After putting out his cult classic debut album 10 years ago, Torres dropped out of the music industry.

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Music by Adam Torres/Nostra Nova
Video by Brian Wiebe/Ethereal Epitome

While playing in Southeast Engine, Adam Torres wrote Nostra Nova in the mid-aughts. In extremely DIY fashion, he handed.out CDs to select friends around Ohio. Friends handed it to friends who handed it to friends. Each was stunned by the album’s beauty. Soon, Nostra Nova became something of a cult classic. Misra Records is proud to finally give it a proper release. “Torres’ work is a collection of tiny, beautiful things. It’s a way of seeing the world, with the realization our own odd adventures and small brushes with mortality are important but just one piece of a larger shared experience.”
Here is an excessive amount of information taken from an interview (with Wiebe) about the video:
How did you become involved with the making of the video?
It started at Casa. Lola Indiana had just played our first show. And you (Brian Koscho) introduced me to Adam. I expressed my love for his album, and the subject of making a music video came up, but only in very vague terms.

I interviewed Adam for a potential Aquabear podcast—that may still see the light of day. Interviewing Adam was a very good experience—he really illuminated the thoughts behind the songs. A lot of artists don’t appear to want to explain things any further. Sort of the idea that ‘if it could be expressed in another way why wouldn’t I have just done that?’ Which I agree with to some degree, but I also think sometimes that is a mask to hide behind. Anyhow, we kept talking about doing a video in vague terms—until I struck up a conversation with Adam at the Aquabear County Fair 2007. He told me he had seen an old film at Carabar and wanted to do something with “menacing wizards.” He had some different activities for the wizards to do and that got my mind going. We had some meetings at the Village Bakery, brainstormed and the rest is history.
What kind of imagery does the song make you think of?
The story that song tells was incredibly vivid in my head. It was all I could see when I listened to the song for the longest time. It really took Adam uttering those magic words –“menacing wizards”–to break me from the spell. The way I said that is ridiculous but I am completely serious.
What made you want to work on this project?
That’s an easy one—Adam’s amazing, beautiful music. I don’t want to come across as a shameless ego stroker, but that is one of my favorite albums of all time. And Adam Torres backs it up live. If I go on, we will all start blushing.

I believe there are a lot of different ways of making films, and–for that matter–great films (which is what all filmmakers want to make). There are no hard and fast rules. Sometimes being very formal and rigid works, and other times flying by the seat of your pants works. I have learned to be open to accidents, luck, mistakes. Most of the time I don’t understand the meaning until after the smoke has cleared. I didn’t know what this video was going to look like or what it was going to be about until all was said and done. I think the “method” used in the creation of this video really lent itself to that idea. We had costumes, scenarios, and rules in mind, but no shot list that was set in stone. It was really a documentary approach. Also, it should be noted that Ryan Bajornas, the cinematographer, brought so much to this video.
Explain the underlying theme of nature.
This came about for a couple of reasons. Adam didn’t want anything modern in the video; anything that people would immediately reference as part of there day to day life—a car for example. Nature is really the only escape from that. Rocks, water, smoke, and various elements became the props. Some modern elements managed to sneak into the video, but a lot of those were referencing water or air, balloons for instance. And again, Ryan Bajornas played a big role in this. As I mentioned, we had scenarios in mind but we took sort of a documentary approach. A lot of times, I would be positioning people or getting them in costume, and Ryan would be rolling on all the bugs, grass, etc. that surrounded us. Also the video was shot in stages, so after I watching some footage, I would say to myself, “Well that water splashing looked amazing, why don’t I go get some more of that!” So that is sort of how it came about being captured, but how it came to be a theme goes back to the idea I was talking about of the meaning revealing itself after the fact. I want people to take away from this video whatever they want, but for me it really came to be about the destruction of purity. Man versus nature or perhaps his own nature. There is also the whole idea that an act of destruction is an act of creation. Humanity has a love/hate relationship with explosions.
Who all was involved?
No actors were members of the screen actors guild, but some of them sure could be. Everyone was a friend. Sherri ended up as the main character by accident—she was there to help and be a wizard, but she ended up being ‘Jane’ because the dress fit her. She was amazing. Most of the time I said “wizards,” and people responded with a, “hell yeah, I want to be a wizard!”
Where did you film?
My good friend JJ, an MVP wizard, suggested his parents’ place outside of Athens. It was a great spot. Another place was Stroud’s Run. Another place is where I now live—along the Little Miami River.

Torres and his band – comprised of Thor Harris (of Swans), Aisha Burns, and Dailey Toliver – will head out on a run of U.S. dates in June. Beginning with a Daytrotter session in Davenport, IA on June 2nd, the tour will wind through the midwest and southeast before wrapping up on June 11th in Lafayette, LA. A current itinerary is below.

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In 2006, the then 20-year-old Adam Torres released his idiosyncratic, varied, and beautiful debut album, Nostra Nova. A DIY self-release, the album became a closely-held, sleeper favorite in the close-knit music scene of Athens, OH and over the years grew to a ‘cult classic’-like status. The album has a song on it called Breakneck Jane’s Fifteen Minute Escape, which is one of our favourite ever tracks,

So ten years on from his debut, it is a cause of much excitement to learn that Adam Torres will release his second album “Pearls To Swine” on September 9th, 2016 via Fat Possum Records

The first track from it is High Lonesome, a gorgeously vulnerable and fragile slice of folkish Americana that does more than a good job of whetting the appetite for the full album.

From the upcoming album, “Pearls To Swine”, out 9/9 on Fat Possum Records.

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