Posts Tagged ‘Failed Flowers’

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Anna Burch is an indie pop singer-songwriter working out of Detroit. Years ago, she was the front of a band called Failed Flowers, and she had been in other bands, but she took some time away from music to go to grad school. After that, she moved to Detroit and started a solo career. She got a big break when she was spotted by fellow Michigander Fred Thomas, who was once a member of His Name is Alive, and was also the front of the indie pop band Saturday Looks Good to Me. Thomas has also put out a few solo records and contributed to dozens of albums across many genres. As the story goes, he sent her demo to Polyvinyl Records with a note that said “This is not a drill. You need to hear this”. They liked it, and they quickly signed her. Her debut album “Quit the Curse” will be out on February 2nd

This has all happened very quickly. Thomas sent the demos in the summer of 2017. She had a bunch of songs written, and she had also caught the ear of Collin Dupuis, who has mixed records by Angel Olsen, Mynabirds, The Black Keys, Grant-Lee Phillips, and many others. He helped her fine-tune those songs, and the end result is Quit the Curse. Only six months passed from the time Thomas said “listen to this” to the time Polyvinyl said “We’re putting this record out”. They announced the signing in late October and started promoting the album in November. I’ve been getting emails about a couple of the songs, and with the release date just a couple of weeks away, it’s time.
Some say she sounds like the brilliant no-fucks-given mid-90s indie rock of Liz Phair. Some people say she’s like Courtney Barnett. I get that, but I hear other things like the precision, power and punk-lite beauty of That Dog combined with the gritty and angular but silky smoothness of Julie Doiron. Boil all of that down, add a dash of Mitski, and I get Anna Burch. I love all of her songs that I’ve heard, but I love this one the most:

“Tea-Soaked Letter” is taken from Anna Burch’s debut album Quit the Curse, out 2/2/18.

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2016 wasn’t good for much, but it’s been an absolutely fantastic year for indie rock (just like 2015, 2014 and 2013 were), and yet even amongst all the bands like Lvl Up and Sunflower Bean and Mitski and Big Thief and the Hotelier and Pity Sex going around I koved this tiny record by this Ann Arbor, Michigan band, and its pretty zippy hey-whatever guitar tunes  all nine of them in just 18 minutes. Singer-guitarist Fred Thomas was in the good Sixties-garage pop band Saturday Looks Good to Me. This is garage-y too but looser, with a vibe and a warmly small sound like it was recorded at the bottom of Ira Kaplan’s sweater drawer. They rock out a little on “8AM,” hit reedy harmonies on “Coke Floats” and bask in “the regular mundane anxiety” of whatever their life is like on “Ready for the Break.” Bassist-singer Anna Burch sings lead on the breakout drive-time bomb-drop of a focus track “Supermarket Scene,” where the guitars ring like tiny cathedral bells and she imagines the kind of meet-cute that takes years to unfold: “Maybe when we’re older/Maybe when we both get paid/We can find a place that feels like home.” . Anna Burch: Guitar & Vocals , Erin Davis: Bass Guitar ,Miles Haney: Drums ,Fred Thomas: Guitar & Vocals

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Failed Flowers

Fred Thomas knows what it means to be prolific. The Michigan singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s best-known band, Saturday Looks Good to Me, has spoiled its following with more than 20 singles and full-length releases (plus a smattering of cassettes and homemade CD-Rs) since its inception in 1999. Following a hiatus that began in 2008 (the group briefly reunited in 2012; its future is anyone’s guess), Thomas threw himself into various other projects, including the experimental duo City Center and the record label Life Like.

By comparison, Thomas’s newest endeavor, Failed Flowers, is an exceedingly—and, it transpires, a deliberately—casual affair. The foursome drew immediate attention in the summer of 2014 for the self-explanatory Demo, a cassette of eight rough-and-ready pop songs (only two of which breach the two-minute mark) whose outward spontaneity betrays the fact that much of it was recorded when no one other than Thomas knew the tape was rolling. Shortly after its release, Thomas said that he envisioned Failed Flowers’ follow-up being an album of 20 songs that “you can get lost in,” in the overstuffed mold of Guided by Voices.

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Instead, singer-guitarist Autumn Wetli left the band, Thomas returned from Ann Arbor to his adopted home of Montreal (where his wife attends university), and Failed Flowers dropped out of sight until a few weeks ago, when a new, self-titled work slipped out with intentionally little fanfare on Minneapolis’s 25 Diamonds label.

Contrary to the extended opus Thomas originally intended, Failed Flowers closely follows the model set forth by Demo: a mere nine tracks that come and go in little more than 18 minutes. But it does represent a progression of sorts—and not only in that it sees the quartet (rounded out by bassist Erin Davis, drummer Miles Haney, and Wetli’s successor, Anna Burch) graduating from cassette to “semi-psychedelic,” one-sided purple vinyl. Despite still being models of brevity and simplicity, these songs are ever-so-slightly richer, more melodic, more evocative of the raw yet subtly sophisticated indie-pop of New Zealand cult label Flying Nun and its American progeny.

Released by our amazing Minneapolis friends 25 Diamonds and limited to 400 copies, this is the vinyl debut for Failed Flowers. These nine songs pressed on purple semi-psychedelic vinyl on a one-sided LP. Includes lyric insert. We have a very limited amount of the pressing for sale, available here and at all of our shows, but when they run out, they are gone. Much thanks to Ian and all at 25 Diamonds for making this happen!!!

Failed Flowers are

Anna Burch: Guitar & Vocals
Erin Davis: Bass Guitar
Miles Haney: Drums
Fred Thomas: Guitar & Vocals