Posts Tagged ‘Laura Stevenson’

Laura Stevenson’s new, self-titled studio album follows the heartbeat of the life-altering events. From the excitement and tribulations of giving birth to her first child during the COVID-19 pandemic to the powerful rage born from a turbulent situation in which someone she loves was harmed and nearly killed, the new collection is a dynamic and heartbreaking celebration of life. The album has already received rapturous acclaim across The Guardian, Brooklyn Vegan, NPR, Paste and Stereogum and more.

Laura Stevenson” was produced by John Agnello (Kurt Vile, Hop Along, Dinosaur Jr.), and features long time collaborator and bandmate Jeff Rosenstock on guitar. While it is often emotionally heavy, Laura Stevenson never strays from its true motivating force: love. “The album was written as a sort of purge and a prayer,” Stevenson says. When it finally came time to record, she was pregnant with her first child. “It was a very intense experience to re-live all of the events of the previous year, while tracking these songs, with my daughter growing inside me, reliving all of that fear and pain and just wanting to protect her from the world that much more. It made me very raw.” 

The album follows Stevenson’s 2019 career milestone “The Big Freeze” celebrated for its “finely detailed, wrenchingly intimate song writing” (All Songs Considered), and a 2020 NPR Tiny Desk (counted as one of the year’s 20 Best). Recorded at The Building in Marlboro, NY, “Laura Stevenson” is a sincere portrait of a human heart in all its vibrant colours. More than anything, it is about bearing one’s whole self in the face of those you love—uncomfortable, and exposed, but vital, present. 

Released August 6th, 2021

“one of America’s best if most underrated songwriters.” –– The Guardian

“a really remarkable and beautiful and intense set of songs” 
 NPR “New Music Friday”

one of the most powerful and immediate albums she’s ever released” – BrooklynVegan

an album that feels elegant and comforting and unadorned”. – Stereogum, calling it their Album Of the Week

Hudson Valley singer-songwriter Laura Stevenson will return this summer with her sixth studio LP on long time label Don Giovanni Records. “I’m so proud of these songs & the way I’ve grown as a songwriter,” she announced the news this morning. “I thought after all these years, I had finally made a self-titled record.”

Stevenson wrote the record during a universally difficult year leading up to and encompassing the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic; when it was time to record, a press release notes, Stevenson was pregnant with her first child, and she describes the resulting record as a “purge and a prayer.”

“It was a very intense experience to re-live all of the events of the previous year, while tracking these songs, with my daughter growing inside me, reliving all of that fear and pain and just wanting to protect her from the world that much more,” Stevenson says. “It made me very raw.”  

There’s nothing holding back those feelings on the gripping black & white video for “State.” Directed by Christopher Hainey and starring dancer Leslie Bembinster moving about the frame and destroying obstacles while footage of Stevenson is projected overtop her, it recalls both the claustrophobia of Radiohead’s “No Surprises” video and the catharsis of Beyoncé’s “Hold Up” video. As Bembinster topples vases and smashes computer monitors, Stevenson sings poetic lines like “What a sterling way to come, I become rage / a shining example of pure anger / pure and real and sticky and moving and sweet.”

In a press release, Stevenson sheds some light on the personal trauma that inspired the song and video: “Someone I love was hurt and almost killed by another person and I was so absolutely consumed with this level of rage that I had never known before and it was really powerful and frightening but somehow freeing when I was willing to just let it wash over me.”

“Laura Stevenson” via Don Giovanni Records; the album comes out August 6th. A short run of fall tour dates will bring Stevenson hopefully to the UK.

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I’m so happy to announce that my new record will be out on August 6th!!! I decided I wanted this album to be Self-Titled. I’m just so proud of these songs and the way I’ve grown as a song writer and I thought after all these years, I had finally made a self-titled record. The album was produced and mixed by the amazing John Agnello in the winter of 2019, while I was pregnant with my now one-year old daughter, so the writing and then the recording and now the release of the album spans a chunk of time where so much changed in my life, and a lot of people’s lives- anyway I hope you like it.

The cover art was painted by Kaitlin Van Pelt Pre-order (including mail-order exclusive blue vinyl, enamel pin and t-shirt bundles, etc) via Don Giovanni Records in the link in the comments!

Today I am releasing the first single – it’s called “State” – as well as a music video for the song that was made by my amazingly talented long-time friends Christopher Hainey and Leslie Bembinster.

The song is streaming everywhere, and the video can be seen at the link in the comments below. Last but not least, I am thrilled to be able to get back on stage and play some shows! I have a (very) small run of full-band dates that I just announced, tickets to which go on sale Friday!,

You can check out the tour dates at laurastevenson.net/tour !Thank you so much to the amazing folks that played on and helped arrange the songs on this record: Mike Campbell, Sammi Niss, Shawn Alpay, Jeff Rosenstock, and John Burdick. What a crew!

Laura Stevenson‘s second album with The Cans as her backing band, the modern classic “Sit Resist”, turns 10 this year, and we’ve very excited to be teaming up with her to help celebrate that anniversary with a livestream performance of the album in full. “Sit Resist (At Home)” airs on Saturday, February 13 at 8 PM ET (5 PM PT), and tickets, including merch bundles, are on sale now.

“We had a handful of full-band, full album “Sit Resist” shows planned around the release of the reissue before the pandemic put an end to that,” Laura says. “This is probably the closest we can get to actually pulling it off. This will be the first time I’ve ever played some of these songs for an audience. It feels like we took a lot of pre-pandemic life for granted, one of those things being the ability to freely gather together and experience all that music does for communal connection. Livestreams will never be the same as that experience, but I’m hoping this will fill a couple of the cracks in the meantime. 

The thirteen song album has been remastered at the hallowed Abbey Road Studios in London from the original 1/4” analog master tapes, and the vinyl processed with a new half speed lacquer cut to ensure the highest quality audio possible. The bonus LP is a collection of outtakes of nearly every album track, including never before heard pre-production demo recordings, alternate mixes and arrangements, live material, an Archers of Loaf cover, as well as a newly recorded version of the album track “Caretaker” which was recorded in 2019 on the literal last night in the house Stevenson grew up in, ten years after the song was originally written there.

The album features liner note essays written by musicians Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus who drew early inspiration for their own music and song writing from the album. Also contributing liner notes are Pitchfork, NPR and Stereogum writer Nina Corcoran, as well as long time friend and collaborator Jeff Rosenstock who produced and played guitar on some of the bonus demo material contained in the collection.

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The packaging also features many never before seen studio photos and tour photography from the era in which the album was written, produced and released, and outtakes from the photo session at which the album’s iconic cover artwork was shot. The limited run double-LP Remastered Deluxe Edition set of “Sit Resist” is now available for pre-order via Don Giovanni Records, and will be released on September 4th, 2020. This is a one-time edition, and the limited collection will not be reissued in this current state after the initial pressing sells out.

The Band:

Laura Stevenson – vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, piano, organ
Mike Campbell – bass guitar
Alex Billig – accordion, trumpet
Peter Naddeo – electric guitar, glockenspiel
Chris Parker – drums, percussion

Released September 4th, 2020

2020 Remaster:
All songs by Laura Stevenson

After releasing the critically-acclaimed album The Big Freeze in 2019, a recent performance at NPR’s Tiny Desk, and giving birth to her first child mid-pandemic, Laura Stevenson has announced that her long out-of-print sophomore album “Sit Resist” is receiving the deluxe reissue treatment with a special edition double LP gatefold vinyl packaging, to be released on September 4th, 2020. The collection is available for a limited pre-order now. Sit Resist, is remarkable. It is unafraid of the darkness, and allows itself to be playful– the lyrics are tender, honest, inviting you into a vulnerable place but quelling the vulnerability with candid, gentle testaments of living drawn from a deep well of experience.” – Julien Baker

Laura’s records are full of the sensitivity and awareness that are her particular magic… She is one of my favourite writers because she is clearly a listener, listening to herself and clearing a path for the songs to go where they want to go.” – Lucy Dacus

“This record is a great document of a bunch of scrappy weird kids laughing through the terror of an uncertain future together. Sit Resist would be THE ONE if Laura didn’t continue to put out records that feel like THE ONE.” – Jeff Rosenstock

The thirteen song album has been remastered by Miles Showell at the hallowed Abbey Road Studios in London from the original 1/4” analog master tapes, with a new half-speed processing to ensure that the vinyl represents the highest quality audio possible. The bonus LP is a collection of outtakes of nearly every album track, including never before heard pre-production demo recordings, alternate mixes and arrangements, live material, an Archers of Loaf cover, as well as a newly recorded version of the album track “Caretaker” that was recorded in 2019 on the literal last night in the house Stevenson grew up in, ten years after the song was originally written there.

The album features liner note essays written by musicians Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus who drew early inspiration for their own music and song writing from the album. Also contributing liner notes are Pitchfork, NPR and Stereogum writer Nina Corcoran, as well as long time friend and collaborator Jeff Rosenstock who produced and played guitar on some of the bonus demo material contained in the collection.

The packaging also features many never before seen studio photos and tour photography from the era in which the album was written, produced and released, and outtakes from the photo session at which the album’s iconic cover artwork was shot by photographer Orlando Perez.

Don Giovanni and Better Yet Podcasts are co-producing a limited episodic podcast series chronicling the making of, and lasting influence of the album. Episode One is out now, available wherever podcasts are found, and new episodes will be released every Wednesday until the reissue is released on September 4th. The podcast features interviews with Stevenson, album engineer Eric Bennet, as well as long time collaborators Mike Campbell, Jeff Rosenstock and Don Giovanni owner Joe Steinhardt. Musicians Lucy Dacus and Adult Mom’s Stevie Knipe are interviewed about Stevenson’s song writing, and how it has influenced their own careers. Also interviewed is comedian Chris Gethard who stated “the album was a game-changer for me.”

The limited Remastered Deluxe 2xLP of Sit Resist is available via Don Giovanni Records. It will be released digitally on all streaming platforms and Bandcamp.  Vinyl will ship on or around November 13th.

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Laura Stevenson and Adult Mom are touring together in December, and to celebrate they’ve shared a new split single where each cover one of the other’s songs. Adult Mom covers “Dermatillomania” from Laura’s 2019 album “The Big Freeze”, while Laura takes on “Survival” from “Momentary Lapse of Hapily”, Adult Mom’s 2015 album.

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released November 22nd, 2019

Last year, Laura Stevenson released her latest in a line of great albums, The Big Freeze. Since then, she’s released covers by Wilco and Neil Young and tourmate Adult Mom.

Today, she’s shared a new original track that emphasizes our constant anxiety in trying times: “Quit smoking baby, even though the world is ending,” she sings in its opening lines. “Keep looking maybe there’s a place to rest our heads better than this/ You’ll find the hardest part’s the mark you didn’t make.”

Stevenson had to say about the song: I wrote this song right after I got married, right as Trump got elected. It was a crazy time and a lot of people felt really hopeless. That hopelessness has lingered over the last 4 years, but humanity and love continue to peak through thats just the human spirit & Ive been so inspired by those that stay strong and keep fighting to enact some positive change.

This song is about how the world might seem like its falling apart but we still have love and all we can do right now is take care of ourselves &each other Now during THIS crazy time,I find myself 38 weeks pregnant, waiting in self isolation for my baby to be born, praying that I dont get sick and hoping I go into labor before the hospitals get overrun. Im worried about my baby, In worried about my parents ,I’m worried about everyone.

I know there is so much uncertainty but maybe this song will provide a little comfort, or just remind you that there’s still hope to be had. Sending everyone my love.

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Released March 15th, 2020

When Laura Stevenson released her 2011 album Sit, Resist, she was a little out in front of what quickly became a flood of first-rate indie-rock from women, including Sharon Van Etten, Lucius, Big Thief’s Adrienne Lenker, Mitski, Waxahatchee, Lucy Dacus and many more. Unfortunately for Stevenson, she was ahead of the leading edge just enough that the subsequent wave of acclaim didn’t sweep her up the way it did many of her peers. Thankfully, despite the fact that she’s not nearly as well known as she should be, Stevenson continues to make music that can stop your heart.

In that regard, her latest is arguably Stevenson’s most adept album. The Big Freeze trades the raucous guitars and bold hooks of her earlier work for subtler musical textures on songs that open into more expansive interior worlds. She relies more on her voice, which has both warmth and clarity in proportions that vary with the volume of she utilizes. She sings just above a murmur on opener “Lay Back. Arms Out” and lets the natural sweetness of her voice bubble up in the catchy melody of “Dermatillomania,” the most up-tempo song on the album. Up-tempo, yes, but not upbeat: the title of the song is another name for excoriation disorder, which is the compulsion to pick at one’s own skin to the point of causing physical harm. Stevenson wrote about her own experiences with dermatillomania in February for Talkhouse, and the subject hovers in the background of many of the songs on The Big Freeze.

The album as a whole sorts through a host of complicated feelings about family, the thin line between inter- and co-dependence, and trying, if just for a minute, to silence fear, shame and doubts and feel OK as oneself. Stevenson lays out a portrait of dysfunction on “Hum,” glimmers of guitar framing her precise, quiet vocals as she builds tension with such stealth that it comes as a surprise to find you’ve been holding your breath. “Hawks” is a wistful waltz-time evocation of a happier period, while the next song, “Big Deep,” feels like its emotional counterpoint as Stevenson describes a particularly fraught moment. She harmonizes with herself on both, accompanied by barely-there guitar, the low moan of a cello (on the former) and deep, distant piano (on the latter).

Laura lets the natural sweetness of her voice bubble up in the catchy melody of “Dermatillomania,” the most up-tempo song on her new album The Big Freeze. Up-tempo, yes, but not upbeat: the title of the song is another name for excoriation disorder, which is the compulsion to pick at one’s own skin to the point of causing physical harm. Stevenson wrote about her own experiences with dermatillomania in February and the subject hovers in the background of many of the songs on The Big Freeze.

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Album closer “Perfect” feels like Stevenson has reached an equilibrium of sorts, balancing past with present, and emotional turmoil with a brittle sense of acceptance. There’s tenacity there, too: “I’ll be alright by myself tonight,” she sings in the first and last lines of the song, a folky number with acoustic guitar and multi-tracked vocal harmonies. It’s clear that she means it, and even if being genuinely alright takes more time, more effort, more emotional energy than she ever would have wanted, it’s equally clear that she is determined to make it true.

Laura Stevenson’s last album, 2015’s Cocksure, found the singer beefing up her stripped-down sound with big guitars. A follow-up called The Big Freeze comes out at the end of March, and it heralds a return to Stevenson’s more finely detailed, wrenchingly intimate songwriting. The title refers to an eventual freezing of the universe which makes sense, given that she recorded it in the dead of winter — as well as to the ways relationships strain against emotional and physical distance. In first listen is the song “Living Room, NY,” she longs for a connection to the small details of everyday life with a long-distance partner, singing, “I want to see you stare at ceilings until you fall back to sleep.”

Recorded in her childhood home during the dead of winter, The Big Freeze represents a pivotal step for New York songwriter Laura Stevenson. Despite her pedigree in the punk and indie rock scenes, and the occasional inclusion of a backing band (like the sprightly, C86-inspired pop track “Dermatillomania”), for the first time on record Stevenson’s voice and guitar are in clear and highlighted focus. It is a natural aesthetic choice for the musician, who has often toured as a solo act and who pulls influence from the great American songbook, and a choice that plays to the core strength and organic beauty of her writing. And though it is easily the darkest and most emotionally-devastating album of Stevenson’s career, it is also without a doubt her most powerful.

Stevenson builds on her own private worlds with choruses of multi-tracked voices, swarms of cellos, French horns and violins; orchestration that blooms and swells throughout each intimate performance. Exploring thematic ideas of distance and misconnection; worlds pulling apart, aching loneliness, and attempts to drive out hibernating dormant demons.

In the opening track Stevenson’s voice insists the listener “lay back with arms out, all-in, unfeeling,” to allow themselves to sink into a flood of instrumental sound that thrums between dissonance and resolution. From waves crashing in an abandoned waterpark on the haunting “Value Inn”, to the last leaves trembling before winter sets in on “Rattle At Will”, a creeping sense of isolation and anxious beauty surrounds every song. And yet there is also warmth, and hope. The album’s third track “Living Room, NY” tells of an intercontinental love and longing which seems to have the strength to thrive despite even the most trying and impossible of circumstances. Across ten tracks, the listener will travel through the cold night, following after a small but powerful flame burning from the other side.

I am so happy to (finally) announce that my new album, “The Big Freeze” is out on March 29th! You can hear the first single “Living Room NY” . Laura Stevenson’s music has always dealt in crushing existential dread, be it self-deprecation or heartache. This is an artist who once opened a 2015 song called “Jellyfish” with “I’m fucking hideous and spiteful / When I’m left to my devices.” Even the press release for her new album opens with: “If gravity is strong enough, at the end of time our universe will collapse, pulling all of existence back down to infinitesimal size, like before the Big Bang. But if expansion outpaces gravity, eventually the universe will be cold and empty – all light, heat, and connection will be gone.” That phenomenon of a too cold, uninhabitable universe is called The Big Freeze, which is also the title of Stevenson’s upcoming fifth LP that’s out 29 March.

The New York songwriter is back with her fifth album, ‘The Big Freeze,’ out 29th March.