Posts Tagged ‘Mitski’

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Hailed as the new vanguard of indie rock following the breakout success of 2016’s Puberty 2, Mitski returns with her new album Be The Cowboy, via Dead Oceans Records.

Mitski’s carefully crafted songs have often been portrayed as emotionally raw, overflowing confessionals from a fevered chosen girl, but in her fifth album, Mitski introduces a persona who has been teased before but never so fully present until now a woman in control.

“For this new record, I experimented in narrative and fiction,” comments Mitski. Though she hesitates to go so far as to say she created full-on characters, she reveals she had in mind “a very controlled icy repressed woman who is starting to unravel. Because women have so little power and showing emotion is seen as weakness, this ‘character’ clings to any amount of control she can get. Still, there is something very primordial in her that is trying to find a way to get out.”

In Be The Cowboy, Mitski delves into the loneliness of being a symbol and the loneliness of being someone, how it can feel so much like being no one. Lead single “Geyser” introduces us to a woman who can’t hold it all in any more. She’s about to burst and unleash a torrent of desire and passion that has been building up inside. While recording the album with her long-time producer Patrick Hyland, the pair kept returning to “the image of someone alone on a stage, singing solo with a single spotlight trained on them in an otherwise dark room. For most of the tracks, we didn’t layer the vocals with doubles or harmonies, to achieve that campy ‘person singing alone on stage’ atmosphere.”

There is plenty of buoyant swagger on Be The Cowboy, but just as much interrogation into self-mythology. Throughout these 14 songs, the music swerves from the cheerful to the plaintive. Mournful piano ballads lead into deceptively uptempo songs. “I had been on the road for a long time, which is so isolating, and had to run my own business at the same time. A lot of this record was me not having any feelings, being completely spent but then trying to rally myself and wake up and get back to Mitski.

Mitski’s discography is a series of scrambled sonic cinematic reels spliced together by one of the most talented lyricists of our generation. Her fifth album, Be The Cowboy, is a new era for Mitski, carrying with it the same impossibly ripped-open emotional nudity that Mitski’s built her legacy upon over the past six years.

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Mitski is a singer-songwriter fresh off the release of her album, Puberty 2. The follow-up to 2014’s ‘Bury Me At Makeout Creek’, named after a Simpsons quote and hailed Best New Music by Pitchfork as “a complex 10-song story [containing] some of the most nuanced, complex and articulate music that’s come from the indiesphere in a while,” Puberty 2 picks up where its predecessor left off. “It’s kind of a two parter,” explains Mitski. “It’s similar in sound, but a direct growth [from] that record.” Musically, there are subtle evolutions: electronic drum machines pulse throughout beneath Pixies-ish guitars, while saxophone lights up its opening track. “I had a certain confidence this time. I knew what I wanted, knew what I was doing and wasn’t afraid to do things that some people may not like.”

This installment of the AEA Sessions video series features New York-based singer-songwriter, Mitski, as she performs three songs from her 2016 album, ‘Puberty 2’.

Alone with her guitar and washed in a warm, orange glow, Mitski delivers dynamic performances that explore a range of texture and tone. In ‘My Body Is Made Of Crushed Little Stars’, she sings of youthful restlessness while her guitar roars with energy and ferocity. In contrast, her words of somber sympathy in ‘I Bet On Losing Dogs’ ring most true atop her delicate finger-picked guitar playing.

“…so the lyrics and the vocal melody are king in my songs. they always come first.” Mitski’s approach to songwriting begins from the ground up, with a deliberate vocal melody that manifests the vivid imagery of her words. “The way I learned to write was just writing things down on paper and hearing it in my head and kind of hoping for the best.”

In these sessions, Mitski’s voice and guitar come together to create singular, evocative moments that linger in the mind.

To best capture these moments, we rely on the simple, but effective combination of the near-field N22 and far-field, stereo R88. Both Mitski’s vocal and guitar cab are recorded by the near-field NUVO N22, while the stereo R88 records the room. All tracks are without equalization or compression and the reverb is provided by a plate reverb unit.

In terms of message though, Mitski cuts the same defiant, feminist figure on Puberty 2 that won her acclaim last time around (her hero is MIA, for her politics as much as her music). Born in Japan, Mitski grew up surrounded by her father’s Smithsonian folk recordings and mother’s 1970s Japanese pop CDs in a family that moved frequently: she spent stints in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malaysia, China and Turkey among other countries before coming to New York to study composition at SUNY Purchase.

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“Nobody” is the second track from Mitski’s upcoming album Be the Cowboy, due out August 17th on Dead Oceans. Following the earlier “Geyser” which plays into her deep and breathy sound from Bury Me at Makeout Creek, “Nobody” shifts to a  funkier groove unlike her previous songs. Working with longtime producer Patrick Hyland, the track is a roller coaster of key changes that only Mitski could streamline into a dance-ready ode to loneliness.

Cymbals ready the song pushing along her signature soft and sigh prone voice. “Venus planet of love was destroyed by global warming/did its people want too much too?” she sings, the dark lyrics contrasting against the song’s deceivingly hopeful beat to emphasize humanity’s never ending capitalistic void. The song continues to swell until the chorus hits leveling out the tempo. “For most of the tracks, we didn’t layer the vocals with doubles or harmonies, to achieve that campy ‘person singing alone on stage’ atmosphere,” she has said.

The stripped down approach is magnificent, the song’s humility only making it grander. The second half of the song really exercising key changes but it never feels like its bragging. The band leaves for the second chorus then returns, slows down then picks up again, then it all trickles off into a fuzz-fueled recording of the hook. You would think a song made up of someone looping the word “nobody” over and over is doomed to fail but Mitski manages to turn kitschy into catchy without being overwrought. “I’ve been big and small and still nobody wants me,” she groans. Nobody is immune from loneliness—a candid realization we can all take comfort in.

Mitski’s “Nobody” from ‘Be The Cowboy’. Out August 17th on Dead Oceans.

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Be The Cowboy, is the much anticipated follow-up to Puberty 2, won’t be out until August 17th. But the first single “Geyser” has the sweep of an album, building from a quiet murmur to an arena-rock roar in just about two-and-a-half thrilling minutes. Mitski has hinted in interviews that Cowboy might be a departure, but “Geyser” is just as rousing as her signature song, “Your Best American Girl.”

I think this is one of my vaguest songs,” Mitski says in this conversation about her new song, “Geyser.” “Usually my songs have a narrative of some sort. But this song is all feeling.

“Geyser” is the leadoff song on her new album Be the Cowboy. And there’s nothing vague about the music — it builds with a powerful precision. Mitski has an intense desire to write songs. “I will be whatever it needs me to be. I will do whatever it needs me to do in order for me to continue to be able to make music.”

Mitski’s “Geyser” from Be The Cowboy. Out Aug 17th on Dead Oceans Records.

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Among the best albums of 2016 was singer songwriter Mitski, She has now announced her fifth studio LP, “Be The Cowboy”, out on August. 17th via Dead Oceans Records. The acclaimed indie rock singer-songwriter has also shared a video for lead single “Geyser,” directed by Zia Anger.

Whereas Mitski’s previous work has been characterized as emotionally raw and confessional, Be The Cowboy,  recorded with her long-time producer Patrick Hyland, “introduces a persona who has been teased before but never so fully present until now a woman in control,” per a press release.

Mitski herself explains, “For this new record, I experimented in narrative and fiction,” creating characters including “a very controlled icy repressed woman who is starting to unravel. Because women have so little power and showing emotion is seen as weakness, this ‘character’ clings to any amount of control she can get. Still, there is something very primordial in her that is trying to find a way to get out.”

As for how “Geyser” fits into that narrative, the album opener “introduces us to a woman who can’t hold it all in any more. She’s about to burst and unleash a torrent of desire and passion that has been building up inside.” Anger’s cathartic visual accompaniment finds Mitski alone on a secluded beach under gray skies, beginning with thrumming synths and exploding in sound at its halfway point, as the singer takes off running down the shore.

“I had been on the road for a long time, which is so isolating, and had to run my own
business at the same time,” says Mitski. “A lot of this record was me not having any feelings, being completely spent but then trying to rally myself and wake up and get back to Mitski.”

Mitski’s “Geyser” from Be The Cowboy. Out Aug 17th on Dead Oceans Records.

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The music journalism community is currently still in the midst of tallying all of the reviews, opinions and song counts that occupied 2016,  We would bet our vinyl crates that Mitski’s ornate eye-opener “Puberty 2” will take a huge amount of that pop culture real estate at the end of the year listings. The soulful singer/songwriter’s fourth LP swings between comical, sincere and devastating at a song’s notice (or sometimes within the same track, as in album opener “Happy”). Mitski has remained largely private throughout her ascent, so her live shows are a fleeting window into the singer’s world.

In this web exclusive, Mitski absolutely crushes “Your Best American Girl,” off her album “Puberty 2,” with help from Jon Batiste and Stay Human.  Mitski’s album came along the grippingly confessional Puberty 2, where Mitski Miyawaki’s distortion-glazed alt-pop songs kiss you softly on the forehead one minute and floor you the next.

Mitski, Your Best American Girl from the forthcoming record, ‘Puberty 2’ out June 17 on Dead Oceans Records.

MITSKI – ” Live On KEXP “

Posted: January 10, 2017 in MUSIC
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There’s a moment on Mitski’s fourth LP that stands out as her most piercing yet. “You’re all I ever wanted/I think I’ll regret this” she croons on “Your Best American Girl” before a myriad of swirling, distorted guitars are hurled forwards, in equal parts deafening and life-affirming. As is often the case with Puberty 2, it’s utterly elevating. Quite simply, 2016 needed Mitski

Mitski performing live in the KEXP studio. Recorded July 14th, 2016.
I really love this more stripped down, minimalist performance.
Carries some of the really heartfelt lyrics better.

Songs:
Once More To See You
Your Best American Girl
My Body’s Made of Crushed Little Stars
A Burning Hill

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A traditional housewife being cheated on by an insipid mansplainer – but wait. There’s a huge plot twist. At the end, when the housewife wanders around the house in the middle of the night, we find that the horrible man is actually slaughtering all of these women in their very own basement. Mitski brings all of the blood and gore into a somewhat sweet-sounding song, and adds even more detail to an already vivid story.

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Mistki has shared the music video for the final track from her 2016 album,Puberty 2, following the releases of videos for “Happy” and “Your Best American Girl.” “A Burning Hill” is a resolvedly drowsy track that begins by quickly declaring “I’m tired of wanting more/I think I’m finally worn” but then closes the album out on the small resolution of “And I’ll love the littler things/I’ll love some littler things”; it’s an ending that’s not happy, per se, but that finds a melancholy peace in the decision to continue to, as one gets older, accept joys that are smaller and smaller.

The song itself is not much longer than 2 minutes, and the video that’s just been released follows suit in being wholly unadorned — focusing most of its brief time on close ups of Mitski’s face or her hand, as it floats through the water or past a landscape in a car, basking in a seeming “love of [those] littler things.”

Mitski said of the filming of the video (which is directed by Bradley Gray):

The director and I spent a weekend just driving around New York and Pennsylvania while the camera kept running, and most of the time I’d forget I was being filmed. It felt like a vacation, but it was also quite emotional, as I was thinking about the song and what it means to me now while jumping in rivers and driving down dirt lanes.

Mitski, A Burning Hill from the record, ‘Puberty 2’ released  June 17th on Dead Oceans.

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Not many artists have had better years than Mitski. With the release of her celebrated album “Puberty 2” (via Dead Oceans Records), Mitski only got bigger and bigger, but always on her own terms. On November 21st, she played her largest headlining show in New York yet, with a sold out performance at Webster Hall, along with two great openers in Weaves and Fear Of Men. It was even more impressive to see the hold she had over Webster Hall crowd during every living moment of her personal 15-song set. She attracts a young and passionate fanbase, who are devoted to every word and line she delivers, singing it back even more emotional than it was originated. There’s a sincere power to her voice, and it’s hard not to be swept up by it all.
Mitski is only going to garner more accolades as the best of the year lists continue to file in, it’s safe to say that her star will only rise even more over the years. It’s been a great pleasure to watch her grow as an artists, and here’s to whatever she does next.

In “A Loving Feeling” from her new album Puberty 2, Mitski Miyawaki asks, over static and guitars, “What do you do with a loving feeling/ if a loving feeling makes you all alone?” It’s a question she poses, in various forms, throughout the record, sometimes in a hopeful whisper, other times in an enraged, accusatory shout. By the end of “Puberty 2″, it becomes clear that it’s a question she can only answer herself.

The album’s title positions it as a sequel—the awkward, cruel extension of a life stage few people would willingly revisit. She depicts that tension and confusion with particular pointedness in “Happy,” where the titular emotion finally visits her, only to leave a mess behind. “Well I sighed and mumbled to myself/ ‘Again I have to clean,’” she sings in amusement. The sax riff and dry applause that follows land like a punch line.

Subtle images of “pinky promise kisses,” of being the little spoon that “kiss[es] your fingers forever more,” of taking one last look at a lover in the rear view mirror, convey a vulnerable intimacy; it’s as if Mitski, in the midst of self-doubt and anxiety, wants to make herself smaller. Yet throughout the album, those subtleties give way to sudden, explosive moments of exhilaration and self-assertion: slow doo-wop declarations of love in “Once More to See You,” ragged howls and aggressively-strummed guitars in “My Body’s Made of Crushed Little Stars,” the invasive flash of sweet memories during “one warm summer night” in “Fireworks,” and the fierce look of love on “I Bet on Losing Dogs.” By the record’s end, it’s clear that Mitski has made peace with her question about a “loving feeling.” She finds all of the strength and peace she needs simply by loving herself. She may be alone, but she’s never lonely.

Mitski — Puberty 2

That might make Puberty 2 sound meek. It is anything but. Mitski and her sole collaborator and producer, Patrick Hyland, trade the slightly rustic quality of 2014’s Bury Me At Makeout Creek for grungy sharpness and spacey ambience, These 11 tracks creep up on you, as her coiled melodies suddenly explode into cavernous freak-outs or build to a crescendo of unbearable catharsis.

Mitski – Puberty 2 (Dead Oceans Records)

Puberty is a motherfucker. It’s a time when your body’s doing weird stuff, your hormones are running wild, and every little problem seems like the end of the world. But things gets easier. Your emotions don’t go away or even get smaller, necessarily — you just learn to deal with them, to manage them, to live your life anyway. That’s what growing up is, and Puberty 2 is the sound of Mitski growing up.

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The fuzzed-out indie-rock that’s become her signature is supplemented by drum machines, synths, even a saxophone, blossoming from the soft/loud dichotomy of Bury Me At Makeout Creek to a more nuanced spectrum of sound. Lyrically, Mitski is focused on what basically amounts to Newton’s third law of emotion: for every feeling, there is an equal and opposite un-feeling. On opener “Happy,” that endless and inevitable cycle is cause for hopelessness and exhaustion. But by the closing track, you get the sense that she’s figured out the secret to living, which is that that there isn’t really a secret to living — you kinda just have to do it. Or, as she sighs in the album’s closing lines: “So today I will wear my white button-down/ I can at least be neat/ Walk out and be seen as clean/ And I’ll go to work and I’ll go to sleep/ And all of the littler things.” Puberty 2 might be a huge achievement, but it’s the sound of all the littler things that get you through the big things. It matters.