Posts Tagged ‘Singing Saw’

kevmorbmain

ex-Woods bassist Kevin Morby released a really great record this year, and the fact that it went largely undetected is a travesty to ears across the world. There’s still a month of ’16 left— time to buy Singing Saw.

Kevin Morby suddenly seemed comfortable stepping out into the limelight. Whilst unquestionably a record that dabbles with the traditional Americana sound, Singing Saw is also quietly ambitious; whether incorporating Balkan-tinged horns, gospel backing vocals or a healthy dose of fuzzed up electric guitars, Kevin’s songwriting always sounds fresh and exciting.

There are plenty of highlights, none more so than I Have Been To The Mountain, with its gorgeous backing vocals, triumphant trilling trumpets and joyously fuzzy guitar solo, even the way it fades out on a wash of strings is just so perfectly judged. It’s often only on repeat listens that the complexities and details of a record sing out, and Singing Saw is a record that just demands repeat listens. The charms are never far off, they are there in the way the organ reverberates on the title track, in the twinkling piano breakdown and roaring return in Dorothy and in the gentle swaying rhythms and meandering saxophones of Destroyer. This remarkable record not only shows how good Kevin Morby is.

Kevin Morby is considered by many as one of the prettiest folk revelations of recent years. Went through the Brooklyn bands Woods and The Babies , Kevin Morby He began his solo career with the great atomospheric album “Harlem River” followed a few months later pretty quickly with a second “Still Life” . So with Two opus in his deliciously vintage catalouge, invoking as emblematic figures like Lou Reed, Bob Dylan

Kevin Morby takes the side of a taut, rhythmic power pop and folk,  Then later this year Kevin Morby released the new album titled Singing Saw definately one of my favourite releases this year . Unsurprisingly, the charm still works . Kevin Morby brings his guitar to the End Of The Road Festival recently. He also has a new track available have a listen here,

http://

Kevin Morby (Woods, Babies) recalls singer/songwriters of the ’60s and ’70s in his solo work, particularly Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, and Singing Saw is his strongest album release to date.

Kevin speaks the language of records. His spare acoustic sound pulls from the late ’60s and early ’70s,  Morby’s earlier work refracted meaning through the lens of his record collection. His debut album, Harlem River, featured one song about a slow train, another about walking on the wild side, and a third with a line about going down to the station with a ticket in your hand, as if were still possible to buy paper tickets ahead of time. His music comes from another place, one where you try and piece together meaning by tapping into a kind of collective unconscious, using whatever tools you have at your disposal. And his references add up to something more than their parts and when paired with his unerring feel for arrangement and style.

Morby’s own albums keep getting better, and some of this we can chalk up to experience. Though he’s not yet 30, he’s been involved with a lot of records—two in his band the Babies with Cassie Ramone from Vivian Girls, A further four as a bass player in the Brooklyn band Woods (Morby is to Woods what Kurt Vile is to War on Drugs: a kindred spirit musically whose quirky vision needed more room than a band could provide), and now three as a solo artist. Singing Saw is his strongest album because it shows a process of refinement, and because Morby’s songwriting has become less referential and more grounded. The basic ingredients haven’t changed, but Morby is figuring out how to retain and amplify his strongest points—his weary and wise voice, his understanding of how the musical pieces fit together—and leave everything else behind.

Singing Saw finds him cool and controlled at every turn, fully aware of his limitations but confident in what he can accomplish within them. His singing is simultaneously intimate and distant, part conversation and part stylized monologue. He’s got a nasally diction with a tendency to stretch vowels that didn’t exist in the world until Dylan first gazed at the Nashville skyline and a fondness for short, direct statements that could have been written a century ago. The songs feature gardens and earth and shadows and fire and tears whose prevailing downward trajectory, yes, brings to mind rain. Single lines don’t really stand out, but Morby’s commitment to such elemental concerns has a cumulative effect, and the album’s lack of specificity becomes a strength.

 

 

That confidence extends to musical choices, including Morby’s tendency to let the small details of the sound do the work—he would never play five notes if four could get the meaning across. And while the core elements of his aesthetic—his deep voice with just the right halo of reverb, gently plucked acoustic guitar— are a constant, subtle instrumental variety abounds, which Morby sometimes takes great joy in pointing out. On “Dorothy,” he sings “I could hear that piano play, it’d go like…” and the buzzing uptempo arrangement falls away leaving a beautiful tumble of keyboard notes, and he follows it a bar later with a paean to a trumpet player that a horn player answers. “Singing Saw” seems to say something about how a single tool can be used either creatively or destructively, and features the titular instrument prominently (and very beautifully).

For Morby, any day-to-day situation or mundane observation could spark something for his next album, and sometimes being that tuned-in can be a curse. “Got a song book in my head,” he sings on the album’s title track, and he climbs a hill past the houses to find somewhere quiet where he can leave them behind. He claims in press notes that he wrote the song about his neighborhood in Los Angeles.

Kevin Morby – “I Have Been To The Mountain” from Singing Saw out April 15, 2016 on Dead Oceans

It’s the stuff of legend.  Kevin Morby (Woods, The Babies) moves to a quaint little Los Angeles apartment in 2014 and finds an upright piano that was left behind by the previous tenants.  Equipped with the piano is an intro guide to basic piano chords.  As if blessed by the gods themselves, Morby began to construct the songs for his third full-length, Singing Saw, on this reverent upright and thus changed his sound and songwriting style in the process.

Fans of Woods’ With Life and With Love will immediately take to Morby’s use of syrupy Sly Stoned drum machines, but if Singing Saw‘s album trailer is any indication, this will be a much moodier affair than any Woods output.  Like the Leonard Cohen songs of old, there is a respect for space embedded in the layers, and the results have a wintery melancholic feel.

Dead Oceans has a bundle offer if you want the limited green wax.  You’ll get a CD (or a beer coaster in my house), an 11×17 poster that will indeed be folded, and a set of 5 postcards featuring photographs taken by Kevin Morby.  Perhaps it’s time to write your congressman and tell them that we, the collectors, aren’t into folded posters?  It’s time for a revolution.

CUT ME DOWN

I remember writing this song while in a conversation with my girlfriend. I was doing that thing where I stumbled upon the riff, and was just pacing back and fourth playing it over and over while my she was trying to talk to me.

Sometimes I write like this – while doing something else – so the song can sort of come freely and I don’t give it too much attention – I don’t kill it. Its like multi-tasking. I don’t know how or why – but the first few lines just fell out of my mouth.

The song structure is pretty basic, but I was playing my guitar in a weird tuning which made the chord progression seem fun and interesting – though if played in standard tuning its really pretty simple one. Thus is the magic of different tunings – making the old seem new, and letting me feel young again.

I HAVE BEEN TO THE MOUNTAIN

Every time I read the news – theres another horrific race-related police brutality headline.

And if it’s not that – then it’s something else – another act of senseless violence that I can’t wrap my head around. Especially handled by the way our media handles things – everything feels overwhelmingly Orwellian and creepy most of the time.

And from that – one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen is the video of Eric Garners death – knowing that the man who killed him was not brought any sense of justice when any and all evidence of murder is there for the whole world to see. This song came out of that.

SINGING SAW

I was taking a lot of walks around the time I was demoing and writing this album. This is the last one I wrote, a day before flying to New York to record.

I had just gotten home from a walk and decided I needed a song to represent the environment that was the backdrop to all of these songs. I just sort of put my hands on the guitar and started playing those two chords and very literally began describing the walk I had just taken: “up the hill, past the houses…” and then I started singing about a Singing Saw, and I wasn’t sure exactly why – but it became clear to me later.

DRUNK AND ON A STAR

Its about getting drunk and walking around by yourself at night. I know that sounds creepy – but don’t let it! Inspired by the Elliott Smith song ‘St. Ides Heaven’ – which carries a similar sentiment. There’s a freedom in being drunk – this we all know – but it can’t last, for like most everything else – being drunk is very fleeting.

There’s this point in getting drunk for me, that music begins to come very naturally. Lyrics start to make their way through me and i’m sort of free to just grab whatever I want. But this doesn’t last long – and usually at that point i’m a stones throw away from beginning to feel sick.

DOROTHY

Named after my guitar as a metaphor for all the people, places, and things I’ve come across in the past almost-decade via being a musician.

Sometimes it takes being away from it all, in your own solitude, to look back on everything and everyone you’ve encountered and suddenly your life looks exactly like some fairy tale. What a beautiful and enchanted life.

FERRIS WHEEL

The previous owner of my piano left many different songbooks behind with it, and one day I opened one up to a children’s song book and its first song was called ‘Ferris Wheel’, so I made a game with myself – to write a song with the same title but much different lyrics. This is what came out.

DESTROYER

This is the first song I wrote on the piano. I don’t know how when or where exactly, but I do remember thinking it was incredibly difficult at first, which is funny now – as its very very simple, basically just two chords the whole time.

But it will forever remain sacred to me – it being my first piano song and all. For a while I was playing around with calling the album ‘Destroyer’, but was afraid to as there is a band of the same name on my record label.

In the end, I’m glad I went with Singing Saw but the word Destroyer was a huge influence on the song writing process. I thought to myself, I want to take a word that holds a lot of weight, and bring it light – make it something beautiful.

BLACK FLOWERS

I am in my first long term relationship and living with a partner for the first time ever – so I’m running into complicated situations that I haven’t had in the past, and this song speaks to that.

There are many characters in our life in our little paradise that we live in, and I tried to include them all in here. At the time I wrote this song I was sure we wouldn’t be together very much longer, but hey – we’re still kickin’.

WATER

Similar to Dorothy, this is a song of reflection. I sort of just let lyrics come in, with no real narrative. The moral of this song is no-things and all-things. I believe I wrote the chorus first, and given the lyrics I wasn’t sure where to go with it – so I just let my mouth and brain run wild.

 

Kevin Morby speaks the language of records. His spare acoustic sound pulls from the late ’60s and early ’70s, particularly Bob Dylan in baroque country mode, Songs of Leonard Cohen, and Lee Hazlewood. But where the well-read novelist Cohen was comparing mythologies and Hazelwood held forth like a wizened industry cynic, Morby’s earlier work refracted meaning through the lens of his record collection. His debut album, Harlem River, featured one song about a slow train, another about walking on the wild side, and a third with a line about going down to the station with a ticket in your hand, as if were still possible to buy paper tickets ahead of time. But connecting directly to the real world isn’t exactly Morby’s point. His music comes from another place, one where you try and piece together meaning by tapping into a kind of collective unconscious, using whatever tools you have at your disposal. And his references add up to something more than their parts and when paired with his unerring feel for arrangement and style.

http://

Morby’s own albums keep getting better, and some of this we can chalk up to experience. Though he’s not yet 30, he’s been involved with a lot of records—two in his band the Babies with Cassie Ramone from Vivian Girls, four as a bass player in Woods (Morby is to Woods what Kurt Vile is to War on Drugs: a kindred spirit musically whose quirky vision needed more room than a band could provide), and now three as a solo artist. Singing Saw is his strongest album because it shows a process of refinement, and because Morby’s songwriting has become less referential and more grounded. The basic ingredients haven’t changed, but Morby is figuring out how to retain and amplify his strongest points—his weary and wise voice, his understanding of how the musical pieces fit together—and leave everything else behind.

On his debut, Morby’s voice cracked in places, suggesting effort that transcended ability, but Singing Saw finds him cool and controlled at every turn, fully aware of his limitations but confident in what he can accomplish within them. His singing is simultaneously intimate and distant, part conversation and part stylized monologue. He’s got a nasally diction with a tendency to stretch vowels that didn’t exist in the world until Dylan first gazed at the Nashville skyline and a fondness for short, direct statements that could have been written a century ago. The most contemporary piece of technology mentioned on the album is a Ferris wheel; the songs feature gardens and earth and shadows and fire and tears whose prevailing downward trajectory, yes, brings to mind rain. Single lines don’t really stand out, but Kevin Morby’s commitment to such elemental concerns has a cumulative effect, and the album’s lack of specificity becomes a strength.

http://

That confidence extends to musical choices, including Morby’s tendency to let the small details of the sound do the work—he would never play five notes if four could get the meaning across. And while the core elements of his aesthetic—his deep voice with just the right halo of reverb, gently plucked acoustic guitar— are a constant, subtle instrumental variety abounds, which Morby sometimes takes great joy in pointing out. On “Dorothy,” he sings “I could hear that piano play, it’d go like…” and the buzzing uptempo arrangement falls away leaving a beautiful tumble of keyboard notes, and he follows it a bar later with a paean to a trumpet player that a horn player answers. “Singing Saw” seems to say something about how a single tool can be used either creatively or destructively, and features the titular instrument prominently (and very beautifully).

http://

For Kevin Morby, any day-to-day situation or mundane observation could spark something for his next album, and sometimes being that tuned-in can be a curse. “Got a song book in my head,” he sings on the album’s title track, and he climbs a hill past the houses to find somewhere quiet where he can leave them behind. He claims in press notes that he wrote the song about his neighborhood in Los Angeles, and his first album, Harlem River, was in part about his stint living in New York. But while many people in L.A. notice the traffic and the food and the sunlight and the celebrity culture, Morby hears the coyotes and sees the moon.

The track follows lead single “I Have Been To The Mountain”, which was revealed last month, and takes its name from his guitar (which was named after his grandmother). Kevin Morby has shared a new song called “Dorothy.” Named for his guitar (which got its name from his grandmother), it’s an ode to the guitar and all that it represents after accompanying him on his career thus far. It’s the latest single from the singer/songwriter’s forthcoming album ,

The album Singing Saw is out on Dead Oceans on 15th April.

Watch the video for “Dorothy” below, and look over Kevin Morby’s upcoming UK/EU shows .