Thu, December 13, 2012
Doors: 8:00 PM / Show: 9:00 PM
This show is 21+, proper I.D. is required for admission
Inspired by a character in a mysterious traveling operetta, Lavender Diamond is a band that transcends genre, enchanting fans with the pure celestial beauty of the human voice. It is music for your little sister looking for a post-Glee pop hero to sing along with in the car. It is for a psychedelic music head looking to transcend, a pop critic wanting for something to deconstruct, or any listener looking for someplace to go. It is music that is purposeful and needed, a work of bold and uncompromising creativity that cuts through the hyper-saturated mumbo jumbo and bad vibes of modern life, straight and true as an arrow mounted on a lightbeam.
Lavender Diamond are back with their second full length LP, Incorruptible Heart, on OK Go’s newly minted Paracadute record label. Produced by Damian Kulash and mixed by longtime Flaming Lips collaborator Dave Fridmann, Lavender Diamond's Incorruptible Heart is an instruction manual for your heart, ready to get it pumping with joy, ache, and song. Given leader Becky Stark's open-hearted forays into acting, art, design, writing, comedy, dance, semiotics, and women's choirs, it is surely not only music. But, Incorruptible Heart is also very, very much an album, and a special, ambitious one at that.
Named the "#1 Outstanding 2011 Album You Might Have Missed" by Amazon.com, Shelby Earl's debut solo album, Burn the Boats (produced by John Roderick of The Long Winters and released in November 2011 on Local 638 Records), is an album of 12 indie-folk-rock songs with recurrent themes of reclaiming lost loves, reaching for the unattainable, and waking up one’s own life after a long slumber. Collaborators on the album include members of The Long Winters, Telekinesis, (former) Fleet Foxes, The Head and the Heart, SHIM, the Maldives, and more. Earl “burned the boats” to make this record. The resulting musical effort is, in her words, “a true reflection of where I’ve been and of where I’m headed.”
FROM ANN POWERS (NPR/LA Times):
"Dear music-loving pals,
I don’t believe in journalistic objectivity. Still, I’ve always tried to maintain a space between my music writing and my private life. Over the years I’ve become friendly with a few musicians, and some of my old friends have turned toward music-making. In general, though, I’ve clung to that old idea that critical perspective and personal connection don’t mix.
Until now. I’m writing this note to ask you to listen to an album by a friend. Shelby Earl is a singer-songwriter with a sharp pen and a sumptuous voice, who took a while to fully uncover her own talent. Before she made the brilliant music conveyed on her new release, “Burn the Boats,” she worked in various positions within the Pacific Northwest arts community – including at Experience Music Project, where I got to know her as a part of the programming team in the early 2000s.
Shelby was part of one of the intimate circles that make up the necklace of strong women who stand behind – and at the forefront of – the Seattle music scene. We got to know each other as colleagues and as women finding our places in a frankly boyish scene. When I lived in Seattle in the early 2000s, Shelby was starting to explore her own creative possibilities as part of the duo the Hope. But she kept working regular jobs. She was a practical person. Music wasn’t a lifestyle for her; it was a practice, a way into new internal spaces. Eventually, it became her vocation, and she changed everything in her life to pursue it.
Jump to 2011. I’m living far from Seattle, but still connected. Shelby sent me an email about her new solo album. Sure, I’ll listen, I replied. No promises, though. In fact, I have to admit, I thought I’d send polite praise and move on.
Instead, I became enraptured. “Burn the Boats” is an album beyond trends, a classic work of singer-songwriterly craft and beautifully framed confession. It’s a fully adult expression of lessons learned, loss absorbed, and hope rebuilt, plank by plank. The title comes from something her dad said about what she’d done: the expression means to risk everything, abandon all past assumptions and easy outs, in pursuit of something bigger. That urgency comes through in the album’s ten gorgeous songs.
Shelby is still young – in her early thirties – but she’s not a bubbly ingénue. She makes music for those of us who’ve been through a few things. Produced by John Roderick and engineered by Eric Corson, both of the beloved Barsuk Records band the Long Winters, and featuring a stellar line-up of Seattle mainstays [Long Winters, Telekinesis, The Head and the Heart, Fleet Foxes, and more], “Burn the Boats” realizes Shelby’s compositions within arrangements that recall legendary genre-busters like Patsy Cline as well as more contemporary artists like Jenny Lewis and Brandi Carlile. Everybody wants to compare her to Neko Case, maybe because of the Northwest connection, but if Neko is bourbon, Shelby is honey wine. Sweeter at first taste, her music is subtly intoxicating.
I love “Burn the Boats” for its class, its open-heartedness and its wisdom. I’m addicted to the perfect balance of comfort and challenge in Shelby’s voice. I don’t want this record to get lost in the avalanche of releases that confronts every critic and music fan. It’s not particularly hipsterish – one of its best songs, in fact, is “Under Evergreen,” a call for Pacific Northwest music insiders to transcend their own assumptions of what’s cool. But it’s the kind of album that many people in your life will love. Including, I hope, you yourself.
Thanks for listening to my friend and my new favorite singer-songwriter, Shelby Earl. And yes, that’s her real name. It’s not her fault that it looks so right on an album cover."
-- Ann Powers