U Street Music Hall
After touring the world as a member of the Postal Service in 2013, Laura Burhenn (The Mynabirds) took a year to get lost. She drove across the US twice, toured South Africa solo, made her first appearance in London (also solo), and trekked all over Europe with William Faulkner's words ringing in her ears: "You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore." Finally she found herself in Los Angeles with a suitcase of songs to fill a whole new album.
Lovers Know, The Mynabirds' third full-length release (out August 7th on Saddle Creek), was produced by Bradley Hanan Carter (Black English) and recorded over a yearlong period in Los Angeles, Joshua Tree, Nashville, and Auckland, New Zealand. It's definitely new territory for Burhenn, forging into 80s, 90s and futuristic soundscapes, recalling Kate Bush, Sinead O'Connor, Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine and even 90s hip hop and R&B. The album may be loaded with a fresh palette of new sounds (swarms of synths, gauzy electric guitars, and electronic drums), but her brooding, unmistakable voice leads the way. Lyrically this is her most personal and confessional work to date, and also her most accessible.
Whereas her last album, GENERALS, watched from a wide angle to understand the world at a distance, Lovers Know pulls in close. "There's something about wandering the world over, " Laura says, "that makes you realize how similar we all are – everyone searching for something, so often the same thing: love. It may sound trite, but it's true. Love – or the lack of it – is the thing we all have in common. It can destroy us. It can break us open and let the light in. And it's also the thing that can make us sing."
Burhenn has released two previous albums as The Mynabirds on Saddle Creek, What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood (2010) and GENERALS (2012), both of which were produced by Richard Swift and met by critical acclaim. She will be touring the US and Europe with her band this Fall in support of the album release.
Stranger Cat - (Set time: 8:05 PM)
Raised in the urban sprawl, Stranger Cat—a musical project from Cat Martino —was born out of a respite in the wilderness. As most stories go, she was seeking a noiseless place for musing, but found instead a sentient beast stalking through the woods, be it animal, alien, or deity; she memorized its sound.
Though it’s possible you can’t place her name, if you’ve been paying attention to independent music over the past several years you have almost certainly heard Cat Martino’s voice. The Brooklyn native was Sufjan Stevens’ right hand woman for Age of Adz and All Delighted People albums and world tour, recorded/toured with Sharon Van Etten circa Epic, she sings on the new Son Lux record Lanterns, appeared with The Shins on SNL and Williamsburg Park. She has opened tours in US or EU for Marissa Nadler, Indians, Night Beds, Rufus Wainwright, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Patrick Watson, Gardens and Villa and more.
In 2012, Cat retreated from Brooklyn to spend the winter in the Sierra Foothills, writing and recording new songs. In snowed-in seclusion, simple melodies or beats morphed into walls of sound, sequenced in patterns of many-layered complexity. Joined by partner in crime and multi-instrumentalist Sven Britt, each of them recorded and produced each other to make the Stranger Cat songs grow.
Often a cat would come to the sliding glass door to listen, meowing to be let in. When it appeared daily they called it Stranger Cat, and observed its alien supernatural powers, as she’d heard tell of the Foothills’ long history of UFO sightings and ghost haunts. One day they let Stranger Cat in. The plump feline ate all the kitty food and left.
For live shows, Cat & Sven concoct a mesmerizing set of sound, much bigger than just their duo. They stand out by creating an aurally and visually vivid and energetic performance, making live loops onstage using voice, synths, and drum machines, while playing guitars, and various other instruments and pedals. All of this is to serve the song - dark, sexy, soulful, playful and dream-like - that might just make you let yourself go and dance a little bit.
Photo Jigsaw Puzzle of Music Hall at La Placita Village, Tucson, Arizona, Unied States of America