Laura Stevenson, Crying, Chris Farren (of Fake Problems)

Parade of Flesh presents . . .

Laura Stevenson, Crying, Chris Farren (of Fake Problems)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

7:30 pm

Club Dada

Dallas, TX

$14

This event is all ages

Laura Stevenson
Laura Stevenson
Laura Stevenson is finally learning not to worry. After more than a year of national and worldwide touring following the release of her critically acclaimed album Wheel, both headlining, and alongside such varied acts as Against Me!, The Go-Go’s, Kevin Devine, Tim Kasher of Cursive, and The Gaslight Anthem, the songwriter made the move from her between-tour home base of Brooklyn, to upstate New York’s Hudson River Valley. There, she rented a nineteenth- century Victorian, a former brothel in a cement-mining town-turned hippie-enclave, and converted the attic into a makeshift studio. It was in this space that she and her band went to work arranging and demoing the eleven songs she had written that would make up Cocksure, Stevenson’s fourth album. The record features musicians Mike Campbell, Alex Billig and Peter Naddeo, who in various incarnations have performed with her for over seven years, as well as newcomer Samantha Niss, a long-time Hudson Valley resident and the veritable go-to drummer of the region.

Where 2013’s Wheel was full of lingering uncertainty, harkening to Stevenson’s folk and country leanings, Cocksure is a straightforward, to the point, emboldened rock and roll album. Although some existential dread still peaks through the cracks, Stevenson treats themes as heavy-hearted as sudden and tragic death, self-imposed exile in small windowless rooms, and that back-of-your- mind anxiety that the road you’re on may not be the right one, as their own signs of life; a life that is brightly colored by those realities.

With influences ranging from The Lemonheads, Liz Phair, and The Replacements, to early Weezer and the Smoking Popes, Cocksure maintains Stevenson’s unique vulnerability, and steadfast devotion to a solid and honest melody. In the writing process, she challenged herself to be true to whatever was going to come out of her, with many of the tracks featuring melodies that were purely stream of consciousness. “I felt like over-working it would suck some of the spirit out of the songs… this record needed that spontaneity. Spending so much time editing and second guessing yourself takes all the life out of it.”

This sense of spontaneity was maintained in the way Cocksure was recorded. In May of 2015, Stevenson and her band traveled city-bound to Room 17, a studio located in her old neighborhood of Bushwick, Brooklyn. “It’s this very positive and amazing space, and Joe Rogers, the engineer, was so enthusiastic about what we were doing. Everyone was comfortable enough to just really play and not get caught up in anything else.” All the main instrumentation on Cocksure was performed live, no clicks/no punches, under the watchful eyes of Rogers and producer Jeff Rosenstock, Stevenson’s long-time friend and collaborator. “Jeff was the perfect person for the job. All of his Bomb The Music Industry! and solo recordings have this energy to them, they’re like living things. I wanted to capture some of the magic he has.” The album was later mixed and mastered by Jack Shirley (Joyce Manor, Deafheaven, Tony Molina) at Atomic Garden Studios in Palo Alto, CA.

Self-assurance is a new hat for Stevenson, and on Cocksure she confronts her usual tendencies toward self-deprecation head-on. “It’s freeing to stop being so hard on yourself, and to quiet down all of the outside noise,” she says. “Once you’re able to do that, you can actually write what you should be writing.”
Crying
The Crying formula is simple: drench an entry-level Motown song in creamy distortion, completely flip the vocal dynamics without losing any of the juicy flavor, and squirt in a few too many twisted melodies played out of a programmed Game Boy. Mixing regal riffs and tasty beats with soft vocals, intimate lyrics (oftentimes crushingly so), and harsh but sparkling synth lines, the New York power trio strikes a stylistic balance between decades and genres, each song bearing the gifts of timelessness and formal disrespect. "Get Olde Second Wind," Crying's first Run For Cover release, works as both an anthology and a cohesive work, compiling the critically acclaimed self-released EP, "Get Olde," and its brand new, darker and danker sequel, "Second Wind."
Chris Farren
Chris Farren
CHRIS FARREN ­ CAN’T DIE
Chris Farren is one of those names that is always on the tip of your tongue. Though he’s been heavily involved in music for years —and he’s become well­known for his inventive merch, including his take on the classic The Smiths shirt — Farren is still working on breaking out in the large world of singer­songwriters. After experimenting and honing his solo work on a few memorableEPs andaChristmasalbumcalledL ikeAGiftFromGodorWhatever, Farrenis ready to release his full­length C an’t Die . With it, he’s poised to become known on his own terms and with his own unique sound.
“I definitely wanted to make something that wouldn’t just sound like another Fake Problems record,” says Farren. “ I wanted to make something that was poppier and a little less aggressive — but still energetic and entertaining. Lyrically, there’s some sadness involved but I didn’t want it to be a bummer to listen to.” The result is a clever blend of pop and gloom, the sort of record that will keep you dancing even when the lyrics cut deep. Farren, who cited Coconut Records, Belle & Sebastian, and Magnetic Fields as his influences while recording C an’t Die, has crafted a record that has a true indie­pop sensibility and remains musically upbeat throughout.
Yet there is an undeniable sadness to certain tracks as well as a heavy focus on death and mortality. “Like any human, I reached an age where I realized I was going to die,” Farren says. “Until I was 25 or something, I had like h eard I was going to die but once I turned 25, something just clicked in my head. I was like, ‘Oh, I’m definitely going to die’ and I had a crazy hard time with it for some reason.” For Farren, who has always worked through dark times through songs, it was only natural to channel these feelings into his solo album. Take a track like “Until I Can
S e e T h e L i g h t , ” w h i c h w a s p a r t l y i n s p i r e d b y t h e d e a t h o f P a r k s a n d R e c r e a t i o n w r i t e r H a r r i s Wittels, as well other people in his life who have passed away. It’s about “how weird it is that they’re gone. You don’t get to talk to them anymore.”
However, C an’t Die explores plenty of other topics, too. In “Say U Want Me,” Farren touches upon insecurity in a relationship and how it doesn’t necessarily go away with time. “That song is just about worrying about being a burden to somebody that cares for you because you’re so childlike or weak ... I just worry about being a drag on somebody else that I really care for.” The song, like all of the songs on C an’t Die , is a refreshingly honest and relatable track: Farren is open about the anxieties and insecurities that plague his daily life, whether it’s worrying about being too much to a partner or just trying to act normal enough to fit in with your fellow human beings. In fact, the aptly titled “Human Being” reflects that common feeling of being, well, just different. “I can be very outgoing in certain situations but if I’m out of my comfort zone or of I’m in a place with a bunch of people I don’t know — like a ny party that I’ve ever been to — I always feel like a total weirdo freak,” Farren admits. It’s a fun, poppy track that accurately captures the vicious anxiety circle of feeling like you should go out but then getting there and realizing it’s not for you. And then doing it all again later on.
Considering this aversion to crowded parties, it’s no surprise that recording C an’t Die was a fairly solitary affair for Chris Farren. It’s a truly DIY album; “I wanted to produce my own record. I wanted to engineer my own record. I’d had a lot of ideas, sonically, that I felt like maybe if I brought in another producer, [they] would be like, ‘Oh, that’s wrong. That doesn’t sound right’.” Instead, Farren went with his gut, sometimes even making mistakes but leaving them in because he thought it sounded cool. (“Weirdo artist garbage,” he laughs.) The album was recorded in a guest room — one where he’d have to shut off the air conditioner whenever it was time to record — that didn’t even have real soundproofing. In fact, you can even hear dogs barking outside in the background. C an’t Die manages to simultaneously have a lo­fi sound that’s still incredibly rich. It helps that Farren enlists the help of some of his friends on the record — Sean Stevenson on drums, Casey Lee on guitar, Jeff Rosenstock and Matt Agrella adding horn arrangements, and Laura Stevenson contributing vocals. Farren’s friends helped make C an’t Die surpass Farren’s original vision. “It just took it to a place I could’ve never imagined.”
At the end of the day, however, C an’t Die is a record that is wholly reflective of Chris Farren’s sound. It’s not Fake Problems or Antarctigo Vespucci but instead it’s entirely Farren’s: resonating indie­pop that captures all of the weird little anxieties of being in your twenties and realizing that you can’t control everything around you. “Once I got past that ego­driven stuff and realizing that the world doesn’t revolve around me, it was a lot easier for me to get through the world,” says Farren. “It’s heavy! It’s a heavy world.” That’s true, but C an’t Die adds some lightness, resulting in a record that makes listeners happy while also recognizing that it’s OK to be sad sometimes.
Venue Information:
Club Dada
2720 Elm St.
Dallas, TX, 75226
http://dadadallas.com/