A year and a half later and everything about J-Lar still makes me swoon like a fool.
this is Jeremy Larson.
he makes incredible music.
When I first started listening to “music,” it was Jenny Lewis. We’ve had Florence Welch. Annie Clark. Kate Nash. Laura Marling…..Lily Allen. And I am telling you that the next one is going to be Stacy King. No, listen. Don’t roll your eyes at me. (Hell, if NYLON,Zooey D., and Dianna Agron are all talking about it, it must be so.)
I’m not going to throw around expletives for the sake of sounding like a swarthy man and/or in order to hyperbolize. Just trust me when I say that Sucré’s debut album is fucking awesome, and I impatiently await the day when Stacy’s tracked tag starts updating too frequently for me to check it.
The first time I sat down to listen to A Minor Bird (it’s streaming and on Spotify so you have no excuses), I had one of those giddy, stupefied experiences I pretty much only ever get when I’m listening to a new Radiohead album or something. Yes—it’s that good. The songs “Chemical Reaction” and “Endless Sleep” almost had me in tears.
The band is truly a collaborative force. Beyond Stacy King (née DuPree of Eisley non-fame) and her soaring vocals, we have Darren King (of MUTEMATH) and his bizarre but satisfying drums, and Jeremy Larson (creative genius) who takes an otherwise lovely record and turns it into an utter masterpiece full of weeping violins and dancing pianos. I don’t know what the hell a weeping violin is - maybe I should work on my vocabulary skills. Just know that he is a genius and if I ever make a movie dear God in heaven Mr. Larson will you please give me an original score?
“But what makes it so good?” you ask - “Why this, and not any other record on planet earth? What, am I made of money?” Okay, cool it pal. Deep breaths.
1. Jeremy Larson - They Reappear
2. Tegan and Sara - The Con
3. The Softies - Holiday in Rhode Island
4. John Mayer - Heavier Things
5. John Legend - Once Again
6. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
7. Regina Spektor - Soviet Kitsch
8. Stacey Kent - Dreamsville
9. Chris Garneau - Music For Tourists
10. Death Cab For Cutie - Narrow Stairs
You MUST listen to all of these, if you haven’t already. They are the best of the best, IMO. These are the albums I would happily take with me on a desert island and listen to on loop for the rest of my life.
I’m working on stuff for my journalism portfolio and I think I just wrote my first music review. I have no idea what I’m doing. Comments & critiques would be appreciated.
JEREMY LARSON - THEY REAPPEAR: 8.5/10
It’s hard to know what to expect when listening to a new Jeremy Larson album for the first time. His self-titled debut, finessed by a short-lived record label contract and attempt at mainstream success, overflows with quirky tunes about the sun and mathematics, sung in a youthful tenor. His sophomore release, Salvation Club, boasts a more carved-out low-key indie vibe in its mild-mannered love songs. The EP he released under his side project Fort Christmas, Feathers, is a collection of chipper, Beach Boys-esque infatuation anthems. But Larson’s latest album, They Reappear, is a different animal entirely.
Reappear opens idyllically, sounding like a piece of fluff mellowly floating on a meadow breeze - but a hint of darkness leaks in as Larson’s conversational lyrics unfold. “Just smile and hold onto me,” he suggests; “we’ll make our final descent.” As with much of his music, a religion-tinged interpretation is unavoidable. Themes of heaven and hell are reprised throughout the album, most notably in Bedside Manner, in which the song’s narrator recounts the bizarre story of spending many an hour holding vigil by Satan’s deathbed.
Larson’s lyrics are typically plain - his songs are simple stories of love and death phrased in layman’s speak. His orchestrations, however, are anything but plain. A stellar multi-instrumentalist, he plays every track of every instrument on every song, with the exception of drums on a few cuts. A look through his blog during the production of They Reappear reveals that he taught himself to play the violin so he could create the full, orchestral sound that features heavily on this album - but it’s impossible to detect that he’s a beginner. Piano, cello and violin parts weave effortlessly in and out of one another throughout the album, creating sweet and mournful harmonies.
A high point of the 48-minute album is an all-instrumental track called Circadian Cues. Its title gives a clue as to the insomnia-esque restlessness it contains. A cello moans helplessly while the piano commiserates. It’s pared-down and lovely and strangely hypnotic.
While Reappear is certainly no lyrical masterpiece, it seems to have done what Larson set out to do with it. It plays like the soundtrack of some epic film about death, guilt, nostalgia, and loss. The songs’ stories are mysterious and intertwined. “Everyone turned around as the man in the crowd whispered ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe they’ve done it,’” sings Larson on the exquisite track Stirring, and he might as well be singing about his own remarkable album.
…so I think it’s about time that I remind you how much I fucking love Jeremy Larson.
His album They Reappear is my most-played album of 2011, since I listen to it almost every night while falling asleep. I tend to wake up 2 or 3 times during the night, because that’s just how my sleep schedule rolls for some reason, & I typically put on They Reappear again those times to get me back to sleep.
So yeah, I pretty much listen to this album at least 3 times a day.
Um, yeah. If you haven’t given Jeremy Larson a listen, you really should. I would say 50% of the music I’ve listened to in 2011 so far has been by him (sometimes his regular solo stuff like They Reappear, sometimes his side project Fort Christmas).