Norwegian singer-songwriter Sondre Lerche has been a musical chameleon throughout his career, going where his whims take him. Past dalliances have included rocking out, acoustic ballads, jazz quartets, and Brazilian Tropicália, but his latest album (his eighth proper studio album) Pleasure sees him wandering in the direction of the dance clubs, with synth sounds coming straight out of the 80s. The opening track to the album, “Soft Feelings,” begins with a driving synth that’s a direct homage to New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle,” setting the tone for Lerche’s most consistently upbeat (musically, if not lyrically) record yet.
Singer/Songwriter Sondre Lerche took the stage at the 9:30 Club Tuesday night and hundreds of adoring fans were there to greet him. Not unsurprisingly, the ratio of women to men was about infinity to 1. Lerche certainly has all the right qualities to be the perfect indie-chick boyfriend. He’s handsome, funny, and of course he can play mean guitar. As such, I would argue that if your only problem as an artist is that your audience is stacked more in the direction of the finer sex, then I would say you’re not only doing pretty well, but you are in fact living the dream. But the ladies (and men) didn’t turn out Tuesday night for any of that (OK, maybe a little). We all turned up because Lerche is one of the most respected songwriters of the past few years, with seven albums under his belt . Given that his latest, Sondre Lerche, focuses all of the paths that he’s traveled previously into one superlerche of a record, this was material that everyone was excited to see. And Lerche must’ve known this because he brought his big guns with him.
What was looking to be an incredibly bleak week for releases has turned out to be surprisingly strong..and fun! Look, I'm not the biggest dance/indie-pop fan on the planet. In fact you could say that for the most part, I think it's crap. But sometimes a band trandscends that awful, awful label and delivers something that is ultimately just damn good music. So who did that this week?
What do you get when you mix fun with some fun and add a little more fun in just for good measure? Why the new Cults album of course. This duo from New York manages to mix 50's girl group do wops and hand claps with a more modern, danceable undercurrent that doesn't dial back the fun for a single instant. Think B-52's for the modern. This is the album that both She and Him albums should have been, so take notice "superstars", this is how you can make music from the past sound relevant and hip without boring your audience to death.
Sondre Lerche has been many things over the span of his career. He's been jazzy, indie poppy, even Dylan-y. All of this adds up to a somewhat inconsistent track record,which makes it all the better that on Sondre Lerche, the Norwegian songwriter plays to all of his strengths rather than indulge only a few of them. This album will sound familiar to his longtime fans, but it's focused craftsmanship resulting in a collection of infinitely catchy tunes will be what brings the new fans in.
Loud Planes Fly Low
Cribbing from the play books of bands like Blondie, The Cure and Echo and the Bunnymen, The Rosebud's Loud Planes Fly Low has one purpose and one purpose only: to get you to dance it out 80's style. By making this record more reimagination than rehash, The Rosebuds pull a neat trick here. Pulling from just about every single 80's band you ever loved, they somehow avoid sounding like anyone but the Rosebuds. It's refreshing and sentimental at the same time, and fits perfectly into this weeks apparent theme of really fun records.
And here's some other notable releases for this week:
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - It's A Corporate World
I don't know why this is good, because they were pretty damninsufferable when we caught them live last month*, but it is. Sorta.
Battles - Gloss Drop
So far, this record is sort of scaring me. In a good way. I think.
Elisapie - There Will Be Stars
Ever wonder wtf "polar pop" was? Well now is your chance to find out. This is a nice little record from WAY up north.
Tedeschi Trucks Band - Revelator
HOLY GIANT F@#@ING BLUES SUPERGROUP BATMAN!!!
*In all fairness, Generationals opened and completely killed their set, so that might have jaded our opinion of the headliner slightly.
Over the course of his career Sondre Lerche has proved to be somewhat of a chameleon. Is he a Dylan-esque singer/songwriter, a jazzy troubadour or just a master of deceptively simple indie-pop? On his appropriately self titled record, Sondre Lerch, out in the US today, it seems that Lerche has come to terms with all of these things, and the result is some of the best material of his career, culminating in the track “Living Dangerously”.
Hidden hooks and little flourishes that recall nothing but the Fab Four abound and will sound familiar to even the casual Beatles fan. If that weren’t enough, Paul McCartney’s entire late 70’s career is summed up by one lonesome harmonica to close the track out. It’s a bold stylistic lifting, and if anything it makes it very clear that Lerche is playing with a much larger musical vocabulary this time around. The payoff isn’t limited to this track, but it is the best example of why you should be excited about Lerche’s performance at the 9:30 Club tonight. Tickets are still available, so if you like what you hear then what are you waiting for? We’ll see you at the show!
Like it? BUY IT!
Update!!! We have a winner!!!
Thanks to everyone who entered the contest. We threw all the names in a hat and pulled out one lucky winner, who in this case was one Tom Geary! So Tom, we'll see you at the show, and to the rest of you, go ahead and come on out anyways. The new album is pretty great, so it's looking like it'll be a fun night at the 9:30 Club this Tuesday!
Just a reminder that we'll be announcing the winner Monday at noon, so if you haven't entered yet, what are you waiting for!!! Leave a comment below and you're in the running. It's that easy!
Read on below for the official bio of the this eclectic singer/songwriter.
Born and raised in Bergen, Norway, Lerche was inspired by the music he heard emanating from his older sibling’s bedrooms – be it A-ha, Elvis Costello or classic rock. Inspired, he picked up the guitar at the age of 8, and as a teenager performed at open mics at the club where his sister worked. Before his 16th birthday, he was signed to Virgin/EMI. “I had to start singing to get all these songs out there,” he says. “No one else was going to! Lerche’s triumphs and travails of the last few years certainly left a mark; he moved to the U.S. and dealt with various practical matters (including some green card issues), forcing some delays. But he also recorded the soundtrack to the hit movie Dan in Real Life (”The director wanted a musician to work with and he convinced both me and the Disney Corporation that I was the only one who could do it.”) And, most importantly, Lerche left his major label home and struck out on his own. Heartbeat Radio, his most current offering, is certainly Lerche’s boldest and most challenging record. While it maintains the studio polish of his groundbreaking debut, Faces Down, there’s also a sense of musical adventure that stems from his later work. The songs mix acoustic guitars with grand gestures of orchestral pop, with elements of anything from 50s Jazz, via 60s and 70s Brazillian psych-folk to state-of-the-art 80s pop masters such as Prefab Sprout, Scritti Politti and Fleetwood Mac.
Check out this video of Sondre performing "Private Caller" from his album Sondre Lerche which is being released June 7th, the same day of the show. (video courtesy of Stereogum)
Sondre Lerche is hitting the 9:30 Club on June 7th and we've got a pair of tickets to give away!!! Want in? well we've got two ways to go about it.
1) Follow us on Twitter (@chunkyglasses) and then tweet out your favorites song by Sondre with a mention of both him and us (just add "@sondrelerche @chunkyglasses" to the end of the tweet) and you are in the running.
2) Head on over to our page on the Facebook and just leave a comment under the link to this post. SIMPLE!
The winner will be picked at random from both sets of entries, and you can enter twice (once on Twitter, once on Facebook) if you like...