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8PM - Doors
8:30PM - Anika Pyle
9:30PM - Laura Stevenson
Laura Stevenson begins her new album in a state.
“I’m in a state again, but I stay polite,” she sings queasily over a nest of scraping cello strings. For an uncomfortable minute the uneasiness lingers until the song explodes into an incantation: “It keeps me alive.”
It is a powerful and apt beginning for a record that finds the acclaimed singer-songwriter charting—in exacting detail—some of the most turbulent states of her life.
Here she documents a crisis in real-time, “I relocated for a bit after finishing my last record, to help someone that I love very much who was going through something absolutely unthinkable,” she explains. The album follows every turn as that year unfolded, from rage to helplessness, desperation, and in its own sort of way, acceptance.
“For obvious reasons, I won’t be discussing the specific nature of what happened. I left everything kind of open-ended, but I think doing that helps people relate more to the general experience of going through a crisis or helping someone else through one,” Stevenson says, a sentiment that comes through on every moment of the upcoming self-titled album, out August 6th 2021.
Take “State,” for example. As the song builds, it becomes lost in the rhythm of its own heart-thumping anxiety, every instrument struggling for breath in the second chorus. “I become rage,” Stevenson admits. “A shining example of pure anger.” Then, just when it seems to have passed the point of all reason, something transformative happens: the anger and frustration that have been building bend, turning instead into something “pure and real and sticky and moving and sweet.”
The nauseous anxiety (and surprising transformation) of “State” is followed by a collection of songs that move gracefully between genres, something Stevenson has become known for. The album slides from indie-rock anti-anthems like “Don’t Think About Me” and “Sandstorm” to Harry Nilsson-style string-laden ballads, mid-tempo alt-country, and quiet acoustic confessionals.
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