Courtney Marie Andrews - "Burlap String" (Official Video)
Directed by V Haddad. From Old Flowers, due June 5 on Fat Possum.
Courtney Marie Andrews has an amazing voice. I discovered her strictly on the strength of her 2018 album cover, which is still one of my all-time faves. That’s an admittedly goofy reason to check out a record, but in this case it totally worked out. May Your Kindness Remain is as great as its artwork.
Andrews has a new album coming out in June, and this one is all about heartbreak.
Some days are good, some are bad
Some days I want what we had
Some days I talk myself into a lie.
The video is a tribute to a community of musicians in Bisbee, Arizona, where Andrews would visit as a teenager, including a couple named Derrick and Amy Ross who performed as Nowhere Man And A Whiskey Girl. Andrews says they “became my DIY musician mentors, being fifteen years older than me, and showing me it was possible to pay rent off of playing music. I adored them, and we did lots of shows together throughout my early twenties.” Tragically, they both died in 2013. “Losing them was a devastating blow. They were a large part of the Arizonan community. I still go back to Bisbee often, as it’s where my heart belongs in many ways.”
Andrews shot her new video on Young Blood Hill, a place “littered with catholic influenced memorials, shrines and crosses,” including the memorial of her friends. “By the end of the video, I am placing flowers on Derrick and Amy’s memorial, as a way of reckoning with their loss and each loss we grieve throughout our lifetime. Though this song was written for one of the great loves of my own lifetime, I wish to place flowers on heartbreak’s memorial as well.”
Dear sister, my tears are for you
I know this life can be so cruel and unkind
But when you’re feeling weak,
Know your power is in your heart and your mind
This is a previously unreleased song, written after the election in 2016 and performed live since at least February of 2017, but not included on her most recent album, May Your Kindness Remain. It’s powerful.
“Back in November, only two days or so after the election, this song hit me like a brick at a Love’s Truck Stop. I pulled over, and wrote it in 10 minutes. That’s how some songs are delivered, fully formed, and you must write them when they come. For the first time in my womanhood, I felt powerless, because the man who was supposed to rule our country made some very shocking and hurtful comments about women. It reminded me of all the times I, or someone close to me, had been harassed, sexually abused, cat-called, or body shamed. The song is intended to empower, and to conquer our demons. It is a statement, not a plead or a question. We ARE more than bodies. We are strong, intelligent, capable humans, with our own opinions and thoughts. It’s a song that I desperately needed as a reminder, and a song that I hope serves as a reminder to women who feel powerless.” -- Courtney Marie Andrews
The video features old footage from home movies, and its effect is heartbreaking. To think that all of these smiling, innocent kids in these family videos will inevitably have their souls crushed by the cruel, cruel world is almost too much to bear.
Directed by Jonny Look. From Clean, out now on Fat Possum.
Sophie Allison told Consequence of Sound that “Scorpio Rising” is “the climax of the record. It’s this huge moment where I realize that while I’ve been trying to be cool and detached, I’ve become attached — and now I’m about to lose everything because I’m pretending to be something I’m not.”
Now you want to start
With someone not so far
Oh she’s bubbly and sweet like a Coca-Cola
I watch from my drink as you look her over
I like the way this song starts out quiet and atmospheric for the first verse before she realizes that her relationship has fallen apart. And then it gets more and more loud and dissonant as she sees what she’s lost.
Is it the journey or the destination?
Is this love or is this addiction?
Circumstances are meant to be
What does that say about you and me?
Courtney Marie Andrews has a way of setting up a story, doesn’t she? Who is this couple? We immediately want to know more.
Andrews talked to the Independent about writing “Took You Up.”
Yeah there’s definitely vignettes of personal experiences -- there are little snippets of imagery throughout the whole song. I think I’ve definitely experienced pieces of that especially the frozen dinners and laundry piles line. I’ve lived a lot with either people letting me stay on their couches and I’ve also rented hotels and lived on the road for a few years now -- not really living this grand lifestyle but also trying to make ends meet. There’s also bits of depression in those lines but I think the hope and the light is that you have somebody you love surrounding that theme. It’s a song where you feel like the only thing you have is that person -- everything else is suffering: your pocketbook, where you live…there’s nothing except for that person. But sometimes that person is sad and love is sad as well.
There’s a lot of sadness on May Your Kindness Remain. But sometimes sad songs just make you feel better.
It comes as no surprise to learn that Liz Phair has tapped Soccer Mommy as the opener on her “Girly Sound to Guyville” tour. They both started out as bedroom recording artists embodying the persona of a badass young woman who’s comfortable exposing her vulnerability.
Phair wanted to be mesmerizing. Soccer Mommy’s Sophie Allison wants to be cool.
Allison told Consequence of Sound that the song “creates this figure of everything I want to be. It’s fun and upbeat because it’s like a hopeful moment where I’m thinking about how I’m going to be moving forward in my life. However, it’s idealizing things that won’t necessarily make me happy.”
But whenever I hear about a young person wanting to be cool I think back to my friend Jim Fordyce who recorded a song called “World Revolves Around Me” in 1996 after his band the Port Wine Lads split up. It’s a pretty, acoustic song with a punch line that knocks me on my ass every time I think about it: “It’s easy to be cool…when you’re cool.” That lyric conjures up all the feelings of insecurity that plagued way too much of my youth. When you’re dorky and self-conscious, it’s mystifying that some people can be so confident.
Thankfully, when you get older you stop caring…as much…
I can’t remember the last time I got an album based entirely on the record sleeve. But last Friday when Courtney Marie Andrews’ May Your Kindness Remain was released I happened to see the cover image. I immediately went to Apple Music and added it to my collection despite the fact that I had never heard of her.
It sounds as good as it looks. Cosmic American music. Country soul. Dusty, hazy, hurt. If you’re a fan of young Linda Ronstadt (and if you aren’t, you should be), you should definitely check this out.
I will buy this on vinyl the next time I’m at my local record store. Who says you can’t judge a book by its cover?
So what are you supposed to do with your boyfriend’s corpse after you slit his throat? If you’re Soccer Mommy’s Sophie Allison, you drag him upstairs and Sharpie up his face and feel a little sad about the whole thing.
I don’t want to be your little pet
At the edge of every bed
You sleep in but you’re stretching out
Guess I’ll curl up on the couch
She says, “The song comes from a feeling of being paralyzed in a relationship to the point where you feel like you are a pawn in someone else’s world. The song and the video are meant to show someone breaking away and taking action, but at the same time, it’s only a quick burst of motivation. It’s a moment of strength amidst a long period of weakness.”
It’s a cool song and Allison has apparently been recording in her Nashville bedroom for ages, posting songs on Tumblr, Bandcamp, and Soundcloud. But now she’s signed to Fat Possum and recorded her new album with Gabe Wax (War On Drugs, Deerhunter). Living the dream!
Within the first measures of Spiritualized’s eighth album, head Spaceman Jason Pierce continues his journey away from the minimalist leanings that he’s examined for the last pair of records, and back to the orchestrated grandeur of his revered back catalog.
While all of that may sound like a reprise of his past–which it most definitely is–what’s completely unexpected is the perfect balance that Pierce and company find between the grand stage and two-bedroom apartment. The one where the second bedroom houses all of the pawnshop gear and magnetic tape instead of a rent-contributing roommate.
A Theremin enters into the mix about thirty seconds into Sweet Heart Sweet Light, signaling that after nearly ten years of stripping down the mix, Pierce seems like fashioning up something big for this release. By the end of the record, even the traces of a musical saw seem perfectly fitting and admirably well thought out.
It’s not only one of the best albums you’ll hear all year, it ranks as one of the best in Pierce’s already impressive catalog. Entering his third decade in rock music, Pierce has packed Sweet Heart Sweet Light with beautifully simple arrangements with a sharper bite to his lyrics, some that see a somewhat compelling return to the misery that his distinctive monotone voice can wrap itself around so organically.
By the end of “Hey Jane,” the first song on the eleven track release, the band has already delivered a late career utter masterpiece of a song, complete with an inspired “Hey Jude” coda that gives the album its title.
He’s lifting a bit from his Spacemen 3 past on “Get What You Deserve,” but then, about four minutes into the track, the stereo begins to separate into a wider channel, leaving the main vocal track barking up the middle. By the fifth minute, everything is overcome with guitar distortion and vintage effect pedals while beautiful strings surround the outer ear.
By the end of the song, you’ve forgotten all about the clever allusions to the Spaceman’s past and begin caring about what is in store for us next in his future.
Quite simply, it’s a perfect blend of Pierce’s roots and the unbridled ambition of his revered late 90’s period.
When you get to “I Am What I Am,” with its Sunday go to meetin’ gospel chorus bouncing over Pierce’s deadpanned delivery, it becomes clear that there really isn’t a dud to be found on Sweet Heart Sweet Light. There’s just plenty of additional evidence what some of us have considered for some time now: that Jason Pierce is one the genre’s most vital contributors and to be able to continue to release records like this-clearly equipped for greatness and longevity-then we owe it to him to acknowledge how sweet it is to still have him around.