March 12, 2017 | doors at 8:00pm
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Triple Ds presents:
Tim Darcy (Ought) | Molly Burch
- DAY OF SHOW
While the record racked up high praise from outlets including The New York Times and NPR, nearly everything music fans read about Delicate Steve was a fiction. Listeners were left to the music alone to determine who Steve was.
As is often the case, some of the first people to recognize Delicate Steve's music were fellow artists who became vocal supporters, as the young guy from upstate New Jersey began to develop a growing fanbase in small New York clubs like Glasslands, Union Pool, and Mercury Lounge. Following the 2012 release of Positive Force, Delicate Steve had cornered the status of 'your favorite band's favorite band', as Steve himself became a fixture in and an on-demand collaborator among disparate scenes, players, and bands, making some of the most celebrated and forward thinking music today: Co-signs and work with David Byrne, Dirty Projectors, tUnE-yArDs, Mac DeMarco, Dr. Dog, and elder statesmen like Lee Ranaldo and Built to Spill. Likely the only guitarist alive who will cut records with Sondre Lerche and Death Grip's Zach Hill. Handpicked to open a sold out North American tour for Tame Impala. And most recently, providing guitar on Paul Simon's new record.
These wild artistic relationships came to be because Steve happens to be one of the most talented songwriters and guitarists currently working. But they are also a direct reflection of the person, the soul of a guy any artist or fan who's met him will identify immediately. It's the same soul that fills his songs.
This is Steve, Delicate Steve's first new record in 4 years, and first for the ANTI- imprint, is an articulation of this spirit. Joy. Love. Positivity. Perseverance. Meditation. A general communion with the people and world around him. Easy to call such things hackneyed in this cynical time, but in Steve's case, it’s very hard to separate the person from the art. It's real. It's pure. This, is Steve.
Melody begins with the needle drop on This is Steve, and it's this hallmark as a songwriter on display in tune after tune that has defined all of Delicate Steve's work. It's his incredible capacity to write wordless songs that are impossible not to sing along to. He works in no genre, there are no words, but there is never a question as to what he is saying.
Tunes like "Animals," "Help," and "Nightlife," establish their hooks immediately, and drop you with Steve as he runs alongside leopards, scales a Western peak, nurses a boozy Kingston come-down, before clocking out at under three minutes and depositing you somewhere else on a technicolor continuum. Throughout the set, Steve's guitar melodies rise and crest, unguarded expressions of wonderment and positivity.
Steve produced and played all the instruments on this record. He created it as an introduction from himself to you, and named it appropriately. If there is a question as to who This is Steve’s creator is, you'll find it imbued in these ten songs. As he has done from the start, Steve lets the music speak for itself. Without a word.
August 22 2016
As this is, in a way, a more personal introduction to Darcy despite the attention and acclaim he has with Ought, it feels worthwhile to mention his origins. Born in Arizona, he made his way to both Colorado and New Hampshire before ending up in Montreal where he found university, the city’s rich DIY scene, and the other members of Ought. He began writing poetry as early as the third grade and performed often, and his first attempts at songwriting were him feeling around in the dark to set some of them to music. In Montreal, he played in various projects, his and others, before settling into a groove as the singer and guitarist of Ought.
Saturday Night feels not just coherent but constant. Each track is woven to the next in a winding, complex journey through a charged, continuous present. They feel as if they’ve been brought together by a strong impulse, recorded in a very particular moment. The bright, ghostly choir that lingers around the edges of the album and Tim’s tuned-between-radio stations guitar appear as characters in a cast of songs that at times breathe like folk music and at others hit like full-band rock tunes. There are love/love lost songs like the standout, almost-New Wave “Still Waking Up” in which a Smiths-esque melody builds upon an underbrush that recalls 60s AM pop and country. Darcy’s unmistakable, commanding voice and lyrical phrasing are, as they are in Ought, an instrument here: vital to the entire affair. He over-enunciates. He makes mantras out of molehills. He whoops and croons. He makes damn sure you know there are no tossed-off lines here.
At the same time there is an evident softness in these songs and an accompanying musicality. While there are moments that take their strength in sparseness, Darcy is unafraid to paint in economic technicolor as his wry lyricism floats nimbly upon chorused guitars and the occasional synthetic artifact. The tracks that start each turn of the record pull like ripcords that then earn the nimble, ambient expanses each harmoniously settles with. In between, Darcy presents warm, near-psychedelic folk exploration (“Joan Pt 1, 2”) of Joan of Arc and the righteous anger of femininity on the way down to a final, crystalline and existential piano-and-voice ballad (“What’d You Release?”).
The title comes in part from the nights and weekends when it was recorded: a six month period that overlapped with the recording of Ought’s second album where Darcy gathered with friends to record in the storage room of a commercial studio. It also comes from the album’s title track: a bowed-guitar epic where the whole album seems to crack wide open as Darcy repeats the phrase “Wish I’d ran away sooner to save time” and indeed wanders out alone, as if into a field, questioning the very nature of changing, shifting, and growing as we do as humans, asking: “Does a bush ever think, where do I grow to be seen?” Saturday Night sounds like a person exploring his voice in a room full of people he trusts: joyful, shot through with struggle, unfakeably honest. Intimate and rollicking as a house show, delicate as a late-night phone call.
There’s a line in “Tall Glass of Water,” the album’s Velvet Underground-nodding opening track, where Darcy asks himself a rhetorical question: “if at the end of the river, there is more river, would you dare to swim again?” He barely pauses before the answer: “Yes, surely I will stay, and I am not afraid. I went under once, I’ll go under once again.” That river shows up again and again in the lyrics of Saturday Night. It’s about how wonderful it can be to feel in touch with that inner current. It’s about how good it feels to make art, and how terrifying; how you don’t always get to choose whether you’re swimming or drowning as we grow and move through life, just that you’re going to keep diving in. That’s the impulse that links all the songs on Saturday Night, makes them glow.
“I was always really interested in singing before songwriting. I didn’t always have the confidence to write,” Molly says, “Initially it was more about finding the right songs to complement my voice.” And that voice is the first thing you’ll notice on Burch's debut album, Please Be Mine. It’s smoky, with an incredible range, effortlessly evocative of her early influences. It was in Asheville where Burch would meet guitarist Dailey Toliver, who plays on her debut, and who inspired much of its music.
Searching for a bigger pond, Burch moved to Austin, Texas in an effort to stand on her own two feet. There, Burch began to write her own music in earnest, with the lovelorn Everly Brothers and Sam Cooke as her songwriting guides. Joined by Toliver in Austin a year later, the two connected with Dan Duszynski of Cross Record, and they recorded all the songs on Please Be Mine at his idyllic studio in Dripping Springs, Texas. Motivated by the hourly rate, Burch and her band recorded all the basic tracks and vocals live in one room and in one day, with minimal overdubs for keys and back-up vocals happening a day later. A difficult task for any talented musician, it becomes more mind-blowing when you hear her belt it on tracks like “Downhearted” and “I Love You Still.”
We're all lucky Molly started writing music simply to complement her voice, as we've discovered a great new American songwriter in the process. Captured Tracks is proud to present this debut album of ten beautiful, wistful love songs of loss, loneliness and reconnecting.