Laura Stevenson

Bootleg Theater & A Fistful of Vinyl Present

Laura Stevenson

Chris Farren, Ogikubo Station

Sun. March 5, 2017

8:30 pm

Bootleg Theater - Bar Stage

Los Angeles, CA

$13.00 - $15.00

This event is 21 and over

Laura Stevenson
Laura Stevenson
Laura Stevenson is finally learning not to worry. After more than a year of national and worldwide touring following the release of her critically acclaimed album Wheel, both headlining, and alongside such varied acts as Against Me!, The Go-Go’s, Kevin Devine, Tim Kasher of Cursive, and The Gaslight Anthem, the songwriter made the move from her between-tour home base of Brooklyn, to upstate New York’s Hudson River Valley. There, she rented a nineteenth- century Victorian, a former brothel in a cement-mining town-turned hippie-enclave, and converted the attic into a makeshift studio. It was in this space that she and her band went to work arranging and demoing the eleven songs she had written that would make up Cocksure, Stevenson’s fourth album. The record features musicians Mike Campbell, Alex Billig and Peter Naddeo, who in various incarnations have performed with her for over seven years, as well as newcomer Samantha Niss, a long-time Hudson Valley resident and the veritable go-to drummer of the region.

Where 2013’s Wheel was full of lingering uncertainty, harkening to Stevenson’s folk and country leanings, Cocksure is a straightforward, to the point, emboldened rock and roll album. Although some existential dread still peaks through the cracks, Stevenson treats themes as heavy-hearted as sudden and tragic death, self-imposed exile in small windowless rooms, and that back-of-your- mind anxiety that the road you’re on may not be the right one, as their own signs of life; a life that is brightly colored by those realities.

With influences ranging from The Lemonheads, Liz Phair, and The Replacements, to early Weezer and the Smoking Popes, Cocksure maintains Stevenson’s unique vulnerability, and steadfast devotion to a solid and honest melody. In the writing process, she challenged herself to be true to whatever was going to come out of her, with many of the tracks featuring melodies that were purely stream of consciousness. “I felt like over-working it would suck some of the spirit out of the songs… this record needed that spontaneity. Spending so much time editing and second guessing yourself takes all the life out of it.”

This sense of spontaneity was maintained in the way Cocksure was recorded. In May of 2015, Stevenson and her band traveled city-bound to Room 17, a studio located in her old neighborhood of Bushwick, Brooklyn. “It’s this very positive and amazing space, and Joe Rogers, the engineer, was so enthusiastic about what we were doing. Everyone was comfortable enough to just really play and not get caught up in anything else.” All the main instrumentation on Cocksure was performed live, no clicks/no punches, under the watchful eyes of Rogers and producer Jeff Rosenstock, Stevenson’s long-time friend and collaborator. “Jeff was the perfect person for the job. All of his Bomb The Music Industry! and solo recordings have this energy to them, they’re like living things. I wanted to capture some of the magic he has.” The album was later mixed and mastered by Jack Shirley (Joyce Manor, Deafheaven, Tony Molina) at Atomic Garden Studios in Palo Alto, CA.

Self-assurance is a new hat for Stevenson, and on Cocksure she confronts her usual tendencies toward self-deprecation head-on. “It’s freeing to stop being so hard on yourself, and to quiet down all of the outside noise,” she says. “Once you’re able to do that, you can actually write what you should be writing.”

Laura Stevenson will release Cocksure on October 30, 2015, via Don Giovanni Records.
Chris Farren
Chris Farren
Chris Farren is a true DIY Renaissance man. For the past decade he has fronted the Naples, Florida, act Fake Problems but over the past few years he's cultivated second life through his solo work, ceaseless touring and accidental viral success with a T-shirt design as well as his musical and podcast collaborations with Bomb The Music Industry! frontman Jeff Rosenstock via Antarctigo Vespucci and Back From the Island. We can't say it's strictly due to the O'douls but there's no question that you can't have such a tireless work ethic when you're rolling out of bed every day hungover at noon. Even if you live in Florida.

Farren's latest two releases are his three-song EP Where U Are and his split 7-inch with Tim Kasher which both came out in April and established Farren (according to Stereogum) as "something of a legend in certain circles." He started writing the EP to challenge himself to outdo his home-recorded album of Christmas originals Like A Gift From God Or Whatever but wasn't able to finish it before embarking on an Australian tour alongside the Gaslight Anthem earlier this year. "I ended up bringing a portable set-up to Australia with me and I was doing handclaps and back-up vocals in my hotel rooms before and after the shows every night," he explains. However one of the benefits of this approach is that he was able to get the band's frontman Brian Fallon to lend his signature pipes to 'Permanent For Me.'"

That same tradition of ambition and collaboration lead Farren to work with one of his musical heroes Tim Kasher (Cursive, The Good Life) for his new split 7-inch You Be Me For A Little While on Saddle Creek Records. "I met Tim on tour in 2012 and we kept in touch. One day I had the insane idea to see if he wanted to do a split with me. I agonized over the email for two days before I sent it but within ten minutes he wrote me back and said he would love to," Farren says of the split. "It was his idea to make it a little more interesting and write songs for each other to interpret." The result is a unique collection of songs that showcase both artists' talent as songwriters and sees Farren taking an unorthodox idea and not only pursuing it but transforming it into a tangible collection of tunes that are sure to become fan favorites.

Although he didn't start a solo artist, it's clear that Farren has come into his own with his two releases in 2015 (and keep in mind this bio was only written in April) and he explains that "after spending a lot of time alone onstage this year, I'm starting to really enjoy myself." Furthermore, Where U Are sees Farren taking his DIY sensibilities even further by releasing the EP on Boyfriend Island, a new label started by himself and his fiancé. "We call it Boyfriend Island because the label is sort of freedom in isolation, not really bothered about what anyone outside of it might say or think. It's about just doing things because you like it," he adds.
Venue Information:
Bootleg Theater - Bar Stage
2220 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90057
http://www.bootlegtheater.org/