Wednesday 16 Apr

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0

Rachel Brashear — Revolution

Rachel Brashear’s second EP, Revolution, starts with a kick to the shins.
03/18/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Mind games

Mind games

‘Do not pass go,’ life seemed to say to Telekinesis’ front man as he tackled album No. 2. Against all odds, he emerged victorious.

Joshua Boydston February 23rd, 2011

Telekinesis with The Love Language
9 p.m. Monday
Opolis 113 N. Crawford, Norman, 820-0951
$8 advance, $10 door

The sophomore album is always an uphill battle, and God bless Telekinesis’ Michael Benjamin Lerner for getting through it with all the other obstacles that popped up along the way.

The stress of following up his critically acclaimed debut, “Telekinesis!,” was compounded by a litany of other problems: a serious car wreck, a breakup, depression and a mystery illness that literally threw him physically off-balance and threatened his impeccable ear for pop hooks as he was left partially deaf. It was almost too much on the bubbly, infectious demeanor that had endeared the Seattle-based band to so many.

“The whole sophomore-record syndrome ... I said I wasn’t going to let it get to me, all that stressful shit,” he said. “It totally got to me. I’m a happy dude; I was not a happy dude then.”

When Lerner decided to begin writing what would become “12 Desperate Straight Lines,” he struck out for a bleak, bleary and solitary winter in Berlin where he holed up and wrote songs from 9 to 5 every day.

“I need structure in my life,” he said. “If I don’t, I’ll sit on the couch and watch ‘X-Files’ seasons one through nine on Netflix the entire day. Music is my job now, and if you tell yourself that, you can find a little focus.”

Still, basically being a solo musician — he writes and records every part — left him without a partner to bounce off ideas. He was departing to the studio in Portland with a batch of songs he liked when he crashed his van, caused by that bout with vertigo. Weirdly enough, however, it proved to be a blessing in disguise.

“If that hadn’t happened, a lot of my favorite songs wouldn’t have been on this album,” Lerner said. “It sucks to look at that all as a positive thing, but it was a really positive thing.”

In recovery, he bought a bass guitar and wrote a good chunk of the album, even immortalizing the collision in the leadoff single, “Car Crash.” The illness subsided, he got over the girl, snapped out of his depression, and what could have become a rather gloomy effort became a positively sunny one.

“I was trying to write another song that everyone loved ... and it was just the most awful fucking shit you could ever write. So I just started having fun and wrote what I liked,” Lerner said. “Nineties rock was apparently how I was feeling, and I wrote some awesome ’90s rock jams.”

Everything is looking up now; “Desperate” dropped Feb. 15, and Telekinesis is on the road to support it — including Monday’s date at Opolis — through March. He eagerly awaits what crowds have to say about the disc and counts his lucky stars he made it out alive.

“In the least cocky way, I’m really proud of writing this, especially with all that happened. I can confidently say it’s the best I could have done, and it’s scary putting it out to the world,” Lerner said. “Like a lot of musicians, I tell my friends it’s like my baby, but then you have to pass him around and let people handle him. Hopefully, no one drops the baby.”

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