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 · Finding J.O.Y.

Finding J.O.Y.

For Brooklyn singer-songwriter Jenny Owen Youngs, things like life and music aren’t so bleak as they once were.

Matt Carney March 7th, 2012

Jenny Owen Youngs with Little Hurricane
8 p.m. Friday
The Blue Door
2805 N. McKinley
$15 advance, $20 door

Once the acid-tongued author of quite perceptive and often despondent and self-hating songs, sailing’s been smoother these days for Brooklyndwelling indie singer-songwriter Jenny Owen Youngs, especially now that her Kickstarter-started third album, An Unwavering Band of Light, finally has hit the shelves.

“I’m a lot happier and better adjusted than I was when I made the previous two records,” Youngs said.

But of course, for a true queen of melancholy, happiness causes issues.

“It’s difficult to go from being really focused on sad songs, because that’s where you are as a person, and then trying to reconcile your own happiness, or in this case, happy-sounding music,” she said.

“I feel that sort of conflict. If you make something that’s different from what you’ve always made, it’ll feel a little false. It’ll feel a little funny in your mouth before you adjust to the fact that you’re not the same person every year of your life. You change and you grow, and hopefully, your music grows with you.”

Youngs definitely knows about growth as an artist. The adult pop of 2005’s Batten the Hatches showed off a broad array of instruments and lyrical moods that culminated in her best known single, the poignant, violin-assisted ode to face-palming, “Fuck Was I.” She learned dark humor and she learned it well.

With 2009’s Transmitter Failure, she continued probing some of the bleakest corners of her songwriting topicality, creating a useful irony against the girlie sweetness of her voice.

Released last month, Unwavering Band suddenly showcases a sweet voice that isn’t so ironic. Booming drums, funky guitar and a sunny-day chorus in “Love for Long” set an optimistic tone.

“It’s the first record I’ve made where I’ve drawn more from outside of myself than inside of myself, if that makes any sense,” she said. “There’s plenty of me in all the songs, but there’s more of my own insight than, y’know, observational stuff.”

And despite wanting another standout track — the funny, neurotic “Sleep Machine” — to sound like a bummer, Youngs said she and producer Dan Romer just didn’t have it in them anymore.

“We worked on a bunch of different possible choruses, and it sounded so dark and heavy,” she said. “It took a while to figure out that the chorus needed to be a release, and we made it sound as beautiful as possible in sharp contrast to the verses.”

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