New Music 09/2018 – Mitski, Laura Veirs

Idiosyncratic pop from a Japanese-American songwriter; catching up with an old folky favourite.

Mitski – Be the Cowboy

Back in the day (in my 20s that is) I used to loathe Pitchfork Media for being a bastion of pretentious snobby hipsterism, but now that I generally care way less about other people’s opinions I see them as just another handy source for discovering new music. This highly recommended album turned out to be a winner, a charming collection of short and sharp musical vignettes with introspective lyrics about love, relationships and anxieties. What captured me the most was Mitski’s unique, oddly precise vocal phrasing which elevates her songs to something special. Plus with English as my second language I always appreciate good diction. Down with mumbling!

Laura Veirs – The Lookout

I’ve been a fan of Laura Veirs’ exquisite shimmering folk for a while, but haven’t followed her output in the last few years, so I thought I’d chase it up. This, her latest release from 2018, is yet another lovely offering that brings to mind watching the last rays of the sun over a wide open prairie on a warm summer night, and a feeling that’s at once comforting and bittersweet. This darker, melancholy undercurrent present in Veirs’ music always saved it from polite tasteful beigeness it could have disappeared into. Most songs are acoustic guitar-based with a dash of piano and strings, and require a few listens to truly sink in and reveal their charms. Veirs’ voice, somehow both delicate and harsh, remains a fine instrument.

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