January 22, 2012

Music Fix - Keep Warm This Winter W/ @LoversTheBand

Who doesn't appreciate good music these days? Its all we got left when we retreat from the visual world. The music band 'Lovers' surely appreciates sound and music. You get that impression when you hear their latest album 'Dark Light'. The Lesbian trio have been around for 13 years making their timeless and passionate music for Queers all over the world.

Drew and I were sold on their music and looks when we saw the video recorded performance of their song 'Boxer' from the 'Dark Light' album. The performance was from a show they were featured on Seattle's radio station 'KEPX'. We have to give much credit to one of our favorite podcast shows called 'Homoground' for posting that video on their Facebook fan page.   

Left to Right: Carolyn Berk, Kerby Ferris, Emily Kingan
Portland, Oregon based 'Lovers' are lyricist and lead singer Carolyn Berk (a.k.a. Cubby), synth-programmer and performance artist Kerby Ferris, and sequencer and percussionist Emily Kingan. A harmonious blend of sisterly female energy and talent. I, Henry, tried to get the band on our podcast recently but due to the bands schedule it was not possible. But in the interim, I did get to speak to the lead singer and lyricist Carolyn Berk for a bit; and I got know the extremely "Down to Earth" Carolyn a bit more in an impromptu but short "get to know you" conversation. 

Carolyn and I, turns out, share an appreciation for Michael O'Brien's show "7 Minutes In Heaven", comedy, cartoons, and budgies. But from a music stand point, Carolyn said that she starts off writing the songs not wanting to feel the earth or have any sense of time. Its just her and her guitar, pen and paper, and her feelings. As she explained the song emerges in a very mathematical way. Which led me to believe, as some artist do, that perhaps she visualizes the patterns in her songs.

Before I even contacted the band I already had made up my mind to review their recent album 'Dark Light'. As I expressed to Carolyn in our conversation, Drew and I both agreed that someone out in the West coast was keeping their band (a hidden treasure) all to themselves and not sharing them with the rest of the world. You may agree with us after listening to Carolyn's lyrics and mesmerizing voice, which is like food for the soul. As a band I believe they have created their very own music category called "Folktronic". 

'Lovers' has reignited a spark in Queer music that has died down over the last two decades. As they dubbed it on their website they are the 'next-wave' in music. "New Now NextI hope you are paying attention...

'Dark Light' is richly coated with Carolyn Berk's vocals. Though, skillfully woven into the album by 'Kerby' are amazing electronic chords which set fireworks off, while penetrating drum beats from 'Emily' re-enforces the intensity of emotions flying about. Together these girls brought back traditions not found in 'alternative' or 'folk' Queer based music of today. To name a few like 'New Order' and 'Joy Division' or old style 'Suzanne Vega' a la 'Frank'. 

At times I caught myself saying "I wish I was growing up with this band's music instead of K.D. Lang." Don't get me wrong I love K.D. Lang but I really couldn't relate with all her music. And I didn't find it inspiring either.    

'Lovers' doesn't disappoint. They have their finger on a pulse of what most Queers today are thirsty to hear about. Anyone is welcomed to correct or disagree with Drew and I. If you think we're wrong. 'Lovers' create music to bond and heal with; singing about true feelings and connecting on a human level. 

Their album 'Dark Light' to me is like what happens when you shine a black light on your soul. UV rays filter out the stuff that doesn't matter in human day to day life and relationships. And makes the stuff that does matter shine brightly. Which is contrary to what the album title may suggest to the average unsuspecting music collector. 

After this review, you may find yourself in my shoes too. Purchase their music on their website and support their music at: www.loversarelovers.com

Track 1: Barnacle
Starts off with a heart beat like sythn sound proceeded by attention grabbing drum calls and Carolyn gently explains why her heart aches. Then metaphors about barnacles just start to form. If you are as visual a person as I am you probably start creating your own video for the song in your mind, at this point.

Track 2: Figure 8
A marching drum beat that sets the tone for the rest of the song gives way to chants about solidarity. To me its a for sure 'Pride' song!

Track 3: Boxer
"I was a dagger but in who's heart... I was the dirt but in who's wheel?" Need I say more about this song? Very mesmerizing synth landscapes were created for this song along with another heart beat in the background with hard hitting drum beats. Giving the song an appropriate edge for people who've experience some type of oppressive relationship. I couldn't get this song out of my head for about 3 days.

Track 4: Do You Want It
Can we say Lesbian Crunk! OMG! Totally a song I would dedicate, over the radio, to a lover I want back. "The house is quiet since you left. And all the corners are unswept. I make alliances with the appliances, I try to get them to talk to me. Oh I once played romantic lead in your tragicomedy." Total love making music; or after a argument silent introspective moment clear the baggage away music. At this point I was very impressed by all three women, but most of all Carolyn's voice and her lyrics. Drew and I, at the end-end of this track, were a little confused about this part of the lyrics "...doing the porky pig." Is that a term used in the Lesbian community?

Track 5: Peppermint
Kerby really turns up the synths on this track in the most impressive and ear pleasing way. A song about first love, and love yet to be had. Carolyn with a sweet and a haunting voice sings to not just one person, she sings her heart out for everyone. A beautiful track to bring healing to Queer people who come from broken homes, families and/or institutions.

Track 6: Shepherd Of The Stray Hearts
Strings start of this song, in a lullaby fashion. Hidden sythns pop out from behind to compliment the vocals from all three women. In a crescendo the song starts and ends with a outspoken lovers chant: "Magnets find each other and I will be lover and I will be your lover... oh I, oh I..." This could be a theme song for them if it isn't already.

Track 7: No Regrets
At this point I was refreshed to hear Emily using U2 reminiscent drum like beats that so went right with Carolyn's polite "...No Regrets hand sign". Totally a track to help you focus your feelings and thoughts when addressing a problematic lover or friend. "Cast your spell, turn me on, touch me with your magic wand."

Track 8: To Be A Dancer (I Am Alive)
There's a heavy 'do or die' tone to this song. For me that is. A race to break out of a stagnant life. Synthesizers start the song off and picks up with a Depeche Mode feel in the under currents. Powerful song for those who can identify with the process of inner transformation and the honoring of self.

Track 9: The Boy Who Cried Wolf
"You washed the stigma from my hands... My best friend is a Witch and Wizard." Haunting echoes of the synthesizers and hints of mysticism and self discovery rules this song. Sorta sounds like an apology I made to several people in my life. After my battle with drugs and alcohol, and the lesser parts of myself.

Track 10: Cedar Falls
'Schweet' synths on this track. Nicely turned up to 'crunk' level, again. A slow song holding onto a precious memory or promise? From one 'girlfriend to another'. Or one lover to another. "Plunging our hearts into the sea." Perfect slow dancing music! I thought it was funny that Carolyn used a line in the lyrics for this song that I used on this guy I dated two year ago, when we said our good byes. "...I hope you see me someday as a friend... " More or less its exactly what went down before and after that part part of the lyrics.

Over all the album was an awesome surprise and best music purchase we made for 2012, to date! I kept myself from playing the album too many times in fear that I would get tired of it. But after a while I didn't need to play it anymore. The album tracks were stuck in my head on auto-play, looping. After a week or two, I couldn't resist, and I broke the piggy bank and purchased all of the albums they have ever produced; which are in this published order: 

1.) Starlit Sunken Ship
2.) The Gutter and The Garden
3.) Sleep With Heat
4.) I Am The West
5.) Dark Light
6.) I was The East (a retrospective with some b-side tracks)

I hope you enjoyed this review, and that it inspires you to discover and follow Lovers' music: www.loversarelovers.com

If you find yourself becoming a fan, there's a fan site you may want to check out: http://loverstheband.org/

Also, make sure to get our The Track Of The Month. A free download of 'Don't You Want Me' (on the left sidebar), and you can find that video I spoke of earlier on this post here.

Lovingly yours,


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