“in Beth Ditto…I saw an out, queer fat femme owning her sexuality and hotness and never apologizing for it. Seeing someone else do it who was younger than me only inspired me to hurry up and get through my fat shame and start making something of myself. As she’s gotten more media exposure, I’ve seen Beth challenge notions of ‘cute’, ‘pretty’ and ‘fashionable’ in really hysterical ways. She’s a brave and amazing artist.”
I spent part of my afternoon at the coffee shop on the corner. I know the barista because she’s a musician who has toured and recorded with some of my pals and I complimented the music playing. She said “I listen to it for the bass.”
People listen to entirely different aspects of music–some are in it for the beat, some for instrumentation. I feel that music is a language and I’m always in it for good lyrics and an emotional journey. The highs, the lows, the in-betweens, I want to feel ALL the feelings in the music. Sometimes I want it to hurt so good.
You know who will give these feelings in a way that my fellow musical emotional cutters will totally appreciate? Lovers will give it to you in the hurty way–hard and with a tortured look in their eyes.
“What a drag not to know how you are, or which of us got the raw deal. I was a dagger but in whose heart? I was the dirt beneath whose wheel?”
I’ve loved Lovers, this magical queer outfit from Portland, OR, for years. I first learned of them from a mixed mp3 dump from an old friend of music I needed to listen to during my catastrophic break-up in 2007. On it was a pre-released copy that was labeled only “Track One”, “Track Two” etc… so it was just words and private emotion. So special, but totally eclipsed by the genius of their latest release, Dark Light.
I saw Lovers live for the first time at Michfest a couple of weeks ago and have renewed my love for them from a firey and passionate place in my heart reserved for the most poetic and heart-breaking music.* You know how some music can take you on an emotional journey and relies on the instruments? The way Carolyn Berk sings you can tell she’s feeling every moment.
Some of the songs, like “Don’t You Want It”, are so heartwrenching you see Carolyn singing and it’s like she’s saying all the things you needed to say when you were broken on the kitchen floor wracked with sobs and she is sobbing right there with you.
Just watch her do it, here in this video.
Even if you never listen to a Lovers song, read the lyrics and you’ll know what I mean.
I think if you like The Blow, Rilo Kiley, The xx, Camera Obscura, you’ll definitely like Lovers. Though I like Lovers best of all of these bands, so there you go.
(There is a link from this video to this indie rock playlist that includes a free download of Barnacle.)
The new album is supreme, but if you want to dally in some of Lovers’ earlier incarnations I’ve loved the songs “Let’s Stay Lost” and “Where Are You Tonight?”
But, really, you just want to go spend $8.99 at Amazon and buy yourself Dark Light, turn off all the lights and enjoy your time with Lovers. Or if you’re in the UK prepare for their upcoming tour your way this Fall.
*I wore a big sunhat and sunglasses to the show so no one would see when I openly cried during the show which I totally did.