Union Stage presents at The Miracle Theatre
Andy Shauf (Solo)
Sat Nov 24
Doors: 8:30 pm / Show: 9:00 pm
The Miracle Theatre
• PLEASE NOTE: The charge on your credit card will show up as "JAMMIN JAVA”.
• PLEASE NOTE: This show is held at The Miracle Theatre, 535 8th St SE, Washington, DC, 20003https://www.unionstage.com/event/1729728/
PLEASE NOTE: The charge on your credit card will show up as "JAMMIN JAVA".
PLEASE NOTE: This show is held at The Miracle Theatre, 535 8th St SE, Washington, DC, 20003
The Party is the ANTI- Records debut for this Canadian songwriter, who grew up in small-town Saskatchewan.
Awkward characters show up “Early to the Party,” and either reveal life-changing secrets (“To You”) or try their hardest to reveal nothing at all (“The Magician”). In “a city the size of a dinner plate,” everyone knew the guy who keeled over dead after smoking what he promised would be his last pack of cigarettes (“Alexander All Alone”). The girl dancing by herself, unselfconsciously, in the middle of the room, with the “Eyes of Them All” upon her. One moment you’re dancing with someone who bears an uncanny resemblance to your ex (“Martha Sways”), and later you start slagging your best friend as way of endearing yourself to his recently dumped ex (“Quite Like You”).
Did that all really happen in the same night? It certainly happens in the space of this tightly narrated thirty-eight minutes, all set to ornate arrangements of fuzzed-out guitars, string sections, clarinets and dreamy synths, all draped over delicate piano, acoustic guitars and rainy-day drums.
On his previous LP The Bearer of Bad News, Shauf started out with 100 songs and whittled it down to 11, the cream of the crop—no wonder it turned heads. This time, older, wiser, and with a clearer vision and narrative construct in mind, the self-produced multi-instrumentalist and master of subtlety focused on 15 and cut it to 10.
Recording began with a band in Germany in early 2014, but Shauf—who is endlessly rewriting lyrics and rearranging songs, building them up and then stripping them back to their basics—decided to start anew back home in Regina. There, he set up shop at Studio One, located in an old CBC building, and was left to his own devices. He plays all the instruments, with the exception of the strings, handled by Colin Nealis.
The Party is not exactly a concept record, but it was a way for the singer-songwriter to get out of his own head. An after-party record, more like it. Or for the hangover the next day, when only Shauf’s songs can make any sense of the emotionally-charged scenarios that played out the night before.
When The Party was over, Shauf had no regrets—even if its characters have more than a few.
in their teens, but then again, not many young artists are Fenne Lily. Raised in the wilds of rural
Dorset, UK to punk and Queen-loving parents, the 20-year-old talent first picked up the guitar
aged 15, and quickly found she was a natural. “Growing up in the countryside was amazing,” she
explains. “I had so much space, and loads of time with no distractions – that’s why I learnt an
instrument, because I didn’t have anything else to do!”
Just one year later and she’d written the delicate but powerful ‘Top To Toe’, which deftly tackled
social anxiety over softly picked guitar; a song about bleak adolescence that almost everyone
could relate to. Self-released, it saw the young unknown attract global attention for her sublime
songwriting ability and sharp emotional intelligence, as well as her gifted way with melody. British
fashion house Burberry came knocking on her door and asked her perform for them in Paris,
thanks to the song’s subtle channeling of Laura Marling, as well as the swooning sound of Angel
Olsen, Sharon Van Etten and underground 1960s psychedelic greats like Linda Perhacs.
Fenne’s sound was elegant, addictive and blowing up the hype machine. Now, though, she’s
gearing up to release her debut album and proving she’s much more than your typical acoustic
songwriter. So if you’re after a record full of soft, sweetly packaged ballads, then you’ve come to
the wrong place. “I don’t want to be a folk singer, even though that’s what comes easy to me,”
she states. “I don’t want to disappoint the people who liked ‘Top To Toe’, but I don’t want to
Instead, Fenne’s ploughing a tougher path, joining forces with Isle of Wight band Champs, who
offer up the crisp, crunchy backing of a full band while her lush vocals and stark lyricism takes
centre stage. Although she sings about heartbreak, she’s quick to state that her songs aren't
about wallowing in misery. “My music comes from anger, but I can’t sing angrily, so I sing sadly.
It’s a sadness that’s fueled by fury.” This is Fenne all over. She’s straight up and to the point. As
she puts it herself, there’s “no fannying about” when it comes to her music and that’s what makes
it all the more special.
Though Fenne had been gigging in Bristol since she was 15, with her dad driving her up for shows
two or three times a month, she finally moved to the city when she was 18, embarking on an art
foundation course and discovering a love of photography – she shoots all her own artwork,
inspired by the candid work of Wolfgang Tillmans – during her studies. Upon arrival in the city,
Fenne flung herself into the local music scene and joined forces with Chiverin; the growing music
community founded by her now-manager. “All my friends are doing super trendy techno music or
are in badass bands,” says Fenne, which goes some of the way to explaining the enticing
evolution of her sound, setting her apart from the mainstream indie and folk worlds.
Hers is a sound all of her very own, with stream-of-consciousness vocals directly tapping into raw
emotion and careful, considered songwriting. So considered, in fact, that most of Fenne’s musical
output to date has ended up on the album. “I’m not prolific at all,” she explains. “I’ve probably
only written 20 songs in my whole life. I wait for the perfect time, when I literally can’t not talk
about something anymore. I’m not very good at speaking about my feelings but eventually I have
to write a song.”
Written in sporadic bursts, the tracks were predominantly recorded in Bristol and on the Isle of
Wight with producers Tamu Massif and James Thorpe, while ‘Brother’ was recorded with and
produced by PJ Harvey collaborator John Parish. Most of the album digs into the break-up of her
first important relationship and the pain that followed. The moody ‘Three Oh Nine’ – named after
the date her lover left – is an anthem of acceptance and resignation that somehow manages to
encompass both Lana Del Rey’s soaring majesty and Marika Hackman’s grunge-pop sass. “It was
written the morning after he told me he was leaving and that we had three months to try and still
be in love, but I’d already started grieving,” says Fenne of the emotive highlight in a record of
many. ‘On Hold’ meanwhile makes for one of the album’s “two positive songs”, an upbeat, Mac
DeMarco inspired tribute to her best friend Felix, who she met immediately after the break-up.
“He was also really sad. So we were just sad together and He made me feel like it was OK to feel
‘More Than You Know’ – the second song Fenne ever wrote after ‘Top To Toe’ – hints at the
guitar sound on Bon Iver’s seminal ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’ and was recorded in three takes,
making for one of the more organic, minimal recordings on the album. The crashing, Kate
Bush-worthy ‘The Hand You Deal’ is, Fenne admits, the most harrowing song here. A haunting
epic, it sees her accepting her fate, with layered vocals crooning: “I don’t try to wake/There’s
nothing in my day that I want to replay”. “I was just in so much pain,” she says of her state of
mind while she was writing the song. Catharsis, though, is there in ‘Carpark’, the last track
recorded for the album, and a song which offers a glimmer of hope within the bleakness. “I wrote
it really angry at this guy and it marked the end of my choices towards men – I’ve made this
decision for the last time!” she states.
Fenne’s sadness however, is UK music’s gain. She isn’t just one to watch for 2018, she’s one you
won’t be able to keep your eyes off for a second.
The Miracle Theatre
535 8th St SE
Washington, DC, 20003