Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Your Friend Jekyll/Hyde Domino 2014
I should title this post, Best Lunch Hour Ever, but I'll get back to that.. Recently, I've been hearing Your Friend on a public radio station and been really impressed. Atmospheric, drawn out, and spacious tunes...really, interesting, and really good. Previously, a friend had tipped me off about this Lawrence, KS girl being signed to Domino Records and seeing how Domino Records is kind of a big deal, I started reading up on Your Friend. She put out a self-released cassette locally, I'm sure she's played some shows and such, but not much available to purchase (yeah, I'm not buying a cassette to listen to music, sorry). So yeah, if you're getting signed to Domino on the strength of your cassette, it must be pretty good.
I listened to a few things on-line, I'm not much for getting into music online through crappy computer speakers, but thought everything sounded promising. When they started playing her on The Bridge 90.9 locally, though, that's when I started to get excited (and, I'm sure I would have gotten equally as excited if I heard her on KJHK, but I can't pick that station up in Overland Park, KS). Looked at the Domino website to check the news and saw they're going to release a version of the cassette on vinyl April 19th. Figured that's great, I would order that shit.
Then I thought, why should I order the record? I live in KC, I'll just shop local. Plan was in place, but to my surprise Lawernce's Love Garden Sounds started posting photos of the LP. I asked today (not shitting you, today) if they had the record for purchase, their response was affirmative.
So, I got a lunch hour, why not, right? I mean, who wants to wait 11 days? So, I drove to Lawrence. Got there and while walking to the shop I saw a Get Up Kid, Ryan Pope. Said hi, haven't seen you in a long time, all that, then I explained I was just in Lawrence for 10 minutes to buy the Your Friend record. Ryan responded he was headed the same direction to purchase the same record. He explained Taryn Miller who is Your Friend is a super sweet, super great girl, and an amazing songwriter. That got me more excited about the record, Ryan has always provided me with great recommendations (introduced me to Elliott Smith, Built To Spill, Richard Swift, all good stuff). So my friend had nothing but good things to say about Your Friend.
When I got to the Love Garden, I grabbed the record and knew lunch was over in about 10 minutes, but I now had the, "Oh man, sorry I'm late, I bumped into an old friend," excuse. I started flipping through the new arrivals bin. I wasn't planning on purchasing anything further (on a budget), just kind of glancing. I switched over to a new row and this dude just lunges at me from the other side of the rack. I backed off and he grabs a Grateful Dead album and in a panicked voice states, "I had pulled that one out!" I said, "Oh, it's cool," and held my tongue from asking him if he just wanted to save some money, give me $10 instead of the $20 for that album and I could get Ryan to play a 20 minute drum solo while he smokes pot and talks to me about Jimmy Buffet or whoever else he is into. Then Mr. Middle Age says to me, "I looked through those stacks, got all the good stuff, see any J.J. Cale on this side?" Well, at least he's not a parrot-head like I thought, but I replied, "I don't know, wasn't looking to buy any Cale, or anything." Seriously, though? What the fuck? The dude pulled a Grateful Dead album and told me he "got everything good." Really? I don't hate the Dead or anything, I kind of like Workingman's Dead and American Beauty, but did this guy think everybody was in the store to buy what he likes? Did he grab the album and think to himself, 'Well, everybody else should just go home now.' Strange, he must have been from Topeka.
Anyway, I purchased the record. Taryn Miller works at Love Garden (probably the reason they got the LP so early) and I was hoping she could ring up her own album for me and I could take a photo to put it on Instagram and show off to the 5 people that read my blog, but that didn't happen. I parted ways with Ryan and drove back to KC for work. Total time spent away from work, 1 hour 45 minutes, and no one gave a shit, but you know, can't make that type of thing a habit, there's work to be done, blah blah blah.
Now I'm home, listened to the 6 songs featured here about 3 times. It's really good. I kind of wish I had the desire to seek out rare cassette tapes, because the tracks here are remastered/reworked versions of the songs on the tape. I'd like to compare this to her homespun versions. Everything is top quality, mastered by Bob Weston if that tells you anything. Can't help but think the early versions would sound a bit more honest and not as epic. These songs do sound big. Taryn Miller stretches her vocals over the top of things, you can't really understand what she's singing at times, but the effect is nice. There's other times when she's able to make her voice sound so fragile that it almost cracks. It adds moments of vulnerability to the songs, the big epic soundscapes calm down for a moment and you remember you're listening to a female that just kicked your ass.
Part of me can't help thinking what Pitchfork is going to say...I'm guessing they'll give it a 6.5 and say it's a promising debut from a genuine talent, however, the songs meander and lose focus. They'd be wrong; space in music is the new loud and Pitchfork just isn't as hip as they think they are.
Live on KJHK 90.7