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LUCY DACUS

Lucy Dacus

Home Video

    This new gift from Dacus, her third album, was built on an interrogation of her coming-of-age years in Richmond, VA. Many songs start the way a memoir might—“In the summer of ’07 I was sure I’d go to heaven, but I was hedging my bets at VBS”—and all of them have the compassion, humour, and honesty of the best autobiographical writing. Most importantly and mysteriously, this album displays Dacus’s ability to use the personal as portal into the universal.

    “I can’t hide behind generalizations or fiction anymore,” Dacus says, though talking about these songs, she admits, makes her ache. That Home Video arrives at the end of this locked down, fearful era seems as preordained as the messages within. “I don’t necessarily think that I’m supposed to understand the songs just because I made them,” Dacus says, “I feel like there’s this person who has been in me my whole life and I’m doing my best to represent them.” After more than a year of being homebound, in a time when screens and video calls were sometimes our only form of contact, looking backward was a natural habit for many.

    If we haven’t learned it already, this album is a gorgeous example of the transformative power of vulnerability. Dacus’s voice, both audible and on the page, has a healer’s power to soothe and ground and reckon.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: While 'No Burden' and to a lesser extent 'Historian' dealt with undoubtedly serious events with a certain levity, 'Home Video' hits as hard as is possible while still retaining Dacus' melodicism and wit. 'Thumbs' gives me genuine shivers every time I hear it, and the rest of the LP isn't far behind. An absolutely stunning LP, again vying for high up the Barry EOY list.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Hot & Heavy
    2. Christine
    3. First Time
    4. VBS
    5. Cartwheel
    6. Thumbs
    7. Going Going Gone
    8. Partner In Crime
    9. Brando
    10. Please Stay
    11. Triple Dog Dare

    BOYGENIUS (Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, And Lucy Dacus)

    BOYGENIUS EP

      Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus formed boygenius after booking a tour together, but the trio had subconsciously been in the works for longer than that. Through a series of tours and performances together, and chance encounters that led to friendships – including Bridgers’ and Dacus’ first in-person meeting backstage at a Philadelphia festival, greenroom hangouts that felt instantly comfortable and compatible, a couple of long email chains and even a secret handshake between Baker and Dacus – the lyrically and musically arresting singer-songwriters and kindred spirits got to know each other on their own terms.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Darryl says: A wonderful folky flecked EP from the amazing combined talents of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus.

      TRACK LISTING

      Bite The Hand
      Me & My Dog
      Souvenir
      Stay Down
      Salt In The Wound
      Ketchum, ID

      Lucy Dacus is done thinking small. Two years after her 2016 debut, No Burden, won her unanimous acclaim as one of rock's most promising new voices, Dacus returns on March 2 with Historian, a remarkably assured 10-track statement of intent. "This is the album I needed to make," says Dacus, who views Historian as her definitive statement as a songwriter and musician. "Everything after this is a bonus."

      Dacus and her band recorded the album in Nashville last March, re-teaming with No Burden producer Collin Pastore, and mixed it a few months later with A-list studio wizard John Congleton. The sound they created, with substantial input from multi-instrumentalist and live guitarist Jacob Blizard, is far richer and fuller than the debut — an outward flowering of dynamic, living, breathing rock and roll. Dacus' remarkable sense of melody and composition are the driving force throughout, giving Historian the immersive feel of an album made by an artist in full command of her powers.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Millie says: Dacus' light Americana leanings of the superb No Burden are sidelined slightly for her grander, more expansive new outing, Historian. Though her smouldering guitar work and unmistakable voice are ever present, they are skillfully woven into an intricate and all-encompassing web of orchestration, grandeur and beauty. This is a stunner, and every bit the successful follow-up.

      TRACK LISTING

      Night Shift
      Addictions
      The Shell
      Nonbeliever
      Yours & Mine
      Body To Flame
      Timefighter
      Next Of Kin
      Pillar Of Truth
      Historians

      Richmond, VA-based songwriter Lucy Dacus is the latest addition to the renowned Matador Records roster.
      Lucy Dacus's No Burden is full of surprises—sharp lyrical observations, playful turns of musical phrase, hooks that'll embed themselves in your frontal lobe for days. But the most surprising thing about this album might be the fact that it's a debut; it has a keen sense of self about it, and it nearly glows from the self-possession held by the woman at its core.

      The 21-year-old Dacus grew up in Richmond; she was adopted at a young age, an experience that informed her curious, openhearted songwriting. "When my parents were explaining what adoption was—which was very early on in my childhood—they always said that my birthmother thought I was worthwhile even though she couldn't be my mom," she says. "And so from essentially infancy, I was taught that life was innately worthwhile because a bunch of people had worked together to set me up with one.”

      Dacus started playing around Richmond while in college, opening for local acts and eventually meeting Jacob Blizard, a guitarist who invited her to make a record for a college project of his. No Burden, which originally came out in February on the Richmond label EggHunt Records, opens with the forthright, almost brutally honest "I Don't Wanna Be Funny Anymore," the last song Dacus wrote before the album's day-long recording session at Starstruck Studios in Nashville. Dacus delivers scalpel-sharp observations about resisting pigeonholing over chunky guitars, ticking off ideals of femininity and youth until the track's not-quite-resolution.

      These themes extend to the lyrics of songs like "Strange Torpedo," a whirling portrait of a friend whose "bunch of bad habits" who, Dacus sings, has "been falling for so long… [and hasn't] hit anything solid yet." "I've been that friend watching a loved one do what they know is bad for them and not understanding why," says Dacus. The song offers a simple message: "I love you, why don't you love you? You're the one in your body so you get to choose what to do with it, but if I were you I'd treat me differently.”

      The rest of No Burden, which was produced by Collin Pastore, puts Dacus's voice center stage, allowing the glinting poetry of her lyrics to shine even more brightly. "Trust," which Dacus wrote in late 2013, showcases her alone with her guitar, her faint vibrato floating over strummed chords as she sings of self-redemption. And the diptych "Dream State…" and "…Familiar Place," which revolve around Dacus repeating "Without you, I am surely the last of our kind/ Without you, I am surely the last of my kind," capture disappointment and loss in a jaw-dropping way; the music trembles around her while her voice stays steady, anticipating whatever might come next.

      No Burden is a forthright, disarmingly catchy statement. And while it's a sterling debut, it only hints at the potential possessed by this passionate, thoughtful young woman.


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