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WEYES BLOOD

The phantom zone, the parallax, the upside down—there is a rich cultural history of exploring in-between places. Through her latest, Titanic Rising, Weyes Blood, a.k.a. Natalie Mering, has designed her own universe to soulfully navigate life’s mysteries. Maneuvering through a space-time continuum, she plays the role of melodic, sometimes melancholic, anthropologist. Tellingly, Mering classifies Titanic Rising – which was written and recorded during the first half of 2018, after three albums and years of touring - as the Kinks meet WWII or Bob Seger meets Enya. The latter captures the album’s willful expansiveness (“You can tell there’s not a guy pulling the strings in Enya’s studio,” she notes, admiringly). The former relays her imperative to connect with listeners. “The clarity of Bob Seger is unmistakable. I’m a big fan of conversational songwriting,” she adds. “I just try to do that in a way that uses abstract imagery as well.” The Weyes Blood frontwoman grew up singing in gospel and madrigal choirs. (Listen closely to Titanic Rising, and you’ll also hear the jazz of Hoagy Carmichael mingle with the artful mysticism of Alejandro Jodorowsky and the monomyth of scholar Joseph Campbell.) “Something to Believe,” a confessional that makes judicious use of the slide guitar, touches on that cosmological upbringing. “Belief is something all humans need. Shared myths are part of our psychology and survival,” she says. “Now we have a weird mishmash of capitalism and movies and science. There have been moments where I felt very existential and lost.” As a kid, she filled that void with Titanic. (Yes, the movie.) “It was engineered for little girls and had its own mythology,” she explains. Mering also noticed that the blockbuster romance actually offered a story about loss born of man’s hubris. “It’s so symbolic that The Titanic would crash into an iceberg, and now that iceberg is melting, sinking civilization.” Today, this hubris also extends to the relentless adoption of technology, at the expense of both happiness and attention spans. But Weyes Blood isn’t one to stew. Her observations play out in an ethereal saunter: far more meditative than cynical. To Mering, listening and thinking are concurrent experiences. “There are complicated influences mixed in with more relatable nostalgic melodies,” she says. “In my mind my music feels so big, a true production. I’m not a huge, popular artist, but I feel like one when I’m in the studio. But it’s never taking away from the music. I’m just making a bigger space for myself.”

STAFF COMMENTS

Andy says: A classy drift from psych-tinged folk to warm, honeyed West Coast soft rock; gorgeous early-70's singer-songwriter territory with the occasional whiff of Karen Carpenter, and all the melancholic sweep and drama you might expect. A surprising and beautiful return.

FORMAT INFORMATION

Coloured LP Info: Loser Edition red vinyl.

Natalie Mering, the being behind Weyes Blood, embeds her sublime song in a harmonic gauze of arpeggiated piano, acoustic guitar, druggy horns, & outer space electronics. Propulsive, spare drums carry us across the album’s course.

There is a faded California beauty to Front Row. A gentle honesty that recalls the finest folk music made on the West Coast of the ‘70s. The hue hangs in the sweet-spooky harmonies, the pulsing sway of the vibrato & the ecstatic chord resolves. But this beauty is scratched with shadow; with dark foreboding, alienation, & acceptance of change. Love & loss balance together in suspended alchemy, as the earthiness of the singer-songwriter tradition wears digital sounds like feathers in its hair. Mering, together with co-producer Chris Cohen contrasts live band intimacy with the post-modern electric sheen of A.M. radio atmospherics. The experimental flourishes sparkle amid the succinct, thoughtful arrangements.

The closeness of this record - how personal, alone, & frank it feels - conceals its aspirations to the outside, to the "Earth" of its title. Weyes Blood harbors devastating weight while also universalizing the strange ways of identity & relationships. These are not typical love songs or protest songs -- they are painful, poignant riddles that celebrate the ambiguity of love & affirm the conflict of harmonious life within a disharmonic world.

STAFF COMMENTS

Sil says: Nine songs oozing melody and beauty celebrating
the 'painful, poignant riddles that celebrate the ambiguity of love. Affirm the conflict of harmonious life within a disharmonic world'

Moving and painful at times yet uplifting and delicate.

The Innocents is the name of the second album by southeastern Pennsylvania’s Natalie Mering, who performs as Weyes Blood. Its ten songs confront us with a vocalist of rare choral purity; lyrics so emotionally unflinching that they could pierce stone; music rooted in American and British folk, then pulled and stretched at its fringes, like a sweater that’s just begun to unravel.

As you sift through her words, you’ll feel something, and you’ll associate those feeling with past experiences that may cause you to associate them with something more, something that affects your own emotional state. The Innocents is akin to the most primal form of expression: elements laid bare, deeply connected to the past, and miles away from anything else you’re likely to hear in music today.

“Weyes Blood isn’t making anachronistic music, but rather blending psychedelic synthesizers, rock drums, and vocal layering effects to produce something that only could have been made today.” – Fader

“Drawing from the androgynous folk-rock vocals so characteristic of early ’60s and ’70s outsider folk singers like Vashti Bunyan and Sibylle Baier, Weyes Blood’s Natalie Mering never hesitates to dive head-first into complex and mature arrangements.” – Fader

“…her quavering alto, which floats above an intriguing mix of conventional instrumentation and electronics, tape collages, and delay effects to create a compelling update of '70s psyche-folk.” – Nylon

"Hang On" finds Mering released from these ghostly gates—its her most pronounced track to date, and one that more directly recalls her 1960s British folk touchstones.” – Pitchfork

“Singing at once with vulnerability and strength through an austere, multi-layered warble, Mering searches for truth and light while facing the end of something.”– Pitchfork

“Hang On,” its first single, sounds like a tweaked and adrift version of ’60s folk music.”– Stereogum


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Thanks for posting about it. It’s here until next Friday May 3rd btw. https://t.co/PgaFhSvpPe
Wed 24th - 8:58
Yes! Thanks @NME for the feature. Come and visit @ianbrown https://t.co/ilKYdZmAtx
Tue 23rd - 9:48
It’s great isn’t it?! Glad you liked it and hope your wish comes true.🤞🏻 https://t.co/ZPlM8ry6f5
Mon 22nd - 5:55
Thank you. Come back soon. https://t.co/wahwb4Pvw2
Mon 22nd - 3:49
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