Tag Archives: Don Giovanni

Laura Stevenson – Runner 7″

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Laura Stevenson is an indie singer songwriter with a background in the punk community. Her latest album is titled “Wheel” and released on Don Giovanni records. This 7 inch contains the first single of the new record, ‘Runner’, as well as two other non-album songs, ‘The Fire’, and ‘Slouch’. ‘Wheel’ marks Laura’s third album, and first to drop the moniker ‘and the Cans’ from her band name. This 7 inch showcases three different of aspects of Laura’s sound, from the driving indie/punk of ‘Runner’, to the more slow burning, country tinged ‘The Fire’, and finally the contemplative piano ballad of ‘Slouch’. Here’s what we thought of each of the songs.

Runner

Eric’s thoughts:  “To give yourself a bit of hopes a lie” is not a cheerful way to start a song. Which is okay, because I’m not sure ‘Runner’ is a cheerful song, though it does have an infectious beat and a chorus that will have you singing along. The chorus goes “The summer hurts”. When I first heard the song I sympathized in a simplistic way: I agreed that the summer can hurt, the sun can be unbearably hot, so much so that you might not want to go outside at all. Which is why I prefer the other seasons. But I listened again keeping in mind that the name of the song is ‘Runner’. This time the lyrics clicked differently. I know too well the pains of being a runner, the feeling of waking up early to beat the pavement mile after mile with the sun menacing in the sky, seat pouring down and all of my muscles telling me to stop, turn around. Running is a battle as much as it is a pleasurable form of exercise. I think Miss Stevenson captures that duality well in this song.

Rob’s thoughts:

The titular song off of “Runner” is a reminicscent of a lot of the songs from Laura’s last release, Sit & Resist. A bumpy, bumbling beat with a strong bass line gets us going. Laura has an almost violin like voice, shading from highs to low when she holds a longer word, or punctuating the chorus, “This summer hurts “. I think the dynamics are part of what make Laura Stevenson songs so interesting: even when you can’t totally understand the words, her voice acts as a 5th instrument melding seamlessly with the rhythm section. In the style of the best indie songs with punk backgrounds (see Weakerthans, Hold Steady), Laura writes an accessible pop-song with that punkish ethos the base that propels this thing forward. This summer might hurt, but we’re going to run at it, hurtling on no matter the pain.

 

 

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The Fire

Rob’s thoughts: After the explosive propulsion of Runner, The Fire brings things back to a more manageable speed. This is the flip side of Laura Stevenson (both figuratitevely and literally, I suppose), the country-tinged slow burners (hard not to use that cliché when the songs called The Fire). The banjo, the brushed snare drum, and the accordion flourishes drag this song out to the porch. After the anger and the fireworks of the beginning of the summer, the Fire are those late July, early August nights, when the excitement of early summer has warn off; it’s still warm, but now it’s recounting stories, watching the stars come out, letting the sun set on a lake, somewhere in the north woods.

Eric’s thoughts: Here’s a toe-tapping song that builds with nostalgia and melancholy for a memory. Is it a break up song? i’m not sure. Perhaps She’s invoking the fire to eat away this painful memory that is plaguing her. Definitely a good song for a rainy afternoon or a starry night of driving with the windows down.

The Slouch

Eric’s thoughts:  Close your eyes for this one. let the sparse chords lull you peacefully to sleep. ‘The Slouch’ is a come down after ‘Runner’ and ‘The Fire’. This song is the blanket lovingly draped over you once you’ve drifted off in an improbable position. Let the piano take you away.

Rob’s thoughts: And finally, Slouch. This is maybe the third and most sensitive side of Laura’s work. Just her and the piano. The protection of the band gone,just a microphone and her voice, and the piano. This song is recorded in a lovely way (you can hear the pedals and the creaking of the piano bench as she plays, giving a soft almost percussive noise). And just as the summer fades away into autumn, so does this song hit a few, last hopeful notes, before fading out. The lullaby at the end of the night.


 

Order Runner. Also, the Laura’s new full-length Wheel is also great!

Don Giovanni puts out some cool records, as well.