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KZSC Librarian


Bright Future (March 2024) was recorded directly to tape by Adrianne and producer Philip Weinrobe (who also produced “Songs and Instrumentals”).

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Image provided by bandcamp

The barebones recording technique is reminiscent of the likes of Jessica Pratt and Sibylle Baier, and seems to be the natural next sound for Lenker. She prioritizes the “heart” and intention of the music, rather than the typical quality of the audio. Yet, I think those factors feed into each other. Lenker–joined by musicians Josefin Runsteen, Nick Hakim, Mat Davidson, and her brother Noah–played together “headphoneless and heart-forward,” as she states on her most recent Instagram post. In addition to Bright Future, Adrianne released a collection of demos earlier this month called i won’t let go of your hand on bandcampall proceeds of which go to the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund. These simple, acoustic demos reminded me of abysskiss (my favorite of her solo projects). My favorite track off of this release is “fangs lungs ankles.” Great songs for a great cause.

As I’ve said in past reviews, I have very high standards for the artists that I love, and Adrianne is no exception. When the album Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You by Big Thief (the band Adrianne is the lead singer for) initially came out, I didn’t like it. I missed the alternative rock sound of their first four albums and, though I am a folk enjoyer, I resented that they were leaning more towards it because it wasn’t why I first grew to love them. But, naturally, after a few listens I got over myself and realized its genius. I had a similar worry for her solo release, that it would stray too far from the things that I love about her music.

As an avid and long-time fan of Adrianne’s, I’ve followed the release of this album closely and listened to each single as they came out. First was “Ruined,” which I honestly didn’t really like. I thought the lyrics weren’t as specific and deep as her usual style and the melody didn’t grab my attention like usual. However, Sadness As A Gift I loved. I listened to it for the first time here in the station with our News and Talk director (another avid Adrianne fan). Because he also hadn’t loved “Ruined,” we were silent for most of the listen, holding our breath, until the strings solo 2 minutes and 30 seconds in, when we simultaneously looked up and he said “this is REALLY good.” At that moment, we both knew this album was not going to be a let down like we feared.

I saw “Donut Seam” performed by Big Thief at Hollywood Forever last summer, and I remember instantly falling in love with it. “This whole world is dying / Don’t it seem like a good time for swimming / Before all the water disappears?” Hearing this line on a warm August night in Los Angeles was magical. For me and my friends, last summer consisted of healing on the shores of Charlie beach. On nights we couldn’t make it to Charlie, we humbly turned to the pool. In everything that was happening around us (bad breakups, moving away, looming ecological collapse), swimming was our safe haven. And that night at Hollywood Forever–four feet from the stage (from the tips of Buck Meek’s boots), underneath the stars, enclosed in an ethereal cemetery–Adrianne leapt in the sacred waters of summer and swam with us. Time is fleeting and we need to make the most of it.

On this album, we get a different version of Big Thief’s “Vampire Empire.” We get “Evol,” a witty song that emphasizes the power of language, in both its ability to deceive and to clarify. We get jaw harp-mimicking violin in “Candleflame.” “Already Lost” is my favorite track; the banjo is endearing and the melody is simple and nostalgic. “No Machine” is similarly beautiful in its melodic simplicity. I pray the other tracks grow on me overtime. But who am I kidding, they always do.

Adrianne wins again! #ILoveYou

My recs: Already Lost, Donut Seam, Free Treasure, No Machine, and Sadness As A Gift