From the Promoter
Advance tickets also available at Rotate This & Soundscapes
At its heart, Hundred Acres --the third full-length album from Wisconsin singer/songwriter S. Carey--finds him groundedcomfortably in his skin, but still with one foot in the stream. More direct than ever, there is a wellspring of confidence in this new batch of songs that laysbare the intricacies of lifewhile keeping its ideasuncomplicated.Trained in jazz, Carey’s astute musicianship has never been in question nor taken for granted, and the execution of Hundred Acres’ new ideas is seamless. Heintentionally unburdened himself from a more complicated instrumentation palate for these ten songs, and, in effect,this modification tohis approach brings the content of the work much closer to a living reality. By giving equal status to the indifference of nature and the concerns of a material world --while employing more pop-oriented structures instead of the Steve Reich-or Talk Talk-ianrepetitions of his past work --a new balance is struck thatcreatessomething unique. This in turn provides equal status for the feeling that created each song, and the feeling each song creates. Almost impossibly, there is more air between the bars;Carey and his contributors sway like treetops in the wind, remaining flexible enough that they never threaten to break.Thematically, the album is a poetic treatise on what is truly necessary in life, a surprisingly utilitarian art project that underscores the power of enduring. The simplification of songwriting didn’t arrive out of thin air; it came from the similardesire to reach for the utopia of simplicity, for daily life to be unburdened of anxiety and tethered by love. It is a way to say that returning to a more simple life, if even just a little, can heal wounds and mend the cracks. This is leadership by example rather than intervention, and for Carey, it starts at home.In a way, these are his Kodak moments:dedications to his family laid out as songs and reminders that life, like music, has a profoundlyephemeral quality. One way to keep it is to let it flow over you. The challenge is the balance between holding on and letting go,and Hundred Acresis a master class in the trying. As a serious artist entering his prime, Carey presents these songsperhaps more like a Gerhard Richter Florenceexhibition of masterfully over-painted photos than an ad hoc collage on the family fridge. They are at first easy-going with a wide-open front door, embracing simplicity in structure and lyrical straight-forwardness, then suddenly hopelessly beautiful, revealing, and breathtaking. Perhaps no song better illustrates this ethos than “More I See,” an exultant and strummy, snare-on-three gratification piece. This is echoed by Carey, who says, “The best way to understand this song is through the lyrics ‘When I’m naked, deciding...no I ain’t surviving,’ meaning you can just live to live.” “Yellowstone” highlights Carey’s storytelling. As he describes it, “Just drive and see where you end up, get lost with the one you love.” The lyric “We should lose our way before we lose our minds” speaks to this immediacy by essentially saying “all we have is now, what are we waiting for?” On “Fool’s Gold,” Carey’s signature minimalism is intact with an acoustic guitar servingas the backbone, propped up ever so slightly by ambient keys and a lilting slide. The song showcases the newfound difference between writing on a guitar versus a piano, as he has traditionally done in the past. Says Carey, “This song is what started the whole record...everything came out of it and the vibe it created.”Storylines aside, let’s be clear about one thing: Sean Carey’s voice may not hit with blunt force at first, but when it creeps up on you --and it will --a soulful range is revealed, with a reedy, singular quality that extends above the clouds.If you’re unconvinced, look no further than album standout track “True North.” Here, Carey recites lyrics as vows whilehe recounts the late hours of his first datewith his wife. It is a lucid love song to his family life, highlighted by the chorus, “Only upright will I be.” As Carey says himself “How can you write a record and not reference love?” Laid out over spare but lush-soundinginstrumentation and an uncommon phrasing within the 4/4
structure, this is Carey’s musicianship and intention in a happy marriage, his heart and head securely in concert. From subject matter, to title, to artwork (again photographed by Cameron Wittig),Carey puts the finishing touches on this sprawling vision of a reality-defining naturalism with the title track, offering these lyrics as an actionable treatise on sublimity:all we needis a hundred acres and a row of seedall we needis a hundred acres and some room to breatheThere is an almost seditious beauty to it. As if to say, “If you want a better world, you either do something about it or see through it.”For as comfortable and confident as Carey is, a thoughtful questioning of reality remains as his driving source of inspiration--an attempt to creatively process the highs,lows, and all of the moments in-between with the help of musical processes. The moments between moments don’t just stand for something; they are everything. And like all great art, they provide further possibilities, personal interpretations for the listener. Simply stated, over the course of three albums, two EPs, and a few one-off singles, S. Carey has proven to be a reliable source of beauty. It’s a safe claim to make that something so reliably beautiful can also be called enduring. In an era when the shelf life of art is typically measured in minutes, this accomplishment puts him in a rare group of artists, seemingly unconcerned (but not indifferent) to passing trends. Written over the course of a few years, in between touring schedules and the growth of his family, Carey recorded, mixed and produced Hundred Acresat home and in various studios in rural Wisconsin with support from his longtime collaboratorsZach Hanson, Ben Lester, andJeremy Boettcher,as well asnew contributions from Rob Moose (yMusic), Casey Foubert (Sufjan Stevens)and Sophie Payten(Gordi)
Sydney folktronica songstress Gordi caused a stir in the latter part of 2014, and returns to further fuel anticipation around the release of her upcoming EP. In late 2014, Gordi (Sophie Payten) attracted attention with her track "Nothing's As It Seems", a luminous pop track which drew comparisons ranging from Angel Olson, Asgeir, Joni Mitchell and Tallest Man On Earth. The 22 year-old artist was quickly added to rotation on triple j and community radio around Australia and named triple j's Unearthed Feature Artist earlier this year. With an ethereal, worldly vocal punctuated by wonderful arrangement, her follow up singles "Taken Blame" and "Can We Work It Out" serve as further offerings of what should be a busy 2015-16 for Gordi, which included break-out showcase sets at BIGSOUND in Brisbane and CMJ in New York as well as being named the recipient of the APRA Josh Pyke Partnership award, receiving a nomination for a triple j J Award and 2 nominations for FBi Radio SMAC Awards. Stereogum wrapped up 2015 by naming "Can We Work It Out" in its best tracks of the year.
Premiered online by Neon Gold, Gordi's latest single "Can We Work It Out" had over 150,000 plays on Spotify in its first two weeks, reached number 3 on the Hype Machine charts and was added to rotation on triple j shortly after Zan Rowe gave the track its world radio premiere. "Nothing's As It Seems" peaked at no. 5 on the Spotify Viral Chart, no. 6 on the iTunes singer-songwriter chart, top 40 Shazam charts (with over 20,000 Shazams to date), no. 17 on the Hype Machine Charts and was the 8th most added track to radio around Australia two weeks after release - all independently.
After a stint writing and working in Tanzania, Gordi (pronounced with a hard 'G') relocated from her hometown Canowindra to Sydney to pursue her musical career. Gordi transformed the shells of demos recorded in her university dorm room in Sydney's Newtown into dynamic and full-bodied indie-folk songs with the help of Melbourne producer Benjamin McCarthy.
Gordi's musical instincts began on the ivory at an early age by virtue of her piano teacher mother. Like so many of her musical heroes, she was later drawn to the earthiness of the steel string - a useful piece of armoury to have growing up on a farming property in central western New South Wales. But the craft in her songwriting is found partly in the emotional spectrum that her tracks span - from wistful aching to spirited celebration, her lyrical journeys take us places in our memories and imaginations that belie her 22 years. The candour in Gordi's songs is matched by a vocal tone that is at once fractured and brimming with richness. Combining vintage vocal layering and earthy guitar textures with delicate modern electronic production, Gordi's sonic palette is one she can call her own.