lomelda – thx

– featured image courtesy of the artist –

“album of the fortnight” is a (recently revived) bi-weekly feature that digs into a recent release of note.  the articles will run roughly during the middle and at the end of each month, always on a friday; the album or body of work in question will have been released at some point during that two-week span.  this column focuses on art that resonates deeply, on pieces that necessitate more than just a knee-jerk reaction.  next up: lomelda

It feels almost sacrilegious to listen to lomelda in anything other than a solitary setting, preferably with headphones.  hannah read’s music doesn’t resonate as lonely so much as it does as an examination of what it means to be alone, a sentiment that courses through the river that is her second full-length album, thx.  attached to that sentiment is a cocktail of emotions that is equal parts hesitant, curious, and content, a mixture that proves perfect fodder for a thirty-five minute rumination on one’s current state of being.

read’s voice is so arresting, her delivery so immediate throughout thx that this may distract from its status as a high-caliber guitar album, but her simultaneous six-string work is arguably its linchpin.  angular lead motifs, like the meandering descent on “interstate vision” or the angular tremolo stabs throughout “from here,” frequently interlock with chord progressions that are as likely to be gritty as they are cleanly strummed, weaving a tapestry that’s as sweeping as the rural texas landscape.  that landscape always seems to factor in thematically, no matter how indirect: it’s an obstacle, something to contend with; it’s the backdrop to moments of solace, to familiarity; it’s just simply there.

Lomelda Thx Coverlike other mononymous projects attributed to one central songwriter and persona, lomelda blurs the line between read’s solo project and an exclusive club to which only those closest are granted admission.  perhaps the decision is conscious, perhaps it’s just par for the course.  the primary contributor throughout thx is read’s brother, tommy, who co-produced, played drums on, and wrote an iteration of the album’s most outwardly-visceral cut, “bam sha klam.”  in a four-generation homestead in tiny silsbee, texas, maybe that collaboration was inevitable; a close-knit family is also a convenient sounding board, able to provide some semblance of reaffirmation.

much of thx oscillates around the first and second person, the union and the separation of the characters “you” and “i.”  the malleability of read’s vocal melodies is readily present, but it’s the sentiments of the material retrofitted to those contours that leaves a lasting impression, that finds listeners absent-mindedly mumbling certain mantras to themselves for weeks to come.  the stories read tells and the snapshot moments she dissects may not be entirely congruous to the experiences of her audience, but the general themes at once feel incredibly intimate and yet accessible, almost universal.  that deft maneuvering and presentation is what makes lomelda so special.

delve into the brief, sparse title track to get wrecked by a matter-of-fact narrative; put a circle around penultimate cut “mostly m.e.” if you feel like getting wrecked again.  read’s propensity of peppering a very straight-forward approach to storytelling with beautiful imagery is perhaps her most disarming quality, creating an ever-so-slight mystic quality on par with the origin of her project’s name.  thx resonates like few other albums this year, and has arrived at an incredibly convenient point on the calendar.  block out a half-hour, grab a pair of headphones, and let it reverberate through your very core.

lomelda – “interstate vision”

– featured image courtesy of the artist –

hannah read’s output as lomelda has long been plaintive, yes, but there has also been a strong degree of assuredness lingering in most tracks.  her 2015 full-length forever is adored in small but ever-growing circles – compounded by last year’s stunning live rendition, 4e* – for myriad reasons, but bleary-eyed, vast pop landscapes grounded in adroit, nuanced songwriting seems to be a strong common thread.  lomelda as a concept has long been kept under wraps by read, but the project has always been grounded somewhere in texas, a sprawling geographical exapanse that pairs rather well with wide-open, americana-tinged compositions.

cue “interstate vision,” a lomelda track that has kicked around for some time before becoming the lead single to the project’s upcoming album, thx.  read’s lead vocal is placed front and center as the mid-tempo arrangement sways behind her, a gentle, jangly guitar melody functioning as her conversation partner.  as all components lock in place, “interstate vision” becomes exactly the sort of intimate snapshot lomelda takes so well, with a memorable, lilting chorus to boot.

thx arrives september 8th via lomelda’s new label home, the venerable double double whammy.  get lost in “interstate vision” below.