Monarch Music Minute: Lukas Graham, Laura Gibson, Weezer
Arts & Entertainment Editor
Lukas Graham – ‘Lukas Graham’ 💿💿💿💿💿
The Danish pop-soul frontman Lukas Graham Forchhammer’s band known as Lukas Graham, has released their eponymous second studio album with the same title, “Lukas Graham” (Blue Album), on April 1. Originally released in Denmark in June of 2015, the Danish band saw the record released with no promotion, yet it entered the Danish Albums Chart at No. 1 and spent 19 non-consecutive weeks at the top the chart.
With Forchhammer as frontman, the rest of the group’s roster includes keyboardist Kasper Daugaard, bassist Magnus Larsson and drummer Mark “Lovestick” Falgren. Their debut album in 2012 saw Lukas Graham quickly become a popular live act in Denmark and spreading through the rest of Europe.
After catching the attention of and eventually co-signing with Warner Bros. Records in 2013, they garnered worldwide attention with the release of their two singles, “7 Years” and “Mama Said” in October of 2015. Their infectious sound is reflected in an eclectic mix of pop, soul and funk with bits of other genres which contribute to their unique sound and energy.
Lyrically, Lukas Graham has been defined as diaristic and honest, which combined with their music and Forchhammer’s crooning, heartfelt vocals makes listening to their music fun. The new album’s “7 Years,” “Mama Said” and “Strip No More” made their way to No. 1 on the Danish singles chart.
“Better Than Yourself (Criminal Mind Pt. 2)” displays a unique variation on Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” creating a new sense of urgency belting out, “I hope you know you’re not alone in that hell.”
Lukas Graham will be making a stop at The NorVa in support of their new record on Sunday, April 24.
Laura Gibson – ‘Empire Builder’ 💿💿💿💿
Oregon-born Laura Gibson’s “Empire Builder,” released on April 1, showcases the folk singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s vast writing and composition talents. Gibson, who currently resides in New York City, is completing a MFA in fiction at Hunter College. She graduated from Linfield College completing pre-medicine requirements as well as competing in women’s basketball and track and field.
Though “Empire Builder” is Gibson’s fourth studio release, she has been busy in other music outlets. She has composed music and lyrics for multiple commercials including a version of “Hey There Little Red Riding Hood” for Volvo. Her music can also be heard in Microsoft and the Humane Society advertisements.
With original music contributions for theater and collaborations with sound artist and minimalist composer Ethan Rose, it was also Gibson’s 2008 performance at SXSW where she invoked the inspiration for NPR music’s Tiny Desk Concert series. She performed the first and 200th Tiny Desk Concert.
“Empire Builder” possesses a quietly resilient aesthetic. Her haunting vocal timbre draws you in as if you were safe in a comfortable, long night. A brooding darkness in the sonic landscapes of each track presents her deliberate, yet intricate focus on her lyrical message over a carefully balanced musical accompaniment.
From the title track to other offerings such as “The Cause,” “Two Kids” and the appropriately titled closer, “The Last One,” each cut delivers a message of personal awareness and, perhaps, a story we can relate to in terms of emotions and longing.
Each track draws the listener into a story, fitting for Gibson’s unique writing style in fiction. “Empire Builder” is a strong album, but stays on the safe side musically.
Weezer – ‘Weezer (White Album)’ 💿💿💿💿💿
LA-based band Weezer has released its eponymous new album dubbed, White Album, on April 1. The band, which falls into several sub-genres of rock including alternative, power pop, pop punk, emo and indie rock continue to present new anthems fans are sure to embrace, especially in their live concert set.
Since the band’s inception in 1992, they have undergone some personnel changes in their lineup over the years. Weezer’s current roster includes frontman and lead guitarist Rivers Cuomo, rhythm guitarist, backing vocalist and keyboardist Brian Bell, Scott Shriner on bass, backing vocals and keyboards and drummer Patrick Wilson.
Cuomo considers the new album a “beach album” based on his experiences hanging out on the Westside of Los Angeles. The lead track on the “White Album,” “California Kids,” was chosen from Cuomo’s extensive backlog of around 250 songs. Their debut single, released in October 2015, “Thank God for Girls,” explores gender stereotypes and examines modern online dating with apps like Tinder.
Weezer released four more singles prior to their new album release: “Do You Wanna Get High?” in November 2015: the January 2016 promotional single “King of the World,” “L.A. Girlz” in February and “California Kids” in March. All songs are carefully thought out with rooted influences from various films and poetry and themes like drug addiction and human longing.
This may be some of the best material yet from Weezer in terms of content and production along with the new record as a successor to their eponymous “Blue Album.” Weezer will co-headline with Panic! At the Disco on their “Summer Tour 2016” at Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater in Virginia Beach on June 22.
💿 — Face palm.
💿💿 — Eh…
💿💿💿 — We’re getting there.
💿💿💿💿 — I’ll listen to it twice, even.
💿💿💿💿💿 — Hell yes!