The Luyas Offer Up New Album Title Track, “Too Beautiful To Work”

Listen: The Luyas: "Too Beautiful to Work"

The Luyas’ debut album, Too Beautiful To Work, will be out on Dead Oceans on February 22nd. It will feature Owen Pallett as well as Arcade Fire’s Sara Neufeld. The Canadians, however, have already made the LP’s title track available to download over on Pitchfork. “Too Beautiful To Work” sounds deceivingly simple with Jessie Stein’s soft high-pitched voice but the music and lyrics form a never ending whirlwind of layers that make this title track really interesting. You can download the track HERE.

The Luyas will also be supporting their first full-length starting at the end of this month. They will be performing alongside Ra Ra Riot and Givers so check their tour dates below.

Here are their upcoming tour dates:

02/24 – Montreal, Quebec – La Sala Rossa

02/26 – Quebec City, Quebec – Le Cercle

3/4 – Charlottesville, VA – Jefferson Theatre (with Ra Ra Riot)

3/6 – Jacksonville, FL – Jack Rabbits (with Ra Ra Riot)

3/7 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Culture Room (with Ra Ra Riot)

3/8 – Orlando, FL – The Social (with Ra Ra Riot)

3/9 – Tampa, FL – Crowbar (with Ra Ra Riot)

3/11 – New Orleans, LA – One Eyed Jacks (with Ra Ra Riot and Givers)

3/12 – Baton Rouge, LA – Spanish Moon (with Ra Ra Riot)

3/16 – Austin, TX – South By Southwest

3/17 – Austin, TX – South By Southwest

3/18 – Austin, TX – South By Southwest

3/19 – Austin, TX – South By Southwest

4/4 – Minneapolis, MN – Cedar Cultural Center

 

 

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Album Review: The Luyas – Too Beautiful To Work

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The musicians in Montreal clearly have a deep-seeded need and desire to collaborate. Bands such as Arcade Fire, The Dears, and Broken Social Scene adopt a more-is-better policy when it comes to assembling their personnel. Because of the large infrastructure in many of these groups, musicians travel between the ensembles, like musical chess pieces, as their scheduling and tastes dictate. Another group to add to this list: The Luyas. The band formed in late 2006, releasing their debut album, Faker Death, in 2007. Although the number of members changed at various points in the group’s history, they have essentially consisted of: Jesse Stein [also of Miracle Fortress], Pietro Amato and Stefan Schneider [both of Bell Orchestre, Amato also having worked as a french horn player for Arcade Fire], and Mathieu Charbonneau. Add in Sarah Neufeld [violinist for Arcade Fire] and Owen Pallett [Final Fantasy and string arranger for Arcade Fire] to the current recording roster, and you have one amazing Canadian super-group on your hands.

On their Dead Oceans debut, Too Beautiful To Work, the band excels at crafting dreamy pop textures—using layers of organ, keyboards, horns, and mallet percussion on top of the standard foundation of guitars and drums. Jesse Stein contributes significantly to The Luyas singular sound by playing the Moodswinger—an experimental 12-string zither—as well as supplying her breathy vocals, calling to mind both Nina Persson and CocoRosie’s Casady sisters.

The opening title track plunges the listener right into The Luyas’ world: a short organ riff becomes the foundation for the song’s spiky rhythms, light drums, and Stein’s voice, which churn bubbly lyrics at you so quickly, it actually takes a couple listens to even decipher what the text is. [The track is so infectious and joyous that really, multiple listens would be mandatory anyway.] Stein is incredibly adept with her voice, working hand in hand with the drum set so well that she sounds like she is replicating yet another percussion instrument to add to the mix. “Worth Mentioning” places her even more in the forefront of the group, gently cooing “Trust me now, and keep in mind there are no ungraced thoughts” over throbbing guitars and organ. Stein might as well be singing right into the listener’s ear; the effect created is so intimate and hushed.

The Luyas move into a different direction on lead single “Tiny Head,” washing their entire sound in reverb. The guitars echo, the percussion trembles, and Stein’s Moodswinger finally comes into play. It’s an altogether different sound than you’ll ever hear, and as the vocals and zither dovetail in and out of each other’s phrases, you come to realize that this bizarre instrument is used as an extension of Stein’s voice and not another piece of accompaniment—the Moodswinger even taking center stage as the track gently fades into silence.

The second half of the album alternates between these two contrasting styles: “Canary,” “Spherical Mattress,” and “Seeing Things” submerging the band in their wash of reverb, while “Cold Canada,” “What Mercy Is,” and “I Need Mirrors” display their sense of intricate rhythm and catchy hooks. “I Need Mirrors” finds the band at their most playful and inventive, creating a modified-Bossa Nova rhythm as the foundation of the song, a tropical idea of a dance to enjoy even while your city is covered in snow and ice.

Even though the album began with the greatest sense of energy, by the end of Too Beautiful To Work, the group is seen at its warmest and most intimate on the closing track, “Seeing Things.” After a brief chorale employing a set of muted French horns, an oscillating figure in the guitar begins, and Stein and guest vocalist Pallett form an incredibly moving series of harmonies—never rushing any piece of the melody as the drums and horn try to interrupt their thoughts. Stein keeps the mood tranquil throughout, never allowing the group to attain the energy produced earlier in the album. Compared to the anthemic nature of their Canadian brethren, Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene, The Luyas overwhelmingly come across as atmospheric, intimate, and endearingly quirky—welcome qualities to display in a music scene already filled with a whole lot of pomp and circumstance.

Ecstatic Music Festival Adds Owen Pallett, Clogs, Nico Muhly, Dan Deacon, tUnE-yArDs

The 2011 Ecstatic Music Festival, presented by New York City’s Kaufman Center, in association with New Amsterdam Records, announced a slew of new genre-pushing composers, songwriters, and performers coming together to present a new generation of artists combining vast influences and techniques to explore the crossover of classical and pop music. On January 17th, 2011 the event opens with a free seven-hour marathon and continues with 13 additional concerts until March 28, 2011.The series includes imaginative collaborations such as Owen Pallett with Nadia Sirota and Thomas Bartlett (Doveman); Clogs with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus; Dan Deacon with So Percussion; tUnE-yArDs, William Brittelle, and Caleb Burhans with Roomful of Teeth; a Ben Frost arrangement for Alarm Will Sound; Vijay Iyer writing for Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society and much, much more. All concerts will be performed at the award-winning Merkin Concert Hall. Check out some highlights of the schedule below.

Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 7:30 pm

So Percussion & Dan Deacon – The “brilliant” (New York Times), “astonishing and entrancing” (Village Voice) quartet So Percussion is joined by electronic iconoclast Dan Deacon, whose visceral and sophisticated work has inspired a near-cult following by “connect[ing] the loops and repetition of dance music to the patterns of 20th-century classical Minimalism” (New York Times), in a series of new collaborative works. The quartet will also play arrangements of Deacon’s songs and selections from their own vast and varied output.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Nadia Sirota & Thomas Bartlett (Doveman) with Owen Pallett – The evening will include the world premiere of a new work by Owen Pallett (formerly Final Fantasy) written for violist Nadia Sirota, and Sirota joining the “mesmerizing” (New York Times) Thomas Bartlett (Doveman) to perform new songs by Bartlett and some of Sirota’s close collaborators. They will both also join Pallett for arrangements of his songs, described by Pitchfork as “ambitious, classicist, cleverly arranged, lyrically high-concept, dense with possible meaning– and, yes, a little strange.”

Saturday, March 12, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Clogs & Brooklyn Youth Chorus – The Brooklyn Youth Chorus, heralded as “a polished ensemble of miniature professionals” (New York Times), joins the legendary chamber/rock quartet Clogs for an evening of new works by Bryce Dessner (The National) and Padma Newsome for chorus, for Clogs and for the two groups together.Monday,

March 28, 2011 at 7:30 pm

So Percussion & Bobby Previte with Zeena Parkins, John Medeski, DJ Olive & Jen ShyuA Special Presentation of New Sounds® Live with WNYC’s John Schaefer – Composer Bobby Previte, whose ensembles “speak in visionary tongues” (The York Yorker), premieres TERMINALS, Part 1: DEPARTURES – five concertos for the “brilliant” (New York Times), “astonishing and entrancing” (Village Voice) quartet So Percussion and star soloists Zeena Parkins, harp; John Medeski, keyboards;  DJ Olive, turntables; vocalist Jen Shyu; and Bobby Previte on drums.

John Medeski on keyboards? I want to go to there. Full schedule at www.ecstaticmusicfestival.com

New York City’s Weekly Show Round Up

MONDAY

Klaxons, Baby Monster @ Bowery Ballroom

Emily Wells @ City Winery

Sea Wolf, Sera Cahoone, Patrick Park @ Knitting Factory Brooklyn

Sleigh Bells @ Studio at Webster Hall

TUESDAY

Ra Ra Riot @ Bowery Ballroom

Pavement @ Central Park Rumsey Playfield

Jenny and Johnny, Love as Laughter @ Maxwell’s

Wavves, Christmas Island, The Babies @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

Thee Oh Sees, Sex Beet, Happy Birthday, Fergus & Geronimo @ Santo’s Party House

WEDNESDAY

Ra Ra Riot, Lower Dens @ Bowery Ballroom

Pavement @ Central Park Rumsey Playfield

Emily Wells, Shipa Ray @ City Winery

Spacehog @ Maxwell’s

Klaxons, Baby Monsters @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

French Horn Rebellion, Savoir Adore, Mighty Five @ The Woods

Caribou, Emeralds @ Webster Hall

THURSDAY

The Boxer Rebellion, Amusement Parks on Fire, Augustines @ Bowery Ballroom

Pavement @ Central Park Rumsey Playfield

Tera Melos, Anamanaguchi, Pterodactyl, Fiasco @ Death by Audio

Field Music, Motel Motel @ Littlefield

Ra Ra Riot, North Highlands, We Barbarians @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

Simian Mobile Disco (DJ Set) @ Santo’s Party House

LCD Soundsystem, Sleigh Bells @ The Wellmont Theatre

These Are Powers, Gatekeeper @ Union Pool

FRIDAY

Gordon Voidwell @ BAM Cafe

David Bazan, The Mynabirds@ Brooklyn Bowl

Pavement @ Central Park Rumsey Playfield

The Acorn, Basia Bulat @ Littlefield

Bettie Serveert, The Art of Shooting @ Maxwell’s

Electric Six, Fall On Your Sword, Fake Problems @ Maxwell’s

Ra Ra Riot, Anamanaguchi @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

Japanther, This Runs on Blood, Math the Band @ Shea Stadium

Stars, Wild Nothing @ Terminal 5

The National, Owen Pallett @ The Wellmont Theatre

New Mountain Goats…They’re Getting Spiritual

John Darnielle and company, also known to most as The Mountain Goats are back for another round, this time getting a little more spiritual with their newest record. The Mountain Goats are due to release The Life Of The World To Come which will be a 12 track album in which every song is named after a Bible verse. Owen Pallett is also on board to conduct some strings for the album which will be quite a nice touch. The record will be released on October 6th via 4AD. It surely is going to be interesting, but as long as it has the Darnielle touch it will be good.

Listen to a new track by The Mountain Goats ‘Genesis 3:23’