Live Concert Photography: Still Corners with Foxes in Fiction and Nation of Language at Elsewhere, Main Hall 9/18/18
Throughout this site’s eight year history, I’ve written quite about JOVM mainstays Still Corners, and as you may recall, the band comprised of Tessa Murray (vocals, synths) and multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter Greg Hughes with Leon Dufficy and Luke Jarvis fleshing out their sound have developed a reputation for crafting incredibly cinematic and moody dream pop centered around Murray’s smoky vocals and shimmering, Roy Orbison and Chris Issak-like atmospherics. Now, as you may recall, the duo’s fourth full-length Slow Air was released earlier this year through the duo’s label Wrecking Light, and while the album derives its name from the sultry summer days and nights they spent and experienced during their time in Austin, TX writing the album, the album manages to be something of a return to form, as the the material leans heavily towards arrangements that emphasize guitar (both electric and acoustic), live drumming and a minimal use of synths.
Recorded in a new studio designed and built by Hughes, the recording sessions found the duo employing a minimalist and fluid approach in which they used a variety of old and new microphones while making special emphasis on not overthinking their creative process in a way that’s all too common with modern recording; in fact, the duo managed to keep the inevitable mistakes in the actual recorded performance, so as to remind the listener that living, breathing, feeling and imperfect humans wrote and made it — all while emphasizing the material’s emotionality.
Murray and Hughes recorded and mixed the album in three months, the fastest they’ve ever done so far, and from albums single “Black Lagoon,” and “The Photograph,” the duo managed to retain the shimmering and moody atmospherics they’ve long been known for but paired with a previously unheard urgency. As Tessa Murray says of the album in press notes, “we wanted to hear beautiful guitar and drums and an otherworldliness, something about indefinable, along with a classic songwriting vibe. We’re always trying to get the sound we hear inside of ourselves, so we moved fast to avoid our brains getting in the way too much. The name Slow Air evokes the feel of the album to me, steady, eerie and beautiful.”
The most recent album single “The Message” possess a film noir-ish vibe while drawing a bit from classic Sun Records recordings and 50s and 60s country as the song is centered around Murray’s ethereal vocals, a simple but propulsive backbeat and clean, shimmering guitars — and while meant to evoke late night, lonely highways the song as the duo explains is about “leaving someone and telling them on voicemail.”
The duo along with their live band featuring Leon Dufficy and Luke Jarvis played a headlining set at Elsewhere that primarily focused on the material off of Slow Air with songs from Creatures of an Hour, Strange Pleasures and others. Local synth pop acts Foxes in Fiction and Nation of Language opened. Check out photos from the show below.
Warren Hildebrand is a Toronto, Ontario, Canada-born, New York-based musician and producer, whose solo recording project Foxes in Fiction specializes in a cinematic and shimmering dream pop. He’s also known as the founder and head of Orchid Tapes, an indie label, through which Hildebrand has released his material.