When I first heard Lisa Jaeggi a year or so ago, I was so drawn to the lo-fi rawness of her recordings because that’s totally my thing. I threw up a song of hers on the blog a couple of weeks ago and her people prompted a follow-up with a peek into her upcoming album debut, Epic Epic – slated to drop July 5th (Modern Vintage Records).
A full length album? I was definitely intrigued and when I heard it…whoa. I was completely thrown. Especially when I heard the production quality, which I gushed previously about her prior grittiness. This did not sound like the Jaeggi-playing-into-a-mic-hooked-into-someone’s-computer-set-up that I knew. I quickly learned that this album still sounds fantastic for all of the same reasons why I loved her music before.
Now, I’ve only heard three songs of this woman’s work so understandingly, a full length requires some content work, perhaps creating a theme or some sort of flow from track to track. In Epic Epic, Lisa Jaeggi sings of passionate relationships (good and bad ones), the importance of holding onto and keeping your heart intact, and what it feels like to be completely enamored by someone else. Her music has got an easy-listening feel to it but there’s exceptional depth behind that voice and acoustic guitar.
01. Whether He Knows (3:34) - This probably was the first song that stuck out to me and it’s not just because it’s the album’s opening track. It’s the heartbreaking content that Jaeggi is so good at writing about. The “la da da da’s” make it an easy one to sing along and nod your head to. The newly-acquired percussion breaks the song out. “That I love him like the first time I’d ever laid eyes, oh a blessing and a curse…I’ll take my chances, cause they’re all I’ve got;” It’s a defiant song. She’s expressive and passionate and thankfully, it bleeds through to her lyrics. She can also effectively drop a beat, sold.
03. Come Hell or High Water (3:50) - This was the track I mentioned a couple of weeks back, noting on the rawness. Lisa Jaeggi takes the already brilliant song and cleans things up in an much more appropriate studio setting, getting rid of the distant car honking and other random city happenings. I’m actually really happy she included this on her album because it’s an incredibly strong song of hers. I love the direction of where she’s going with this tight production, it definitely gives her music some legitimacy.
04. Manlike Gods (4:09) - I really enjoy this song, it’s pretty in your face. I like the message of not wasting time and energy on those who don’t deserve it. The story behind this one is she wrote it shortly after moving to New York City, about the people she was meeting and all the passing judgement in the air. Apparently the breakdown gets a bit political and makes some commentary about George W. and (I’m guessing) the previous Guantanamo situation.
06. Oh Lady You Shot Me (3:21) - I love that mic on the fretboard and that acoustic pickup. I think she kills the lyrics in this song. “I am waiting to just wake you up,” Literally story of my life, yes I am one of those crazy morning people waiting for the rest of the world to wake up. But I do like the picture she paints here, how she’s waiting for someone who seems unattainable at the moment. “Where was I before all of this? Was I asleep or was it something I missed or were you waiting just to wake me up?” This is how love is supposed to be, you wake up and it’s right there in front of your face. It’s so obvious and you’re stunned by how you never saw it coming. It’s a great song needless to say.
07. Empirical Science (3:06) - This song reminds me of that feeling when you fall in love (I know this is gross, I’m getting really sappy). It describes how you have to go all in, hold nothing back. Jaeggi’s got that Jason Mraz flow and it’s so obvious in this song. “I reside because now I know how it feels like,” …sigh.
09. All Over Now (4:12) - Alright, here’s a slow burner. She speaks of that day-to-day monotony after a break up or whatever emotional event pertaining to a loved one. It’s like when you notice your routine because that’s the only thing that’s keeping you going on with your day. She sings final statements like, “It’s all over now” repeatedly at the conclusion of the song, almost convincing her of the very fact. It’s sorrowful with guitar chords to match.
10. Likealoadedgun (3:18) - This particular song stuck out to me because of the chorus, “Take my money but leave my heart for somebody who won’t rip it apart. Take the comfort of all of my things I can do without the burdens they bring.” Everything tangible means shit if you don’t have your heart. She just flows in this one, great message.
12. All The Good (4:06) - I’m assuming this will be the single for the debut…It starts out with an uptempo lift with the help of some guitar struming. “Someday we will look back…” I love the story Jaeggi creates, this is where her narrative skills really shine. The production takes a step up, obvious when the percussion finally drops in and the song becomes flushed out with a backline in tow. “All the good in you, it can’t be denied.”
I’m almost a little torn. Half of me LOVED her raw lo-fi sound mixed with that soulful voice. You know what though, artist’s gotta grow. So, I’m going to whole-heartedly stand behind this album debut. It’s solid through and through, not one of her songs got me hung up or disappointed (which is a good thing because it would have been a very long bike ride this morning). If you can appreciate some crafty lyrics, excellent guitar rhythms, and an incredibly smooth voice then this album is for you.
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