A. Savage

This event is in the past
Monday, April 15, 8 pm
Mississippi Studios Boise (Portland)
This is an in-person event

The following description comes from the event organizer.

“I imagine myself playing these songs in a small club that is slowly burning,” says A. Savage of his second solo record, Several Songs about Fire. Born in 1986 in Denton, Texas and raised around the newspaper where his parents both worked, by 2012 A. Savage became a headline of his own as the co-frontman of Parquet Courts. After more than a decade in New York, Savage has left the city and the United States, marking his exit with a masterpiece of maturity and a worthy corollary to his first solo venture, 2017’s Thawing Dawn.  “Fire is something you have to escape from, and in a way this album is about escaping from something. This album is a burning building, and these songs are things I’d leave behind to save myself.”  

Produced by John Parish on a 1” 16-track in just ten days in Bristol, studded by the support of Cooper and Le Bon as well as saxophonist Euan Hinshelwood (Cate Le Bon), drummer Dylan Hadley (Kamikaze Palm Tree,White Fence), and violinist Magdalena McLean (Caroline), the album is a devotional study in tradition—and something all Savage’s own. “No decision was possible to defer,” says Parish. “I loved erasing good, but not great takes.” Le Bon describes the song as having “such a strong character that they would naturally dictate what was needed from everyone.” The end result is tantamount to psychic odyssey, with “Le Grand Balloon” suggesting a South American lounge where the guiro respirates into a damp crowd; “Elvis in the Army” placing us in a subterranean venue where the livid, ratifying cymbal raises the room’s blood pressure; and “Mountain Time”, evoking an austere waltz playing in a desolate house, returning those listening to life. 

Influenced by the disparate vantage points of Sybille Baier and Townes Van Zandt, Savage joins a canon of songwriters whose project is a constantly dilating aperture and perspective. Opening the album with “Hurtin’ or Healed,” where he stoically observes “in the mirror someone’s crying/ with the same eyes as me,” Savage slowly marries the bleak drift of secular life with the grandness of antiquity. If in that track he describes the “gods held my heels,” in another he decries the selfsame gods “who don’t exist or care.” In rendering the signage of laundromats and threats of debt collectors as glistering and totemic as the scope of mountains, rivers, seas, and skies, Savage finds hopes and curses in equal measure—inviting the listener to consider a life in which attention is a religion, and the body is the divine text. Like the survivor of exodus, Savage says: “I don’t really remember the process of writing. I just see the evidence of it when I reopen a notebook.” Several Songs About Fire stands as an act of nearly libidinal rebellion against a moment when so much of life is the blue light of screens. This is an album whose topic is no less than the sublime: the moments in which a sensory experience becomes a holiness or possession of its own, and the self floats above it.

Event Location

Mississippi Studios

3939 N Mississippi Portland, OR 97227 Venue website

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