Monday, June 4, 2007

Dark pop group Southerly prepares to launch U.S. tour.

“As the best releases usually are, Storyteller & The Gossip Columnist is inspired by a whole bunch of different genres and artists. Imagine shoegaze at it's finest, made more orchestral but at the same time a bit folky, and then steered in a traditional pop song direction and fleshed out quite a bit, and you're close to the sound of Southerly. The sound itself is painted a bit dark and introverted, but at times it explodes and delivers a surprisingly upbeat, almost happy song... All of this makes for a very interesting album, one that makes clear the talent inherent in its creation. So many artists have tried to combine such disparate elements, but most of them have failed miserably and come off sounding scattered. Kreuger's compositions, however, approach sheer genius, a fact that can't be mentioned enough.” 9.5 / 10 -- Daniel Svanberg, Lost At Sea (LINK).

Portland, OR's soon-to-be widely heralded dark pop group Southerly launches its summer tour this week in support of its sophomore album, Storyteller & The Gossip Columnist. Southerly is the the nom-de-tune of Krist Krueger and is often compared to fellow moody pop artists The National, Brendan Benson, Richard Ashcroft and The Weakerthans. Complete tour dates are listed below.

There are few true auteurs in pop music. The closest most so-called pop auteurs come to multi-tasking is mustering a balance between singer and songwriter. However, not only does Krueger sing, write and arrange the music of Southerly, he's a seasoned recording engineer, record label manager and professional booking agent. He remains hands-on in all aspects of his music.

Krueger recorded the second Southerly album Storyteller & The Gossip Columnist, with his own full orchestra and horn arrangements. The arrangements of sweeping and swooning violins, horns and backing vocals that surround Krueger's every note flesh out the songs, which center on Krueger's otherwise intimate singing style.

Southerly's sophomore release is the latest edition in Krueger's catalogue of ornamental and skillfully crafted albums. As with Best Dressed and Expressionless (2004), Krueger's debut, Storyteller plays as an entire album keeping with the tradition of conceptual musical works. Storyteller was recorded in two separate rounds (necessitated by Krueger's rigorous touring schedule) at Haywire Studios in Portland, OR in 2006 and 2007. The release sees the close of 3 1/2 years of full-time touring, both as a solo artist and full band.

Recently dubbed “a one man musical army” by Skratch magazine, Southerly revisits the golden era of lush pop orchestration. His songs include signs of great craft while finding a way to stray far outside the traditional verse/chorus structures often dictating the final product of too many modern artists. Krueger started the project in 2003, tracking songs with a hand-me-down microphone and an Otari four track reel-to-reel in bedrooms and basements, releasing short runs of hand-packaged cassette tapes on his own imprint (dharmakayamusic/DKM). Southerly meddles with antifolk, rock and alt country roots while taking cues from old-timers like Woody Guthrie, Jimmie Rodgers and Bill Monroe for his gypsy-like touring habits (he's actually even part Hungarian Gypsy.)

Storyteller & The Gossip Columnist features an array of players including Ryan Heise (System and Station, Protest Hill), Cory Gray (Desert City Soundtrack, Laura Gibson) and Ryland Bouchard (The Robot Ate Me). The album was engineered by Robert Bartleson (Wilco, Desert City Soundtrack) and co-produced by Krueger and Bartleson.

In 2006 Southerly became a full band. No longer a solo singer/songwriter project, the band features players from the recordings including Bartleson on bass guitar, Heise on drums and Casey Montgomery on guitar, accordion, organ and more. In July and August of 2006 the band embarked on the Kill Rock Stars’ The Sound The Hare Heard Tour in support of the compilation of same name which Southerly appears alongside players such as Sufjan Stevens, Colin Meloy (of The Decemberists) and Laura Veirs.

If there is one word or term that would entirely define Storyteller & The Gossip Columnist and Krist Krueger's writing style, it is not “singer/songwriter,” “indie,” “folk” or otherwise. It would be that Storyteller is, in its entirety, an “album”, from start to finish, over and over again on repeat.

Storyteller & The Gossip Columnist is Southerly's first album for the Portland, OR based Greyday Records, which will be released worldwide on May 15th, 2007.

Southerly On Tour
05/30 Portland, OR Doug Fir Lounge
06/13 San Francisco, CA Makeout Room
06/15 Los Angeles, CA Knitting Factory
06/16 Tucson, AZ Plush
06/17 Phoenix, AZ The Paper Heart
06/19 Dallas, TX Palladium
06/20 Austin, TX Emo's
06/21 Houston, TX The Proletariat
06/22 Lawrence, KS Jackpot
06/23 St. Louis, MO Off Broadway
06/24 Dekalb, IL Otto's
06/25 Chicago, IL The Note
06/27 Minneapolis, MN Triple Rock Social Club
06/28 Omaha, NE The Waiting Room
06/29 Denver, CO Hi Dive
06/30 Salt Lake City, UT Kilby Court
07/01 Boise, ID Visual Arts Collective

Storyteller & The Gossip Columnist Tracklisting:
Stream The Album HERE
01. Visage Sans Expression
02. Close to the Crime
03. Soldiers (MP3 | VIDEO)
04. A Coarse Design
05. Taking Stock
06. For the Speechless Coward
07. How To Be a Dreamer
08. If We All Forget
09. Pistols in Paradise
10. Cold Caller
11. Dreams That Make Men Free (MP3)
12. Breath of My Youth
13. When We Have To Go
14. Simple Simon

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