Christian Lee Hutson - Free / 21+

Christian Lee Hutson

Whoever the gallantly self-defeating 24-year-old singer/songwriter is, he's an amalgamation of a long line of Americana tradition, a packed handful of unpleasant days, and his own past musical endeavors, including 2012's EP Will Never Break Up, and his debut LP, The Hell With It.

Now, after a song-a-month release over the course of 2014 comes Hutson's second album Yeah Okay, I Know, a record championed by Americana UK's James McCurry as "...Startlingly good. Like 'year's end list' good." Yeah Okay, I Know captures twelve songs from the rapidly-evolving King of Bummercore, with all his youthful regrets, laments, and apathy worn unabashedly on his sleeve.

Hutson's search for self spills from his records onto the road in a relentless touring schedule across the States and throughout Europe, where the prolific songster's perpetually unveiling new tunes and discovering new ways to take shots at himself. Like Sean Moeller says in Paste Magazine, "He will change you. Go see him tonight."

Yay Blynn (Motor Sales)

The latest music from songwriters Pete Harper and J. Blynn seemed doomed almost from the beginning. The duo, who had released two albums as Harper Blynn, had been playing in Mosco Rosco until about three years ago. Motor Sales was born shortly thereafter, when they recorded an EP with Shawn Everett, who has produced music by Weezer, Julian Casablancas, the Growlers and Lucius and won a Grammy for engineering Alabama Shakes’ 2015 album. But the recordings were lost in a power surge in New York City right before they were mixed. The first song, “Kick It Off,” is the only one to have survived.

It’s a song that damned near glows in the dark — a rocker in electronic clothing, modern and atmospheric but somehow carrying pieces of Beatles’ DNA, with a finger-snapping beat propelling it toward an indelible falsetto chorus. The duo says it’s representative of a batch of songs encapsulating “the sometimes-dystopic future-present landscape of Los Angeles, and by extension our current personal and societal predicaments. … Imagine taking one of your favorite records to the desert and playing it through a boombox during a swirling Van Gogh meteor shower.”

If the song is weighted by existential dread, it anticipates something better, a breakthrough of some kind. And that’s revealed in the video for the song, directed by Max Knight and starring Matt Russell, who plods through his household routine before finally catching the what’s-next spirit at the end.

What’s next for Motor Sales are more releases in 2018; since their original sessions, the duo have since reconvened with Everett to record a full album.

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