Laura Veirs

The Lookout - Release date: 4/13/18, self-release on Raven Marching Band Records

A prolific songwriter for nearly twenty years, Laura Veirs proves the depth of her musical skill on her tenth solo album, The Lookout. Here is a batch of inimitable, churning, exquisite folk-pop songs; a concept album about the fragility of precious things. Produced by Grammy-nominated Tucker Martine, Veirs’ longtime collaborator, The Lookout is a soundtrack for turbulent times, full of allusions to protectors: the camper stoking a watch fire, a mother tending her children, a sailor in a crows nest and a lightning rod channeling energy.


“The Lookout is about the need to pay attention to the fleeting beauty of life and to not be complacent; it’s about the importance of looking out for each other,” says Veirs. “I’m addressing what’s happening around me with the chaos of post-election America, the racial divides in our country, and a personal reckoning with the realities of midlife: I have friends who’ve died; I struggle with how to balance life as an artist with parenting young children.”

Written and produced on the heels of Veirs’ acclaimed album with Neko Case and kd Lang (case/lang/veirs), The Lookout integrates the fluency of collaboration with Veirs’ notorious work ethic. The twelve songs on the album are the result of a years’ worth of daily writing in her attic studio in Portland, Ore.

“Twenty years ago when I was just starting out with my punk band, it never occurred to me to write five versions of a song,” says Veirs. “I’ve learned to see how malleable lyrics and melodies can be. I have more tools as a musician so I write many versions of songs until I find the right fit.” Such range is demonstrated on the operatic vocals of “The Meadow” and the intricate finger picking on “Watch Fire.” “The Lookout,” the album’s title track, is an ecstatic anthem to trusted relationships.


The Lookout draws on the talents of a time-tested crew of musicians: Karl Blau, Steve Moore, Eli Moore, Eyvind Kang and Martine. Says Veirs, “These guys are a good hang, ego-free and wonderful players who just want to serve the songs.” Sufjan Stevens and Jim James provide guest vocals.

For Martine, who fell, almost two decades ago, for Veirs’ unique sound after listening to a tape cassette she’d sent him in the mail, this album reflects a bar that keeps getting raised. Both familiar and strange, The Lookout gets better with repeated listens, warming to the skin like a cherished saddlebag, critical for the journey ahead.

Karl Blau

To listen to Karl Blau's albums and make descriptions of what is heard is to walk through a farmer's market and describe all the vegetables grown in that area. It is the love that Blau feels for music that shines through; most anyone can sense the passion this cultivator has for his trade. Every age group has been exposed to punk rock and everyone needs heartfelt music now as much as ever.

Within the last 3 years Blau has toured Japan twice, spent a winter-long residency in Queens, NY, toured the East and West coast multiple times, and played 6 weeks of shows across Europe in Spring 2009, and festivals in Europe in August, followed by tours in the fall with Mount Eerie and LAKE.

Karl Blau constantly renews his commitment to exploring the frontiers of sound. In this world of instant access to musical cultures near and far that were once a series of thick walls of concrete – time becomes a limitless characteristic. His latest recordings, Max, are a snack pack of subdued, soulful, introspective emotional funk that shows Blau at his best.

Prior to his solo recordings (2007's Beneath Waves [KLP174], 2008's Nature's Got Away [KLP192], 2009's Zebra [KLP205], and 2011's Max [KLP227]), Blau played (and still plays) with Bret Lunsford (Beat Happening) and Phil Elverum (Mount Eerie) in D+. In the spirit of his hometown Anacortes, Blau flies the flag of community and, likewise, Anacortes's humble Knw-Yr-Own Records has released D+ "What Is Doubt For" and D+ "No Mystery."

From 2008-2009, K Record's Dub Narcotic Studio has employed Karl as a sort of "in house producer." In this all-analog studio, Blau has recorded new albums by Arrington DeDionyso, LAKE, The Bundles (Jeffrey Lewis and Kimya Dawson), Angelo Spencer and Your Heart Breaks. Listen for Blau's vocal and instrumental contribution on the new Laura Veirs album, Calvin Johnson's latest release and the recordings of Ian Svenonious's group Chain & the Gang.

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