Deep in the depths of my inbox, sonic magic awaits:
Sometimes we lose ourselves in our lives. Whether its’s because of love, loss or any number of reasons, we find ourselves asking, “How did I get here?” It is this thought process and mental journey that was brought to my mind while watching the latest music video from Your Friend. The video is for the title track off of Your Friend’s latest release, Gumption, which is out now (check out MFL’s review here). The video was directed by Dan Huiting and about the process Taryn Miller (Your Friend) says:
“I feel really fortunate to have worked with Dan. I’ve been a fan of his work for a long time. It was wild getting to see the fire footage after the fact since I was facedown in the ice for those shots. It was painfully cold but I would get hit with this wave of heat as the flames grew and it felt amazing in this strange way. In that, I couldn’t see but only experience it physically.”
A couple of weeks ago I reviewed the incredible new album by Your Friend titled, Gumption. Tonight, Taryn Miller (Your Friend), will be kicking off her tour to support the new album in Washington D.C. with Porches and Alex G. She’ll be hitting SXSW next week, then the West coast, East coast and everything in between.
Wed. Mar. 9 – Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel *
Thu. Mar. 10 – Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter *
Fri. Mar. 11 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle – Backroom *
Sat. Mar. 12 – Savannah, GA @ Savannah Stopover Festival *
Sun. Mar. 13 – Orlando, FL @ Backbooth *
Mon. Mar. 14 – Tallahassee, FL @ Club Downunder *
Wed. Mar. 16 – Austin, TX @ Space 24 (Urban Outfitters x Domino SXSW Party) (3:00pm)
Wed. Mar. 16 – Austin, TX @ Hype Hotel (DJ set) (4:30pm)
Wed. Mar. 16 – Austin, TX @ Sidewinder (Ground Control Official SXSW Showcase) (11:30pm)
Thu. Mar. 17 – Austin, TX @ End of An Ear (4:00pm)
Fri. Mar. 18 – Austin, TX @ Cedar St. Courtyard (FLOOD x Domino SXSW Party) (2:00pm)
Fri. Mar. 18 – Austin, TX @ Pen (Portals SXSW Showcase) (5:30pm)
Sat. Mar. 19 – Dallas, TX @ Spillover Music Fest *
Mon. Mar. 21 – Denver, CO @ Lost Lake *
Tue. Mar. 22 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court *
Wed. Mar. 23 – Boise, ID @ Treefort Music Fest *
Thu. Mar. 24 – Portland, OR @ Analog Café *
Fri. Mar. 25 – Seattle, WA @ Vera Project *
Sat. Mar. 26 – Vancouver, BC @ The Cobalt *
Mon. Mar. 28 – San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop *
Tue. Mar. 29 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo *
Thu. Mar. 31 – Santa Ana, CA @ Observatory – Constellation Room *
Fri. Apr. 1 – San Diego, CA @ Che Café *
Sat. Apr. 2 – Phoenix, AZ @ Rebel Lounge *
Sun. Apr. 3 – Albuquerque, NM @ The Co-Op *
Tue. Apr. 5 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown *
Wed. Apr. 6 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St Entry *
Thu. Apr. 7 – Madison, WI @ UW Student Union *
Fri. Apr. 8 – Grinnell, IA @ Grinnell College – Gardner Lounge *
Sat. Apr. 9 – Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge *
Sun. Apr. 10 – Detroit, MI @ Majestic Café *
Mon. Apr. 11 – Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern *
Tue. Apr. 12 – Boston, MA @ Middle East Downstairs *
Wed. Apr. 13 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg *
Thu. Apr. 14 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer *
Fri. Apr. 15 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom *
Thu. May 5 – Kansas City, MO @ Middle of the Map Festival
* with Alex G & Porches
In addition, she’s released a short documentary that was filmed at her record release show in her hometown. Check it out:
Gumption is the second piece of work by Kansas-originating musician, Taryn Miller (Your Friend). Since the release of her first EP, she’s ticked off a great deal of musical highlights, including a stop at SXSW and her first tour (her first tour being with Courtney Barnett!). Gumption is a true accomplishment for Miller, in every sense of the word. It is a sonically diverse, complex, and shimmering record with thought-provoking lyricism and an overall sense of warmth that surrounds the listener.
There is an air of mystery, constant questioning of personal perception and reality throughout record. In fact, this entire album was based on a question. Seeking guidance and advice from friends and composers, she landed on a piece of advice from a past high school teacher who said to her:
“Art is just where you are right now. Where are you right now?”
So, for every piece on the album, this is the question, answered in song. So you, too can ask yourself, “Where am I right now?” The answer ambiguous question changes constantly, as we all find ourselves somewhere else day to day, moment to moment, whether mentally or geographically. Just as the answer to this question changes, Gumption changes minute by minute, track by track. Her first EP, Jekyll/Hyde was inspired by the duality of human nature and how these complex orbs we call humans affect each other and interact. We are made up of so much: personality, values, culture, insight, beliefs, creativity. In Jekyll/Hyde she wondered how she was affected by the complexity of others but in Gumption, she asks what HER effect is on others.
It all begins with “Heathering”, which reaches out to you from a dream. That moment right between sleep and awake, when you realize you’re dreaming. And the dream only gets louder, more present as the song expands, grows and develops. Changing tempos and times, interesting sounds and trancelike, distant backup vocals come in and out of earshot. The following track, “Come Back From It”, begins similarly to “Heathering.” But, it takes a turn towards the less abstract during the chorus, offering a brief answer, a sense of relief, to the questions her instrumentals and general style of music ask her listeners. In this collage of track, which contains only a couple simple elements of Miller’s original demo, Gumption producer (Nicolas Vernhes of Deerhunter and The War on Drugs) suggested that this “relief” was necessary.
At this point on the record, Your Friend offers a fleeting moment of pure instrumentals. “To Live With It” is a simple interlude where you get a glimpse into Taryn Miller’s childhood, sonically. She wanted to build her past into the album, literally. So, when visiting her family’s farm in Dexter, KS, she brought a field recorder to sample the sounds she grew up with. You can hear a dripping creek throughout and if you listen closely enough, the sound of an engine. The interlude blends seamlessly into “Desired Things.” It begins immediately with a desire, followed by more desires and wants. Her desire clearly audible in her fluttering and powerful voice:
I wanted to love…
I wanted to burn…
I wanted to hurt…
“Nothing Moved” – begins with the description of simple pieces of furniture, like an old table and relates to how we perceive each other, how we look and feel to each other.
Is that how I see you, how you see me?
Capable, tethered, frail, un-weathered, though un-healing.
The lyrics for this piece are stunning, full of life, heavy on the heart at times:
I like to keep you like bees that sting and sting.
A line about the kind of love that you keep regardless of the pain it causes.
The title track, “Gumption” begins with sweet and tender acoustic guitars but soon launches into the familiar ethereal, detached and introspective nature of the record. Interestingly, “Gumption” represents two separate tracks which alone, were less sturdy but together, created something stronger, braver and more courageous, just as “gumption” is defined.
“I Turned In” is a beautiful track that highlights the sonic nuances that Miller and Vernhes capitalized on for Gumption. Drum machines, electronic hums so deep on the bass scale they are almost missed if listening on a cruddy pair of headphones, and twinkling, digitized elements, giving the track a space-like openness.
Altogether, Gumption is a beautifully complex record that holds a moment for everyone. In her own personal soul-searching, she has achieved the ability to connect and reach out to so many others. In her own personal introspection, wondering how she has and is effecting others, she is doing just that through her music. Gumption is a triumphant gift to the denizens of the musical ether.
You can buy Gumption now on iTunes.
Your Friend is the welcoming musical project of Taryn Miller. After the release of her two singles, “Heathering” and “Come Back From It”, she is now releasing her album in its entirety for streaming until its official release Friday, January 29th on Domino Records.
Gumption was born in Lawrence, KS after Miller finished her 2014 tour with Courtney Barnett. In conjunction with songwriting, she purchased a field recorder that she carried around with her to places like her family’s farm in Winfield, KS, adding a level of nostalgia deeper than meets the ear.
Stream Gumption below:
You can catch Your Friend touring with Porches and Alex G, also of Domino Records:
Wed. Mar. 9 – Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel
Thu. Mar. 10 – Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter
Fri. Mar. 11 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle – Backroom
Sat. Mar. 12 – Savannah, GA @ Savannah Stopover Festival
Sun. Mar. 13 – Orlando, FL @ Backbooth
Mon. Mar. 14 – Tallahassee, FL @ Club Downunder
Sat. Mar. 19 – Dallas, TX @ Spillover Music Fest
Mon. Mar. 21 – Denver, CO @ Lost Lake
Tue. Mar. 22 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
Wed. Mar. 23 – Boise, ID @ Treefort Music Fest
Thu. Mar. 24 – Portland, OR @ Analog Cafe
Fri. Mar. 25 – Seattle, WA @ Vera Project
Sat. Mar. 26 – Vancouver, BC @ The Cobalt
Mon. Mar. 28 – San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop
Tue. Mar. 29 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo
Thu. Mar. 31 – Santa Ana, CA @ Observatory – Constellation Room
Fri. Apr. 1 – San Diego, CA @ Che Cafe
Sat. Apr. 2 – Phoenix, AZ @ Rebel Lounge
Sun. Apr. 3 – Albuquerque, NM @ The Co-Op
Tue. Apr. 5 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown
Wed. Apr. 6 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St Entry
Thu. Apr. 7 – Madison, WI @ UW Student Union
Fri. Apr. 8 – Grinnell, IA @ Grinnell College – Gardner Lounge
Sat. Apr. 9 – Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge
Sun. Apr. 10 – Detroit, MI @ Majestic Cafe
Mon. Apr. 11 – Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern
Tue. Apr. 12 – Boston, MA @ Middle East Downstairs
Wed. Apr. 13 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Thu. Apr. 14 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
Fri. Apr. 15 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
Your Friend is solo singer/songwriter/creator of music, Taryn Miller’s musical alias. After a highly successful and massively exciting year following the release of Your Friend’s debut EP, Jekyll/Hyde, Miller is announcing that she’ll be releasing her very first full length titled Gumption this coming January 29th of 2016 via Domino.
Coinciding with the announcement of her new album, Your Friend released the first truly tantalizing single from Gumption, “Heathering.”
The first few seconds of this song are my favorite few seconds. They’re my favorite because they’re misleading, they sound like an accident. They sound like they’ve been cut and paste from a completely different song by a completely different artist’s completely different album. From these strange first 5 seconds, the real song blossoms and soars high above. You think you have “Heathering” figured out when you’re almost three minutes in and then the time changes in the least jarring most seamless way.