Published on March 10th, 2015 | by TLV News0
Lilly Hiatt Live on Thacker Mountain Radio (at Lamar Lounge Thu. 3/12)
Lilly Hiatt’s Accomplished Sophomore Album, Royal Blue, Out Now On Normaltown Records
LOS ANGELES, CA – Described by Paste as “a glorious tumble of influences – surf rock, Smiths vibes, Laurel Canyon twang and jangle, Sonic Youth flatline, Britpop flourishes, Seattle grunge and Joy Division meets Human League synthery,” Lilly Hiatt‘s accomplished sophomore album, Royal Blue, is out now (released March 3), on Normaltown Records. Produced by Adam Landry (Deer Tick, Diamond Rugs), the 12-track record is a dance between pedal steel and synths and a huge artistic leap forward for the fast rising singer-songwriter from East Nashville. Stereogum has taken notice and is premiering the churning “Get This Right,” calling it “the soundtrack for when you’re driving nowhere fast, but feeling very Zen about it.” Listen via stereogum or soundcloud.
Lilly and her band will play a hometown release show Wednesday, March 4 at The Stone Fox in Nashville followed by the Savannah Stopover Music Festival in Savannah, Ga. this Saturday, March 7 before making the trek to SXSW for several shows. Lilly will then head to Portland, Ore. for a solo weeklong nightly residency at Al’s Den in McMenamins Crystal Hotel March 22-28. While in Portland, she will perform at KINK FM’s Skype Live Studio on March 23.
Royal Blue is making heads turns and garnering considerable praise. Southern Living declared: “Lilly Hiatt is poised to show that she has a lot more going for her than just a famous last name,” while Nashville Scene called her one of the Music City’s best singer-songwriters and described the album as “alluringly sullen, shrewd and sharp,” adding, “Royal Blue is mixed more like an early 90s Mazzy Star album, her vocals partially submerged in a sharp haze of guitar and synthesizer reverb.” In Holly Gleason‘s feature story for Nashville Arts, she lauded Lilly’s songwriting and vulnerability and described the album as a “a dozen songs that smear the Pixies, Liz Phair, and Joy Division with hints of Jason Isbell, Ryan Adams, or Sturgill Simpson‘s postmodern rock/country.”
Lilly’s love of 90s alt-rock groups comes through loud and clear in the distressed guitars, the urgent backbeats, and the post-punk synths throughout many of the songs. Citing the Pixies, the Breeders, Dinosaur Jr. and Pearl Jam as influences on this record, Lilly sought out producer Adam Landry for his versatility and analog studio, confident he’d be able to create the late 80s/early 90s vibe she was hearing in her head.
Setting the tone for the album, opener “Far Away” (listen via paste or soundcloud), marries a shimmery Cure synth theme to a steady rock-and-roll backbeat, as Lilly explains the devastating realities of a love gone sour: “I have never felt more far away than when you were right here,” in her barbed lilt. When she delivers a volley of “ooo-ooo-ooohs” on the coda, it’s hard to tell whether she’s lamenting her loss or proclaiming her freedom. The surging surf-country number “Machine” hints at rebellious adolescence while “Somebody’s Daughter” is a nod to Lilly’s songwriting father, John Hiatt. On the austere and arresting “Your Choice,” Lilly pairs a gently strummed guitar with a spacey analog synth and sings, “When you turn your lamp off/ Please hear my sweet, soft voice.” Adding, with startling finality, “You made your choice.” The title track “Royal Blue” closes the album with a proclamation that she’s letting go and healing the only way she knows how: “I wanna let go/ ‘Cause I was royal blue/ What would a good woman do?/ She’d move on/ And write a song or two.”