On Stage (Spotlight): VÉRITÉ brings truth to music

By Denny Dyroff, Staff Writer, The Times


VÉRITÉ is a Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter whose fans have been waiting for her debut album ever since she self-released her first single “Strange Enough” in July 2014. That song reached Number One on Hype Machine and becoming the Number One Most Viral Twitter Artist the week of release.

The fans who have been patiently waiting have been rewarded with a treat – an album filled with a collection of smart and tasty tunes. VÉRITÉ released her highly-anticipated debut album “Somewhere in Between” via Kobalt Music Recordings on June 13.

Now, VÉRITÉ is touring in support of the new disc – a tour that features a return engagement at Boot and Saddle (1131 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, 215-639-4528, www.bootandsaddlephilly.com) on August 23.

“I started writing this album a while ago,” said VÉRITÉ, during a recent phone interview from her New York home.

“Some of it was a spillover – songs from before the last EP. I’m constantly writing and doing notes. I spent time in California writing with a variety of different people. I had one month-long trip and two two-week trips.

“All the melodies and lyrics are mine. After the writing was done, it was about piecing it all together. Most of the album was done with three producers – two in L.A. and one in New York.

“It took a little over a year. It was relatively east to finalize the tracks. Once something hits the threshold, it’s time to finish the track and move forward. I knew which songs would work together. There was a bunch of sheets with me drawing arrows and mapping everything out.”

On “Somewhere In Between,” VÉRITÉ collaborated with producers Liam Howe (Lana del Rey, Ellie Goulding, fka twigs), Tim Anderson (twenty one pilots, Solange, Mr. Little Jeans), Peter Thomas (Selena Gomez, Betty Who), James Flannigan and Zach Nicita.

The 13-track collection blends electronic and alt-pop elements together effortlessly into a rhythm-driven sound that is ornately arranged with emotionally raw lyrics.

“Working with so many producers and in so many studios can be a challenge to having a uniform sound,” said VÉRITÉ. “I’m lucky to work with people who are willing to work with me. It wasn’t hard musically because I’m good at creative solutions.”

According to VÉRITÉ, “The album was mostly written over the last year, somewhere between living and dying.

“The songs travel though my over analysis of depression, apathy and boredom, and follows attempts to make meaning and balance of existential crises against distractions. Sonically, I wanted to create something dynamic, driving and melodic–songs that could hold someone’s attention.”

Transparency also played a role.

“My songwriting has changed in the sense that the songs on this album are much more transparent – stating something instead of using metaphors,” said VÉRITÉ.

Video link for Verite — https://youtu.be/ndMQ062h0-s.

The show at Boot and Saddle, which has Tigertown as the opener, will start at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $12.

Jonny Lang

Fans of blazing guitar work and blues aficionados alike were blown away by the musical prowess of Jonny Lang when he burst on the scene with his debut album “Lie to Me.”

That album went platinum and hit Number One on Billboard’s New Artist chart. A year later, Lang’s sophomore album “Wander This World” earned a Grammy nomination.

Those fans might be surprised when they realize that the “Lie to Me” album was released more than two decades ago. Recent fans who have discovered Lang’s impressive catalog might be surprised to learn that Lang is only 36 years old.

On September 8, Lang will release a brand-new studio album titled “Signs” via Concord Records.

Lang’s fans will not have to wait until an album-support tour to hear the guitar ace perform in person. On August 23, Lang is headlining a show at the World Café Live (3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, 215-222-1400, www.worldcafelive.com).

“The new album is blues, R&B and rock,” said Lang, during a phone interview last week from his home in Ventura, California. “For me, I don’t look at genre. It’s all just music. So many things overlap in genres. When I’m writing, I don’t think about what style it’s in.”

The new album, which is Lang’s sixth major label release, is his first in four years.

“The creative thing just turned on,” said Lang. “I started writing songs and I made a record. We started a couple years ago – doing pre-production and finishing songs.

“Songs come to me and, when they do, I have this little voice recording thing with me. And, hopefully, there’s a guitar around for me to use. For me, it’s usually melody and music first – and the arrangements. Lyrics take longer.

“We took three days and tracked all the main tracks. Most of it was done in just a few days at Stagg Street Studio in L.A. The guys who are bon the road with me have played on my last two records.

“We get along pretty well. When you’re together for a while, you develop an innate sense. There are five of us – rhythm guitar, bass, drums, keyboards. I paly lead guitar and sing.”

Lang and his band translated the chemistry and energy of their live shows into a powerful studio recording.

“We just played the songs live in the studio,” said Lang. “We recorded analog. Stagg Street Studio is one of those places that still look like they did when they were built in the 1970s. We had Matt Hyde as our engineer and we got a really good sound there.”

Lang is also surprised that his career has already spanned two decades.

“Twenty years feels like a blink,” said Lang.

Video link for Jonny Lang — https://youtu.be/rA-BkmZ-2IM

The show at the World Café Live, which has Jack Broadbent as the opening act, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35.

Small Leaks Sink Ships

Small Leaks Sink Ships, which is playing August 23 at Kung Fu Necktie (1248 North Front Street, Philadelphia, 215-291-4919, kungfunecktie.com), should include the Kinks’ song “One of the Survivors” in its repertoire.

Small Leaks Sink Ships is a four-piece progressive art-pop band from Portland, Oregon. The line-up features London Van Rooy, Judd Hancock, Jim Mandel, and Ryan Garner.

“There’s been a lot going on with the band in the last few years,” said Van Rooy, during a phone interview last week from his home in Portland. “Two of our guys were on their deathbed.

“Ryan was in a motorcycle accident that left him with shattered vertebrae and broken legs. His helmet saved his life.

“At first, the doctors said he might not live – but he did. Then, they said he probably would never walk again. Three weeks later, he was walking. But, he was in recovery for a full year.

“Then, Judd found out that he had cancer. He had chemo and surgeries because of testicular cancer. He’s fine now but that caused the band to go on a two-year hiatus.”

The band never gave up – on its members or on its future.

Through perseverance and pure stubbornness, the band managed to stick together through both recoveries and put out two albums and a five-track EP.

Small Leaks Sinks Ships will release its new album “Golden Calf” in October on Lefse Records. The rocking quartet from the Pacific Northwest just released a single titled “Dancing Devil,” which is the first single off “Golden Calf.”

“‘Golden Calf’ is coming out October 13 and we just put out a video for ‘Dancing Devil’,” said Van Rooy. “We’ve been playing a bunch of the tracks live. There were a few songs that we played live before we recorded them.

“We all write. We write a lot of stuff in our personal studios and we have our main studio in Portland. We record everything ourselves. A few years ago, we spent a whole year in the studio figuring out how to do it with all the mics and equipment.

“We recorded, produced and mixed ‘Golden Calf.’ This was the second time we did everything. The first time was on our last album ‘Face Yourself, and Remove Your Sandals,’ which came out in May 2105.

“Over the years, we’ve gotten better at recording drums. You need to have that foundation.

“We also figured out more about studio manipulation. We have this big live sound live and we figured out how to capture it in a studio. We did a five-song EP in 2011 at five different studios just to learn how to get the sound we wanted.”

Other than being better recorded, “Golden Calf” shows other advances made by Small Leaks Sink Ships.

“The new album is far more congruent,” said Van Root. “We focused on each song as a whole. The previous album was more experimental.”

Small Leaks Sink Ships has been together for six years but has yet to visit the Delaware Valley.

“We never played Philly before but we do have an intense fan base there,” said Van Rooy. “So, we’re really looking forward to this show at Kung Fu Necktie.”

Video link for Small Leaks Sink Ships — https://youtu.be/hYn7C0GRnAM.

The show at Kung Fu Necktie, which also features Drop Electric and Grubby Little Hands, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10.

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