Shoplifting with Laura Veirs
The Lookout, a concept album about the fragility of precious things and Laura's tenth solo outing, came out earlier this year via Bella Union. 12 exquisite folk-pop songs totting up to 38 minutes of optimistic melodies juxtaposed by melancholy harmonies, emphasising the tenderness of her imagery: the camper stoking a watch fire, a mother tending her children, a sailor in a crows nest and a lightning rod channelling energy.
Laura raided the Rough Trade racks for her favourite albums. Here's what she picked and why you should listen to them...
"This is one I go back to again and again. Neil has am inimitable way of writing deep yet simple songs: I find inspiration in a song like “Unknown Legend” that has basically just two chords but all the emotional depth of the greatest songs. "
"Karl Blau has one of the best voices of our generation and you can hear it clearly on this record. Karl is an old friend and the longer I know him the deeper his artistry becomes. This is his first collaboration with producer (and my husband) Tucker Martine. I hope they make more records together because this one sounds soooooo good."
"I am inspired by Sufjan’s lyrical bravery on this album. He lays it all out on the line. He reminds me to be vulnerable in my writing. He shares his heart in a musically-simple way but his emotional complexities are real."
"I have been binge-listening to these guys after I saw them live in Portland a few months ago. This music feels good and our kids are fans now too. (We are taking them to a show in September.) Mark Speer’s guitar-playing is virtuosic without being showy. I’m inspired by these guys to write my next album on the electric guitar."
"Sam is one of my favorite artists. He has a beautiful, soulful voice and a strange take on traditional music. His song “Another Story Told” on this album blows me away."
"Another inimitable artist, a true original. I love how Juana pushes boundaries in her art. I love her mix of organic and electronic instruments. I love that she was a famous comedian and dropped it all to follow her calling to be a musician."
"I’m biased because my husband produced this and I sang on it, but what can I say? These women are such stellar singers. They are a wonder to behold both live and on record and it’s great to see them becoming so successful. I’m excited to see what they do next."