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BENT KNEE — Say So (May 20th, 2016)

BENT KNEE — Say So (May 20th, 2016)

                      BENT KNEE — Say So (May 20th, 2016)  BENT KNEE — Say So (May 20th, 2016)■λ→  Massachusetts experimentalists push the boundaries of art–rock on third full–length. Bent Knee is a genre–​defying art–rock collective from Boston. Fiercely innovative, the band bridges the gap between the experi​mental and the familiar, merging texture and style into music that’s moving, addictive, and unapol​ogetic​ally original. Combining immense depth and musicality with enthralling melody and grand arrang​ement, Bent Knee is high art for the masses.
■λ→  “A spectacular album from this Boston group who has been building a following for the last six or seven years. They’ve now been signed to Cuneiform records and are about to embark on a national and European tour. If you enjoy adventurous music, this album will blow you away”. — Fred Randall
■λ→  Courtney Swain is an expressive and passionate musician with a dual degree from Berklee College of Music. Combining her perspectives as a classical pianist and a contemporary vocalist, her performances enamor audiences with a unique blend of styles, vocal range, keyboard technique, and candid emotion.                                             Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Album release: May 20th, 2016
Record Label: Cuneiform Records
Duration:     51:42
Tracks:
01. Black Tar Water     3:30
02. Leak Water     4:41
03. Counselor     5:51
04. EVE     9:12
05. Interlude     0:49
06. The Things You Love     6:12
07. Nakami     5:20
08. Commercial     3:44
09. Hands Up     5:40
10. Good Girl     6:43
© 2016 Bent Knee
℗ 2016 Cuneiform Records
Bent Knee is:
■   Ben Levin — guitar & vocals
■   Chris Baum — violin & vocals
■   Courtney Swain — lead vocals & keyboards
■   Gavin Wallace–Ailsworth — drums
■   Jessica Kion — bass & vocals
■   Vince Welch — production & sound design
Credits:
■   Written and performed by Bent Knee
■   Produced and mixed by Vince Welch
■   Engineered by Matt Beaudoin at Q Division Sound
■   Additional engineering by Chris McLaughlin and Vince Welch
■   Assistant engineering by Grace Reader, Griffin Bach, Jamie Rowe, Joel Edinberg, Matt Carlson, Michael Healy, and Steven Xia
■   Mastered by Randy Roos at Squam Sound
■   Recorded at Q Division Studios, The Record Company, and Converse Rubber Tracks Boston
■   Album art by Greg Bowen. Proofread by Mark Chapman
Additional performances by:
■λ→  Andy Bergman (alto sax and clarinet), Ben Swartz (cello), Bryan Murphy (trumpet), Geni Skendo (flute & shakuhachi), Geoff Nielsen (trombone), James Dineen (voice acting), Keith Dickerhofe (cello), Nathan Cohen (violin), Sam Morrison (bari sax), and Rebecca Hallowell (viola)
■λ→  Group vocals for “Counselor” and “The Things You Love”:
■λ→  Alessandra Cugno, Andrew Humphries, Anil Prasad, Celine Ferro, Clint Degan, Curtis Hartshorn, Geni Skendo, James Willetts, Jeri Schibelli, Jessie Vitale, Josh Golberg, Kelsey Devlin, Leilani Roser, Leo Fonseca, Mary Freedlund, Max Freedlund, Michael Vitale, Mike Razo, Miriam Olken, Peter Danilchuk, Rebecca Hallowell, Roland Rotsitaille, Ryan Jackson, Sam Swan, Stephen Humphries, Susan Putnins, Tim Doherty, Toni Schibelli, Tori Bedford
Review
BY MICHELLE GESLANI ON APRIL 05, 2016, 6:45PM
λ→  Massachusetts experimentalists push the boundaries of art–rock on third full–length.
■λ→  Boston’s Bent Knee proudly occupy the grey area where baroque pop, rock, and the avant–garde meet, but even they are sometimes caught off guard by their intricately woven, surrealist stylings. The element of surprise and desire to fuse disparate sounds was felt throughout their sophomore record, 2014’s well–received Shiny Eyed Babies. It shines through even brighter on follow–up album Say So, due out May 20th through new label home Cuneiform.
■λ→  A press release dubs the forthcoming LP a “thrilling, aural roller–coaster ride with arrangements designed to make listeners throw their arms up in wild abandon.” Surveying Say So’s heady yet meta subject matter, it’s easy to see how such a varied sort of record could come about.
■λ→  Along with “the emergence of personal demons,” the new full–length sees Bent Knee digging into the abstract, specifically “looking at the bigger picture and figuring out where we as individuals stand, and how we carve out meaning in this giant universe,” according to violinist Chris Baum.
■λ→  While complex, contrasting compositions might be in Bent Knee’s DNA, much of the “surprise” in Say So can likely also be attributed to the unconventional space in which it was recorded. “A friend of ours pointed us to an empty, unlocked, million–square foot industrial complex in Boston,” says frontwoman/keyboardist Courtney Swain. “It felt like zombies were going to jump out anytime. It was a foreboding locale and gave the session a distinctly dark vibe.”
■λ→  As a first look at the album, the band has unveiled a new song called “Leak Water”. It’s a relatively straightforward number compared to their past releases, as Bent Knee note; still, a potent sense of urgency tingles in the air. In a statement to Consequence of Sound, guitarist Ben Levin explains the track’s backstory and how it’s captured in the corresponding official video:
■λ→  “‘Leak Water’ is written from the perspective of a little girl whose mother is pulling her through a painful morning beauty ritual. With this in mind, for the music video we wanted to feature a little girl singing the lyrics while being thrown around in some way. The video was directed by Greg Bowen, who also created the album art for Say So. Greg makes amazing art in just about any medium you can imagine, and we decided to take advantage of his range by stylizing this video like a collage.”
■λ→  http://consequenceofsound.net/
■λ→  “A gorgeous blend of overwhelming vocal talent, modern keyboard techniques, and contemporary sophistication. — The New England Noise
■λ→  “Bent Knee’s emphatic crunch and knack for complexity, mixed with lively wit, have aligned it loosely with that most marginalized of genres, progressive rock. Live, the band projects visceral glee, exactingly harmonized and wholly infectious.
■λ→  Courtney Swain, Bent Knee’s dramatically potent lead vocalist and pianist, delivers emphatic, enigmatic lyrics in a manner that can evoke Björk, Alanis Morissette, or Joanna Newsom while sounding like no one but herself.” — Boston Globe
About Courtney:
■λ→  Born and raised in Japan, Courtney is a hodge–podge of artistic and cultural influences. Though her musical roots lie in classical piano, her sonic identity has evolved into a plethora of styles and emotions.
■λ→  Since 2009, Courtney has been active as the frontwoman of the Boston–based art rock band Bent Knee. The band’s sophomore album Shiny Eyed Babies (2014) has received widespread critical acclaim from within the US and from Europe. Bent Knee’s tours, music, and performances have been featured in the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Nanaimo Daily Bulletin, and many other media outlets. Consequence of Sound called the album “a powerful exercise in restraint and release with explosive results,” and DigBoston wrote “Shiny Eyed Babies demands to be talked about.”
■λ→  As a solo artist, Courtney has written and recorded two albums as part of the RPM Challenge. Reviewing her new album Monstre (2015), The New England Noise wrote “Powerful, melodious lead vocals vary from gentle and flexible to sweet and plaintive to snappy and tough, all hovering over dexterous keyboards with electronica swirls that shift between smooth tonal passages and discordant intervals.”
■λ→  Courtney is also the vocalist for Ben Levin Group; guitar virtuoso Ben Levin’s ever–evolving musical conglomerate. Their latest studio album Freak Machine (2015)  was released in April.
■λ→  Courtney tours and performs all over the US, Canada, and in Japan with Bent Knee and as a solo act. She has also appeared with The Big Nazo Intergalactic Creature Band, Elder Flux, and the Video Game Orchestra. Off the road, Courtney teaches voice, piano, and composition in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. When she manages to escape her email inbox, she writes, performs, and collaborates with local and regional artists. Her hobbies are yoga, home improvement, and cooking tasty food.
■λ→  “I did an interview with the New England Noise that’s in their latest issue. Big thanks to Harry C. aka Mr. Curt. My favorite quote was: a gorgeous blend of overwhelming vocal talent, modern keyboard techniques, and contemporary sophistication.”
■λ→  Songs are strange critters: thoughts with interpretive sounds, all individually contained, promising more than less, in simple bursts of content, known or unknown. By now, having passed through so many genres and styles, when I hear something where all the diverse elements connect, I’m struck with a renewed sense of wonder and awakening. Some artists may take years of struggle to reach their goals, and sometimes, they’re able to hit their visionary bulls–eye early in their career. Let’s meet Courtney Swain, a young, shimmering performer whose second solo album, Monstre, combines a gorgeous blend of overwhelming vocal talent, modern keyboard techniques, and contemporary sophistication. Although I’ve possessed this disc for just a short time, the sheer power of self–determination, vision, and performance that blazes out of every bar of music is so obvious and so courageously implemented that I am in a state of virtual awe at the achievement. She’s also a member of Bent Knee, a fabulous art–rock ensemble that has been roaming our locales for almost six years. As we sat down to discuss her burgeoning career, I can’t help gushing over her ingenuity and convincing qualities. Her new album is already tops on my list of local albums for 2015… (INTERVIEW, THE NOISE)
From our new album “Say So”, available at http://tinyurl.com/bksayso
Watch the live version at https://youtu.be/Do6kxhQ2FtQ
•   Music by Bent Knee
•   Directed by Greg Bowen
•   Concept by Ben Levin & Jessica Kion
•   Starring Audrey Norwood
•   Produced by Human Being Productions
Follow Bent Knee:
Website: http://bentkneemusic.com
Facebook: https://facebook.com/bentkneemusic
Twitter: http://twitter.com/bentkneemusic
Instagram: http://instagram.com/bentkneemusic
Cuneiform Records: http://cuneiformrecords.com
Human Being Productions: http://humanbeingproductions.com
Lyrics
LEAK WATER
1.)    Electric poles sprout from the Earth
While no one was watching
The crooked smile you always wore
Like you were born sideways
2.)    Flip on the light
Grab my braids
Prop me up right
I try to speak but I only leak water
3.)    Tentacles crawl through your curls
I spin around ‘til I’m nauseous
My child teeth fall through my lips
The new ones grow in sharp
4.)    Flip on the light
Grab my braids
Prop me up right
I try to speak but I only leak water
5.)    Matching bows
Strangle hold
In the morning light
The taut strings of my family tree
Too tight to tie
Too harsh to hold
Too tight to tie
6.)    I try to speak but I only leak water
PRESS
■λ→  “...a record that confirms its eloquence and ebullience, while also breaking new stylistic and temperamental ground.” | The Boston Globe
■λ→  “Intricately woven, surrealist stylings... a potent sense of urgency tingles the air.” | Consequence of Sound
■λ→  “Mind boggling... the grandest and subtlest ideas are on the table.” | NPR’s The ARTery
■λ→  “A celebration of creative freedom and unrestricted musicianship... easily one of the best albums of the year.” | Rebel Noise
■λ→  “Expansive, genre–exploding avant rock.” | Bandcamp “New and Noteable”
■λ→  “Unbelievably powerful.” | The Needle Drop
■λ→  “Maddening brilliance.” | Best New Bands
■λ→  “Demands to be talked about.” | DigBoston
■λ→  “Like the best birthday party you’ve had in years.” | Goldmine Magazine
■λ→  “Rock wins again.” | Sound It Out
■λ→  “Defining modern music.” | No Ripcord
■λ→  “Musical transcendence.” | The Noise
■λ→  “Brilliant! This band will soon be everywhere!” | Nik Bärtsch
■λ→  “Extraordinary... the greatest discovery since Tori Amos delighted the world a quarter of a century ago.” | Streetclip.tv
■λ→  “Superb, with vocals to die for, an interesting new turn at every corner, and never a dull moment. Highly recommended.” | Bill Bruford
■λ→  “Emphatic crunch, a knack for complexity, mixed with lively wit... the band projects visceral glee, exactingly harmonized and wholly infectious.” | The Boston Globe
■λ→  “[An] overwhelming emotional experience.” |  Nanaimo Daily News
■λ→  “The most meticulously designed and inventive music of the year.” | Chickenham Music
■λ→  “Demands attention... you’d have to be braindead to ignore it.” | Music Related Junk
■λ→  “Absorbing and absolutely incomprehensible.” | The Bay Bridged
■λ→  “A powerful exercise in restraint and release.” | Consequence of Sound
■λ→  “Emotionally gratifying and moving.” | Playback: STL
■λ→  “Dark, human, and inexplicably whole.” | Cover Me
■λ→  “Highly experimental and mesmerizing.” | Ryan’s Smashing Life
■λ→  “A magnificent work of art. Album of the year.” | Seattle Passive Aggressive
Website: http://www.bentkneemusic.com/
Website: http://www.courtneyswain.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/chourtkneey
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BentKneeMusic/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/swaincourt
Bandcamp: https://bentknee.bandcamp.com/album/say-so
Label: http://cuneiformrecords.com/
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BENT KNEE — Say So (May 20th, 2016)

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