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Songbyrd Music House & Record Cafe
2477-2475 18th St NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20009
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— Songbyrd Presents
Adult Mom and Chris Farren with Field Medic
Tuesday February 13, 2017
D: 7:00 // S: 8:00 PM
— Adult Mom began as the solo project of Stephanie Knipe in a Purchase College dorm room in 2012. Adult Mom now falls between the playful spectrum of solo project and collaborative band with beloved friends and musicians Olivia Battell, Mike Dvorscak, and Bruce Hamilton. Through reflections and explorations of the personal and hidden, the crux of the writing produced by Knipe is focused on excavation. The dredging out of secrets, putting it all in a pan, waiting for the gold to rise. Honesty and intimacy form as Knipe writes clever pop songs that offer a glimpse into the journey of a gender-weird queer navigating through heartache, trauma and subsequent growth.
With their debut LP, Momentary Lapse of Happily, Adult Mom bravely shined a light on the darkness and allowed the listener to experience and feel those moments along with them. Soft Spots, the project’s sophomore LP, is an exploration into the physical and emotional acts of opening up, the vulnerability that produces love, and then ache. With this record, Knipe proclaims that everybody has soft spots. Spots that get cared for and tended to, that grow and fade, that produce feeling that can linger for years and years. Knipe shares with us their process of learning how to cradle and understand their own softness without finality, a story without an end.
Chris Farren is one of those names that is always on the tip of your tongue. Though he’s been heavily involved in music for years —and he’s become well known for his inventive merch, including his take on the classic The Smiths shirt — Farren is still working on breaking out in the large world of singer-songwriters. After experimenting and honing his solo work on a few memorable EPs and a Christmas album called Like A Gift From God or Whatever, Farren is ready to release his full length Can’t Die. With it, he’s poised to become known on his own terms and with his own unique sound.
“I definitely wanted to make something that wouldn’t just sound like another Fake Problems record,” says Farren. “ I wanted to make something that was poppier and a little less aggressive— but still energetic and entertaining. Lyrically, there’s some sadness involved but I didn’t want it to be a bummer to listen to.” The result is a clever blend of pop and gloom, the sort of record that will keep you dancing even when the lyrics cut deep. Farren, who cited Coconut Records, Belle & Sebastian, and Magnetic Fields as his influences while recording Can’t Die, has crafted a record that has a true indie pop sensibility and remains musically upbeat throughout.
Yet there is an undeniable sadness to certain tracks as well as a heavy focus on death and mortality. “Like any human, I reached an age where I realized I was going to die,” Farren says. “Until I was 25 or something, I had like heard I was going to die but once I turned 25, something just clicked in my head. I was like, ‘Oh, I’m definitely going to die’ and I had a crazy hard time with it for some reason.” For Farren, who has always worked through dark times through songs, it was only natural to channel these feelings into his solo album. Take a track like “Until I Can See The Light,” which was partly inspired by the death of Parks and Recreation writer Harris Wittels, as well other people in his life who have passed away. It’s about “how weird it is that they’re gone. You don’t get to talk to them anymore.”