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Video of the Moment #2028: Daughter

 
By on Monday, 29th February 2016 at 6:00 pm
 

London alt-folk trio Daughter released their sophomore album ‘Not to Disappear’ back in January on 4AD. You can read Carrie’s thoughts on the long player through here., In her review, Carrie describes a trilogy of videos that began with ‘Doing the Right Thing’, followed by ‘Numbers’, both featuring a mysterious woman in a red dress, and with a third to follow based on a short story by Stuart Evers called ‘5040’ that Evers wrote based on the songs Daughter provided him. This is that video.

On the track ‘How’, washy guitars and gentler moments take turns, while Elena Tonra’s vocals lend dreaminess and emotion. The promo video for the song shows a young woman who takes shelter from her emotions inside her within her home, terrifying of leaving it, dutifully and frantically confirming that the locks and chains are in place. Is she trying to keep people out, or is she trying to hole herself away, and why so? After working out a formula in scribbles that leads to the solution of 5,040, she finally works up the courage to leave her house and breathe in the salt ocean air, only to be left paralysed by fear, then fleeing for the safety of the place she loves best. Gripping stuff. Watch it below.

‘Not to Disappear’ is out now. For more of our extensive coverage of Daughter on TGTF, head here.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63xjiLDRWBI[/youtube]

 

Album Review: Daughter – Not to Disappear

 
By on Friday, 15th January 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Daughter NTD coverLondon alt-folk trio Daughter will begin 2016 with the release of their highly anticipated sophomore studio album ‘Not to Disappear’. Singer/guitarist Elena Tonra, guitarist/producer Igor Haefeli and drummer Remi Aguilella spent the summer of 2015 in New York recording the album with Nicolas Vernhes (Deerhunter, War On Drugs, Animal Collective) at his Rare Book Room studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Not wanting to fall victim to the dreaded second album slump, Daughter have taken an ambitious, almost Wagnerian approach to this second album, working with a larger team of artists to provide a narrative and visual background for their music. The first two videos released from the album, ‘Doing the Right Thing’ and ‘Numbers’, represent parts one and two of a video trilogy created by filmmakers Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard. The videos themselves are based on a series of short stories commissioned specifically for this purpose, penned by acclaimed fiction writer Stuart Evers.

The video for ‘Doing the Right Thing’ is based on Evers’ short story ‘Dress’, which explores the bitter anguish of losing a parent to old age and dementia. Tonra’s stream-of-consciousness lyrical lines are remarkably apropos in this context. Her vaguely related ideas flow together without overt regard for cognizant sequence, yet still developing the story line. The song’s opening lyrical hook “and they’re making children / and they’re making love / with their old excuses / we are built for reproduction” picks up in the middle of an existential musing about becoming disconnected from one’s family, and even from oneself. The heartbreaking second verse plays an emotional trick on the mind with warm, atmospheric tones and pleasant poetry before slowly turning cold: “then I’ll take my clothes off / and I’ll walk around / because it’s so nice outside / and I like the way the sun feels / and when it’s dark / I’ll call out in the night for my mother / but she isn’t coming back for me / ‘cos she’s already gone”.

The symbolic red dress from the ‘Doing the Right Thing’ video appears again in the video for ‘Numbers’, where it is worn by a cool, calculating seductress who callously uses and abuses the people around her. The repeated lyrics “I feel numb” and “you better . . . make me better” are both ominous and pleading, as if the character is searching for something more. The source of the character’s conflict is undefined, but her disconnection from the world parallels the disconnection of the aging mother in the previous video. And while the character in ‘Numbers’ claims to feel numb, the music itself is anything but, beginning straight away with a knot of dramatic tension that grows over a nervously propulsive drum beat, then finally relaxes in a slow cadential section that comes as sweet relief at the end.

It remains to be seen which song will complete the video trilogy, but according to the album’s press release from 4AD, the analogous Evers story is titled ‘5,040’. It seems certain that the mysterious red dress will make a final appearance. The most obvious choice would probably be the delicately crystalline track ‘Mothers’, in which Tonra sings about the sacrifices of motherhood that go unnoticed by children. Her lyrics inexplicably shift back and forth from first-person to third-person perspective in a way that seems to refer back to ‘Doing the Right Thing’. This is evidenced particularly in the lines “give all you need to give / but sometimes they won’t take what they need to take / strangers, chemical reactions inside of her brain / oh, she’s not the same”.

The remainder of the songs on Daughter’s ‘Not to Disappear’ are connected in that they explore the ephemerality of human relationships and the sense of disconnection that can occur when a relationship breaks down. Album opener ‘New Ways’ attempts to reestablish a sense of emotional connection in the elegantly syncopated lyrical lines “I’m trying to get out / find a subtle way out / not to cross myself out / not to disappear / I’ve been trying to stay out / but there’s something in you / I can’t be without / I just need it here”. Its serpentine guitar riffs and echoing percussion surge into a pulsing instrumental bridge ahead of that statement and thereafter expand into a full onslaught of sound under Tonra’s cool, markedly detached vocals. There is a touch of ’80s synth pop in the cool vocals and shimmering guitar sounds of ‘How’, but here the instrumentation is more dynamically expansive, while the chugging bass underscores the idea that “moving on / is moving in slow motion / to keep the pain to a minimum”.

Standout track ‘Alone/With You’ is another brilliant example of Daughter’s unconventional lyrical sequencing and breathtaking musical sensitivity. The jarringly robotic rhythm is accompanied by a harshly mechanical, almost industrial sounding instrumentation. As sounds are added to the ever-evolving orchestral milieu, the poetic lines are repeated but in shifting order, juxtaposing subtle shades of meaning and hidden layers of emotion. In contrast, ’No Care’ is a straightforward spitfire purge of emotion after a bad sexual encounter, thematically similar to the earlier ‘Numbers’. Tonra saves her best singing for the end of the album, proving the harnessed power of her full singing voice in ‘To Belong’ and again in the exquisite sensitivity of final track ‘Made of Stone’.

‘Not to Disappear’ is a brave and decisive step forward from the fragile, ethereal tones of Daughter’s 2013 debut ‘If You Leave’. Here, the trio have graduated from indie folk to fully-fledged art rock, their broad vision deftly combining difficult subject matter with bold, expansive musical arrangements on a sonically and emotionally courageous second album.

8.5/10

Daughter’s sophomore album ‘Not to Disappear’ is out today via 4AD/Glassnote. Daughter begin a tour of the UK tonight in Cambridge; you can find a listing of live dates here.  TGTF’s previous coverage of Daughter can be found right back this way.

 

Daughter / January 2016 UK Tour

 
By on Monday, 30th November 2015 at 9:00 am
 

The Elena Tonra-fronted, Communion-associated trio Daughter have announced a massive UK tour in early 2016 to begin a new European campaign to support their second album ‘Not to Disappear’. The new album, out the 15th of January 2016 on 4AD in the UK and Glassnote Records in North America, is the hotly-anticipated follow-up to 2013’s ‘If You Leave’.

Tickets for this forthcoming tour are now available from the band’s Web site.

Friday 15th January 2016 – Cambridge Corn Exchange
Saturday 16th January 2016 – Oxford Academy
Sunday 17th January 2016 – Brighton Dome
Monday 18th January 2016 – Portsmouth Pyramids
Wednesday 20th January 2016 – Birmingham Institute
Thursday 21st January 2016 – Manchester Albert Hall
Friday 22nd January 2016 – Liverpool Academy
Saturday 23rd January 2016 – Edinburgh Queen’s Hall
Monday 25th January 2016 – Newcastle Academy
Tuesday 26th January 2016 – Leeds Beckett’s University
Wednesday 27th January 2016 – Nottingham Rock City
Thursday 28th January 2016 – London Forum (sold out)

 

Video of the Moment #1953: Daughter

 
By on Tuesday, 10th November 2015 at 6:00 pm
 

On a grey, rainy, miserable day like this in Washington, there can be nothing better than a new video from the Communion-related band who have cornered the market on relationship doom and gloom, Daughter. Following on from the uber haunting ‘Doing the Right Thing’ unveiled last month, Elena Tonra “feels numb in this kingdom” in ‘Numbers’.

The person who’s feeling most numb, it seems, is the story’s main character, a mysterious woman in red who can cause terrible suffering on what appears to be chosen victims, and just by her looking and thinking about these poor souls’ misfortune. Weird concept for a video, but considering how unearthly and sinister Daughter have managed to make the song feel, it works. The band make a quick cameo in the club scene near the end, but it’s pretty quick, as if you’d miss them if you blinked.

Daughter’s second album ‘Not to Disappear’, the hotly-anticipated follow-up to 2013’s ‘If You Leave’, is out the 15th of January 2016 on 4AD in the UK and Glassnote Records in North America.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DT-LFJy7bEc[/youtube]

 

Video of the Moment #1930: Daughter

 
By on Friday, 2nd October 2015 at 6:00 pm
 

After a lengthy absence following the release of their 2013 debut album ‘If You Leave’, Elena Tonra and Daughter have returned to announce their second album for 4AD / Glassnote Records. ‘Not to Disappear’ is slated to drop on the 15th of January 2016.

Along with the album announcement, the band have revealed the promo video for ‘Doing the Right Thing’. The song itself seems like a good indicator of the next great chapter to the Daughter story, with Tonra’s yearning vocals and the band’s alternately minimalist and bombastic instrumentation framing the poignant story all too familiar to families today that matches well with the lyrics and title of the song. Watch the video below.

Past coverage of Daughter on TGTF is this way.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bU5F-DvGLkA[/youtube]

 

Live Gig Video: Daughter play ‘Shallows’ with a classical ensemble at AIR Studios in London

 
By on Tuesday, 8th April 2014 at 4:00 pm
 

On the coach back to DC over the weekend, I had a listen to Daughter‘s 2013 debut album ‘If You Leave’ (reviewed by Cheryl here) and was reminded just haunting it is. So it’s perfect timing that the band have released the first of five very special videos of them performing at the famous AIR Studios on Oxford Street in London with a 10-piece classical ensemble. Watch below as the stark beauty of ‘Shallows’ is transformed into something even more poignant than the album version with the addition of classical backing. It seems like lifetimes ago I saw them perform at SXSW 2012 at the Communion showcase at St. David’s church.

The full five-track session will be released as a digital EP on 4AD next week, on the 15th of April, and a limited edition 12″ follows on the 26th of May.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPK67Px8sR8[/youtube]

 
 
 

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