Becca Stevens Band Discovers Newfound Tension And Electrifying Sound On New Album Perfect Animal, Out November 4th
September 3, 2014 – Displaying a newfound tension that makes for a thrilling listen, the Becca Stevens Band will release Perfect Animal on November 4th. Stevens is one of the most talented young artists in any genre – the New York Times says she is “a vocalist and guitarist who balances deep melody against lyrical caprice” – and with Perfect Animal she has sharpened her voice as a songwriter and bandleader. Stevens filters her myriad influences (indie rock, R&B, jazz, West African music, folk) into a singular, electrifying sound on Perfect Animal. The album is produced by “recordist” Scott Solter (St. Vincent, Mountain Goats, Spoon) and mixed by Matt Pence (Midlake, Yuck, Here We Go Magic). Solter helped the band capture the energy they bring to live shows as well as a musical weight and intensity that had always bubbled under the surface.
Watch a video on the making of Perfect Animal here: http://bit.ly/1n4BZB2
After three weeks of initial sessions with the full band in North Carolina and NYC, Stevens and Solter dove into marathon week long stretches of 10-12 hour sessions to record Stevens’ guitar and vocal parts. The intense sessions left Stevens’ fingers bleeding and vocal cords exhausted, but the resulting dynamic intensity can be heard throughout Perfect Animal, and the album is better for it. The current Becca Stevens Band line-up has been performing together for seven years, and the resulting instinctive, organic rapport shines through on Perfect Animal. The album also benefits from a more powerful, expanded sound thanks to the use of electric guitar and bass, keyboards, synths and drummer Jordan Perlson mostly playing a full drum kit mixed with layers of various types of percussion throughout the album.
Over a propulsive beat and pinpoint harmonies, the song “Imperfect Animals” is about an instinct to strive for perfection pulling against the understanding that such a condition is not humanly possible. This balance of push and pull is a recurring theme for Stevens in her life and artistic process. “Be Still” binds gorgeous, instantly memorable melodies over an almost proggy workout for the band, with Stevens singing about a love between two people that is overgrown and falling apart. “Tillery” was written to honor the life of Stevens’ friend Kenya Tillery, and it fuses Stevens’ lyrics with poetry from Jane Tyson Clement. The band also interprets three songs on Perfect Animal – Frank Ocean’s “Thinkin Bout You,” Usher’s “You Make Me Wanna” and Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love” – crafting versions that reinvent the originals while keeping the bones of what made the songs great in place.
Stevens is an in-demand writer and collaborator, most recently heard on albums by José James and Ambrose Akinmusire (who told NPR’s Arun Rath earlier this year that he considers Stevens a genius). She will also be featured alongside Alison Krauss, Rickie Lee Jones, Esperanza Spalding, Yo-Yo Ma, Renée Fleming and others on the all-star Laura Nyro tribute album Map To The Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro, conceived and orchestrated by Billy Childs and produced by Larry Klein, out September 9th on Sony Masterworks. Though she came up in the jazz world (and was the lead singer in Travis Sullivan’s Björkestra for some time), Perfect Animal finds Stevens tapping into a new set of influences. During the gestation and creation of the album, she was listening to a wide swath of artists that included Wye Oak, Little Dragon, Dirty Projectors, Kate Bush, Beyonce, Rhye, Michael Jackson, Father John Misty and Tame Impala. While none of their influence is overt, and Stevens’ strong artistic voice is the album’s driving force, they can definitely be heard throughout Perfect Animal.
The Becca Stevens Band is Becca Stevens (vocals, guitars, ukulele, charango), Liam Robinson (keyboards, accordion, vocals), Chris Tordini (upright and electric bass, vocals) and Jordan Perlson (drums and percussion).
For more information on Becca Stevens Band, please contact Rob Krauser at REK Room Media, 917.703.8361 or firstname.lastname@example.org.