Hear Lovers tonight at Andy’s in Denton

Lovers’ finds zero limits as an out musicians

Lovers has five albums under its belt, and through rotating members, the touchstone has always been Berk. But this current incarnation of the band seems to find Lovers at its best self. Berk, Kerby Ferris and Emily Kingan have produced a confident album with Dark Light, and after a decade of doing this, Berk feels this is the band at its strongest.

“When we came together, it felt very egalitarian and feminist and comfortable,” she says. “I hadn’t experienced that level of confidence and there are a lot of benefits to having our kind of connection. I felt like this was a really great place to be creatively.”

This confidence has taken Berk to new levels, as an artist and a person. All three members identify as queer, and for Berk, that offers a comfort in writing her music. Although she starts the song on her acoustic guitar, the others chime in for a group dynamic.

At 32, her personal growth over these 10 years has manifested differently in Dark Light than it has on any of the previous releases. She’s out of the closet, but this album shows Berk coming out of her shell.

“I feel like I sort of went from being an artist who was working mostly to exorcise personal demons to someone who, with time, is able to looking more outward,” she says. “This is the most extroverted album Lovers has ever had.”

Read the entire article here.

DEETS: With Sextape and One Red Martian. Andy’s Bar, 122 N. Locust Road, Denton. May 13. 9 p.m. $6–$8. LoversAreLovers.com.

—  Rich Lopez

‘Blood Sea Dream:’ Grand Lake runs (sort of) deep

On Grand Lake’s MySpace page, the band describes its music genre as “melodramatic.” With the languid, dreamy sound of the first track on Blood Sea Dream, it’s anything but. “It Takes A Horse To Light a House” is melodramatic in its title, but acts like a lush welcoming mat into what turns out to be a potentially inspiring album — if you could figure out where it was going.

There are a lot of things right about Blood. The 12 tracks by gay founder Caleb Nichols and company range from ethereal to distorted numbers with a whole lot going on in between. The quartet delivers a beautiful ballad with “Our Divorce”  that is worthy of repeat listens. Nichols then offers insight to his demons with “My Father is a Forest Full of Trees,” which details his hopes to confront his inmate dad. Perhaps it is aural voyeurism, but also striking to hear those words out loud.

But then Grand Lake derails into “WTF” territory. The band is easily in the avant rock vein, but when it jars the listener out of one experience and juts them into the opposite throughout the album, it drops any emotional attachment the listener could (and should) have.

After the beautiful opener, which sets a quieter tone, second track “Louise (I Live In a Fantasy)” ventures into alt-rock. For the most part, the shift was acceptable … until it devolves into Nichols shouting and repeating his lyrics, beating my ears into submission.

“Oedipus Hex (Hwy 1 North)” plays with a slightly higher tempo and stronger pop flavor, but then the weird  “Threnody For FA Mesmer” follows which is basically the musical equivalent of the prolonged Emergency Broadcast System sound.

In the final track, “Why Do You Lie To Me (Faggot Blues),” begins slowly like “Horse,” but builds into a screeching angry dirge. Nichols sings about a relationship declaring I’ll be true to you / If you are true to me following it up with the title question, although I’m never sure what the parenthetical title means — and Grand Lake likes them some parentheses!

These bumps start to outnumber the better parts of the album. Nichols and Grand Lake give texture to the realm of gay-created music, but right now, it’s still rough.

— Rich Lopez

Two and a half stars.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 6, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens