Lord Youth, the songwriting project of Micah Blaichman from Queens, NY, began as a recording project in the summer of 2013 at producer Anders Christophersen’s Copenhagen attic studio, dating from 1865 and previously home to thousands of the city’s pigeons. Tracking was done straight to analogue tape in a wood-panelled room very early in the morning or very late at night. Sometimes with a full band and sometimes solo. The result was a 4-track EP entitled ‘Theater’.
Over the next few years, Lord Youth performed live as a band at venues and select festivals in America and Europe.
Sadly the city of Copenhagen demolished the studio’s building to make way for a school, so in the summer of 2014 Blaichman and Christophersen relocated and built a new studio in Berlin. This building had once housed a blacksmith’s workshop.
The EP, ‘Lord Youth’, was recorded during that summer, in sessions that were as methodical as they were experimental. Its sound was greatly influenced by the mid-summer purchase of a Chilton Talentmaker, an optical-disk keyboard that was a copyright-infringing counterfeit of Mattel’s Optigan Organ. A large stained-glass window that bathed the studio in reds and greens and blues was also a source of inspiration, as were Delta blues artist Skip James, Can’s ‘Ege Bamyasi’, and the writings of William Vollmann.
The record is, in a nutshell, downbeat folk-rock, if such a genre exists. Melodies and themes drawn from the deep wellspring of American traditional music, fused with rhythms and textures from the early days of electric rock and roll.
‘Gray Gardens’ is about New York City, both leaving and coming. Large, drab buildings as a stand-in for an arboreal landscape. The city as the partner in a relationship. Some random memories from a middle-school Halloween when a street gang called the Bloods threatened to cut anyone dressed up in red.
The video above was simply produced: Micah took a polaroid of the view of the skyline from his apartment and filmed its development.
Available via Bandcamp here: lordyouth.bandcamp.com/track/gray-gardens-single