Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. After breaking through to a national and eventually international audience with 2008’s Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill, and a subsequent tour opening for Animal Collective at the height of the hysteria over Merriweather Post Pavilion in the summer of 2009, Harris has been able to proceed and manage her career on her own terms.
In an interview with Love Lion published a year ago today, Harris said, “I don’t like playing in classic club venues. “Once I started being invited to play such places it just felt hard and wrong for the music to go back to the black box, loud bar and fog machine.
So as I began to feel more confident about making requests about shows I started asking to play in accessible venues without bars, without smoking, and with seating for the audience.” Her latest album, Grid of Points, came out in April and now she’s on a miniature tour, with appearances at Raleigh’s Hopscotch Festival last week and a show tonight at the Murmur Theater in Brooklyn.
I’ve written before about why I find Harris’ music to be so powerful, elusive, and moving, and how intimate and intense it can be while remaining intangible and just out of reach and hard to decipher. She derisively referred to her 2014 record Ruins as her “adult contemporary album” to friends because she felt embarrassed that the words were clear for once.
The Grouper records of the past have heretofore been enveloped by a heavy layer of gauze and reverb, highlighting a soothing, dreamlike quality, most notably on the masterpieces Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill and The Man Who Died in His Boat. Very few artists are able to explore the same motif with such stellar results, but it’s a testament to Liz Harris’ talents as a musician that she can go so long without radically changing her approach and not run the risk of sounding stale.
Whereas her past efforts suggested an intimacy from across the field, her newest record under the Grouper name is the first time when the songs (except one) feel like they’re inhabiting the same room as the listener. She sings of pretending not to notice this great love of her past, of longing for the touch of someone who is not around anymore, of the hope of finally understanding what caused the house to fall in the first place.
It’s very affecting stuff, to finally hear the words of the voice that has been guiding you through sleep for the past five years (and by “you” I mean “me”) and to have it express a feeling you’re intimately familiar with, like heartbreak. Hey baby, thanks for clearing my dreams, Of all those horror scenes, Which crept in uninvited.
Hey baby, thanks for clearing my dreams, Of all those horror scenes, Which crept in uninvited. And I don’t care when peoples’ heads, End up being torn to shreds.
Hey baby, thanks for clearing my dreams, Of all those horror scenes, Which crept in uninvited. I’m in love and I’m so excited, Hey baby, thanks for clearing my dreams.
You’re conscious of thinking about what you’re going to make for dinner, you’re aware of loving the book you’re reading. Now imagine there is a back room in your mind where all the things you don’t think about (a movie you watched twenty years ago, the time when you were eight that you cut your finger on a nail, principles of physics you never quite learned) and all the negative things you’ve ever said about yourself or anyone.
It’s full to bursting with lost memories, fears and anxieties, and wild tangents your mind took you on that never had any basis in reality. When you have guests over to your house, they might not know as they sit in the living room that the basement is like an episode of Hoarders, but you do.
Chanting this mantra for 11 minutes will give the subconscious a shower and you’ll end up feeling cleaner and lighter. Do this regularly, as trash continues to build up, and it may take a while to clean out the room.
Please, I'm looking for a link or an e-mail address in order to contact Liz Harris (aka Grouper) for an interview. Indeed, I'd like to write a portrait of this artist and her wonderful album published by the label Free Porcupine Society... First, I contacted this label but no reply... I really love this album.
Milton Parker, Wednesday, 18 June 2008 18:00 (twelve years ago) Ok, I finally listened to the rest of the songs for the first time, and yes, they're all great.
I predict I will post about this again on August 3rd of this year, because that's the day I finally get back home. And when I arrive, there's going to be a small pile of her records because I'm going to have to drunkenly order a good half of those LPs and EPs Milton just mentioned.
CZN (cozen), Wednesday, 10 December 2008 13:09 (twelve years ago) Vaguely recall a mention on Ill and an Inca Ore connection (blown away Ms. Sales live recently, her LP one of few sweet spots of '08 for me)...
fandango, Sunday, 14 December 2008 08:26 (eleven years ago) It's ok, sort of bridge between her first records and the minimalistic approach of guitar/voice style that she used on 'dragging a dead dear'.
fandango, Monday, 22 December 2008 22:46 (eleven years ago) 'Dead Deer' is on my top ten list of the year, but I don't know what she looks like (if looks are what's implied).
I want to say something about how this album unfolds its pleasures like a flower, at about the same speed, without it sounding dirty. Possibly the most gorgeously intimate and non “produced” sounding thing I've heard all year too.
fandango, Sunday, 28 December 2008 23:03 (eleven years ago) This goes down well with a copy of Chris Ware's graphic novel The Smartest Kid on Earth and my Mom's fried boneless fish.
Euler, Wednesday, 29 April 2009 14:53 (eleven years ago) But if a crazy low price like that leads to more people getting into her music, it's all for the better.
original BGM, Friday, 12 June 2009 16:38 (eleven years ago) I saw my comment this morning and wondered what the hell I was talking about, because I don't really have any beef with tinymixtapes.com.
The second LP seems to just collect all the echoed vibraphone tracks together in one place The tracks run together, so it pretty much plays as one long piece (repeated in abridged form on the second LP).
I need to listen to it again, obviously, but I can already imagine that I will play it as music for writing or making stuff. But dream loss (and so much of grouper's music) is SUPER reversed out, so it seems more direct and clear to me in comparison.
floppy bird, Thursday, 7 March 2019 06:08 (one year ago) The show in Chicago a few weeks ago, at the athletic association, was so, so good.
The white record, the 45rpm one, feels like a bonus disc at best but is it the one that's sequenced first in the digital? There are no markings on the LP at all, not even in the runoff grooves (besides her usual aphorisms).
floppy bird, Friday, 4 October 2019 19:51 (one year ago) Makes me want to pull out my OG “vinyls” and give them a spin.
Title cut of Alien Observer is one of my fave tracks. Maria Somerville made a beautiful album this year, 'All Our People'.