Lord Huron’s Los Angeles-based band members are rather known for being elusive, holding their private lives close to the chest. Though we may be missing out on some tabloid headlines, a barrage of Instagram selfies, and anthems about teenage breakups, what we get instead are essentially modern-day troubadours – unraveling adventurous, fictional tales in each track from their latest release, Strange Trails.
(Check out “Love Like Ghosts,” because I love that one.)
Released in April, the indie folk album is less about the personal experiences and feelings from frontman Ben Schneider than a musically cinematic representation of a very creative mind.
“I’ve always found, at least for me personally, fiction can speak more succinctly and eloquently about reality than a documentary can, especially when it’s crafted carefully,” Schnieder told MTV.
I really like that. Here’s why:
Imagine the amount of work and the degree of fabrication required to write not one, but 14 stories. These are tales of cursed men and doomed love and horror. Layer on top of the narrative lyrics an irresistible musical accompaniment with an old western, folk-like thematic sound throughout each piece. Take that one step even further and bring in some illustrations, comics, and movie-esque music videos to exemplify the very villains and heroes and heroines starring in each song.
The result: Strange Trails.
From “Meet Me in the Woods.” (Check out the band’s Instagram for more illustrations and covers. I can’t draw like that, you guys. Nor can I write lyrics. Nor can I play or write music. This is too much for me.)
Schneider’s background lies in the visual arts. This means that, every few days, we get a comic illustration or track cover art as an extension to the stories we only get a glimpse of within the songs themselves. Each new single also comes with a short film, complete with costumes and gelled-back hair and an era-appropriate backdrop.
Upon first listen, the album has the haunting quality of hearing campfire stories in a desert out West or walking alone in the woods in the dark – think “The Yawning Grave” or “The Night We Met.” The lyrics throw you into the perspective of a main character, into their headspace, into their scene.
I had all and then most of you,
some, and now none of you.
Take me back to the night we met.
I don’t know what I’m supposed to do,
haunted by the ghost of you.
– “The Night We Met”
At other times, it’s upbeat, quick, and racing, like the dark revenge tale in “The World Ender.”
Next week, hear these stories live when Lord Huron plays at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. not once (Sunday, May 3), but twice (Monday, May 4). On both occasions, Hamilton Leithauser will open for the band, and I can’t wait to see him too.
Hopefully you were ahead of the crowd because, together, Lord Huron and Hamilton Leithauser sold out both of their DC shows. But it’s never too late. Beg your friends for tickets. Beg some strangers.
It’ll be more than worth it.
*UPDATE: ALSO. The Landmark Music Festival lineup was just announced last night!
Lord Huron is on the list, among other awesome artists like Drake, Ben Howard (who I’ve been dying to see forever), alt-J, The Lone Bellow (who I missed earlier this year), and so many more.
The two-day festival will be in D.C.’s West Potomac Park on September 26-27. I’m not going to lie, I got a ticket as soon as I realized this festival was going to exist and then was that annoying friend who tried (successfully) to peer pressure everyone into going with me. See you there!
*Note: $100 two-day passes are on sale for only another 10 minutes! Get yours before the price goes up to $150 at 10 a.m. EST. But $150 still isn’t bad for this lineup over two days.